When I was a child living in Mexico, December was probably my favorite month of the year because of the Christmas season. I remember that during winter break from school, I always spent it at my grandma’s place, together with all of my cousins.
During our winter holidays, my grandmother would always make us clean the house, go to the market, help her to cook, or study for school so we wouldn’t forget what we had learned. We were not that happy about it, because those were our holidays, but my grandma was the boss! So we just had to nod and smile.
How I spent Christmas Season in Mexico
In our free time, we played football, but also we helped to make piñatas for the Christmas season! But probably we spent most of our time watching American Christmas movies on TV like Home Alone, Turbo-Man, The Elf or any other movie that was on TV.
We loved to watch those movies: lights everywhere, Saint Claus in each mall, family dinners and tons of presents! But all that white snow in those movies was something I really loved! When I was a child, I was dreaming of waking up on Christmas, opening my window and seeing that everything is white! But living in Mexico City this was almost impossible to occur. I mean, in 1967 it snowed in Mexico City, so there was hope! Sadly for me, this never happened.
In Mexico, Christmas is an important tradition like in any other country in the world. We used to go to the market to buy a Christmas tree and decorations. Also, it was common to go to the city center to see Christmas markets, to see the Santa Claus or the Three Kings and feel the Christmas spirit.
But you know, those Christmas Markets didn’t look like in the American movies… In Mexico City it was 25 degrees, all people were wearing t-shirts and we had more palm trees than Christmas trees. Don’t get me wrong, those in Mexico City were great, but something was missing for me: I wanted to see tons of snow and feel like in a movie!
Christmas Season in Poland
The first time I traveled abroad was to Paris when I was 21 years old, and there I saw snow for the first time, and I experienced temperatures below zero degrees! It was nice!
But when I moved to Poland, this was insane! On the day that I landed in Poland the temperature was -26 degrees! Suddenly I was not sure if my childhood dream of seeing snow and feeling like in a movie was still a good idea! But I bought a good winter jacket and I was ready for new challenges!
During my first Christmas in Poland, I started to feel like a movie. When walking down the main streets in Warsaw, I was finally seeing all those Christmas lights, then the huge Christmas tree that was in front of the royal palace, several winter attractions at the national stadium, and of course the Christmas Market in the main square of the Warsaw Old Town.
It was at these Christmas Markets that I tried hot wine for the first time! It was the perfect remedy to keep warm during the cold winter. Also, I was able to buy a piece of bread with smalec and ogórki kiszone (a delicious typical Polish dish). And after this, go ice-skating right in the middle of the old town! Best combination ever!
During the time that I’ve been living in Poland, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to different Polish cities during the Christmas season and let me tell you something: in Poland, you will find some of the most beautiful Christmas Markets in whole Europe! So let’s go now and show you the best Christmas Markets in Poland, and the reasons why you have to visit Poland during the Christmas season.
List of the 7 Best Christmas Markets in Poland
Just remember, the entrance to all of these markets if for FREE, just in case you were wondering if you need to buy a ticket.
1. Wrocław Christmas Market
This might be the most spectacular one in my opinion! This market was listed several times as one of the top Christmas markets in Europe by many travel sites like CNN traveler.
As you might know, Wrocław, might be the most beautiful city in Poland. The architecture of this city is quite unique, and it’s one of my favorite Polish cities. The whole year is a good time to visit this city, but during the Christmas season, the main square of Wrocław transforms into a magical Christmas Town! The decorations of the square are taken to the next level, a huge Christmas Tree, a fairytale house, dozens of Christmas stalls and colorful parades!
The Christmas Market normally starts in the last week of December and it stays open till the last day of December or the first days of January.
This Christmas Market has several attractions like concerts, parades. And of course, stalls where you can buy a hot beverage or typical Polish food. Most of the activities are held from Friday to Sunday, but you can visit the Market any day!
Important note: if you are planning to visit Wrocław during the Christmas season you need to book a hotel or an apartment several weeks before your trip. As this market is one of the main attractions of the country during winter, all the hotels might be fully booked!
2. Gdańsk Christmas Market
In the north of Poland, you can also experience the Christmas season in a magical way. The old town of Gdańsk is one of the most beautiful ones in Poland, and during winter you will notice it even more.
Gdańsk Christmas Market is nominated for the European Best Christmas Market 2020, so you can be sure that you will be in one of the best of Europe! The place where the magic happens is the Coal Market (Targ Węglowy in Polish). You can find there over 50 gastronomic stalls and more than 40 stalls with crafts and Christmas decorations.
One super cool thing about this market is that there is a special stall dedicated to Tourist Information! Here you can get all the relevant information to make your stay in Gdańsk easier.
The decorations at this market are awesome, also you can ride in the Gdańsk Carousel, probably of the best spots of this market!
