Sandier Pastures - First Christmas Market Experience in Prague

Current IHG® Rewards Club member Grace Fujimaki went on a Platinum Elite experience to help show the wide variety of redemptions available with 70,000 reward points. By Sandier Pastures

Platinum Elite Member 70000 Points

Europe and Christmas - two of my favourite ‘things’. So what happens when you put them together? A dream come true. Prague had always been on my mind. A city with so much old world charm and character, history, culture rich scenery and magical Christmas spirit during the festive season. I took my pre-teen daughter with me to visit Prague just when the annual Christmas market opened at the end of November to experience the beauty and magic of Prague's famous Christmas markets first-hand.

The Christmas Market at Old Town, Prague was smaller than I expected. No, there’s no hint of disappointment in that because it only made our experience more intense! It made the tree look so much bigger too! In reality, the tree is huge and because the area of the Old Town Square is not too wide, it's like I am looking at the tree like the book character Jack looking at the gigantic beanstalk.

There are actually four central markets in Prague. The largest is at the Old Town Square, smaller versions are on Wenceslas Square and Namesti Miru and there'll be a small one on Namesti Republiky. The dates during which Prague Christmas markets are open are usually different from year to year. In general, you'll find at least some markets running from the last week of November into the first week of January. The Christmas markets run from 28th November to 3rd January.

During our visit to Prague, we stayed for two nights at The InterContinental Prague using the loyalty points I got from the IHG® Rewards Club. The hotel is located on the fashionable Parížská shopping street in the Old Town area of Prague, a fantastic location that allowed us to walk to most important tourist spots including the Old Town Square.

Our room window had a beautiful view of the Vltava River. Although the location is very central, we were on the 5th floor and didn't hear any noise from outside. The bed was very comfortable so we were able to rest really well to be ready for the next day's adventure.

The Old Town Square Prague Christmas Market is the biggest and oldest. The square has the official Christmas tree that is 22m high, contains 600 ornaments, Gold star and windows showing pictures by a Czech artist called Josef Lada. The market is dominated by a Christmas tree, which is adorned with hundreds of lights and is lit every evening at dusk, usually around 5 p.m. There were plenty of stalls selling Christmas decorations and ornaments, candles, candy, gingerbread, and small gifts. There's also unlimited warm and spiced wine to warm you up!

My favourite food, which was sold at the Old Town Square Christmas market was the pork spit roast which was relatively cheap for their exquisite taste. Then there was the hot wine (svařené víno or svařák), grog, and warm honey liquor called medovina. Ah, I am getting hungry just by typing this!

Going to a traditional Christmas market was like literally traveling to Christmas. The best part of the market was our visit at night because the air is crisp and cold (a very lovely respite from the desert heat where we came from!), the city has lit up all the buildings and with the market, the huge tree and the monuments it looks like a fairy land from a children's book. Our short visit to Prague was enough to make it on my list of favourite cities. I wouldn't mind visiting again next year!

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