Cracow's Christmas Market

Whilst those of us from Albion might pride ourselves on our fine fish and chips, our real ale and our increasingly promising cricket team, there's no doubt that when it comes to Christmas, the Central Europeans have the upper hand. Of course, access to vast quantities of snow gives our Slavonic cousins something of an advantage here, but it's not just the white stuff that gives them the edge. Take a look at the architecture for example. Our fine Western cities may be grand and elegant, but Slavonic fantasy lends that crucial ingredient when it comes to Christmas - magic.

In this light, winter wayfarers will be pleased to hear that Cracow is already preparing for her Christmas shenanigans. As always, one of the key attractions will be the Christmas Market itself, which takes up the better part of the Rynek (known in English as the Market Square).

The Market traditionally opens in the beginning of December and lasts even a little into January, though undoubtedly it's at its most festive in the week or so before Christmas. For this year's exact dates, check at the bottom of the page...


Amongst the best-loved features of the market are the giant wooden barrels (you feel that Obelix would have enjoyed throwing these at red-faced Roman legionaries). Inside these intriguing objects you can buy yourself a delicious mulled wine (Grzaniec Galicyjski). With the temperatures decidedly chilly to say the least, you could hardly find a more congenial potion to ward off the cold. Stalls selling sausages and the distinctive fried oscypek cheese (a tasty highland variety that's well worth investigating) provide other inviting gastronomic distractions.

But enough about food and drink. As indeed, the main point is to be looking for presents for nearest and dearest (or at least that's everyone's excuse for consuming heinous quantities of mulled wine). Amongst the wooden stalls you'll find all kinds of trinkets, from woolen slippers from the Highlands to amber jewellery from the Baltic. There's a fair amount of tacky stuff, but it would be a little unnerving if every last jot was an authentic Hansel and Gretel confection.

Another famous Cracovian Christmas tradition is Szopki, or Christmas Cribs. These are not actually cribs, but large iridescent constructions of card and coloured foil. They look like something out of a Slavonic fairy tale. Traditionally, the szopki are placed under the Mickiewicz statue (he of the anniversary) on the morning of the first Thursday of December.

Krakow Christmas Markets 2011

We now have word the Christmas Market will open Friday, 25th November, and remain open until 26th December.

If you're keen to experience the magic of a Polish Christmas then step right up for some very special rates for apartments for Christmas or Sylwester. What could be more romantic than your very own cosy apartment in the snow-covered Old Town? Our friends at Krakow Apartments have some good deals this time of year and you'll certainly have plenty of Polish zloty left over for shopping in the Christmas Market!

If however apartments aren't your thing then you can find here a good choice of top-rated Krakow hotels, plus Krakow Tours will also be offering sleigh rides during the festive season!

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Theresa Raniero from United States Reply Nov 19th, 2014

We visited Krakow in July, oh how I wish I could be there for the Christmas markets and festivities. I can at least dream. At least my heart will be there via the webcam each day. "PROUD TO BE POLISH"

Editor from Poland Reply Dec 3rd, 2013

Hi Nina, I believe the market closes officially before Christmas, but I'm sure some of it will be left until the New Year. And yes, visiting Auschwitz is a one-day trip, including the distance and the sightseeing. Have a great stay in Krakow!

Nina from United Kingdom Reply Dec 3rd, 2013

Hello, I am hoping to visit Krakow around the 27th - 29th December 2013, will the Christmas market still be on? Also is a full day needed to visit Auschwitz? Thanks

Sackville from United Kingdom Reply Dec 14th, 2012

Fabulous atmosphere where the square is transformed from a summer plazza to a winter wonderland - just don't come by train - Polish Railways are dreadfully unreliable and quite uncomfortable

Bobai from United States Reply Oct 15th, 2012

I just booked flights from the 28th November into Krakow. I have to leave on the 1st. Please tell me the markets will open before I have to leave :-(

John from Ireland Reply Oct 8th, 2012

Krakow christmas markets are great, opening in 2012 from 1st December...

