If you fancy a short European city break for three or four nights, and you don’t want to break the bank, try Kraków in southern Poland this December. There’s a lot to explore, with a flight time of only two and a half hours, and you might just get some snow to put you in the Christmas mood!
Kraków Christmas Market
The market is held every year in the beautiful main square, Rynek Główny, which is one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe.
You’ll find excellent first-hand accounts on the web of what the market is like, and detailed information of all the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that you can experience. These articles will do a great job of selling you on why you need to go to Kraków this Christmas! Visitors also report that the prices are very reasonable.
There’s everything you’d expect at the market: Christmas trees, amazing decorations, Polish pottery, gifts, mulled wine served in traditional wooden barrels, and lots of food. Meat and cheese dishes are plentiful. Entertainment is provided by local ensembles singing carols, and you’ll find proper carol concerts too.
An unusual and unique tradition in Kraków is the display of Christmas Cribs, known as szopki—they are very ornate, and look like a nativity scene mixed with a dolls house.
You can even book a tour of the market, which includes a trip to an authentic Polish restaurant and explanation of Polish Christmas traditions. The tour also helps to support local cultural heritage by taking you to a small, local gallery to see how traditional hand-painted glass baubles are made.
What else is there to see?
The historic centre of Kraków is a UNESCO world heritage site. You can explore the medieval history and take a stroll around the public parks.
The MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art is notable for being built on the site of Oskar Schindler’s famous factory; it’s a modern warehouse museum with glass floors and slanting roofs, presenting 4,000 works from the last two decades.
Culture in Kraków
The most famous Polish musician is the great piano composer Frédéric Chopin, and you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to hear his music performed in Poland. The Chopin Gallery has regular one-hour piano concerts, performed by wonderful Polish pianists. The concerts get great reviews and cost less than £15 to enter.
For something a little bit odd, take a ten-minute walk north from the main square to Bad Axe. It promotes itself as “the premium Viking-styled axe throwing club, where you can learn how to safely throw axes”. It’s got to be worth a try, right?
Travel to Kraków
There are plenty of easyJet flights to Kraków airport from all over the UK. The city is 20-minute taxi ride from the airport, and the Uber taxi app also serves Kraków, to help you get around once you’re there.
If you’d like to have everything arranged for you, Newmarket Holidays runs a four day trip to the Kraków Christmas market. Leger Holidays also has package tours to many of the Christmas markets in Europe.
When it comes to Kraków, there’s so much to do that you’re bound to find a whole host of things to interest you. So here’s to festive good cheer in Kraków this year!