Krakow’s Christmas market is the most popular and the best Christmas market in Poland. It’s located on Rynek Glowny, the 13th-century square in the centre of the old town. You can’t miss the stalls as they sit between the famous Cloth Hall and the imposing St Mary’s Basilica.
The Christmas market in Krakow is lined with timber huts where they prepare delicious grilled and smoked specialties and slow-cooked hearty soups and goulash. You can also find handcrafted toys and Christmas decorations to take home or give as gifts.
The market and old town is a popular meeting place for locals and tourists alike with many people visiting after work and during the weekends leading up to Christmas day.
Krakow in December is vibrant and bustling with shoppers and visitors from around the world. There is so much to see and do, visit museums or the countless churches, take a day trip to sombre Auschwitz or see the underground Cathedral carved into a salt mine. Krakow is also known for its religious history thanks to the strong presence of the Catholic church and with Krakow being the hometown of Pope John Paul II.
Krakow Christmas Market 2021
Krakow Christmas Market dates: (to be confirmed) 29th November – 26th December 2021 (will likely be cancelled this year) with some markets continuing into January for the Epiphany festival.
Location: Rynek Glowny – the main old town square.
Reason to visit: It’s a cool city with a younger crowd than in Germany and Austria, it’s more affordable, there’s a good chance of a white Christmas and… delicious cheap vodka.
Specialties: Oscypek smoked cheese from Zakopane served with cranberry preserve. Pretty crystal baubles. Sweet vodka based hot drinks.
Travel tip: If you have time take a day trip to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, Auschwitz or to the mountains at Zakopane.
Recommended tour: 4-hour Polish food tour or check our other recommended tours in Krakow.
Where to stay in Krakow: Puro Hotel or book one of Christmas hotels.
Krakow weather in winter: Temperatures average 3°C / -4°C (high / low) in December. You might see snow if you’re lucky.
Plan your trip: A list of resources to plan your Christmas holiday or winter break.
Krakow Christmas Market Specialities
Krakow’s market is heavy on food which is a great thing. There’s so much to try! These are just a sample of what is on offer and it changes every year but you can expect to see most of the following during the Krakow Christmas market period or even into January. You can do your Xmas shopping at the market or browse the boutique shops in Kazimierz.
- Smoked cheese – A good option for vegetarians although it’s sometimes wrapped and cooked in bacon!
- Pierogi stalls – Savoury stuffed dumplings with cheese, sauerkraut or various meats and sweet pierogies stuffed with berries and sweetened cheese.
- Grilled meat stations – Meat lovers can choose from local sausages, roasted pork knuckle, chicken kebab and loads of other grilled meats.
- Soup – There are a few vegetarian soups at the Krakow market; mushroom, tomato and cabbage. Plus you can get traditional goulash soup. Mulled wine from the huge barrels dotted around the market. Look out for signs saying grzane wino, hot wine in Polish.
- Matryoshka (Russian) dolls seem to be popular at the Christmas markets.
- Wooden toys and kitchen gadgets.
Other attractions at the Christmas market include artisans working on their craft, singing, dancing and free concerts and the occasional appearance of Santa Claus for the kids.
Hotels Near Krakow Christmas Market
Krakow in winter can be very cold, even in November and December. It’s advisable to look for hotels near the Krakow Christmas market to avoid spending too much time walking outdoors. Whereas when you arrive at the market you can warm up with mulled wine, hot soup or by standing around one of the heated areas. We have visited Krakow on many occasions and suggest staying in one of our recommended hotels.
Things to Do in Krakow in December
Krakow is a popular summer destination but it’s becoming more well known as a great break destination during the Christmas and New Year period. It’s a fun, young city, with so much history, great nightlife and laid-back cafe culture. While you’re in Krakow, be sure to check out these things to do in Krakow in December.
- Wawel Hill and Castle – Medieval royal castle and museum area. Try to see to visit at least one of the buildings in the museum complex.
- Cloth Hall – The huge building on the main square is home to little shops with hand made goods and unique gifts. It’s free to walk through and have a look around.
- Kazimierz – The old Jewish Quarter is filled with cool cafes and bars. This is a great place to stay in Krakow if you want to be in a lively hipster neighbourhood.
- Zapiekanka – Eat a traditional Polish baguette/pizza topped with grilled mushrooms and cheese. Head to Plac Nowy in Kazimierz for the best. This is the best fast food in Poland!
- Pierogies – Don’t miss out on eating some of the tastiest dumplings in Poland. Sweet or savoury, pierogies are a must try.
- Sweet fruit flavoured vodka – Poland is famous for all kinds of vodka (obviously) but in cafes around the main square like Cafe Camelot you can try some deliciously sweet, hot vodkas, perfect for warming up in winter. They aren’t as strong as you might imagine and vodka is inexpensive in Poland.
- Brunch – You might want to recover from a night of vodka drinking and eating with a delicious late breakfast at Bistro Charlotte. This modern cafe has fresh bread and baked items and excellent coffee.
- Auschwitz – If you have time, take a day trip to visit the former concentration camps at Auschwitz – Birkenau. Take a tour or get the bus from central Krakow (going by train is more complicated).
We’re here to help you experience the best of winter in Poland in 2021. Plan your trip with our Poland Christmas markets guide. Discover where to go, things to do and the best ways to experience Polish food, history and culture.
Visit Krakow has information and more details about visiting Krakow on a Christmas break or winter holiday. You can find out about museums, public transport, religious routes, Jewish heritage, Pope John Paul II, walking the Royal Route and many other attractions. Visit Krakow can also help with questions regarding the Krakow Xmas market in 2021.
Map of Krakow
If you have visited Krakow in winter or would like to leave a review of the Christmas market, comment below. If you have a question about Krakow Christmas market dates or anything about Christmas in Krakow, ask a question below or send us an email.
This post contains affiliate links to hotels in Krakow and recommended tours. This means we get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.