SERGI ARRIBAS from Italy Reply Aug 6th, 2012

Do you know days of the Xmas Market for 2012?

Ross from United Kingdom Reply Jul 26th, 2012

Anyone have an idea of the 2012 Xmas market dates?

Matt from United Kingdom Reply Nov 29th, 2011

3rd Visit to the Christmas market this friday... Love the food, love the atmosphere. It is the 1st time my GF has been to Poland and I am sure she will love it :) I have my bag with a nice big space for ginger biscuits.

Tarn from Poland Reply Nov 22nd, 2011

Christmas market 2011 will start this Friday, Nov 25th, 2011

Marya from Poland Reply Nov 14th, 2011

1st-26th of December

Cherrie Robertson from United Kingdom Reply Nov 1st, 2011

Hello! Can any1 tell what when the Xmas stalls open in Krakow, i am coming to krakow for 2 nights 24th-16th November, can any1 tell me what the weather will be like, so i know what cort of clothing i need! :-) thanks

Linda from United Kingdom Reply Oct 3rd, 2011

Can anyoone help me find out the dates for the Christmas Market 2011 as I relly would like to go but would lke to book a flight now if possible.Thanks

Sandy P from United Kingdom Reply Sep 26th, 2011

Does anyone know the dates of the Krakov christmas market 2011?

H. Attmore from United States Reply Feb 3rd, 2011

Three years ago I stayed a month in an apartment in the Old Town, one block from Main Market Square. We were there through Christmas and New Year. It was idyllic, we have always wanted to go back for Christmas.

RJ from United States Reply Nov 27th, 2010

I heard there will be a Xmas tree giveaway at some point. Is this true, and if so, where can I find more information about it or about getting a Xmas tree in general?

derek from Ireland Reply Nov 14th, 2010

2010 xmas market starts on 26 of november

dave from United Kingdom Reply Oct 10th, 2010

"Hi does anyone know the exact dates of the Xmas market this year?" answer 1st to the 24th Dec I just booked 3 nights hotel and flight £228 total for 2 people

sarah from United Kingdom Reply Oct 8th, 2010

Hi does anyone know the exact dates of the Xmas market this year? Am hoping it may start end November but do not want to book in case this is wrong! Thank you

Anthony from United States Reply Sep 13th, 2010

been to the krakow christmnas market twice. they have a stage set up on one side with holiday entertainment, including schoolchildren. lots of hand-crafted gifts. best part: the food stands that serve hot kielbasa and roasted potatoes with fresh Polish bread. to wash it all down, walk a few steps and get a nice hot cup of mulled wine. loved it!!!! and i'll be back again this December from New York.

Polka from Poland Reply Sep 9th, 2010

The dates for the Christmas Market usually aren't announced until November. My guess is that the 2010 Christmas Market won't open until the last week of November, and will run through the weekend of the 26th.

kieran collins from Ireland Reply Sep 1st, 2010

I was at the Christmas market last year and enjoyed it very much. Great atmoshpere. I got some lovely christmas candles from a market stall there. I would love to be able to get some more, but do not know how to get in contact with the stall owner. Does anyone know how I could get in contact with the stall owner?

angela from United Kingdom Reply Jul 4th, 2010

I have wanted to go to Krakow for the last couple of years as people at work had raved about the place and I had the opportunity to go in June. I was spellbound by the place, it's people and the atmosphere. As most people I suspect I saw all the usual tourist places but marvelled at the contrasts available, chopin recital early evening followed by jazz in a club a few doors down and I enjoyed both. I am already booking my trip.

Frances from United Kingdom Reply May 11th, 2010

Krakow pulsates with atomsphere. Will be there this month for a few days and coming back for the christmas market in December. I was there last november just as the market was setting up in the main square. This will by my 7th visit and each time more friends and family come along and fall in love with this phenomenon city and its culture.

savanna from United States Reply May 10th, 2010

okay

savanna from United States Reply May 10th, 2010

okay

Ju Barton from United States Reply May 8th, 2010

Will be there at Christmas with family and friends cant wait

gaz from United Kingdom Reply May 8th, 2010

Get some:) this place is mint great people great food nice and cheap, fingers crossed i will be there for christmas

ian smith from United Kingdom Reply May 8th, 2010

spent 2.5 day great time cant wait tovisit at Chistmas

editor from Poland Reply Dec 16th, 2009

Thanks for your compliment, Ann. As for the opening hours, it's more or less all day from about 0900/1000 until about 2200/2300. The best time to have all shops open is usually from 1100 to about 2100. As for whether it will be open on Christmas, we can say there's a certain tradition in Poland of not getting too specific too soon. So the short official answer is maybe. However, it's very likely it will be open most of the day Christmas Eve, but some stalls may close up early and reopen late on Christmas Day. As of last year, there are officially two days of Christmas holiday in Poland. Stock up and have fun.

Ann Rudoff from United States Reply Dec 14th, 2009

I love all the information- but had a question as to the hours of the Christmas Market and will it be open Christmas eve (Dec 24th) or Christmas day (Dec 25th)????

Magda from Poland Reply Dec 7th, 2009

If someone want to visit other markets in Krakow I can reccomend Stary Kleparz and Nowy Kleparz (not expensive food and always fresh! You can find there lovely Christmas trees aswell) There is aswell a lot around Kazimierz /Jewish Quarter/ Is not just Main Market, but this one is for sure most spectacular! Marry Christmas to ALL!

editor from Poland Reply Nov 24th, 2009

The dates finally have been announced. The market will open this Friday (27 November) and remain open until 27 December. Cheers.

editor from Poland Reply Nov 24th, 2009

Farkaś, you need to contact the organizers in advance. I think it's too late for this year, but try here for info (all in Polish, though). www.kiermasze.com.pl

Lisa from United Kingdom Reply Nov 17th, 2009

Could someone please tell me when the Christmas markets close this year (2009)? It says 'after the holiday' but not sure what that means? Thinking of being there after Christmas (up to new years eve) and am hoping they will be open. Can someone please advise? Thanks so much

Farkas Gábor from Hungary Reply Nov 4th, 2009

I'm a potter from Hungary.I'd like to know how could I sell my goods in this market?Thanks

Bryan from United Kingdom Reply Oct 10th, 2009

Can anyone tell me when the Krakow Christmas markets finish this year?? I am planning on going with my girlfriend after Christmas (and before New Year) - some websites say it finishes 23/24 Dec, but others are saying it will go on until 31 Dec or even into early January. V confused! Thanks in advance for your advice!

Cracker from United Kingdom Reply Oct 1st, 2009

As always, the 2009 Christmas market in Krakow should be up and running by Tuesday 1st December. It's quite likely that it will already be open for business on Saturday, 28th November, but on December 1st for sure.

Ron Ballantyne from United Kingdom Reply Dec 12th, 2008

What a wonderful city . My 5th time there and still wont be the last . cant wait to go again In Jan 09 THe hotels are great , the food is fab , night life is good . We think Krakow is just Fab . A wee bit of snow .. Perfect

Peter W from United Kingdom Reply Dec 11th, 2008

Still no snow, but the market looks great!

Tracy from United Kingdom Reply Dec 3rd, 2008

If you are planning a visit make sure you visit the traditional market where the locals go (near the house under the globe), very very cheap.

Tracy from United Kingdom Reply Dec 3rd, 2008

Just arrived back home from Krakow. What a beautiful place. Xmas market was great. Very cheap for food and drinks in the city. Visited Jewish Ghetto and found it very sad so never went to Aushwitz. Stayed at Rubenstein Apartments near Jewish Quarter, wonderful apartment.

deena from United Kingdom Reply Dec 3rd, 2008

Poland here we come arrive Friday Lunchtime

Jan from Poland Reply Dec 2nd, 2008

Not much sign of snow. But in Poland you never know!

