Poland has many beautiful cities which light up during the Christmas season including the northern city of Gdansk. The Gdansk Christmas market is one of the most stunning and unique markets thanks to its Baltic Sea location, Hanseatic history and its position (along with Sopot and Gdynia) as part of Poland’s tricity region.
Gdansk is an attractive winter holiday destination for a number of reasons. It’s relatively cheap to get to and affordable once you arrive. Unlike traditional Christmas holiday destinations in Germany and Austria, Gdansk is not overcrowded with tourists or booked out months in advance.
The locals embrace visitors and put on a number of great winter events. The Christmas markets are a mix of the traditional and modern in the historic old town and market streets, lined with beautifully restored architecture filled with cosy cafes, boutique shops and interesting sights.
Gdansk Christmas Market 2019
Gdansk Christmas market dates: 3rd – 23rd December 2019
Location: Coal Market Square – Targ Węglowy
Reason to visit: For its stunning Baltic Sea location and historic Hanseatic architecture. Gdansk is affordable with many low-cost flight options. It’s an interesting alternative to the classic German and Austrian markets.
Specialities: Hot chocolate, Polish cakes, giant baubles, and illuminated city gates.
Christmas market tours: While there aren’t tours in Gdansk specifically geared towards the Christmas markets, a city tour will take you by the markets in December giving you some insights into Polish customs and traditions.
Where to stay in Gdansk: Puro Hotel Gdansk – A gorgeous boutique hotel ideally located for the Christmas markets.
Gdansk weather in winter: Temperatures average 3°C / -1°C (high / low) in December.
Gdansk airport: Gdansk Lech Wałęsa Airport to the city centre is 12 km. Public transport is cheap and Uber starts at €8.
Gdansk Christmas Market Specialties
Lights and decorations are in abundance around Coal Market including a Christmas tree and giant baubles. The Angels’ Mill is featured in the centre of the Christmas fair, it’s a windmill topped with figures of saints and angels.
At Gdansk’s old town Christmas market, you can expect to see a Venetian carousel, and ice skating rink, Christmas trees from around the world, handmade Christmas ornaments, toys, scarves, candles and festive gourmet food.
Gourmet specialties include Polish festive cakes, pretzels, chocolate covered fruit, chocolate ‘tools’, roasted nuts, smoked cheese, grilled sausages and of course hot chocolate and spiced mulled wine.
Things to Do in Gdansk
Tourism in Gdansk revolves around the waterfront and port area and all the narrow streets and square of the old town. The historic precinct is compact and bustling with jewellery shops selling local amber, designer homeware stores, delicious bakeries, seafood restaurants and a few museums.
The restoration of Gdansk’s old town coupled with an abundance of low-cost airlines flying to Gdansk, resulted in a massive increase in holidays and city breaks to the tricity region, even during winter. You’ll particularly notice visitors from Norway and other Nordic countries taking advantage of cheap Wizzair flights. Most people will spend a few days in Gdansk plus a day trip to Sopot and Gdynia or maybe to the most famous castle in this region of Poland, Malbork Castle.
Gdansk doesn’t have the longest-running Christmas market, it only runs for a few weeks in December, but it’s such a fantastic city it’s worth visiting any time of the year. Here’s a quick roundup of things to see in Gdansk and surrounds.
- Discover the different towns; the Main Town, Old Town, Osiek and Young Town.
- Walk through the various city gates; the Upland Gate, Golden Gate and Green Gate.
- Join the crowds on Dlugi Targ (Long Market) where you’ll see the Fountain of Neptune, Arts Court and one of the Town Halls (there are multiple town halls!).
- Shop for Baltic Sea amber on Mariacka Street where you’ll also find specialty coffee and the best cakes I’ve ever had in my life.
- Walk along the embankment of the Motlawa River to the medieval Crane, one of the symbols of Gdansk.
- Take the 400 steps up St Mary’s Church for views of the area.
- See the Baltic dunes seen from Rowokol and maybe snow on the beach if you’re lucky.
- Visit the European Solidarity Centre – a tribute to Poland’s solidarity movement which helped put an end to communist rule in Poland.
- Go for lunch in the elegant resort town of Sopot.
- Visit Malbork Castle, a medieval red-bricked castle one hour south of Gdansk.
- If you have time take a day trip to Sobieszewo Island.
Visit Gdansk has more detailed travel information including Christmas events.
Map of Gdansk
If you have visited Gdansk in winter or would like to review the Christmas market, leave a comment below.
This post contains affiliate links to hotels in Gdansk.