Full of colourful town squares, church spires and twinkling lights, Poland is the ideal location for a Christmas market. There are annual markets across Poland in November and December, and with so many cancelled last year due to COVID-19, there’s even more reason to visit.
If you’re worried about your Christmas shopping, this Baltic country is a great place to stock up on festive essentials.
We’ve rounded up our five favourite markets, so you can get in the festive spirit.
Krakow Christmas Market
26 November - 2 January 2021
Krakow is the second-largest city in Poland, so the Christmas market is guaranteed to be big and bustling. Krakow Christmas Market takes place in the city’s historic 13th century square, Rynek Glowny. The most popular festive market in Poland, there are lots of tasty foods on offer, from traditional goulash to smoked cheese and sauerkraut.
Snow can’t be guaranteed, but temperatures often drop below freezing, so you might catch a few festive flakes.
Wroclaw Christmas Market
19 November - 31 December 2021
The city of Wroclaw sits on the Oder River in the southwest of Poland. With an historic market square, full of stylish townhouses and an astronomical clock, it’s an excellent setting for a festive market. Wroclaw Christmas Market is a big one, so it takes place across four interconnected areas. The market square, the salt square, Oławska Street and Świdnicka Street.
There are plenty of traditional handicrafts to browse through here, with many wooden toys and Russian Dolls up for sale. Food is very popular too, with local dishes like Oscypek - a smoked cheese served with cranberries - up for grabs. It wouldn’t be Christmas without an alcoholic tipple, so make sure to sample some mead - honey-based alcohol is a big deal in Poland - or mulled wine while you browse the stalls.
Gdańsk Christmas Market
19 November – 24 December 2021
A port city on the Baltic coast, Gdańsk was completely decimated at the end of World War Two. Reconstructed in its aftermath, the town has an old world charm and the original 17th century Neptune Fountain still stands in the Long Market.
Expect to find lots of amber at Gdańsk Christmas Market, as the city specialises in the fossilised tree resin. In the old town you’ll find a classic Venetian carousel and an ice skating rink, alongside Polish cakes and grilled meats.
If you’re looking for something more substantial, head into the maze of narrow streets around the port and find seafood restaurants serving traditional Polish dishes.
Poznań Christmas Market
29 November to 23 December 2021
Poznań Christmas Market was voted the third best Christmas Market in Europe 2021 by European Best Destinations. The city sits on the shore of the Warta River in western Poland and is famous for its mechanical clock, which sees two goats butt heads at noon every day.
The market takes place in Old Market Square and is packed full of traditional wooden stalls, Christmas trees and winter delicacies. If you visit in December, the Poznan Ice Sculpture Festival runs from 10 -12 December.
Poznań is also a great place to try the regionally protected St Martin’s croissant. Crammed with orange peel, walnuts and raisins, the finished product has to be made using an exact recipe and weigh between 150 – 250 grams in order to be called a St Martin’s croissant.
Szczecin Christmas Market
3 December - 22 December 2021
Szczecin is off the beaten track, making it ideal if you’re looking for a less crowded location. Close to the German border in northwest Poland, the city sits on the Oder river and is home to the sprawling Ducal Castle, once home to the Dukes of Pomerania who ruled from 1121 to 1637.
Szczecin Christmas Market has all the classic Christmas fare you need, including Santa Claus. The market is spread across Żołnierza, Adamowicz and Lotników squares, and you can expect to find each square beautifully decorated with twinkling Christmas trees.