Toto from Norway Reply Dec 1st, 2008

Is there snow in Krakow now?

jan from Poland Reply Dec 1st, 2008

The last post is a little misleading. Therre are lots of good shops, galleries, cafess etc. in the Jewish quarter, but no Christmas Markets as such! And yes, the market in the Old Town proper is fully open now. Opened on Thursday 27th this time.

glenn from Australia Reply Nov 28th, 2008

there are smaller markets in the jewish quarter, its called Kazimierz

Tracy from United Kingdom Reply Nov 28th, 2008

Just seen webcam and it looks like the christmas market is now OPEN!!!!! So excited here coz we arrive tomorrow afternoon. Can't wait.

jane from United Kingdom Reply Nov 24th, 2008

Can anybody tell me are there any more markets in Krakow apart from main market square.

jane from United Kingdom Reply Nov 24th, 2008

Check out the mulled wine stalls on the webcam,they are open!!! Can,t wait for next Thursday.

Tracy from United Kingdom Reply Nov 24th, 2008

Hehehehehe the Christmas Tree is up in the Square. View it on live webcam http://www.krakow.pl/kamera/rynek2/index_ruchomy.php?port=4640

Tracy from United Kingdom Reply Nov 23rd, 2008

Go into google and type webcam krakow and go to the polish speaking site.

shennabob from Ireland Reply Nov 23rd, 2008

hey guys, where can i look at the square via webcam??

Tracy from United Kingdom Reply Nov 23rd, 2008

Just had the webcam up on the computer in Market Square and it's snowing again. Stalls for the Xmas market are in place. Can't wait to get there next Saturday.

shennabob from Ireland Reply Nov 22nd, 2008

hey everyone its -3 in krakow, the christmas market is going up and its SNOWING!! woohoo im so excited to go

sue tomlinson from United Kingdom Reply Nov 20th, 2008

stayed in Krakow in November last year,loved it so much wer'e back again 1st Dec for xmas markets.Train from airport cost 6plz last year,not worth taking taxis as it drops you off at central train station.Snow is predicted from mid Nov. onwards so wrap up and enjoy!

CarrigGirl from Ireland Reply Nov 18th, 2008

Does anyone know the exact date the Xmas Market is starting. I can see on the webcam they are putting the stalls up. We will be there on 29th Nov and hope we wont miss it

sian from United Kingdom Reply Nov 18th, 2008

i have seen on some websites the Christmas Markets dont start until sunday 30th November, is this correct? I hope not as i go home that day

James from United States Reply Nov 17th, 2008

Stayed at the Royal Hotel in March of this year. Had a nice stay, basic hotel, but clean and tidy. Excellent location.

Cracow Life from Poland Reply Nov 17th, 2008

Just a quick note to keep travellers posted....! The Christmas market started to go up today, and a lot of the wooden stalls are already in place. That said, it's unlikely that they'll open for business for at least a week. More likely c. 28th. However, if it does open a tad earlier we'll let you know!

shennabob from Ireland Reply Nov 15th, 2008

i'm going to krakow from the 28th of nov to the 1st of dec.... will the christmas market be open??

Tracy from United Kingdom Reply Nov 14th, 2008

The weather forecast changes everyday on www.ilovepoland.co.uk. What are the chances we will get snow 29th Nov to 2 Dec.

Anna from Poland Reply Nov 12th, 2008

Taxi costs 15 - 25euro, but you can take train from airport and it cost you 2 euro.

Tracie from United Kingdom Reply Nov 12th, 2008

Taxi from airport to Krakow town - how much? Going 28th Nov for the xmas markets

Maggie from United States Reply Nov 11th, 2008

We have never been to Cracow. We are staying at Hotel Royal. Has anyone stayed there?

Tracy from United Kingdom Reply Nov 11th, 2008

I am going on 29th Nov with my hubby and we have booked an attic apartment, very very cheap. I will let you know how we get on.

Brenda from Canada Reply Nov 10th, 2008

Brett, The hostel Delta is really affordable and you can walk to the market square from there, it's only 1 km. I stayed at Hostel Delta and it's close to the mall and the train station.

