Christmas has always been my very favourite time of year. I love everything about the festive season from the cosy winter nights and possibility of snow to mince pies and mulled wine, but mostly just that happy magic feeling that’s always in the air this time of year. Christmas markets have this in abundance so some of the European markets have always been on my travel wish list as they look even more festive and are just a tad more traditional than the likes of Winter Wonderland – which spending one hour at costs pretty much the same as three nights in Prague. So we went with Prague
Being Evie’s first Christmas we had an actual valid reason to go this year. She adores the twinkling Christmas lights, her whole face lights up when she hears the singing of Christmas carols and I knew it would make our first Christmas with her even more magical. This trip wasn’t for me in the slightest. In fact I didn’t even want to go at all. It’s all totally for her. Yup.
Prague has been on my travel wish list for a while but I am so glad we saved it for this time of year. It’s such a pretty city but even more so at Christmas time. The colourful buildings were decked out with even more colourful decorations; restaurant and shop fronts were adorned with bright lights; twinkly fairies and angels could be seen in every direction; and around every corner there seemed to be more market stalls each selling cuter Christmas fare than the last.
On our first day of exploring we headed straight out to the markets, Evie and I rocking our matching penguin Christmas jumpers, wanting to get into the Christmas spirit straight away.
Old Town Square, the gorgeous historic centre of the city, held the biggest market along with a huge Christmas tree that stood in front of the fairytale-esk cathedral.
But because this is the main square in Prague it was of course teeming with a ridiculous amount of people as soon as the weekend arrived. So ridiculous that before I realised it we were caught up in a stream of people and there was no way of turning around and getting out with a stroller so we just rode the wave through the crowds, past all the stalls selling hot mulled drinks and festive trinkets until we managed to find our way out on the other side.
Because it was so busy in Old Town Square our favourite market ended up being the one at Wenceslas Square which was closer to our apartment and much less crowded. The stalls were still filled with all the same goodies, there was a nativity scene and a petting zoo with a token Christmas donkey for the children (and us big kids), and the giant Christmas tree was actually much prettier here.
We ended up wandering back through this market every evening on our way home – possibly stopping off to get the occasional cup of mulled wine on our way!
But my favourite treat of all was, you guessed it, a sugary sweet treat! The trdelnik is a dough dessert that’s cooked on a stick giving it a spiral shape, covered with sugar and cinnamon and filled with whatever your heart desires. It really did make my stomach burst into a happy Christmas carol! His was filled with Nutella whereas I went all out (obviously) with vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Did I care that I was eating ice cream in winter? Of course not! This dessert deserves to be eaten all year round.
As Evie looked longingly at me stuffing my face I begrudgingly decided to share my dessert with her (I don’t just share my food with anyone you know) and gave her her first taste of ice cream – it is Christmas AND we were on holiday after all! Like mother like daughter she of course lapped it up, letting me actually feed her off a spoon for the first time ever! If you visit Prague at any time of year you absolutely have to try one, preferably two, of these.
Although I love Christmas markets I don’t usually end up buying anything. Most of the stuff is overpriced and on the slightly tacky side and not what anyone I buy gifts for would really want. I just enjoy the atmosphere and looking around! But the folksy wood-carved Czech toys really caught my eye on this trip.
I just had to get one thing in particular – a beautiful musical carousel that would make a great stocking filler for Evie and is something that she can treasure for years to come.
Best of all I got my wish of snow just as we were about to leave for the airport – and when Prague snows it really snows! Within an hour the ground was completely covered with a white blanket making everything look pure magic, and I made sure we had a bit of time spare before our flight to play in the snow underneath the prettiest ever Christmas tree.
We had such a lovely time in Prague and Evie seemed to enjoy herself so much that I think we’ll make visiting a different European Christmas market a yearly tradition. Next year I’m thinking of the winter wonderland that is Vienna or one of the many excellent German markets. Maybe I’ll let Evie decide seeing as it’s all for her of course.
A very merry Christmas to you all and I hope you have as magical a holiday as we intend to!
Have you visited any of Europe’s Christmas markets? Which is your favourite? Where would you recommend for us next year? Let me know in the comments below or at: