As winter descends upon the charming city of Krakow, Poland, a festive atmosphere envelops the streets, and the historic landmarks come alive with the magic of Christmas. In this blog post, we’ll explore the enchanting holiday activities that make Krakow a perfect destination for those seeking a blend of tradition and wonder during the most wonderful time of the year.
The heart of Krakow’s holiday spirit lies in its Main Market Square. Here, you’ll find yourself immersed in the warm glow of Christmas lights and the joyful sounds of carols as you explore the enchanting Christmas markets. From handmade crafts to local treats and festive decorations, the stalls offer a delightful array of treasures that capture the essence of Polish holiday traditions.
Tip: One of the must-try delights at Krakow’s Christmas markets is the Oscypek cheese. Embrace the festive spirit and treat your taste buds to this traditional Polish smoked cheese, crafted from sheep’s milk.
Christmas markets in Kraków – when and where to find them?
Christmas Market on the Main Square
Where: Main Square (Rynek Główny)
When: 25 November 2023 – 1 January 2024
Christmas Market on Wolnica Square
Where: Plac Wolnica
When: 4 – 17 December 2023
Illuminated Streets and Landmarks
Take a stroll through the city center to enjoy the festive lights and decorations. The streets and historic landmarks, including the Main Square, Floriańska Street or Rynek Podgórski, are transformed into a winter wonderland with dazzling lights and decorations, creating a picturesque backdrop for your holiday adventures.
Attend a Christmas Concert
Check the local event listings for Christmas concerts or performances in churches or concert halls. Many venues host special holiday-themed events featuring traditional Polish carols and music.
Tip: book a Christmas Music Concert at the Chopin Concert Hall (14 Sławkowska Street, Kraków) by clicking here.
If weather permits, embrace the winter chill by trying your hand at ice skating. Temporary rinks set up in central locations provide a fun and festive atmosphere for both locals and visitors.
Where to find ice rinks:
- in front of Galeria Krakowska
- ice rink at TAURON Arena Kraków
- Ice Park in Park Jordana
No Christmas experience is complete without indulging in the culinary delights of the season. Immerse yourself in the traditions of Wigilia by savoring a traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner at one of the many restaurants offering special holiday menus.
Enjoy a culinary experience like no other by choosing a restaurant with a view of Krakow’s Main Square. Picture yourself savoring delicious dishes while surrounded by the enchanting lights and historic charm of the square below.
What to eat?
When in Krakow during the Christmas season, don’t miss the opportunity to savor these traditional Polish Christmas dishes:
- Pierogi: These delectable dumplings come with various fillings, including cabbage and mushrooms, potato and cheese, or minced meat. Served boiled or fried, pierogi are a beloved Polish dish.
- Barszcz z Uszkami: A beetroot soup, barszcz is often enjoyed with uszka, which are small, ear-shaped dumplings filled with mushrooms and/or minced meat. This soup is a staple on Polish Christmas Eve tables.
- Karp po Żydowsku: Carp served in a Jewish style is a common main dish during Wigilia, the traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner.
- Bigos: Known as „Hunter’s Stew,” bigos is a hearty and flavorful dish made with sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, various meats (such as sausage and pork), and a medley of spices. It’s a satisfying winter dish often enjoyed during the holiday season.
- Kutia: This sweet dish is a traditional Christmas Eve dessert made from wheatberries, poppy seeds, honey, and various nuts.
- Sernik: Polish cheesecake, or sernik, is a must-try dessert. Made with farmer’s cheese, it has a dense and rich texture. Often flavored with vanilla or citrus zest, it’s a delightful way to conclude your Christmas feast.
- Pierniki: These spiced gingerbread cookies are a popular treat during the holiday season. Shaped into various forms and often decorated, pierniki are both delicious and festive.
- Makowiec: A poppy seed roll known as makowiec is a traditional Polish Christmas pastry. Filled with a sweet poppy seed paste, chopped nuts, and sometimes dried fruits, it’s a delightful addition to the holiday table.
Nativity Scenes Exhibition
Don’t miss the annual Krakow Nativity Scenes Exhibition, where artists showcase their creative and intricate nativity scenes. This unique display adds an extra layer of cultural and artistic richness to your holiday explorations.
Horse-drawn sleigh ride in the Tatra Mountains
For a touch of winter romance, venture beyond Krakow’s city lights and consider a day trip to the Tatra Mountains. Head to Zakopane, a picturesque mountain town known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant culture. In the enchanting Chocholowska Valley, embark on a horse-drawn sleigh ride, where the crisp mountain air and snowy vistas create a magical setting. Wrapped in cozy blankets, glide through the snow-covered landscape, taking in the breathtaking views of the Tatra Mountains. Extend your mountain getaway by exploring Zakopane’s unique charm, from its wooden architecture to the local markets offering handmade crafts. To unwind, indulge in a visit to the thermal pools in the region.
Tip: If you and your fellow travelers are interested in a more personalized experience, we would be delighted to organize a private tour tailored to your preferences and interests. Please contact us at email@example.com
Participate in Festive Workshops
Look for holiday-themed workshops where you can engage in traditional crafts like making ornaments, decorations, or gingerbread cookies. This is a great way to immerse yourself in the local holiday traditions.
Remember to check local event listings closer to your visit, as there may be additional special events or activities happening in Krakow during the holiday season. Enjoy your magical holiday in Krakow!