Brett from South Africa Reply Oct 13th, 2008

Thinking of going to this market this year(2008) - never been to Poland! Do we know if it will open AFTER CHRISTMAS? (26DEC to 1st JAN?!) I'm also unsure where to stay or if public transport is well supplied? Any info on this will be highly appreciated!

em from United Kingdom Reply Jun 30th, 2008

The Christmas time is not the best time to travel to Poland. Most of the restaurants and bars are closed on the 24th and 25th Dec and the life starts just after tose two days.

David from United Kingdom Reply Dec 12th, 2007

Hi. We are travelling to Krakow on December 24th but now hear that most of the restaurants will be closed that evening? Can anybody recommend where there may be some life over the Christmas period in the city. We like to eat and drink over Christmas! Many thanks.

Scott from United States Reply Dec 12th, 2007

TOO much happening in the square in the summer......I only wish we had visited in December. Cracow is amazing, we loved it

Christa Exner from Austria Reply Dec 9th, 2007

My husband and I were awfully disappointed last year, when we came to Crakow on Dec.27th, and did not find the christmas-market anymore, no hot wine at Diogenes barrel! The first Christmas we came here, the market lasted all during the vaccation, at least until Jan.5th, although there was the rock concert on new year´s eve. It was a marvellous feeling to cross the market everyday and to finisch all events with hot wine from "Diogenes"

mr xmas from United Kingdom Reply Dec 7th, 2007

To Nod The novotel centrum is in the same building as the ibis centrum[ibis is cheaper]and is close to the castle 5-10 mins by foot and the main square is a 15min wander.took gramps and he`s aged 75 and had no probs.hope this helps.ps your just by the river.

joe from United Kingdom Reply Dec 7th, 2007

Hi was at the market 4th to 6th dec 2007.Krakow is fantastic and i`m looking forward to my next visit which will be the fourth.Pity the market was a little disapointing just didnt do it for me.You could walk it in minutes and things were pricey.But hey its krakow and the place and people more than make up for it.More happening in the square in the summer.Dont listen to me just go and find out for yourself and enjoy.

Andy from United Kingdom Reply Nov 30th, 2007

Is there anyone that can give me the exact date when the xmas market finishes. There seems to be so many different dates knocking around. Thank-you.

Nod from United Kingdom Reply Nov 30th, 2007

Thankyou very much, Ania. Your information is appreciated.

Ania from Poland Reply Nov 30th, 2007

The market is definitely up and running, I went shopping there myself yesterday. This year, it's on the other side of the Rynek from where it normally is. Now it's on the same side as the statue of Adam and Empik.

Nicole from Poland Reply Nov 29th, 2007

The market is being set up now, I v heard about it on the radio. I think this webpage shows my beloved Poland in bad light. Cracow is a city of culture not of cheap bars and strippers.

Nod from United Kingdom Reply Nov 29th, 2007

I thought the Christmas market was in the main square, and have been watching the webcam of Rynek Glowny...which shows no stalls at all ! Since I hope to visit next week, exactly where is the Christmas market???

Father Christmas from United Kingdom Reply Nov 29th, 2007

Krakow's Christmas Market is now open for business.The stalls opened yesterday - 28th November 2007. Yohoho!

Celia from Ireland Reply Nov 26th, 2007

Has anyone stayed in the ascot hotel krakow would like to know any comments

dave from United Kingdom Reply Nov 25th, 2007

cracows xmas market is fantastic, to do lots of food , who would think you would eat outside in -10 but you will.loads of things to buy,and the big kegs of hot wine and the smells around the square you will always remember got say again it is fantastic......

Kevin from United Kingdom Reply Nov 20th, 2007

Am planning on a trip to Cracow for xmas market and was going to stay at Novotel Krakow Centrum, anyone know if its within reasonable walking distance of the market square?

janet from United Kingdom Reply Nov 16th, 2007

I read that the xmas market starts on 23rd November is this correct??

