Poland is the homeland of Christmas markets. But which ones are worth the detour?

Full of colorful squares, church spiers and twinkling lights, Poland is the perfect place for a Christmas market. There are annual markets across Poland in November and December, and with so many cancellations last year due to COVID-19, there is even more reason to visit.

If you’re worried about your Christmas shopping, this Baltic country is a great place to stock up on holiday essentials.

We’ve rounded up our five favorite markets to get you in the holiday spirit.

Krakow Christmas Market

November 26 – January 2, 2021

Krakow is the second largest city in Poland, so the Christmas market is sure to be big and lively. Krakow Christmas Market takes place in the city’s historic 13th century square, Rynek Glowny. The most popular party market in Poland, it offers many tasty dishes, from traditional goulash to smoked cheese and sauerkraut.

Snow cannot be guaranteed, but temperatures often drop below freezing, so you might catch some festive flakes.

Wroclaw Christmas Market

November 19 – December 31, 2021

The city of Wroclaw is located on the Oder River in southwestern Poland. With a historic market square, full of elegant townhouses and an astronomical clock, it’s a great setting for a festive market. Wroclaw Christmas Market is large, so it takes place in four interconnected areas. Market Square, Salt Square, Oławska Street and Świdnicka Street.

There is a lot of traditional crafts to browse here, with plenty of wooden toys and Russian dolls for sale. The food is also very popular, with local dishes like Oscypek – a smoked cheese served with cranberries – up for grabs. It wouldn’t be Christmas without an alcoholic drink, so be sure to sample mead – honey-based alcohol is big business in Poland – or mulled wine as you browse the stalls.

Gdańsk Christmas Market

November 19 – December 24, 2021

A port city on the Baltic coast, Gdańsk was completely wiped out at the end of World War II. Rebuilt as an aftermath, the town has old world charm and the original 17th-century Neptune Fountain can still be found in the Long Market.

Expect to find a lot of amber in Gdańsk Christmas Market, because the city specializes in fossilized tree resin. In the old town you will find a classic Venetian carousel and ice rink, as well as Polish cakes and grilled meats.

If you’re looking for something more substantial, head to the maze of narrow streets around the harbor and find seafood restaurants serving traditional Polish fare.

Poznan Christmas Market

November 29 to December 23, 2021

Poznan Christmas Market was voted third best Christmas market in Europe 2021 by Best European destinations. The city is located on the banks of the Warta River in western Poland and is famous for its mechanical clock, which sees two goats give each other their heads at noon every day.

The market takes place in the old market square and is full of traditional wooden stalls, Christmas trees and winter delicacies. If you are visiting in December, the Pozna Ice Sculpture Festival from December 10 to 12.

Poznań is also a great place to try the Crescent of St Martin. Stuffed with orange peels, nuts and raisins, the finished product must be made according to an exact recipe and weigh between 150 and 250 grams to be called a St. Martin’s croissant.

Szczecin Christmas Market

December 3 – December 22, 2021

Szczecin is off the beaten track which makes it ideal if you are looking for a less crowded place. Near the German border in northwestern Poland, the city sits on the Oder River and is home to the sprawling Ducal Castle, formerly the residence of the Dukes of Pomerania who reigned from 1121 to 1637.

Szczecin Christmas Market has all the classic Christmas dishes you need, including Santa Claus. The market is spread across Żołnierza, Adamowicz, and Lotników squares, and you can expect to find each square beautifully decorated with glittering Christmas trees.

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