Krakow Christmas Market
- Where exactly is the Christmas Market held?
- What will you find in the Christmas Market?
- Other things to look out for
- What dates is the Christmas Market open this year (2021)?
- Tips, Suggestions & FAQ
- Christmas Market Tours
- LIVE webcam
- Recommended hotels nearby
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 Krakow is already preparing for her Christmas shenanigans. As always, one of the key attractions will be the Krakow 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 or just click here.
Where exactly is the Krakow Christmas Market held?
The Krakow Christmas Market takes place in the Market Square, right in the heart of the Old Town. In fact, Krakow’s Market Square is one of the biggest in Europe, and the Christmas shenanigans take up most of this area, so there is certainly a lot to see. In the map (below) the market takes place in the area marked in blue.
What will you find in the Christmas Market?
In short - food, drink, and gifts of course! 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. Naturally, there is also plenty of good Polish draught beer available too. Stalls selling grilled sausages and the distinctive fried oscypek cheese (a tasty highland variety that's made from sheep’s milk) provide other inviting gastronomic distractions. There are quite a number of these grills, and you’ll also find all the major Polish favourites such as bigos (cabbage stew), golonka (pork knuckle) and pierogi. If you’re interested to read a bit more about Polish food, you’ll find an interesting article here. And if you’re keen to learn in person the secrets of Polish cooking, you can join Marta at her home in Krakow for a Polish pierogi class!
But enough about food and drink, as indeed, surely 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 many wooden stalls you'll find all kinds of trinkets, from woollen 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. Krakow has a long history of producing glass christmas decorations, so look out for those, as well as a good range of pottery, the most famous being the ‘Boleslawiec’ type, easily recognisable from their classic blue and white spotted designs. Again, take your time to look around to find the best quality pieces, as there are definitely some poorer examples amongst the treasures.
Other things to look out for
Another famous Krakow Christmas tradition are the Christmas Cribs (szopki). These are not actually cribs, but large iridescent constructions of card and coloured foil, which people spend days building each year just for this occasion. They look like something out of a Slavonic fairy tale and by tradition, are placed under the Mickiewicz statue (he of the anniversary) on the morning of the first Thursday of December, and thereafter in the Museum of History for a number of weeks.
What dates is the Market open this year?
The Christmas Market in Krakow generally opens every year from the last Friday of November, and remain open until at least the day after Christmas. This year (2021) - the Christmas Market is open from 26th November until the 2nd January (2022).
Tips, Suggestions, FAQ
- Dress well with a scarf, hat and warm, well-insulated and sensible shoes. Sounds obvious, but it can be icy in patches!
- Take some coins and smaller denomination notes if you can. Most places are not taking touchless card payments, but always useful to have some coins on hand.
- Weather - check beforehand if an umbrella is called for! Your hotel can often lend you one.
- Do I have to pay to get into the Christmas Market? No, thank goodness, that wouldn’t be the Christmas spirit, would it?
- Read more about Polish Christmas Traditions in Krakow
Christmas Market Tours
Whilst entrance to the market is free, if you'd like to take a tour with a local guide, that's also a good option, as they'll be able to give you a lot of extra information and tips, not only about the christmas market, but also for your trip in general. You can find out more and book at Get Your Guide here.
Christmas Market live webcam
This live stream from the Market Square will give you a good idea of how the Christmas Market looks - you can also check it is up and running and in full swing for this season!
Recommended hotels nearby
Once you’ve had a few shots of the infamous mulled wine, and loaded yourself up with Christmas presents, you’ll be glad if you’ve booked a hotel within easy walking distance. If you feel like splashing out, we’ve already put together a list of the best boutique hotels in Krakow, and all of these are extremely close to the Market Square. If you prefer a broader choice of places to stay nearby, simply click below.
