The holiday tradition in Krakow we look forward to every year and also one of the seasons best highlights is the Kraków Christmas fair on the main market square. The main market square Rynek Główny looks like a galaxy of stars on the earth with illuminating lights and a fairytale town with rustic wooden stalls, Christmas Carole and all things beautiful. Every corner is filled with unique and local charm speaking aloud the stories of Polish Christmas customs. Decked up with folk art, souvenirs, warm knitwear, Christmas decorations, candies, toys, jewellery, pottery, partridges, pear trees and more, just name it and you will have it here.
Indeed it’s spectacular and worth all your time, energy and cold. FairFX has placed Krakow Christmas Market on the top of its list of 5 best Christmas markets on a budget. Time magazine declared it as one of the best Christmas Markets of Europe in 2008. And also, according to the Irish Times, it is one of the top ten Christmas markets in Europe.
Such an amazing Christmassy atmosphere prevails over the whole city throughout the season. The Christmas Market is located right in the middle of Krakow’s Old Town, next to the majestic Renaissance Cloth Hall and St. Mary’s Basilica. The Market Square provides a perfect backdrop to the rows of wooden stalls. Shining bright with hundreds of fairy lights and a huge Christmas tree with a stage for live performances of plays and choirs adding to the festivities. There are wooden stalls selling a variety of items from wooden gifts to decorations to chocolates and candles. If you feel too cold outside there are also many cosy restaurants around the whole square. And yes the yummy smell of traditional food and wine just set everything right.
It often features performances from local school children or churches. You will get to experience that how beautiful Polish Christmas carols actually are.
You can taste all the Traditional Polish Dishes at Krakow Christmas Market. Enjoy a wide choice of delicious traditional dishes available all over the market. And I guarantee you that you won’t be disappointed with almost 12 different type of dishes being served!
You should definitely try some polish dumplings, special sausages carefully selected smoked hams and local varieties of cheese such as smoked oscypek made from sheep milk.
The smell of grilled meat envelops the whole market and just next to the meats you will see the famous Polish appetizer, a spread called as smalec which is made of lard mixed with various spices. For your sweet tooth, there are gingerbread cakes which are very famous in Poland and of course the mouthwatering candies.
If you don’t know it already then let me tell you that Poland is famous for its strong alcoholic beverages and one of the most popular features of the market are its giant wooden barrels. You can buy a delicious local mulled wine, Grzaniec Galicyjski from small shops too. Other interesting polish drinks you can find here are hot beer and bottled meads. Sipping on the spicy wine while listening to the Christmas carols nothing can be better than to enjoy the festive season and celebrate the feel of Christmas.
Attractive wooden Christmas stalls spreading over the centre of the Main Market Square brings everything from food to clothes, decor to jewellery, gifts and souvenirs to all its visitors. You can find warm knitwear, fantastic jewellery made of gold, silver and amber. Beautiful and famous Bolesławiec Pottery that usually comes in blue and white decorated in traditional polish designs will make an awesome souvenir. You can buy amazing gifts and souvenirs for all your friends and family back home from a wide range of varied Christmas decorations, gifts, toys, sweets and other foods, cards, etc. Also, don’t miss the chance to look at the artisan stalls inside the arcade of the majestic Cloth Hall.
The decorated wooden and ceramic nativity cribs are shown to visitors during a unique procession and also put on display under one of Krakow’s most famous monuments. These handmade recreations of Krakow’s baroque churches and Gothic cathedrals are just so marvellous. You won’t believe but some of them are even 2 m high! These are crafted for competition by schoolkids, pensioners and everyone who wants to participate and they literally spend months working on them. The winners are shown in Krakow’s Historical Museum.
You can appreciate many local artisans, such as blacksmiths and carvers, presenting their crafts. From wooden sculptures to glass paintings, embroidered pieces of cloth, work of local knife-makers and military re-makers entire market is full of handmade items that will make for a perfect souvenir.
You can also buy beautiful handmade wreaths made of fresh pine for your Christmas home decor.
Classic floral Christmas tree decorations with candles decorated with winter or religious motives and illuminating structures, those big socks to hang at your mantelpiece you will find everything you need. Beautiful mistletoe and hand painted Christmas baubles will steal your heart away. These Christmas decorations are unique and most traditional. Those hand-painted colourful glass baubles are the Polish speciality.
Attraction For Kids
Apart from healthy and delicious food kids can surely have a great time with traditional toys of timber. They can also appreciate the wooden building blocks, tiny-sized pieces of furniture or hand-painted dolls of wood.
And not to forget the famous horse carriage ride available in the market square to visit other famous spots of the city.
I still believe words just cannot define the beauty of Krakow Christmas Market, you have to see it to feel its magnificent magical charm. If you are around the city or if this Christmas you want to visit another Christmas Market apart from your own city than plan a visit to Krakow.
Christmas Market official opening: 1 Dec 2018
New Year’s Fair open: 27 Dec 2018 – 6 Jan 2019
Opening Hours: Open for the whole week 10:00am to 8:00pm
Location: Rynek Glowny