Are you looking for the best Christmas markets in Poland? From Wrocław to Gdansk, here are the most magical places to spend the festive season.
The smell of gingerbread lingers in the air, the stalls are illuminated by a million gentle fairy lights, and friendly stall holders serve tasty gluwein and delicious regional food. These are the best festive markets in Poland.
Thanks to the colder winter weather and the fact that Poland’s a religious country, there are plenty of festive markets in major cities throughout the country.
Let’s take a look at the best Christmas markets in Poland which are perfect for a winter trip.
What’s Poland like at Christmas?
To many Poles, Christmas is one of the most significant and family-oriented dates in the calendar.
There’s no better time than Christmas to get a glimpse of Polish hospitality and its various traditions, whether it’s making gingerbread or browsing holiday markets.
The celebration of Christmas in Poland begins with a traditional dinner which takes place on the evening of Wigilia – Christmas Eve.
The dinner can start only after the first star is visible in the sky, and before everyone sits at the dinner table, all guests share the Christmas wafer – called opłatek – and make wishes.
Another equally important aspect of Christmas is the dinner itself, which consists of twelve regional dishes.
There’s a Polish superstition that the whole year passes in the same atmosphere that people spend Christmas Eve. Therefore, they try their hardest to make this day fabulous and warm, with Christmas carols and cheerful conversation!
The festive spirit continues until Epiphany Day on 6th January, with both public and private celebrations!
However, it is possible to feel the spirit of Christmas in Poland long before Wigilia, starting from the end of November – when most of the Christmas Markets begin.
Check out my full guide to “when does it snow in Poland” to see the likelihood of snow at these Christmas markets.
Does Poland have good Christmas markets?
While Poland might not be the first country that comes into your mind when you think of Europe’s best christmas markets, they’re dotted all around the country and can rival the likes of those in Prague, Vienna and Nuremberg.
Poland has some of the most incredible Christmas markets, some dating back to the 16th century.
They are filled with holiday cheer, traditional food and drink and unique handicrafts and items.
Here, you can purchase unique gifts, gaze at amazing Christmas decorations and take in wonderful smells of Christmas dishes.
Generally, these markets take place in the centres of Poland’s major cities. Let’s take a look at some of the best!
The best Christmas Markets in Poland
The best Christmas market in Poland is probably Wrocław, followed by Krakow and Poznan. Gdansk, Warsaw and Łódź also have amazing festivities. Here’s our full list!
Wrocław Christmas Market
Wrocław, known for countless figurines of dwarfs placed in different parts of the city, becomes a metropolis of charm during Christmas time.
The city turns into a real winter wonderland, shimmering with colourful lights.
At the main Market Square of the Old Town, you can enjoy a variety of articles and treats sold at festive stands.
Find high-quality products from all over the world, including jewellery, ceramics, sculptures, decorations, clothing and ornaments.
Colourful stalls tempt visitors with beautiful jewellery, ceramics and even hand-made clothes.
At the market, in addition to mulled wine and aromatic gingerbread, you will have the opportunity to simply tasty treats from around the world, such as Hungarian cakes or Turkish baklava.
There are also Polish food specialities: sausages, oscypek and bigos.
Within the Christmas Market, you can also witness live performances, a Fairy-tale Parade of Elves and Reindeers and Santa Claus.
There are lots of attractions prepared for children each year; they can discover the Fairy Tale Forest, go on the Rudolph and Friends carousel, take part in handicraft workshops or explore the Winter Labyrinth.
Among the stands, it is worth looking for the Dwarf Presents – apparently, he fulfils wishes, but you can only meet him during the fair.
Kraków Christmas Market
Taking place in the magical scenery of the Main Market Square, Krakow’s Christmas Market is the oldest and probably the most famous Christmas market in Poland.
The smell of mulled wine and colourful stalls full of many delicacies, handicrafts and Christmas decorations – every year this Christmas market attracts thousands of people looking for gifts for their loved ones and enjoying the magical atmosphere.
Here, you can enjoy various types of artistic performances, such as nativity plays or concerts or the Christmas Carol Pageant.
There are also numerous concerts, presentations of different regions of Poland and Europe, and nativity scenes.
The youngest guests will enjoy the array of chocolate products and traditional gingerbreads.
You can also have your picture taken in front of Santa’s house!
Once you’ve explored the Christmas market, don’t miss Kraków’s other wintery attractions, including the National Museum and Wawel Castle. It’s truly one of the best places to visit in Poland in winter.
Warsaw Christmas Market
The capital of Poland has an array of Christmas markets – almost every shopping centre and every district hosts one!
However, while Warsaw is a great city to visit in winter, the capital doesn’t have festive markets on the scale of Gdańsk or Wroclaw.
The greatest event in the capital is the Decorated Barbican Fair.
Festive decorations and music add to the mood in the entire Old Town and the New World street, where you will be able to find handicrafts as well as mulled wine and delicacies.
Wooden stalls are put up for sale with products like warm woollen slippers and handmade jewellery.
In the Old Town Square, around the Mermaid Monument, there’s an ice rink where you can practice your skating skills.
Noteworthy are also the Christmas markets in Castle Square and the one in Hala Gwardii combined with a book fair. It’s a mine of ideas for last-minute Christmas shopping.
There you’ll find a selection of books, cosmetics, toys, food delicacies and even dishes for the Christmas Eve table.
Łódź Christmas Markets
Łódź, the third largest city in Poland, was the centre of the textiles industry in the 19th century but the cityscape has been turned into trendy malls and open monuments, as well as plenty of museums.
The Łódź Christmas Market turns the centre of the city into a magical Christmas promenade full of colourful carousels, light illuminations, lush Christmas trees and Christmas Eve specialities.
