You can’t celebrate Christmas in Prague without visiting the markets – try these five for an alternative shopping experience
Prague is (rightly) famous for its traditional Christmas markets. Picture: twinkling fairy lights, Christmas trees of skyscraper stature, chalet-style cottages selling trinkets and handicrafts and steaming mugs of svařené víno (don’t forget to note that one down – that’s Czech for “mulled wine”). And yet, once you’ve taken a turn about Wenceslas Square and have dropped by the Old Town Square, try heading off-piste for a taste of an alternative Christmas in Prague. From the trendy Prague Fashion Market to the Design Supermarket and the Dyzajn Market, head to these cutting-edge shopping destinations for designer fashion, unique housewares… and a glimpse into the city’s hip set.
Held in Prague’s trendy Holešovice district, Prague Fashion Market kicks off the season’s alternative shopping events. Returning for its 14th edition this November, the seasonal market (one of the largest in the city) specialises in independent fashion and jewellery, and will showcase works made by more than 150 designers and artists. But on-trend labels aren’t the only offerings: this year, the festival is joining forces with the Local Food Market, meaning delectations await alongside the design.
An annual showstopper for contemporary design, the ineffable Design Supermarket is returning in the midst of Christmas shopping season, and is certain to attract throngs of style-conscious shoppers. The festival’s showroom sees more than 80 brands and designers, hailing from both the Czech Republic and beyond, present their wares: think jewellery, leather goods, avant-garde fashion, stylish home accessories, art books, and other covetous pieces. Stay long enough and you’ll also encounter workshops, talks… and DJ-led parties that kick off from the late afternoon.
Against the classical backdrop of the National Theatre, Dyzajn Market is nevertheless as alternative as Christmas in Prague gets. Think: hundreds of local and international designers, interactive fashion shows, live music and theatrical performances – plus a playground for young ones. But even though Dyzajn Market skews towards a cutting-edge crowd, this is still a Christmas market; as such, seasonal comfort food and steaming drinks will be available in no short supply.
Shopping for someone with unique taste? Accompanied by live music and frequented by younger shoppers, the Winter Warehouse Flea Market encourages browsers to dig for vintage treasures in lieu of tourist knick-knacks. Across several rooms at MeetFactory, a creative space and cultural centre, roughly 75 vendors will pile tables high with tchotchkes and fill racks with retro finds. The hunt is officially on.
One of the city’s best farmers markets is also an excellent place to do some prepping for Christmas in Prague. Though there’s plenty of seasonal fare to sort through at the Jiřák Farmers Market, it’s also one of the best places to hunt for artisanal Czech goodies and gifts – particularly as the market stocks special, advent-themed gifts during the holiday season. From jars of honey and gingerbread men to locally made cider and sweets, this is stocking-filler central.