You could call Prague the ‘import’ Christmas market – you’ll have seen many of the toys, ceramics and Russian dolls sold here elsewhere. But what it may lack in unique wares, it makes up for in tingly ambience as you wander, muffled up. There are markets (Vanocni trhy) across town, but the best are in Old Town Square, and 10 minutes walk away, at the bottom of Wenceslas Square.

The prettier is the Old Town Square market: sweet little wooden huts are shadowed by pastel houses in fairytale Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles, all curls and beams. Against the thorny-spired Tyn and St Nicholas churches, you’ve got Christmas card photo opportunities: a fir tree towers and choirs sing carols, blowing plumes into the chilly afternoon air. Fortify yourself with svarene vino (mulled wine) and a klobasa with chleb (sausage and brown bread) or trdlo, a rolled pastry of cinnamon and nuts.

For range, Wenceslas Square is a better bet. Look for the stall selling screw sculptures: tool-box finds welded into figures (some naughty, some nice). Now pop into U Provaznice, by the Mustek metro entrance. After a plate of pork with bread-dumplings and cabbage, you’ll be ready to return to the fray. Stay on Wenceslas Square at Hotel Elysee (Vaclavske nam 43; 00 420 221 455111,, which has doubles from £68, B&B. Airlines serving Prague include CSA ( from Heathrow and Dublin, and EasyJet ( from Bristol, Gatwick and East Midlands.