Krakow is one of the main tourist destinations of its country and its second biggest city. It is the cultural capital of Poland and the historic Old Town is decorated with ancient buildings and medieval structures. There is no doubt that Krakow feels like a magical place, but the city becomes even more enchanting in the wintertime.
Krakow gets a bit colder in the winter and sometimes gets snow, although rain is just as common. There are lots of places to stay warm during Christmas time, like the Christmas markets in Krakow! There is one big market every year and it is a significant sign of the holidays as well as a fantastic spot to buy presents before Christmas Day.
Keep your hands free to sample foods and carry gifts like wooden toys and Christmas decorations. Store bulky bags in a Krakow luggage storage facility to lighten the load as you shop. Then, meander the stalls sipping on mulled wine and treats like nuts roasted with delicious spices. Krakow comes alive in December, and you haven't visited Krakow at Christmas until you've tried the festive fare!
Krakow Christmas Market
This is the only Christmas market in Krakow but there is so much to see that you will be occupied for hours. Krakow's Christmas market has been around since way back in the 14th century and each holiday season it transforms the city's main market square into a wintery wonderland. The market takes over a large area of the city centre and even reaches into a section of Rynek Glowny (the expansive central square) close to the Renaissance Cloth Hall.
You should have plenty of time to stop by the market before Christmas Eve as it opens in early December. Save some of your money for after Christmas since the market stays open all the way past Boxing Day and sometimes into early January to celebrate the Epiphany Festival.
Scattered around the market you will find Christmas trees adorned with holiday themed ornaments and stalls lit up with festive lights. There is usually a giant Christmas tree in the centre of the main square and it is quite impressive.
The market is the perfect spot to get your dose of Christmas spirit in Krakow, and you will see loads of other tourists and citizens enjoying the festivities and buying from the local artisans in the stalls.
What to do in Krakow in winter
Since there aren't many Krakow Christmas markets, you will probably want to find some more festive things to do in the city to celebrate the holidays. Luckily for you, Krakow really embraces the holiday spirit to the fullest and you shouldn't have too much trouble finding other fun activities. Want to see how Polish people celebrate Christmas?
One of the best activities to do on Christmas break is ice skating. Jordan Park, which is found not too far away from the Old Town of Krakow, has a nice ice rink that is open between mid December all the way until the end of February, so stop by while you are in town. You won't have to bring your own skates since you can rent them on site.
Ever heard of the Wieliczka Salt Mine? This city is home to some of the oldest salt mines in the world, and this one dates back to the 13th century. If you visit, you will find 3 kilometers of incredible corridors and rooms, and since they are all located underground you will be safe from the cold!
Whether you are vacationing in Krakow in the winter or summer, Wawel Castle is somewhere that you will want to be. Legend says that there was once a dragon living underneath the castle and this is where you can follow a local guide to learn a bit more about it. The castle, as well as Wawel Hill, are some of the most historically significant places in the city and a favorite among people who have visited Krakow.
Where to stay near Krakow Christmas Market
Some people plan day trips to Krakow to see the market, but if you are planning on staying longer then you might want to find a hotel. Of course, thanks to the train station and public transport systems in the city you can easily get from place to place, but ideally you would want to find a room near Rynek Glowny and the central square so you can be close to the market.
When it comes to lodging close to the Krakow Xmas market, the Meyo Apartments are definitely one of your best choices. They are overlooking the market square and you will be so close that you might even be able to hear the live music and carol singing from outside your window! Choose from a studio, one bedroom or even a main square epic view apartment.
Located just a little further away is Hotel Wentzl, it is a lovely 4-star establishment with free Wi-Fi and comfortable rooms. You will be able to walk to the Christmas market in a few minutes, making it another great choice!
What to buy at Krakow Christmas Market
Still have some Christmas shopping to do? The market has nearly 80 shops set up in adorable timber huts where you can buy all kinds of items. This market embraces the best of Polish craftsmanship and most of the things sold here can't be found anywhere else in the world.
One of the things that Poland is known for is amber jewellery, and you will definitely be able to find some of that here. Other artisanal objects, like wooden toys, painted glasses, mittens, and handmade Christmas decorations, can also be found.
Although the gifts sold here are great, the food and drinks are usually what attract people to the wooden stalls. With such a wide selection of treats and snacks, there is one thing for sure, you will want to come to the Christmas market hungry so you can try them all!
Traditional Polish soups, delicious pierogi dumplings and skewers of meat are some of the great hearty foods for you to try, as well as the local specialty of smoked cheese. Want something yummy for dessert? Treat yourself to some gingerbread biscuits, waffles or other kinds of Eastern European pastries.
You will need some drinks to go with the food and this market offers plenty of choices. There are lots of alcoholic drinks for the adults including vodka, spirits and liqueurs. Warm beverages like mulled wine and hot chocolate are perfect for staying cozy while you are browsing the stalls.
Experiencing Christmas Markets in Krakow's Winter Wonderland
If you are lucky enough to be spending the Christmas holiday in this part of Europe, consider taking a day trip to the Krakow Christmas market.
With festive food, hot wine and lots of places to do Xmas shopping for Christmas presents, it is the optimal destination for a holiday getaway. You won't want to leave all of your shopping for the last week before Christmas, so start planning your trip now!