Why Visit Prague in December

The Christmas season is a perfect time to visit Prague

prague, christmas market
••• Frank Chmura/Getty Images

Like many Eastern European cities, Prague’s celebration of Christmas makes it a popular destination for tourists in December. And, although the Prague weather in December is cold, the rainy season is over, so you won't get soaked partaking in the city's outdoor Christmas festivities.

Prague Christmas Market

One of the biggest draws to the city this time of year is the outdoor Christmas markets. Old Town Square's outdoor marketplace, in particular, is a popular attraction in December because its historic architecture is lit up for Christmas.

This Christmas market is one of Europe’s best, so plan well in advance if you want to visit during December. If you’re visiting the city specifically to attend the Christmas market, it makes sense to book a room near Old Town Square, which will make getting to the market easy. Rates for Prague hotel rooms in December will be on the moderate-to-high side and will sell out, so book as far in advance as possible. 

December Holidays and Events in Prague

Christmas activities and events last all of December in Prague. In addition to the Prague Christmas Market, an annual Christmas exhibition at Bethlehem Chapel showcases crafts and decorations created around a holiday theme.

December 5: This day is St. Nicholas Eve, or Mikulas, which is an annual event in which the Czech St. Nick rewards good children with treats in Old Town Square and elsewhere in Prague. During this fun time, you may see bearded actors on the streets of Old Town accompanied by mischievous angels and devils because, in Czech folklore, Mikulas was traditionally paired with an angel and a devil as his guides.

St. Mikulas dresses like a bishop in white clothing, rather than the red outfit Santa Claus wears.

Christmas Eve: The Czech Republic celebrates this day with a feast. Carp is usually served as the main dish. The Czech custom is to bring a live fish home and keep it in the bathtub for a day or two. In addition, the Christmas tree is decorated with apples, sweets, and traditional ornaments on Christmas Eve.

 

While St. Nick gives children presents on his feast day, on Christmas Eve, baby Jesus (Jezisek) is the star of the show. He’s the one, not Santa Claus, who brings gifts on Christmas Eve.

Czech folklore says that baby Jesus lives up in the mountains, in the town of Bozi Dar, where a post office accepts and stamps letters addressed to him. On Christmas Eve, children wait to hear the bell signaling that baby Jesus has arrived with presents.

New Year's Eve: On the last day of the year, Prague celebrates around the city with fireworks lighting up the sky over Old Town. 

Non-Christmas Events in Prague

If you're looking for something unrelated to Christmas or the holiday season while visiting Prague in December, there aren't many options. However, one noteworthy event is the Bohuslav Martinu Music Festival, named after the famous 20th-century Czech composer. Concert halls across Prague feature music by this best-known Czech composer. 

Prague Weather in December

December in Prague is cold, with an average daily temperature of approximately 32 F. Fortunately, the city's rainy season is over by December, so the winter months don’t have as much precipitation as spring and summer. But there's always a chance of snow, so be sure to pack for winter weather.