The Krakow Christmas Market is the oldest and the most iconic event of its kind in Poland. The rows of timber stalls are set up in the run-up to Christmas in the centre of the largest medieval square in Europe, Krakow’s main square. With lots of atmospheric lights and decorations, it’s not only a great place to buy things but also an alluring festive event that will warm up your December stay in the city.
This guide to Krakow Christmas Market will talk you through the ins and outs of this yearly occasion that happens in the city center. You’ll learn about the things you can buy at the bazaar and the details of where and when this festive market takes place. We will also give you tips on the best places to stay in December.
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What’s in this guide to Krakow Christmas Market?
Krakow Christmas Market 2023
If you’re planning to visit Krakow in the run-up to Christmas and want to enjoy a cozy and festive atmosphere, you’re in luck. You can expect lots of tasteful decorations and atmospheric lights that brighten up the gloomy December evenings all over the city. Perhaps the best of all, though, is Krakow Christmas Market, which takes place in the old town square.
In fact, the festive bazaar in Krakow is some of the best and most popular in the country. You can’t miss the wooden stalls adorning the 13th-century medieval square between Sukiennice (the Cloth Hall) and the Town Hall. There are rows of timber huts where you’ll find anything from Christmas decorations to arts and crafts, from aromatic roasted delicacies to spiced mulled wines. The market traditionally opens in late November and lasts until boxing day, which in Poland is known as the second day of Christmas. Sometimes, though, some of the stalls continue into early January.
What can you buy at Krakow Christmas Market?
As you enter the main square in December, you’ll instantly be hit by the scents of smoked sausages and mulled wines. However, that’s not where the list of things to buy at the Krakow Christmas Market ends. Oscypek with cranberry jam is one of the most popular snacks you can get there. It’s a smoked Polish cheese that’s traditionally made in the mountainous parts of the country, especially in and around Zakopane. Other stalls serve pierogi – Polish stuffed dumplings with fillings ranging from cottage cheese with potatoes to meat and sweet fruit.
There are also meat stalls selling roasted and grilled delicacies and those specializing in hot soups and open sandwiches. On cold evenings, we recommend trying grzane wino (traditional mulled wine) or flavored vodka-based hot drinks. Trust us, you could really do with it on the days when temperatures drop well below zero. Ah, and you’ve got a sweet tooth, there are oodles of chocolate goodies around.
However, Krakow Christmas Market is not just about the food. There are lots of stalls that sell beautiful, handmaid festive decorations and other arts and crafts. You can buy dolls and wooden toys, perfect gifts for the little ones. You’ll also find cozy woolen slippers and socks.
How to get to the Christmas Market in Krakow
Krakow Christmas Market takes place on the main square in the centre of the old town. You can easily walk there if you’re staying in the centre or get one of the many trams, buses, or taxis. The closest stops include Teatr Bagatela, Plac Wszystkich Swietych, Poczta Glowna, Teatr Slowackiego, and Stary Kleparz. If you’re staying a little further, you can plan your route by using a jak dojade app.
When it comes to getting to Krakow in the run-up to Yuletide, you might find that flight prices are higher than usual as you get closer to Christmas. Luckily Krakow Christmas Market starts in late November, so there is no need to plan your trip to Krakow during the busiest period. You will save some bucks by travelling between late November and the first half of December. That’s when you’ll also find the best deals on hotels.
Where to stay near Krakow Christmas Market
There is no shortage of fantastic places to stay in Krakow, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding the right place for you. From five-star luxury pads to simple backpacker-friendly accommodations, there are places for all budgets. If visiting the Christmas market is your priority, we recommend staying around the old town, so you can walk to the square without using public transport.
Check out this list of some of the cosiest hotels close to the main square:
- Hotel Wentzl – If you want to be close to the action, there is no better place to stay than this historical hotel. The décor is rather traditional than modern so it might not be for everyone. That said, it’s the location why this place stands out from the crowd. You’re just a stone’s throw away from the bustling Christmas market and many rooms have panoramic vistas of the main square.
- Hotel Ubicus Palace – You might not get the main square views here, but Hotel Ubicus Palace is just a 2-minute walk away from the Christmas market. It’s also one of the most luxurious pads in the old town reflected in well-deserved five stars. There’s also a spa and an indoor swimming pool. Plus, it’s not badly priced for what you get.
- Fragola Apartments Old Town – Give yourself some extra space by opting to stay in these stylish and modern apartments on Jana Street. It’s just a short stroll away from the square too. All of the pads come with fully equipped kitchens and comfy lounging areas. Ah, and some of them come with massive balconies.
- Mundo Hostel – Okay, so this might not be the most high-end spot in the old town, but it’s a great option for those traveling on a tight budget. Mundo Hostel offers simple but well-priced private and shared rooms in the heart of the historical center.
Christmas markets near Krakow
If you’re on the lookout for the best Christmas markets in Poland, then Krakow Christmas Market should certainly be on your list. It’s the biggest and the oldest one out there. However, that’s not the only one worth visiting in the area. If just one festive bazaar isn’t enough for you, you might want to know what else is there.
Luckily, there are plenty of spots you can visit on a day trip from Krakow, even if you don’t have a car. You can take a morning train to Wroclaw to enjoy their colourful market in the old town and return to Krakow the same day on an evening train. It takes three hours one way, but it’s well worth it to see the beautiful decorations around the city’s historical centre. You are also only two hours away from the Polish winter wonderland, Zakopane. The most popular street, Krupowki, hosts a Christmas market every year.
You can also take advantage of Poland’s high-speed railway. In just two and a half hours you can be in central Warsaw. The capital city hosts a huge Christmas market on Plac Zamkowy, with the iconic Christmas tree dominating the horizon. Ah, there’s also an ice rink there!
What date is the Christmas Market in Krakow?
The market starts on the 25th of November and lasts until the 26th of December. Some of the stalls stay open until the 6th of January in celebration of Epiphany.
How long is the Christmas market on in Krakow?
Traditionally the stalls stay open for a month leading up to and during the Christmas holiday period. Sometimes, though, some of the huts are open until early January.
What can you buy at the Polish Christmas market?
You can buy lots of traditional Polish and international foods and hot and cold drinks. There are also plenty of handmaid Christmas decorations, crafts, wooden toys and woollen clothes.