Poland knows how to do Christmas! From old town centers decked out in decorations to nativity scenes, the spirit of Poland’s Christmas markets creates a special atmosphere. Poland’s best Christmas markets open late in November or in early December and end right before Christmas. They are great places for buying stocking stuffers, decorations for the house or Christmas decorations, and enjoying Christmas Polish style—whether that’s through enjoying Christmas concerts, taking a spin around the ice-skating rink, participating in games and contests, meeting Santa Claus, or taking in the creative and elaborate light displays.
You may also like: Hungary’s Best Christmas Markets
Visiting Poland’s Christmas Markets
Christmas markets in Poland heavily feature food, including local and national dishes that warm you from the inside and make the best of ingredients sourced nearby. Look for sausages, cheese, hearty stews, and regional beers. Of course, you’ll also be able to taste sweet treats such as gingerbread and other pastries.
Polish winters are typically cold, so it is important to dress for the weather. Wear weatherproof footwear that insulates, and make sure you wear enough layers to stay comfortable no matter how long you intend to browse the Christmas markets in Poland. Not every Christmas is a white Christmas in this Central European country, but it pays to be prepared, especially when you feel that you may spend significant time outside.
You may also like: The Czech Republic’s Best Christmas Markets
Just as in some other capital cities, such as Vilnius and Budapest, Poland’s Christmas markets pop up at various places in Warsaw.
You may also like: Christmas Markets in Vilnius
- Old Town Square: Of course, if you visit Warsaw as a tourist looking for an Old-World feel, you’ll want to head to the small Warsaw Old Town, where the Barbican Christmas market is held. This classic Christmas market serves up all the sights and scents of the season.
- Castle Square: Nearby Castle Square is the sight of the traditional Christmas tree erected annually and is one of the most familiar images representing Christmas in Poland. This Christmas market invites Santa Claus to make an appearance and offers an array of sparkling booths at which to buy gifts, snacks, or warm drinks.
- Palace of Culture and Science: It has become tradition to hold a Christmas market in front of Warsaw’s Palace of Science and Culture—which may not seem like a very Christmassy setting. However, given that the Palace of Science and Culture is an important—if somewhat controversial—aspect of the Warsaw skyline and enjoys a place of prominence in the history and culture of the city, this Christmas market is appropriately placed. Furthermore, you’ll never get lost finding it because you can always follow the sight of the building’s imposing façade.
- Zloty Terasy: The Christmas market in the shopping center near the train station offers visitors a way to enjoy shopping for crafts, gifts, jewelry, clothing, and toys in an indoor setting away from the weather.
Many visitors’ favorite city in Poland is Krakow, which preserves its prewar architecture and is full of beautiful views, from the medieval streets to Wawel Castle’s grounds. The Krakow Christmas market takes place in the large and lovely Market Square, or Rynek Glowny, expanding from the stalls already selling souvenirs in the central building into stands for decorations, pottery, wood carving, and embroidery.
Gdansk Christmas market appears on Targ Weglowy in the center of the old part of the city. Hot Polish favorites like hunter’s stew and blood sausage is available to try, as is hot beer, cider, and wine. Browse the stalls for gifts and souvenirs and enjoy the festive light display.
Wroclaw’s Market Square and beyond gets the Christmas treatment in this large city known to tourists for its many dwarf sculptures. The dwarves lend their magic to this Christmas market, one of the largest in Poland, which also features amusement park rides and an animatronic forest of fairy-tale characters. The Christmas market spills over into adjacent areas: Salt Square (Plac Solny), Świdnicka Street, and Oławska Street. You’ll want to sample the local goat cheese along with other Polish specialties while you shop for crafts, gifts, and holiday and home decorations.
In Poznan, Old Town Square hosts many activities, including the Christmas tree lighting, ice sculptures, and workshops, as well as Christmas market stalls selling holiday decorations and other locally made products. Another Christmas market pops up on Freedom Square, which has a traditional nativity scene on display. As a part of Poznan’s Christmas festivities, there’s an ice sculpture competition in the middle of December.
Torun’s Old Town Market Square is proud of its large nativity scene, which sets the tone for the Christmas market. Follow the scent of gingerbread—which Torun is famous for—when seeking out this Polish Christmas market. The birthplace of Copernicus makes a particularly special setting for Christmas festivities in Poland, and the small size of the town contributes to its charm rather than detracts from it.
Head to ul. Piotrkowska for Lodz’s Christmas market, where in addition to vendors selling their wares, games and entertainment await visitors. Lodz is Poland’s second-largest city and often gets overlooked by travelers due to its more modern development, but its status as a cultural center makes it a great addition to your tour of Poland’s est Christmas markets.
Katowice’s Christmas market, complete with ice skating rink, takes place on Market Square. Katowice, known for its mining industry, is another Polish city that may be skipped by tourists, but it nonetheless has plenty of museums to explore and history to discover. If you’d like to combine sightseeing with enjoying Christmas, visit the Ethnographic Museum, which also hosts a Christmas market of its own featuring handmade traditional products.
You can visit one or two of Poland’s best Christmas markets on your own in your broader tour of Poland or Europe or sign up for group tours that take visitors around to Poland’s best Christmas markets as a part of a package deal. Polish Christmas markets—and Christmas in Poland in general—have a specific atmosphere that makes them memorable and enjoyable, and the bonus is that they’re set in cities ripe for exploration, whether you want to spend time sampling food, investigating museums, taking in a concert or performance, or snapping shots of historic cities in the winter.