8 reasons to visit Poland in December 2023/4

colorful old town square in winter, Warsaw, Poland

Are you thinking of visiting Poland in December? Read on for all of our reasons why it should be on your list!

Poland isn’t exactly the first destination that springs to mind when you picture a European December getaway, but this underrated country is well worth a visit at Christmastime!

With drool-worthy local food that’s sure to warm you up, fabulous skiing opportunities, and some of the coolest (and cheapest!) Christmas markets in Europe, Poland in December is not to be missed.

Need some convincing? That’s fair enough – Poland’s December weather is pretty cold, after all!

So, to persuade you that packing your warmest coat, hat and gloves is worth it, here are eight reasons you should visit Poland at Christmas.

Reasons to visit Poland in December

 From beautiful destinations that are covered in snow to the most charming cities adorned with markets, there’s plenty to enjoy in Poland in December. 

Here are the top reasons to visit!

1. It has some of Europe’s cheapest Christmas Markets

Wroclaw, Poland - December 2019: Breslau winter travel background with famous Christmas Market in Europe.

Christmas Markets are well-known for being eye-wateringly expensive, but not in Poland!

You can get a glass of mulled wine at a Polish Christmas market for around 15 Polish Zloty (which is around €3.20 – but remember, Euros aren’t accepted in Poland).

A Christmas Market trip to Poland is far cheaper than one at a more “traditional” Christmas markets getaway like Germany or Austria.

And, don’t worry, the quality of the Christmas Markets in Poland can also rival those more famous destinations.

So, where do you find the best Christmas markets in Poland?

Wroclaw and Poznan are home to some of the biggest festive markets in the country, and taking a December weekend break to Krakow is very popular thanks to its fabulous Christmas market.

The Christmas markets in the Polish capital city, Warsaw, are surprisingly small.

If you’re flying into Warsaw in late November or December it’s worth exploring the city (there’s still plenty to see!) and then taking the train to Krakow, Wroclaw or Poznan to see some of the more impressive markets.

2. There are lots of indoor attractions

Old Town of Warsaw, with terraced coloured houses and a statue in the centre, in November.

With December temperatures hovering around freezing, chances are you won’t want to spend too much time outside in Poland.

The good news is, there are tons of epic attractions that are indoors, making it the perfect country for a December escape.

Poland is jam-packed full of incredible museums, and December’s chilly weather gives you the perfect excuse to lose yourself in them for a few hours at a time.

As well as all the fabulous museums scattered across Poland’s cities, it’s also possible to head out on winter-friendly day trips.

There are plenty of places to visit near Krakow, for example, that are cold-weather-friendly, including the Wieliczka Salt Mine, or the many thermal spas of the Tatra Mountains.

3. Poland has plenty of skiing destinations

WInter View at Zakopane Skyline and Giewont Mount from Drone.

Again, you wouldn’t necessarily think of Poland as a skiing destination, but you’ll find plenty of excellent slopes here!

December is the start of the ski season in Poland, with resorts like Zakopane and Szczyrk opening their doors and welcoming ski enthusiasts.

You won’t exactly find alternatives to the world-class slopes of Austria or France in Poland, but if you want to go skiing on a budget, there’s no better place.

It’s worth noting that the ski resorts in Poland do book up in advance thanks to the many Poles who love to hit the slopes in December.

For this reason, it’s important to book as far in advance as possible to secure good-quality and affordable accommodation in Poland’s ski towns.

A one-day lift pass at most of Poland’s ski resorts costs around €30 per day, with discounts on weekly passes, and you’ll find private ski lessons for around €30 per hour. Bargain!

4. Quieter tourist attractions

Poland, Warsaw-April 2018: Museum of Polish Jews in Polin, illumination included

You know that awesome feeling of having a whole place to yourself?

That’s what Poland feels like in December. It’s like the country rolls out the red carpet just for you.

Let’s take the Warsaw Uprising Museum or the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, for instance.

Both are usually jam-packed, but in Warsaw in December, it’s a whole different story.

You can take your time, dive deep into the stories, and really get a sense of the place.

The same goes for Wawel Castle in Krakow. Instead of jostling with a crowd and standing in ticket queues for ages, you’ll get to stroll around like you own the place.

And in Gdansk, the Museum of the Second World War is usually a busy spot. But come December, you can wander around, explore at your own pace, and really let the history sink in.

5. High chance of snow

Krakow, Poland - January 14, 2021: Historic royal Wawel Castle and Cathedral in winter with white snow, walking people and promenade.

When the snow starts falling in December, it’s like the whole country turns into this massive, beautiful snow globe.

The Polish mountains get a fluffy white blanket, and, often, you’ll see snowfall in Poland’s cities too, including Krakow and Warsaw.

The snow, admittedly, makes sightseeing slightly trickier if you didn’t pack suitable clothing, but, provided you get wrapped up warm, it makes exploring Poland at Christmas even more magical.

My top tip is to pack an umbrella – it stops you from getting snowed on, which in turn stops you from getting soggy.

We mentioned the charm of Poland’s Christmas markets before, but you know what’s better than a visit to a Polish Christmas Market? A visit to a Polish Christmas Market in the snow!

The lights, the decorations, and now the snowflakes all come together to make you feel like you’re in a holiday postcard!

6. Polish food is perfect for winter

Pierogi, warming soups, hearty stews… It feels like Polish food was pretty much made for winter.

Outside, it may be cold, but sitting at a table in a cosy Polish restaurant, the traditional Polish dishes will warm you right up.

One dish you can’t miss in Poland in the festive season is Żurek, a fermented soup made with sour rye flour and often served in a hollowed-out bread bowl. Yum!

Of course, you can’t visit Poland without trying Polish dumplings – pierogi – and especially not if you’re visiting Poland in winter.