Whatever year you visit, you’ll be able to feel the real atmosphere of Christmas on Piotrkowska Street and Schiller Passage.
The city centre shines with Christmas decorations and is filled with aromas of Christmas dishes, hot chocolate and other specialities offered at the market.
Walk around, sip on a hot chocolate or mulled wine, and enjoy some of the festive concerts.
Wooden stands are filled with delightful handicrafts, Christmas decorations, traditional meats or cheeses, regional products and plenty of tasty treats.
The exhibitors offer Christmas delicacies and traditional food like include cold cuts from home smokehouses, sourdough bread, homemade cakes, cheese from Podhale and flavoured honey.
There is also a Christmas amusement park with a huge ferris wheel, the village of St. Nicholas and a gingerbread house, as well as fairy-tale light illuminations. Everything becomes a beautiful background for family photos!
Łódź is only an hour and a half from Warsaw, so it’s an easy day trip from the capital.
Poznań Christmas Market
The annual Christmas Market in Poznań, known as Poznań Bethlehem, takes place in two of the most popular areas of the city: Wolności Square and the Old Market Square.
The market stalls sell products from all over Europe – pralines from Italy, soaps, roasted nuts and chocolate-coated fruit – as well as regional specialities.
The forge, where you can buy metal products, is also a very popular spot. For the thirsty and hungry, there are stalls with traditional Christmas dishes and an inn serving mulled wine.
What distinguishes the Poznań fair from others is the Christmas Silent Disco, where everyone wears headphones while dancing to popular Christmas melodies.
An incredible attraction is the annual ice carving show, the Poznań Ice Festival, where you can admire amazing ice sculptures.
In addition, guests can enjoy carolling, various shows and concerts, and even a Christmas Zumba!
The biggest attraction of the fair is the 33-metre-high Ferris wheel located on Wolności Square, from which you can admire the panorama of Poznań.
As an alternative for kids, there is also a mini roller coaster and a small carousel.
Gdańsk Christmas Market
Gdańsk, being located near the Baltic Sea, might be overlooked as a winter destination, since most people associate the city with its beaches in the summer.
However, this city offers a unique charm in the winter and there are many things to do!
Its attractions include many museums, cute cafes and ice-skating rinks. And, of course, there’s the incredible Christmas market!
The market in Gdańsk is an absolute must-see during the holiday season.
It is beautiful and magical here – at every step, you’ll see fairy-tale decorations and ubiquitous lights creating an unforgettable atmosphere.
The Gdańsk fair is traditionally held at the Coal Market between two famous gates – the Golden Gate and the Upland Gate.
The biggest attraction is AmberSky, a 50-metre-high viewing wheel, from which you can admire the panorama of the market and the city.
You can also enjoy a sledge flight simulator, or experience Elk Łucek talking with a human voice.
For the children, there’s Santa Claus Corner, where there is, among others, a Venetian carousel created especially for the Christmas market.
On weekends you can also see large-format animations as the Christmas Art Fair is held in the nearby Armoury.
Of course, at the festive market, there are plenty of stands with delicacies and interesting gift proposals.
In addition, you can go to the Santa Claus Gift Factory, where you can buy official gifts from the fair and souvenirs from Gdańsk.
At the festively decorated stalls, craftspeple sell jewellery, ceramics and hand-made clothes, and some serve traditional cold cuts and dumplings.
It’s definitely one of the best festive markets in Poland!
Katowice Christmas Market
Katowice, being famous for its industrial past and excellent art scene, has a unique, charming climate.
During the holiday season, the festive atmosphere comes to Market Square in the city centre – and it’s seriously impressive.
The huge Ferris wheel with a height of 33 metres is a great opportunity to get to know Katowice from a new perspective.
Children’s attractions include fairy tale houses with moving figurines, a toy train and an open-air cinema where animations are shown.
Adults may want to take advantage of the seasonal ice rink!
Here, you will also be able to see concerts, movies and Christmas parades.
You will also find many stalls selling local food, Christmas decorations and handicrafts.
Expect to find products like hand-decorated gingerbread lollipops, chocolate figurines, a wide selection of coffees and teas, homemade raspberry, lilac and dandelion juices, natural bee honey, traditional Polish cold cuts and Lithuanian and Hungarian meats.
Plus, discover hand-decorated baubles, nativity scenes, decorations and other handicrafts perfect for Christmas gifts.
Toruń Christmas Market
Each year in December, Toruń’s old town turns into a magical destination where you’re able to feel the true charm of Christmas, thanks to its Christmas market!
As befits the Polish capital of gingerbread, there are plenty of attractions associated with the delicious biscuit.
Along with gingerbread, numerous stalls sell ornaments, handicrafts, jewellery and other local products.
Visitors have the opportunity to take part in the Great Parade led by Santa Claus through the streets of the Old Town.
There are also demonstrations of culinary tricks that can be used during Christmas Eve supper preparations!
For kids, there are activities such as dance workshops, the Snow Park or fairy tales read by St. Nicholas and the Elves.
A special attraction is Santa’s Run, where each participant has to wear a red outfit!
When to visit the Polish Christmas markets?
If you’re visiting the Christmas markets in Poland, your dates of travel should be around the start of December.
The markets last throughout December, so if your travel dates are towards the end of the month, you’ll still enjoy them.
However, you’ll find hotel prices and fewer crowds – and it’ll be an all-around less frustrating experience – if you visit at the start of December rather than at the end of the month.
These Christmas markets in Poland are the ideal places to enjoy the winter season in Europe! If you’re looking for a magical atmosphere, great traditional food, entertainment and a chance to buy traditional gifts, consider a winter city break to any of these Polish cities.