5 reasons to visit Krakow’s Christmas market

5 reasons to visit Krakow’s Christmas market

When it comes to Christmas markets in Europe, you’ve got some absolute crackers to pick from. In Paris, world-famous sights like the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower get a festive glow-up that attracts millions of visitors every year. And in German cities like Cologne and Berlin, you can barely move for market stalls selling steaming mugs of gluhwein and freshly charred bratwurst come December.   

But scroll a bit further down the list and you’ll find some lesser-known gems waiting to be explored. Our top pick? The Christmas market in Krakow, Poland. It’s big enough to deliver the real winter wonderland experience, but not so big that you’ll be battling the crowds the whole time. Here’s why you should put it on your Christmas wish-list, pronto.   


Crowd-free scenes

About 3.5 million visitors head to Vienna’s Christmas market every year, and for good reason – it’s epic. And while Krakow’s Christmas market offering is no small-fry, it’s a bit more undiscovered, which means it’s relatively crowd-free in comparison. In fairness, that’s partly because it’s spread across one of Europe’s largest Medieval squares. 

Central location

Krakow’s Christmas market is centred in one area – so you don’t need to be boarding trams or hiking across the city to find it. It all takes place on Rynek Glowny, the 13th-century square in the middle of the old town. It’s huge – about 10 acres – and ringed by Instagrammable landmarks including the beautiful Cloth Hall building. 

 Lower prices

It’s no surprise that with the more under-the-radar vibe comes a more palatable price tag for lots of things, so your money is likely to go further whether you’re sourcing stocking fillers or filling up on food and drink. Krakow regularly tops the list of Europe’s cheapest cities to stay in, so restaurant, transport and hotel prices tend to be cheaper, too. That equals more zloty left in your pocket to spend on Christmas decs.  

 A local feel

There’s a properly authentic vibe at the Christmas market in Krakow, with a focus on local produce and handmade gifts. Food-wise, it’s a treasure trove of stalls selling edible treats like kielbasa sausages, hearty soups and filling bowls of goulash. And the ornate Christmas cribs – colourful, multi-towered nativity scenes called szopki – are guaranteed to stand out in the Secret Santa line-up back home. 

Culture on tap

The Christmas market in Krakow is so good, it beats the capital, Warsaw, as the best one in Poland. And at a two-hour-ish flight from most UK airports, it’s easily done in a weekend if you’re planning a mini city break. All round the edges of the market, you’ve got loads in the way of culture courtesy of the Old Town Hall Tower and St. Mary’s Basilica, to name a couple of must-sees. Climb the towers of both for snow globe-style views. 

Convinced by Tallinn or Krakow? 

Check out all our holidays to Poland. For more inspiration, take a look at the best Christmas markets in Budapest, compare the Christmas markets in Paris and Copenhagen, or read our foodie’s guide to Europe’s Christmas markets. 

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Katie Gregory 
Last updated: 23/10/23