If, like us, you love to travel at Christmas and enjoy Christmas markets, we can assure you that the ones in Poland have nothing to envy. So if you’d like to see for yourself, here’s your guide to Krakow Christmas market and enjoy one of the most beautiful Polish cities at Christmas. Shall we get started?
If there’s one city where Christmas is a real Christmas experience, it’s Krakow. Christmas in Krakow comes with the festive season, and the possibilities of having a great time are multiplied to the maximum, with snow, traditions, cultural events and plans that will transform your winter holidays into unforgettable memories.
There are many things you need to know before you travel to celebrate the holidays, and many other things you will be delighted to discover.
Christmas temperatures in Krakow
Poland is a cold country, the temperature drops dramatically in winter. From the end of November onwards, the weather ranges from 7°C to 0°C.
Throughout the Christmas season (between December and January), the weather is usually between 3ºC and -4ºC. There is a lot of snow and ice, so it’s important to pack thick clothing and winter shoes for comfortable walking around the city.
Does it snow in Kraków at Christmas?
Yes, in fact, snow in Kraków can be seen as early as November. The snow season lasts until 16 March, with an average of 56 centimetres of precipitation.
Christmas is a wonderful time to holiday in the Polish city; the experience between the snow and the lights that decorate the Old Town is one of unparalleled beauty.
Christmas in Krakow
At Christmas time, the central square of Rynek Główny becomes the main attraction of the Polish city. Kraków’s Christmas market is known for being the largest on the European continent.
Wooden huts, horse-drawn carriages, snow, flowers and lights transform the everyday landscape into a winter wonderland.
Here you can find a wide variety of items, from sweets and food to seasonal clothing and Christmas ornaments. Many of the latter are the typical decorations found in every country: nativity scenes, fir trees and baubles. However, there are some typical Polish items that are unique to Poland, such as Bohemian crystal, wood carvings and precious Baltic amber.
Krakow Christmas market location
Kraków’s Christmas market is placed on the city’s main square, its name Rynek Główny. At Christmas time you’ll find plenty of wooden stalls, horse-drawn carriages, souvenir and flower stalls.
Krakow Christmas market dates
If you don’t know when the Krakow Christmas market starts and ends, take note of the dates: open to the public from 24 November to 1 January.
You can attend the Christmas Market every day of the season, between 10 am and 8 pm. The food stalls are open until 10 pm.
How is Christmas celebrated in Poland?
How do they spend Christmas in Poland? Well, Polish Christmas has a deep spiritual significance for many of its inhabitants, as it is a Catholic country. The most important celebration is Christmas Eve, or Wigilia, during which families gather for dinner. The most devout families attend mass on the same day. It is also customary to sing and listen to Christmas carols, as well as to set up the Nativity Scene.
Unlike the rest of the world, there is a specific day before Christmas for children to receive their presents: 6 December, dedicated to Saint Nicholas. On this date, in the morning, the little ones open the gifts that the saint leaves them in the evening.
Another curious seasonal fact is that Poland also celebrates Three Kings’ Day on 6 January.
What to see at Krakow Christmas market?
As a Christmas city, Krakow has a lot to offer at this time of the year.
Christmas bauble making. The ARMAR factory-workshop is an interesting stop, where you can watch the handmade production of the typical fir tree baubles. It is even possible to take a 2-hour workshop to make your own ornaments.
The lights of St. Mary’s Basilica. This beautiful church shows how serious the Krakowers take Christmas. Both the façade and the interior are dressed to the nines with enviable lighting, which you won’t want to miss in your Instagram photos.
The Nutcracker at the Kraków Opera House. Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable work is a must-see tradition to end the year. Its music and impressive sets and costumes will transport you to a dreamland.
Annual Nativity Scene Competition. Organised by the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow, this traditional event hosts dozens of wonderful nativity scenes, which can be viewed from the first Sunday in December. These Krakow nativity scenes are so famous that they have even been declared an Intangible Heritage Site by UNESCO.
On the first Thursday in December, the cribs participating in this competition, which has been held for more than 70 years, are exhibited. Once there is a winner, the best ones are placed in different parts of the city and in the Ethnographic Museum.
