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Saturday, February 24, 2024

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POLISH CHRISTMAS MARKETS 2023

Christmas carols and illuminations, local crafts and art works, mulled wine, gingerbread, chocolate and local delicacies – all with open-air concerts and performances, mill wheels, carousels, pyramids and ice-skating rinks. What’s not to love about the Christmas Markets tradition? Here’s what Poland has to offer this holiday season.

photo credit: Pianoforte Agencja Artystyczna

WROCŁAW

Until January 7

The Christmas Market in Wrocław, luminous with colors and filled with the scent of Christmas trees, offers around 180 stalls, where visitors can enjoy mulled wine and hot chocolate in the traditional ceramic shoe mug or try dishes from various regions of Poland and Europe, including specialties such as the Alsatian flammkuchen, Ukrainian cuisine, Dutch and Italian cheeses, Spanish churros, Lithuanian cured meats, Lower Silesian honey and Turkish baklava. If you have a sweet tooth, there’s plenty for you here – from dried fruits and fruits in chocolate, nuts, halva, traditional and bubble waffles, to Hungarian cakes, pralines and chocolate gingerbread, to name a few. Visitors can also enjoy Polish cuisine at its best – with szaszłyk, bigos, pork hock, bread slices with savory toppings, dumplings, potatoes with herring or stuffed cabbage rolls. There’s Polish highland oscypek cheese with cranberries, chestnuts, traditional Polish and Lithuanian sausages, Slovak strudels and Lower Silesian honeys. Crafts and art works include artistic ceramics, handmade ornaments, jewelry made of precious stones, amber, and silver, metalwork, decorative bags and cushions with colorful folk motifs, organic soy candles, natural cosmetics or hand sewn dolls from Ukraine. The fairs are accompanied by street events and performances, activities for the youngest at the Children’s House and Fairytale Copse Gift Factory, as well as by the appearance of the Wrocław’s Dwarf Prezentuś, whose hat tapped three times can make all your wishes come true.

photo credit: Amberexpo

GDAŃSK

Until December 23

The festive town is a place where you can get inspired, find unique gifts, taste various world cuisines and enjoy multiple attractions for children and adults. 170 stalls offer local and international foods, ornaments and one-of-a-kind handcrafts prepared exclusively for the Christmas fair. In a special cottage – The Santa’s Gift Factory, you can buy city souvenirs and Flavors of Gdańsk packages available for 1, 2 or 4 people. The organizers prepared an abundance of fun and engaging activities for kids and the grown-ups. Apart from admiring the stunning decorative arrangements and illuminations, visitors can participate in an extensive artistic and entertainment program including creative workshops, Santa’s Magic Sleigh VR simulator, Gdańsk Carousel, Observation Wheel on Ołowianka Island and the Barrels of Fun Spinning Coaster. The Advent Gate offers delicious treats for kids, Lucky the Moose makes visitors laugh with his dad jokes and Mr. and Mrs. Nutcracker are just waiting to have snapshots taken and record Christmas greetings for everyone. The weekly agenda includes Christmas concerts on Tuesdays, karaoke on Wednesdays, the Fire Theatre, parades and reading of fairy tales on Thursdays, activities for kids and the evening dance with DJ sets for adults on Fridays, Christmas medley with performances by the Gdańsk Song & Dance Ensemble and the Neptune Song & Dance Ensemble, as well as the Winter Adventure with Treflik on Saturdays. Sundays are family days with, among others, fun and kindness lessons with Caritas promoting volunteering and the idea of sharing with others. As every year, the Christmas Market in Gdańsk keeps a special place for charitable events which this year include, among others, the Christmas Closet used for the exchange of toys and books, collecting funds for the Hospice Foundation, charity concert and the Teddy Bear Gate, where visitors buying Christmas Fair mugs can adopt cuddly toys. The organizers also joined the Christmas with Ukraine campaign, which is carried out at 30 European markets in support of the Faina.ua Foundation.

photo credit: Grow with Warsaw

WARSZAWA

Until January 7

The capital city’s Christmas Market in the Old Town is in full swing with the recent lighting of the highest in Poland, a 27-meter-long Christmas tree, traditionally situated in the Castle Square. The market on Podwale Street can be a delightful beginning of a walk down the beautifully illuminated and monumental Warsaw’s Royal Route, which enchants both locals and tourists every year. The stalls of the main fair in the Old Town are offering crafts and art works such as Christmas ornaments from Polish producers, ceramics, leather and wooden handicraft products, jewelry, as well as Warsaw souvenirs, warm scarves, hats, woolen socks and gloves, and Ukrainian embroidered shirts. The culinary delicacies include Lithuanian meat products, highland oscypek cheese and products of the Podhale region, gingerbread and colorful lollipops. Visitors can enjoy slices of bread with lard, fish, hot sweet chestnuts, Ukrainian czubureki, Hungarian cakes, waffles and chocolate covered-fruits. The entertainment program of Warsaw Christmas market includes blacksmithing shows and Christmas carols performed live on a saxophone. Santa Claus visits the market on weekdays at 4 p.m. and during the weekends at noon. The ice-skating enthusiasts can enjoy newly opened, beautifully illuminated with light garlands rink in the Old Town Market. With its 600 square meters, the rink has a capacity of as much as 200 people who can have a jolly ice skate around the symbol of the capital city – the Warsaw Mermaid.