Andie from United Kingdom Reply Nov 10th, 2007

Just read Rita's question re the weather, just to let you know that according to the BBC it will be snowing in Krakow all week next week. Ive been looking at the webcam of Rynek Glowny every day so I will be checking out for snow. Having said that we were there last year about now and it had snowed before we arrived and got milder when we were there! So fingers crossed as I love the snow although as long as i can walk in it !!

Andie from United Kingdom Reply Nov 10th, 2007

This will be the 3rd time Ive been to Krakow and it is such an amazing place. We arrive on 28th November. I have never been to the xmas market before but we found everything so cheap even when visiting the main tourist attractions so you will have lots of choice re buying for xmas. Im hoping the market is the same but if not we will go to the Mall again where I bought some amazing jewellery for great prices. Hope you have a nice time! Andrea :)

WENDY from United Kingdom Reply Nov 6th, 2007

Hi! I am going to Krakow on 30th Nov. Could anybody tell me what items are best value at the christmas market? I am hoping to get all my christmas presents while there. Thanks

Lost from United Kingdom Reply Oct 28th, 2007

We went to Krakow last year for the market primarily on the weekend of 5th Dec and the weather was decidedly warm. We had our lunch outside in the market just wearing jumpers, we had to take our warm jackets off it was so warm. We had looked forward to some crisp cold weather, it was not to be. A brilliant weekend that aside. Recommend it. I'm going back again

Craig from United Kingdom Reply Oct 24th, 2007

Is there anyone we can contact. Like Bjorn, I've booked to go on the weekend of the 24/25 to coincide with my 1st Wedding Anniversary thinking the market was on (christmasmarkets.com!!!!) so I'm going to be a bit disappointed if is isn't

Teresa Rose from United Kingdom Reply Oct 20th, 2007

A question please. We are visiting Krakow in mid December and looking forward to the Christmas market in the market square. Would you know if I can buy beads (for necklace/earing making) either at the markets or at traditional shops? Many Thanks

Cracow Life team from Poland Reply Oct 12th, 2007

Hi Bjorn. Well the word right from the organisers' mouth was 28th November, but we wouldn't be surprised if they open tomorrow... anything is possible in Krakow! Hopefully for your sake the 23rd is accurate, but only time will tell. You can call the Artim company on +48 (12) 4216712 and they should have the latest developments. Wesolych Swiat!

D from United Kingdom Reply Oct 12th, 2007

yeah, cold.

JULIE from United States Reply Oct 10th, 2007

Could you tell me what the temperature would be in Krakow in the first week of December.

Björn from Sweden Reply Oct 10th, 2007

So what about this information: http://www.christmasmarkets.com/enhanced.asp?ID=99 A special sight for Christmas markets say that the Krakow one starts on the 23 of November. I hope that this is the right information as I arrive on the 23...

Rita from United Kingdom Reply Sep 18th, 2007

My husband and I are visiting Krakow on 7th.December 2007 can anyone tell us what weather to expect and if we are likely to get snow.We are looking forwaqrd to visiting the Christmas market can anyone give us an idea of what to expect

l jones from United Kingdom Reply Sep 15th, 2007

going on the 1st as the site say that it starts then, i hope so will be disappointed if not ~~ also hope it snows too :)

from United Kingdom Reply Sep 8th, 2007

we are arriving in Krakow on 2 december for a 4 day visit and really hoping the market will be starting the

Vanessa from United Kingdom Reply Aug 19th, 2007

We've previously been around the 7th of December for 2 years running. The Christmas Markets are fantastic, but be warned about how cold it can get!! Make sure you try to hot grilled cheese that is sold there in combination with the mulled wine!!

Eileen from United Kingdom Reply Jul 20th, 2007

Please advise for 2007 the christmas market starts on the 1st of december which is a saturday is it worth coming over for this weekend , would all the stands be present then , or should one wait till the next weekend

Eileen Smith from United States Reply Jun 5th, 2007

The official start date of the market is extremely important to know, particularly for travelers who have limited time. I am told this may not be announced until November. That may be too late for people who travel from other countries and would need to make their plans in advance.

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