The food is always first on my mind. Plates of steaming hot pierogi (Polish dumplings) filled with an assortment of fillings from creamy mash, to Polish quark cheese to meat, or Barszcz beetroot soup which is the Polish Borscht. Of course, all food can be washed down by a local beer or, do like a local and sip a Polish vodka!
Poland in winter: It sounds freezing (and parts are!), but this city is one of my favourite cooler season travel destinations.
The Central European nation packs a punch when it comes to history, culture, landscapes and food – and while it is starting to get busy in the summertime, winter still only sees a fraction of the tourists.
It can be cold, but it’s manageable. Places like Zakopane are even better in the snow, and in the cities, there’s always somewhere to warm up with a hot soup or drink!
I have friends living in Poland, so I’ve visited the nation across the seasons, and compiled quite a few posts about Poland in the winter months! You can check them all out in this corner of the website.
Reasons to visit Poland in winter
Once you’ve warmed up, delve into Poland’s rich past. Cities like Warsaw are perfect for museum-hopping, and Poland knows how to do museums well – the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk stand out as two of the best I’ve ever visited. There are also plenty of magnificent castles and palaces!
Visiting during the festive season? You’re in luck – Poland’s Christmas markets rival some of the best in Europe. You’ll find vibrant stalls offering everything from handcrafted goods to delicious local treats, all set against a backdrop of twinkling lights.
Snowy season begins in December, and Poland offers some of the region’s best slopes at a fraction of the cost of the Alps. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned pro, you’ll find a range of slopes that suit your skill level in places like Zakopane or Wisla.
Poland won’t break the bank, although prices have been rising in the peak summer season in recent years. But in winter, pretty much everything is affordable. Enjoy a budget backpacking trip, or have a luxurious vacation without the price tag!
Sitting in the centre of Europe, Poland’s architecture has had influences from all over the continent over the decades. Nowadays, cities like Krakow and Wroclaw are living museums, with Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture. The cobblestone streets are much quieter in winter, and the low-hanging light is ideal for photos!
Poland’s a breeze to get around. The country boasts an excellent railway, many locals are fluent in English, and you’ll have no issues staying connected thanks to the widespread high-speed internet, which makes planning a winter trip here completely hassle-free.
Polish weather in winter
Winter in Poland is fairly cold across the board, but let’s break it down!
Warsaw, its capital, usually gets some snow throughout the winter (although in recent years it’s had less).
But head to Gdansk, in the country’s north, and snow is a little rarer due to its proximity to the sea. Don’t let this kid you into thinking it’s warm though – it’s the Baltic Sea, so it’s, as you might guess, Baltic.
Krakow sees slightly more snow thanks to its proximity to the mountains.
And head to Zakopane, and it’s a whole other story—the snowfall turns the place into an ideal spot for winter sports. It’s not called the winter capital of Poland for nothing!
So don’t expect warm weather anywhere in Poland in winter, but the conditions are usually pretty manageable.
And if you want serious snow, just head into the mountains!
Poland in November
Poland in November is a bit of an insider’s secret.
If you don’t love the cold, cities like Warsaw and Krakow are warmer than the peak winter months, and pretty much all attractions are open.
Plus, as the first snowflakes begin to grace the Tatra Mountains, places like Zakopane start gearing up for the winter sports season, so you can enjoy the anticipation without the peak season prices!
Poland in December
There are so many reasons to visit Poland in December, from Christmas markets to the start of ski season.
Cities such as Krakow and Wroclaw come alive with some of Europe’s most vibrant Christmas markets, and yes, they’re as magical as you’d hope!
If skiing or snowboarding is your thing, December marks the true start of the snow season in Zakopane and Wisla.
There’s always plenty to do in Warsaw, with festive lights adorning the streets, and the aroma of mulled wine filling the air! Poland celebrates Christmas well – so if you want to visit somewhere chilly that’s bursting with festive spirit, this country could be your spot!
Poland in January
January in Poland: it’s dark and cold, but here’s why you should visit!
In the mountains, the ski season is in full swing, attracting both seasoned pros and beginners with its range of slopes and affordable lift tickets.
If winter sports aren’t your thing, cities like Gdansk and Poznan are less crowded and you can nab some real bargains.
Wrap up warm and venture outside, or warm up in the country’s excellent museums – getting a history lesson as you do so!
The country’s café culture ensures you’re never too far from a cosy spot to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or a bowl of hearty Zurek soup.
Poland in February
If February’s dragging at home, consider packing your bags and relishing the season in Poland!
The slopes continue to deliver, with freshly packed snow ideal for carving your way down.
For those seeking culture without the crowds, cities like Lublin and Torun offer a mix of history, gastronomy, and art, all without the summer throngs. Poland’s beautiful old towns make the perfect setting for a romantic Valentine’s Day trip with your beau!
While the temperatures might make you shiver, there’s always a café nearby serving steaming mugs of spiced tea, or better yet, a shot of traditional Polish vodka to keep you warm from the inside out.
Poland in March
Spring… is that you?
March in Poland still remains quite chilly, and the change of season usually isn’t seen until the end of the month.
But this is no bad thing! Enjoy the tail end of the ski season with warmer weather than January or February, or see Poland’s urban centers start to shake off their winter chill as the days get longer.
If you want a sweet spot between slightly warmer weather and no crowds, Poland in March could be perfect.
So, where exactly is best to visit in Poland in the winter? I’m going to level with you – there are so many places I love, and I’ve put together full guides to many of them. But here are a few cities to consider visiting:
The capital city has a more unassuming, local vibe in the winter – so you can explore landmarks like the Royal Castle without jostling through crowds!
The Old Town’s gloriously picturesque, beautifully illuminated at night—a perfect backdrop for sipping on hot chocolate from one of the local cafés.
But, while it’s quieter, there’s always something going on – this is the capital, after all!
Probably Poland’s most famous city and former capital, Krakow’s home to an excellent Christmas market in December and plenty of attractions for the rest of the winter. Snow’s possible, too.
Less crowded streets mean more valuable encounters with the city’s cultural landmarks, from the Wawel Castle to the historic Jewish quarter of Kazimierz.
With the icy Baltic Sea as its backdrop, Gdansk in winter is well worth visiting.
Stroll down the city’s Royal Route or explore the amber shops, and then warm up with a bowl of fish soup at a cosy harbour-side eatery.
You can’t ignore Gdansk’s historical significance, which is all the more present in winter. It was where World War Two began, which is immortalised at the memorial Westerplatte.
The Museum of the Second World War is one of the most extensive (if not, the most extensive) museums I’ve ever visited, and is well worth at least a half-day of your time.
This is the go-to destination for winter sports enthusiasts in Poland.
Zakopane boasts a range of slopes for every skill level, and is often regarded the winter capital of Poland.
The snow-covered town is beautiful too – there’s a variety of museums and other non-ski related activities here, including learning about Goral culture.
Hungry? There are plenty of places in town to try local cuisine – don’t miss the Oscypek cheese, made from sheep’s milk.
Another popular place for snowsports in Poland, Wisła is perfect if you’ve already been to Zakopane or fancy somewhere a little quieter.
Skiing and snowboarding options abound, but you’ll also find spa retreats where you can unwind after a day on the slopes!
Possibly Poland’s most enchanting city, Wrocław takes on an ethereal glow in winter.
It’s renowned for its epic Christmas market, but if you’re visiting out of the season you can still enjoy the beauty of the Old Town – it would be especially perfect for a romantic break.
Take a detour to Ostrów Tumski, the city’s oldest part, to see the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist adorned in a layer of frost, an underrated sight that captures the spirit of Wrocław in winter.