photo credit: Archiwum MOT

KRAKÓW

Until January 1 

The traditional Christmas Market in Kraków located in the Main Square of its beautiful, picturesque, UNESCO-listed Old Town, continuously draws attention both in Poland and abroad. Last year the event was distinguished among 24 best Christmas Markets in Europe by “The Times”. This year, in the ranking compiled by the UK’s Christmas Tree World, Kraków came first and was named The Best Christmas Market in Europe. It was also recommended as one of the best destinations for Christmas Market lovers by CNN. This year’s Kraków celebrations offer 97 stalls where merchants from Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Slovakia and Hungary present their specialties – hot drinks, foods and Christmas gifts such as ornaments, wax candles, hand-embroidered bedspreads, tablecloth and napkins, ceramic, wooden, wool, felt and leather products, nativity scenes, jewelry, souvenirs from Kraków, postcards, calendars and regional sheepskin coats. The fairs are accompanied by the blacksmithing shows in a special forge, where the visitors can also buy a horseshoe with their name, performances of folk bands, choirs, and children from Kraków schools, as well as showcasing of the wooden nativity scene by the Polish sculptor Józef Lasik.

photo credit: fotobueno

POZNAŃ

Until December 22

The Christmas Market in Poznań takes place at the MTP Poznań Expo and is filled with fun activities for children and grown-ups such as Santa Claus’ house, rubber dinghy slides, ice rink, Venetian carousel, autodrome, immersive mirror cube with its two spaces – “Walk Among the Stars” and “Storm of Lights”, shooting range, 50-meter -high Ferris wheel and a sleigh flight simulator. The youngest visitors can enjoy the Great Elf Factory with a variety of entertaining activities such as bouncy buildings and slides, logical riddles, writing letters to Santa Claus, games, workshops and artistic performances. The organizers also prepared a special exhibition – “Baltic Amber. The Treasure of the Bay of Gdańsk”. This feast for the eye features almost 300 exhibits and includes replicas of the bracelet by Leszek Górski gifted to Michelle Obama, the one by Mariusz Gliwiński made for Rod Steward, the necklace for Princess Kate and the cuff links for Prince William made by S&A Jewellery Design. The shopping stalls offer plenty of gifts and souvenirs such as Christmas ornaments and angels’ figurines, mugs, candles, wooden toys, socks, hats, scarves and gloves, textiles, sculptures and paintings. Visitors can taste hot and cold dishes here and buy jams, honey, gingerbread, chocolate products, cold meats, bread, local beer and liqueurs and other regional products from Greater Poland.

photo credit: Kamil Kalkowski, UMK

KATOWICE

Until January 7

In the Katowice Market Square several dozens of stalls offer cold meats, fish, honey, chocolate products and various Christmas snacks. Visitors can buy jewelry, ceramics and traditional Christmas ornaments as well as decorations made of natural, raw materials. The market is lit up by the Magical Park of Lights with the Victorian carousel and the Ferris wheel. The youngest can enjoy an enchanting journey through the decorated alleys in the electric train and meet with Santa Claus. Anyone who brings their own skates can use the ice rink free of charge. For those without their own equipment, paid skate rental is available.

photo credit: Organizator Jarmarku Bożonarodzeniowego w Toruniu Snake S.C.

TORUŃ

Until December 21

Christmas Market in the cradle of Polish gingerbread seems to be a must for everyone who cannot imagine holiday time without its traditional tastes. Children can learn all about the unique Toruń’s delicacy from a wonderful Gingerbread Maker during special workshops and then enjoy a ride on a carousel or have fun at the autodrome. The adults can shop for gifts and warm up with the mulled wine and Christmas dishes served by the local restaurateurs.

photo credit: ŻSTW

SZCZECIN

Until December 23

Charming wooden houses and Christmas products with the smell of spices and sweet snacks are not the only ones to get you into the holiday spirit here. Families can search for the mischievous Elves hiding in the alleys, participate in games and quizzes about Christmas traditions and movies, enjoy Venetian carousel, mill wheel and 14 meters high wooden Christmas pyramid. Visitors can buy a Christmas tree and decorations including wreaths prepared exclusively for the fair with the use of the recycled materials in the spirit of zero waste policy. Organizers also prepared a special Bąbkodzielnia place to promote ecological attitudes, where visitors can share or exchange Christmas baubles and decorations. During the pre-holiday season, the city prepared something special for the foreigners. Every weekend, city guides invite visitors speaking different languages for free walks to get to know special places, its legends and Szczecin’s traditions.

Wiktoria Sawicka-Djassi
Wiktoria Sawicka-Djassi
Freelance author, journalist and editor with over ten years of experience in public relations and communication for both domestic and international lifestyle brands. People and community enthusiast. Culture lover with a weak spot for literature. Traveler passionate about social diversity and mutual impact of people and their values.
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