I'm writing this from the market itself! Definitely happening this year, plenty of stalls and people wandering around. No snow yet. Couldn't find the big barrels mentioned in the article, but did find the mulled wine anyway! No big crowds, so seems pretty safe as far as covid is concerned. Cheers! MattieReply
Christmas markets in Bavaria, Germany, have been cancelled today.... but so far no indication that the same will happen in PolandReply
Please look : Widok z hotelu Wentzl Krakòw kamery on line Press its free You can see Christmas Market being set up as we speak. Also live cameras Magiczny Krakòw - Bracka str. See covered stage for Christmas performances already set up Opening 26.11Reply
It will still go ahead, but there will be less visitors from the UK etc this year, because of the new travel restrictions imposed today (UK is not in the Schengen area, so travellers from the UK will have to quarantine when they come here.Reply
Hey Luke, if your fully vaccinated you don’t need to quarantine when coming from the uk so everyone who is fully vaccinated is all okay!Reply
Thanks. First thing I read said they will quarantine all people from outside the Schengen, but now I have been looking at the government site and they say if you are vaccinated it is OK. Cheers! Only problem is returning to the UK you need to isolate and take a PCR test.....Reply
When I see your comment at first I got worried because we’re due to fly over on Friday! So that’s why I thought I’d have a look into it and let you know just in case! I know it is very annoying We have to take day 2 pcr test when arriving back into the uk! I’m just so fed up with all this now haha! Thanks LukeReply
I'm fed up too! I was planning to go to the UK for a few days over Christmas, but because of the PCR test on day 2 I would be stuck in one place (and not sure how long the test would take to come back), so I think I might not go. At least if I do, I know when coming back to Poland I wouldn't face another quarantine. Safe travels!Reply
You have a safe travel too if you do decide to go!Reply
We're travelling on Friday and we don't have to quarantineReply
I'll be there! Any suggestions concerning the weather? I'm from south Italy so I've never experienced less than 5°. I honeslty don't know how to dress!Reply
Wooly hat scarf gloves and thick socks and good boots It's cold in the evening in DecemberReply
Wonder if you are one of the Italians who booked top rooms in Hotel Wentzl. Overlooking the Christmas market . When very cold just drink Nesspreso free coffee, get take away and just observe the whole market from huge windows from your room. Its pure magic.Reply
Nope I'm not staying in that hotel ahah. Btw I'm more into adventure so I'd rather experience the market and explore the city despite the cold weatherReply
That mulled wine is dangerous (but delicious).Reply
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"Reply
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!Reply
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? ThanksReply
It depends on the tour guide you choose but usually it takes about 7 or 8 hours if they take you from/bring you back to the main cityReply
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 uncomfortableReply
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 :-(Reply
Krakow christmas markets are great, opening in 2012 from 1st December...Reply
Do you know days of the Xmas Market for 2012?Reply
Anyone have an idea of the 2012 Xmas market dates?Reply
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.Reply
Christmas market 2011 will start this Friday, Nov 25th, 2011Reply
1st-26th of DecemberReply
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! :-) thanksReply
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.ThanksReply
Does anyone know the dates of the Krakov christmas market 2011?Reply
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.Reply
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?Reply
2010 xmas market starts on 26 of novemberReply
"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 peopleReply
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 youReply
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.Reply
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.Reply
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?Reply
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.Reply
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.Reply
Will be there at Christmas with family and friends cant waitReply
Get some:) this place is mint great people great food nice and cheap, fingers crossed i will be there for christmasReply
spent 2.5 day great time cant wait tovisit at ChistmasReply
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.Reply
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)????Reply
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!Reply
The dates finally have been announced. The market will open this Friday (27 November) and remain open until 27 December. Cheers.Reply
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.plReply
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 muchReply
I'm a potter from Hungary.I'd like to know how could I sell my goods in this market?ThanksReply
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!Reply
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.Reply
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 .. PerfectReply
Still no snow, but the market looks great!Reply
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.Reply
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.Reply
Poland here we come arrive Friday LunchtimeReply
Not much sign of snow. But in Poland you never know!Reply
Is there snow in Krakow now?Reply
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.Reply
there are smaller markets in the jewish quarter, its called KazimierzReply
Just seen webcam and it looks like the christmas market is now OPEN!!!!! So excited here coz we arrive tomorrow afternoon. Can't wait.Reply
Can anybody tell me are there any more markets in Krakow apart from main market square.Reply
Check out the mulled wine stalls on the webcam,they are open!!! Can,t wait for next Thursday.Reply
Hehehehehe the Christmas Tree is up in the Square. View it on live webcam http://www.krakow.pl/kamera/rynek2/index_ruchomy.php?port=4640Reply
Go into google and type webcam krakow and go to the polish speaking site.Reply
hey guys, where can i look at the square via webcam??Reply
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.Reply
hey everyone its -3 in krakow, the christmas market is going up and its SNOWING!! woohoo im so excited to goReply
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!Reply
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 itReply
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 dayReply
Stayed at the Royal Hotel in March of this year. Had a nice stay, basic hotel, but clean and tidy. Excellent location.Reply
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!Reply
i'm going to krakow from the 28th of nov to the 1st of dec.... will the christmas market be open??Reply
The weather forecast changes everyday on www.ilovepoland.co.uk. What are the chances we will get snow 29th Nov to 2 Dec.Reply
Taxi costs 15 - 25euro, but you can take train from airport and it cost you 2 euro.Reply
Taxi from airport to Krakow town - how much? Going 28th Nov for the xmas marketsReply
We have never been to Cracow. We are staying at Hotel Royal. Has anyone stayed there?Reply
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.Reply
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.Reply
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!Reply
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.Reply
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.Reply
TOO much happening in the square in the summer......I only wish we had visited in December. Cracow is amazing, we loved itReply
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"Reply
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.Reply
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.Reply
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.Reply
Thankyou very much, Ania. Your information is appreciated.Reply
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.Reply
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.Reply
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???Reply
Krakow's Christmas Market is now open for business.The stalls opened yesterday - 28th November 2007. Yohoho!Reply
Has anyone stayed in the ascot hotel krakow would like to know any commentsReply
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......Reply
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?Reply