Poland is the cradle of Christmas markets. But which ones are worth the trip?
Full of colorful city squares, church towers and flickering lights, Poland is the perfect venue for a Christmas market. There are annual trade fairs all over Poland in November and December, and with so many canceled last year due to COVID-19, there are even more reasons to visit.
If you are worried about Christmas shopping, this Baltic country is a great place to stock up on Christmas essentials.
We rounded up our five favorite markets to get you into the festive mood.
Krakow Christmas Market
November 26 – January 2, 2021
Krakow is the second largest city in Poland, so the Christmas market is sure to be large and lively. Krakow Christmas Market takes place on the historic 13th-century town square, the Main Square. The most popular Christmas market in Poland, offers many tasty dishes, from traditional stews to smoked cheese and sauerkraut.
Snow cannot be guaranteed, but temperatures often drop below freezing, so you can catch a few Christmas flakes.
Wroclaw Christmas Market
November 19 – December 31, 2021
The city of Wrocław is situated on the Oder in south-west Poland. With a historic market square, full of stylish tenement houses and an astronomical clock, it is the perfect place for a Christmas market. Wroclaw Christmas Market it is large, so it takes place in four interconnected areas. Market Square, Solny Square, Oławska and Świdnicka.
There are tons of traditional handicrafts here, and lots of wooden toys and Russian dolls for sale. Food is also very popular, and local dishes such as Oscypek – smoked cheese served with cranberries are up for grabs. There would be no Christmas without alcohol, so be sure to try mead – honey-based alcohol is a big deal in Poland – or mulled wine while browsing the stalls.
Christmas market in Gdańsk
November 19 – December 24, 2021
Gdańsk, a port city on the Baltic coast, was completely decimated at the end of World War II. The city, rebuilt in its aftermath, has an old world charm, and the original 17th-century Neptune Fountain still stands on the Long Market.
Expect to find lots of amber in Christmas market in Gdańskbecause the city specializes in petrified tree resin. In the old town you will find a classic Venetian carousel and an ice rink, next to Polish cakes and grilled meats.
If you’re looking for something more substantial, head down the maze of narrow streets around the port and find seafood restaurants serving traditional Polish dishes.
Poznań Christmas Market
November 29 to December 23, 2021
Poznań Christmas Market was voted the third best Christmas market in Europe by 2021 The best places in Europe. The city is situated on the bank of the Warta River in western Poland and is famous for its mechanical clock which sees two goat heads every day at noon.
The market takes place in the Old Market Square and is full of traditional wooden stalls, Christmas trees and winter delicacies. If you visit in December, Poznań Ice Sculpture Festival runs from 10 -12 December.
Poznań is also a great place to try regionally protected Croissant Świętomarciński. Filled with orange peel, walnuts and raisins, the finished product must be made to a precise recipe and weigh between 150 and 250 grams to be called a St. Martin’s croissant.
Szczecin Christmas Market
December 3 – December 22, 2021
Szczecin is off the beaten track, which makes it an ideal destination if you are looking for a less crowded location. Close to the border with Germany in northwest Poland, the city lies on the Oder and is home to the sprawling ones Ducal Castle, once the seat of the Pomeranian dukes ruling in the years 1121-1637.
Szczecin Christmas Market has all the classic Christmas dishes you need including Santa Claus. The market square stretches over Żołnierz, Adamowicz and Lotników squares, and each of them will be beautifully decorated with shimmering Christmas trees.