Best Christmas Shopping in Prague: Christmas Markets and Live Carp

December is the month of twinkling stars, live carp and Christmas shopping. Prague is in a festive mood. Locals and tourists gather at Old Town Square, wander around the Christmas market and sip mulled wine. Housefathers buy carp from the street vendors who have set up huge plastic tanks in which live carp swim around. Carp is the favorite Christmas meal.

Prague has not just one Christmas market, each neighborhood has its own. The one at Old Town Square is the biggest and liveliest. If you like to mix with the locals do your Christmas shopping at market in the Vinohrady district. Prague shopping malls sparkle and twinkle with lights. Chodov shopping center organizes special Christmas activities for children in the days before Christmas.

Be sure to visit Kubista, a wonderful shop brimming with objects inspired by cubism. You are sure to find an unusual present like a cubist style ceramic tea set. Rings or bracelets with inlaid deep red garnets are exquisite gifts for a special person. When you buy these at Cesky Granat Turnov. you will get certificate of origin showing that these stones are from the Czech Republic and not from India. Dum Porcelanu is the best shop for blue onion porcelain at non-tourist prices. If you have done enough shopping, you can feed the donkey and sheep at the live manger in Old Town Square. 





Prague 02 Vinohrady
Dum Porcelanu
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Dum Porcelanu, Porcelain House, specializes in porcelain cups, mugs plates dishes and figurines but also earthenware and crystal. Blue onion porcelain is their speciality. The onion motif found its origin in the floral motifs on Chinese porcelain which were in fact pomegranates. These were copied for the European market and mistaken for onions, because they looked like onions. Blue onion decorated china is very popular in the Czech Republic and almost every family has a dinner, tea or lunch set with this pattern at home. Dum Porcelanu is also the perfect shop to buy Bohemian crystal bowls, vases and wine glasses.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: The best shop to buy onion porcelain presents at non-tourist prices.

Marianne's expert tip: If you are looking for a dinner set for children, Dum Porcelanu stocks lovely sets with pictures of Little Mole, krtek in Czech.

Read more about Dum Porcelanu →

Prague 04 Nusle
Centrum Chodov
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

If you're the kind of shopper who likes to go shop-hopping far away from the tourist crowd, then head to Centrum Chodov. This huge shopping center is filled with 213 fashionable shops. Browse shop after shop in search of that special find at a very reasonable price. Stores in Chodov Shopping Center include Douglas, Sephora, Zara, H&M, Esprit, Sony, Vodafone, Humanic, O'Neill, Marks & Spencer and another two hundred. Be sure to stop by Albert in the basement. This huge hypermarket stocks typically Czech products like Karlovy Vary Spa wafers and Becherovka a herbal bitter with an acquired taste. Shopping makes hungry. Restaurant Potrafena Husa specializes in Czech cuisine and is one of the ten restaurants in Chodov.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Meet Father Christmas at Chodov Shopping Center and check out other festive activities both for adults and children.

Marianne's expert tip: Buy an iPad or sexy lingerie then visit 211 more shops, grab a light snack, sweet treat or hearty meal while checking your Facebook updates, WiFi is free.

Read more about Centrum Chodov →

Moser means Bohemian crystal. The shop sparkles and glows with splendid drinking glasses, carafs, vases, ashtrays and all sorts of other decorative glassware. Each item on display is more beautiful and flamboyant than the next. The Moser shop in Na Prikope street is the flagship of the prestigious glass blowers dynasty of Karlovy Vary. Lead is an important component of crystal. It makes glass strong but it is also a health risk for glass blowers. Ludwig Moser succeeded in manufacturing lead-free crystal that was as strong as leaded glass, an invention that made working conditions for the glass blowers safer and healthier.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: If you cannot afford any of the crystal bowls, glasses or trinkets, treat the shop as a museum.

Marianne's expert tip: The Moser crystal collection guarantees flamboyant designs and top quality. It is worth browsing as much for the crystal objects as for the beautifully decorated original building.

Read more about Moser →

Christmas Market in Vinohrady
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

December in Prague means sparkling lights and buzzing Christmas markets. There is not just one Christmas Market in Prague, each neighborhood as one. The Christmas Market in the Vinohrady district is in front of the Ludmilla Church on Namesti Miru. This market is more intimate than the large one in Old Town Square. The Vinohrady market is very much a local affair, you will not meet many tourists. If you like decorated glass ornaments, handmade nicknacks, wooden Christmas ornaments, scented soap and gingerbread hearts, the Vinohrady Christmas market is the place to be. Sip mulled wine, if you think beer is too cold on a winter's day.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Mix with the locals to do your Christmas Shopping at the Christmas Market in the Vinohrady neighborhood.

Marianne's expert tip: Hop on the metro and get off at Namesti Miru stop to so some serious Christmas shopping way from the crowds at the main Christmas Market at Old Town Square.

