Christmas Day in Prague – What to do When Everything is Closed
The first thing to know about Christmas time in Prague is that almost everything is closed the 24th-26th or even through the new year. This should not stop you from going, there is still plenty to see, eat, and drink!
If you want to check out the local food scene while you’re there, go a few days before Christmas when you’ll be able to go on a food tour. This crams in multiple amazing restaurants in one day, so you won’t miss them as much.
Make reservations at least a month in advance. There are some places open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, since there are so few, they are totally booked. I made the mistake of waiting until 1 week before Christmas and my options were extremely limited. I missed out on going to a few places on my list, like Cafe Savoy, since I didn’t plan ahead.
If you have run out of time, the hotels will be your best bet. We ate at the Jalta hotel in their restaurant called COMO. It was a bit pricey and we had to pre-pay (it was kinda sketchy), but there was a decent buffet with unlimited wine and beer.
Another plus, which we got lucky on, was the Cold War bunker they have beneath the hotel. Usually, you need to schedule a tour, but we drunkenly were somehow able to convince them to give us a private tour after dinner.
I wouldn’t bet on that happening though, so if you want to see it, maybe ask when you make the dinner reservation. It actually was really cool to see though so even if you don’t eat there, try to check it out.
So, what do you do for food when everything is closed and you don’t have reservations? Christmas Markets!
For food and drinks, you have delicious options at the Christmas Markets. They are scattered all throughout the city in just about every square and there are always some open!
Mulled Wine – I am addicted. Why can’t they have it year round? I mean, its cold enough like 90% of the year. Anyway, it’s pretty low in alcohol so you can just keep sipping and it will keep you warm. For real. As a Floridian, I am always cold and regular alcohol doesn’t really help but this tasty hot drink works like a warm blanket.
Honey Wine – Super sweet. Apparently, there’s alcohol in it but I could only taste sugar. It was ok, though, maybe try one.
Prague Ham – Roasting right in front of you. It is mouthwatering. They sell it everywhere. I also recommend the skewers, sausages, and even the hot dogs (topped with onion like the one below).
Trdelnik – No clue how to pronounce it but it was consistently delicious. One we got was very doughy but with the perfect amount of crips on the outside. So good.
Candied Nuts – Careful, these are addicting. If you plan on taking them home, do not open the bag at your hotel, you might eat them all. Or just go ahead and just buy double what you think you need.
Skip the gingerbread, we didn’t find any that was very tasty.
Since everything is closed, the only thing to do once you’re full is walk!
It is pretty cold in Prague so it’s important to make sure you always have some mulled wine in-hand. I recommend finding a lid for your cup if you plan on walking while drinking but if not, don’t worry, I was able to get all the red wine out of my new white sweater.
Prepare for lots of stairs and hike up to Prague Castle and the Strahov Monastery, the view is worth it.
If you have energy on the way down, go over to the John Lennon wall for some colorful pictures. Time it right so you cross back over the river towards the center at sunset.
At this point, you’ve probably had enough time outside, so head back to your hotel for a break. Choose your hotel wisely and splurge a little if you must. Aside from a crap pizza place or tourist trap, it may be your only option for a place to warm up.
It may not seem like a lot to do, but Christmas Day in Prague is peaceful, quiet and beautiful. Don’t let the fact that things are closed stop you from going. Just plan ahead and be prepared to spend a lot of time outside… and consume a lot of mulled wine.