These handmade dumplings are filled with savoury options like pork, potatoes with cottage cheese, or mushrooms, and then boiled. They’re SO delicious!

If you’re still feeling the chill in Poland, there’s another dish you absolutely have to try – Bigos, or Hunter’s Stew.

It’s been a winter favourite in Poland for hundreds of years.

It’s made by slow-cooking a mix of meats (like pork, beef, and sausage) with sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, mushrooms, and a whole bunch of spices.

Some people even toss in prunes or a glug of Polish beer for extra flavour. It’s a different kind of delicious every time you try it.

New Year’s Eve street party in Krakow

There’s no better way to ring in the new year than on the streets of Krakow, where you’ll find the country’s biggest street party!

Krakow’s Market Square is the epicentre of the festivities, with locals and tourists gathering together to celebrate the last few hours of the year and count down until the new year.

A free festival is held here, complete with live music and laser displays, so it’s not simply a matter of standing around in the cold waiting for the clock to strike midnight.

If you’re feeling fancy check out one of the many New Year’s Eve balls that take place across the city in quite a few of its luxury hotels.

They’re glamorous events with a steep price tag, that’s for sure, but when an open bar and your evening meal are included in the ticket price, it sweetens the deal.

Poznan ice sculpture festival

Panorama of Poznan Town Hall and Christmas tree at Old Market Square in Old Town in the snowy night, Poznan, Poland

Every December, one of the most unique festivals in Poland comes to Poznan – the Poznan Ice Sculpture Festival!

This two-day festival usually takes place in early December, and it’s the perfect way to kick off the festive season.

Talented ice sculptors from all over the world compete in this two-day event to win the title, delighting the locals and visitors to Poznan in the process.

On the first day of the competition, artists compete in the Speed Ice Carving round.

On day two, it’s all about the artists pairing off into teams of two to compete against each other.

As well as visiting Poznan to check out this icy competition, you should linger awhile to check out the marvellous Christmas Market here.

Complete with cosy alpine-style bars, merry-go-rounds, and drool-worthy Polish Christmas treats, you won’t want to miss it!

Weather in Poland in December

Wawel cathedral and Vistula river in Krakow Poland at sunset aerial view

December in Poland sees the full arrival of winter, as temperatures drop and snow begins to fall, particularly in the mountainous regions.

Here’s a table detailing the weather conditions in major cities and areas:

City/ AreaAvg High Temperature (°C (°F))Avg Low Temperature (°C (°F))Avg Days of RainAvg Days of Snow
Krakow3 (37)-2 (28)79
Warsaw2 (36)-3 (27)810
Gdansk3 (37)-1 (30)107
Poznan2 (36)-3 (27)98
Zakopane-1 (30)-5 (23)613

Things to consider for Poland in December

Drone View on Ski Slope Kotelnica near Zakopane in Poland Tatras Mountains.

Here are a few top tips to make your December Poland trip as comfortable as possible.

Pack right

You’ll need to be prepared for any weather conditions in Poland over the festive season, so be sure to pack waterproof shoes, a warm, waterproof coat, a hat, and an umbrella.

Book in advance

Despite December being a fairly quiet month for tourism in Poland, you’ll still need to book some of the more popular experiences, like day trips out to the Tatra Mountains, in advance.

They’re very popular amongst winter tourists.

The Krakow Christmas Markets are the biggest and most popular in Poland, and they get especially busy on weekends.

If you’re visiting Krakow on a December weekend, you’ll need to book accommodation as far in advance as possible.

Travel by train

Thinking about exploring more than one city?

Polish trains are pretty reliable and a super comfy way to get around.

They’re also very resilient, so it’s quite rare to see travel disruptions in December on account of the weather.

Just make sure to book your tickets in advance during the Christmas season, as popular routes do sell out.

 FAQs about visiting Poland in December

Below are some answers to FAQs about visiting Poland in December.

Is December a good time to visit Poland?

December in Poland offers a variety of experiences.

If you enjoy winter sports, the Tatra Mountains offer excellent skiing.

Cities like Warsaw and Krakow are adorned with festive decorations and Christmas markets, providing a charming atmosphere.

But do be prepared for cold temperatures and potentially snowy conditions.

What is Poland like in December?

Poland in December is characterized by cold, short days, and long nights.

Snowfall is common, especially in the mountains and inland cities.

Coastal areas like Gdansk might be slightly milder. Christmas markets, winter sports, and festive decorations add to the unique charm of the country during this month.

Is Poland good to visit at Christmas?

Christmas is a special time to visit Poland.

The country celebrates with traditional meals, beautifully decorated Christmas trees and festive events.

Cities like Krakow and Wroclaw host enchanting Christmas markets where you can indulge in local delicacies and shop for handmade crafts.

Will it snow in Poland in December?

Snow in Poland in December is common, especially in the inland cities like Krakow and Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains.

The coastal areas might experience less snow, but winter conditions are prevalent across the country during this time of the year.

What is the coldest month in Poland?

January is typically the coldest month in Poland, with temperatures often falling below freezing.

The exact conditions can vary across the country, with coastal areas being slightly warmer and the mountainous regions colder. Proper winter clothing is essential during this month.

Are you ready to visit Poland at Christmas? 

In the heart of the winter season, Poland’s a December delight. 

Winter temperatures may be low, but the allure of a city centre with Christmas decorations or winter snow on the ski slopes make it an incredible place to visit over the festive period! 

About the author

Ella Moore is the travel blogger behind Many More Maps, a travel blog focused on exploring the coolest parts of the UK.

With a passion for sharing her travel experiences and tips, she dedicates her time to showcasing the best things to do, see and experience in the UK, Europe and beyond through her blog.

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