Finally, the Gdańsk Christmas Market has its own special charity campaign for the Hospice Foundation. If you go there, don’t forget to make even a small donation.
3. Warsaw Christmas Market
This is still one of my favorites in Poland. First, because it was the first Christmas Market I saw in my life and secondly because I live in Warsaw and it’s close to my home.
This might not be – in terms of size – as spectacular as the one in Wrocław or Kraków, but it has its charm.
First, the way Warsaw organizes the Christmas route is quite unique. The main street, Nowy Świat, is fully decorated from the beginning till the end with thousands of lights, along this street, you can see many Christmas decorations, like a Christmas Train, a huge present box, and a giant bear. Eventually, you will reach the Old Town where you will see the giant Christmas Tree right in front of the Royal Palace!
A few meters from there you will reach the main square in the Old Town that is transformed into a small Christmas Town. In the middle of the square, there is an ice rink where you can ice-skate!
The coolest thing about this is that it surrounds the Warsaw Mermaid! In this square, you will find many wooden stalls where you can get a cup of hot wine or traditional Polish food like oscypek, Polish kielbasa or smalec! In all those places you will find bonfires where you can warm your body.
Also, close to the main square and close to the Christmas Tree, there is another passage, where you can find more Christmas stalls with more decorations and more food!
4. Kraków Christmas Market
It is not surprising that Kraków is always listed on any list with the best things in Poland. This city is still one of the most favorite cities for tourists! Kraków is visited by Poles and foreigners the whole year, and this has helped to be recognized many times as one of the top European Destinations!
During the Christmas season, the main square of the city is transformed in the biggest Christmas Market in Poland! This market is normally opened at the end of November and it lasts till the 6th of January when the Three King’s Day is celebrated.
The Christmas Market in Krakow is a tradition. It started before the Second World War, making it the oldest Christmas Market in Poland, and it was organized again after the fall of communism in the country. In the past, local people would set up their Christmas stalls to sell Christmas trees and decorations, and especially some ingredients for traditional Polish dishes that were prepared for Christmas Eve.
The Christmas market is huge! It starts with the big Christmas Tree right in the front of the main cathedral, and it will have dozens of wooden stalls where you can buy, eat and drink almost anything that you want. It might be the best market in the country to buy souvenirs and Christmas decorations like Christmas baubles.
One of the best attraction of this market is the traditional Christmas crib competition. People create a gingerbread house with the form of a castle or a church. These in Polish this is called szopki. This competition is organized on the first Thursday of December in the middle of the market.
5. Łódź Christmas Market
Each year Łódź is getting more and more onto the Christmas mood! One of the main issues that this city experiences, is that it doesn’t have an Old Town per se like the other Polish cities. That’s why organizing a typical Christmas market is not that easy in this city.
But, Łódź organizes a Christmas market along its main street and one of the most beautiful ones in Poland – Piotrkwoska street. The street is decorated with thousands of lights (quite similar to Nowy Świat in Warsaw), and on this street, there are many Christmas decorations and light signs where people can take pictures.
Along the street, you will find wooden stalls where you can buy a hot beverage or a cute Christmas souvenir. There are also culinary shows and workshops, ice carving shows, and every weekend children can meet Saint Claus!
A difference with the other cities is that this market closes before Christmas Eve, so you better check it out soon!
6. Poznań Christmas Market
The next amazing Christmas market is the one in Poznań. In 2018, Poznań market was on the 6th place on the list of Best Christmas Markets in Europe! Not bad, right?
This market is located in Wolności Square and the Old Market Square, it starts at the end of November and it finishes before Christmas, so plan in advance to your visit there.
There are many attractions for kids and adults like the big wheel where you can have a panoramic view of the city.
One of the best things about this Christmas market is the annual ice sculpture competition. Dozens of sculptors from all around the world will create the most spectacular ice sculpture! There are two categories in this competition: speed carving and the most impressive work.
7. Toruń Christmas Market
To finalize this list, the birth-place of Copernicus, Toruń, also made it to the top Christmas Markets in Poland. Yes, one of the greatest minds in history was born there!
Toruń is a small city, but it has a particular medieval architecture, which makes it perfect during the Christmas season. The Old Town of Toruń holds the main Christmas market of the city, where you can enjoy a cup of hot wine or coffee and of course delicious gingerbread, which in Polish is known as piernik.
As Toruń is not such a big city like Warsaw or Kraków, the Christmas market has one advantage in my opinion, it is not really crowded which is great because you can walk around the main square freely.
Also, in this market, you will be able to buy a lot of handmade decorations for you or your friends.
I hope you liked this list of Christmas markets in Poland, it is certainly an amazing country to visit at Christmas time, but remember to bring a good coat or you will die of cold.