Read more about Christmas Market in Vinohrady →

Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Kubista Design Shop is a wonderful shop where you can buy artworks of the Art Deco and Cubists periods. Kubista is located on the ground floor of the House of the Black Madonna, the most famous cubist-style house in Prague. This building is home to caf�rient with Cubist-style interior. Kubista Design Shop specializes in jewelry, ceramics, reproductions, pictures, paintings and furniture. They stock original pieces for serious collectors with lots of cash to spend. Prices vary greatly because Kubista also sells replicas. Browse through the collection that comprises works of Bohumil Kubista, Otto Gutfreud, Vaclav Spala and many other well-known Czech artists. Even though the cubist style ceramic tea set looks tempting, it is not very practical to take home. Beautifully illustrated books about Art deco and Cubism easily fit in your handbag and are the perfect gift either for yourself or for friends.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: If you are looking for original Christmas presents, be sure to include a visit to Kubista.

Marianne's expert tip: If you cannot afford an original 1930 armchair or Cubist collectors piece, replica Art Deco cufflinks, pendants and bracelets make great presents to take home from your visit to Prague.

Read more about Kubista →

Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Five floors brimming with 180 shops and 20 restaurants a true Mecca for shoppers. Palladium is not only a shopping paradise,its architecture is also impressive. The building used to an army barracks which had been neglected. Palladium Shopping Center opened in 2007 retaining its old fa�e. This mall is now very popular because of its 200 shops and central position. Not only will you find here international chain stores including Marks & Spencer, H&M, Estee Lauder but also an Albert supermarket and fast food outlets. At Christmas and Easter you will find the Christmas and Easter market in front of Palladium, selling local food and drinks besides handcrafted goods.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Be sure to visit the Christmas market in front of Palladium Shopping Center.

Marianne's expert tip: Shopaholics cannot ignore the 180 shops and 20 restaurants in Palladium Shopping Center.

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Christmas Market in the Old Town
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

At the end of November, Prague gets into the festive mood. Old Town Square transforms itself into a lively, animated Christmas market. A gigantic Christmas trees dominates the square that is filled with small huts selling wooden angels, delicate Christmas bells, handmade bracelets, Bohemian crystal, wooden puppets, sweet-scented candles and hand-knitted woolen gloves, socks and hats. Listen to national and international choirs singing Christmas carols on the large stage in the center of the market. Warm you hand on a mug of mulled wine and be sure to taste trdelnik a sweet pastry sprinkled in sugar and cinnamon, a true culinary delight.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Listen to Christmas carols while warming your hands on a mug of mulled wine.

Marianne's expert tip: Pick up a leaflet so that you know what open-air concerts are staged during the Christmas Market. Wrap up because it may be quite cold.

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Havelske Market
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Havelske Market is the only open-air market in the city center of Prague. Locals come for the fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, tourists for local crafts, wooden toys, ceramic mugs and Prague souvenirs. This market is especially festive during Christmas and Easter when the stalls are decked out seasonal decorations. Be sure to check out the stalls that sell mulled wine. It almost impossible to miss this market when you are strolling the cobbled streets of the Old town. Havelske Market, Havelske Trziste in Czech, is located close to Melantrchova, the pedestrian street linking Wenceslas Square to the Old Town.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Wooden puppets make wonderful Christmas presents. Havelske Market is one of the best places to buy them.

Marianne's expert tip: Havelske market is easy to spot. The route from Wenceslas Square to Charles Bridge leads past this colorful market.

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Ceský Granát Turnov
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Cesky Granat Turnov is one of the many shops in Prague selling dazzling, dark red garnets. This semi-precious stone comes from mines in the Czech Republic. Shop windows in the historic center brim with garnets in all sizes and shapes. The jewellery is mostly classic of design and looks as if it comes straight from grandma’s inheritance. A plethora of shops in Stare Mesto stocks this semi-precious stone in the form of earrings, pendants, cufflinks, rings, necklaces and bracelets. It is difficult to decide which shop to favor because the ruby red stones set in gold or silver all look very similar. Many shops sell garnets imported from India. They look exactly the same, but if you want to have Bohemian garnets, Granat Turnov is a trusted shop to buy them. Every garnet is accompanied by a certificate of origin.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: The best Christmas present for a loved ones, be it your grandmother, mother, wife or girlfriend. All women love garnet inlaid jewelry.

Marianne's expert tip: Semi-precious Czech garnet, usually red stones, allegedly replace sadness with joy. Its effect probably depends on who is buying and who is receiving. A multitude of shops in the historic centre of Prague stocks garnets. Although prices tend to be similar, it pays to look around a bit.

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Christmas Fish Market
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Carp is the traditional Christmas dish in the Czech Republic. Not only has fish a religious meaning, carp has enough meat to feed the whole family. Breaded and fried, it is served with potato salad, sauerkraut or red cabbage. Czech families like to eat their carp fresh. Several days before Christmas, fish mongers place huge tubs with life carp everywhere in Prague and in other cities and villages.Czech people take one home in a plastic bag. The fish will spend the rest of his life in the bathtub. Those who don't fancy a live carp at home, ask the vendor to kill it.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Watch live carp swimming around in big plastic tubs before being sold as Christmas dinner.

Marianne's expert tip: If you don't fancy your own live carp in your bathtub, go to Plenzka Restaurant in the Municipal House whose Christmas Menu always includes carp.

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Meet Marianne Crone

Marianne Crone divides her time between her home in the Netherlands and an apartment in Prague, the city where her son, daughter-in-law and grandson live.

Now retired, Marianne is still an...  More About Marianne