What to do in Krakow at Christmas?
Apart from visiting the Christmas market, the former capital of Poland is a World Heritage Site and one of the essential stops if you are going to travel to Poland, and getting to know the city is, in any case, worthwhile.
✏️ It is also an “obligatory” stop because from there it is easier to visit Auschwitz and the Wieliczka salt mines. In fact, we highly recommend the first visit, despite how hard it is.
Krakow at Christmas with kids
Krakow is a magical place during the Christmas season, especially for children. The spectacle of lights in the Old Town is already an event they will remember with joy. Some plans to consider if you go with your little ones are the ones mentioned below:
Visit the Christmas tree on the Market Square. The Rynek Glówny Christmas market boasts a huge fir tree which, when lit at night, is an impressive sight.
Taste Polish sweets. The quintessential Christmas desserts are Obwarzanek, rich poppyseed bread tickles, Wedel chocolate, which is among the most famous in the world and polish cheese.
Visit the Wawel Dragon Castle. There is no better time than Christmas to visit one of Kraków’s iconic sights. At Wawel Castle, children will explore a real cave and learn about the magical legend of its origin.
Skating and playing in the snow. Sometimes the simplest things are the most fun, and since you’re in one of the coldest places in the world, why not make the most of it? There are parks where the little ones can have fun skating, making snowmen and snowballs.
Tips to see the Krakow Christmas market
This is one of those destinations you should make a note of if you don’t know where to travel at Christmas, as it’s not at all expensive and has some beautiful Christmas markets, but before we tell you what the Krakow Christmas market is like, we’ll leave you with some tips and advice that will come in handy:
What to pack for Christmas trip to Krakow?
You’ll need warm clothes in your suitcase – you’ll need them in Krakow at Christmas. Keep in mind that in winter it gets down to 20 degrees Celsius. Below freezing, of course. But if you’re lucky, you can even see it snowed in, with a more Christmassy landscape.
So, as you can imagine, the recommendation is to wear the best thermal clothing you have in your wardrobe. You’re going to put them to good use, that’s for sure. And so that you don’t miss anything important, we leave you with this list of things to take on a trip that will come in very handy.
If you are looking for a centrally located, good value hotel with very good reviews, here is a selection we have made for you to choose from:
- Matejko Hotel. “5 minutes from the train station, and very close to the centre of Krakow which was great because at Christmas time there are Christmas markets with food and Christmas decorations.”
- La Fontaine. “Hotel located on Krakow’s Market Square with a spectacular view.”
- The Spiski Palace. “Spacious and centrally located flat with two bedrooms, living room and kitchen. Iron, dryer and washing machine available.”
What can you buy at Krakow Christmas market?
If you want to take some Christmas presents home with you on this trip, don’t worry, you’ll be spoilt for choice. For you and all your companions, because they have everything. Good warm clothes (the kind that really keep you warm), Christmas decorations for the house, small items of jewellery…
And if you’re not much of a shopper, you can wear it. There’s vodka and alcoholic drinks of all kinds (and high alcohol content), as well as traditional Polish food (quite hearty, of course).
Golden tip: A week beforehand, you can already start making vegetable purées, because Polish food is extremely calorific. And the food sold at the Christmas markets, we have come to the conclusion that it either has at least 4000 calories, or it doesn’t pass the control. We are convinced.
How to pay at Krakow – cash or credit card?
Please note that you will not be able to pay with euros in Poland, so when you arrive in Krakow you will have to change into zlotys, the Polish currency.
If you arrive by plane, we recommend that you don’t change money at the airport, as the exchange rate is quite bad. But don’t worry, in this Polish city you can pay for everything with a card, even the smallest amounts (including public transport), although you may encounter some exceptions at Kraków’s Christmas markets.
For payments and shopping, we recommend carrying a card that doesn’t charge currency exchange fees. g Revolut, a free prepaid card with which you can pay and withdraw money from the ATM for free.
We finish with all the information about the Krakow Christmas market and everything you can do to enjoy this Polish city. Any questions you want to ask us, anything you think is missing and that you would add? Leave us your comment below!!!