Visit Krakow just before Christmas, when it’s less crowded but no less beautiful then always.
Every year in December at the Market Square, the heart of Krakow, a Christmas market is held. Vendors offer Christmas tree ornaments, decorations, folk art, jewellery, souvenirs, toys and Christmas cards and calendars. All of this is accompanied by Christmas carols in the background and sparkling streets with light-colored ornaments.
The tradition of fairs held before Christmas in the Market Square dates back to the early 14th century. At the fairs traders came from countries around the world, to present and sell their goods, as well as learn about local traditions and rituals.
On the first Thursday in December the Krakow Nativity scenes (called szopki) contest takes place. This annual tradition dates back to 1937. In the morning, artists present their works at the foot of the monument of Adam Mickiewicz at the Main Square, and then at noon form a parade to transfer their works to the Krzysztofory Palace (The Historical Museum of the City of Krakow). If you miss that date, don’t worry! 3 days later jury announces results of the competition and opens the annual exhibition of nativity scenes (the world’s largest collection!), which can be visited till late February.
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Afternoon Guided tour of Krakow
Tour of the Old Town (Stare Miasto) will include the largest medieval market square in Europe – Rynek Glowny. This is a heart of Krakow, dominated by the 16th Century Cloth Hall and the enormous St Mary’s Church, with its famous medieval altar by Wit Stwosz. This is also a chance to discover back streets of the Old Town with Jagiellonian University, one of the oldest in the world. The tour ends at Wawel Castle, which is the crown jewel of Krakow’s architectural treasures. Almost all visitors say that Krakow’s Old Town is truly amasing!
Evening Christmas dinner
In Poland, Christmas Eve dinner is one of the most important celebrations of the year. Most of the dishes are cooked only once a year! Nowadays many restaurants serve Christmas menu during December. Try loved by almost all Poles – herring, Christmas Eve red borscht, Christmas Eve carp, kutia and delicious Christmas cakes.
Morning Wieliczka Salt Mines with coach
Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most valuable monuments of material and spiritual culture in Poland. Each year it is visited by more than one million tourists from all over the world. It is also a world class monument, featuring on the UNESCO’s World Cultural and Natural Heritage List.
Afternoon Jewish Kazimierz guided tour
Poland is a place where Jews and Catholics lived together side by side for generations. Today’s Kazimierz is a very peculiar place. When the sun goes down Kazimierz comes to life and bars hum with the noise of nightlife.
Evening Jewish dinner
Aromas and tastes straight from streets of Israel, in the heart of Kazimierz – Szeroka street, inside a historic townhouse, with live Klezmer music and a glass of fine wine. A perfect ending of this day.
Christmas Market, located at the Main Market Square, maybe is not the biggest but for sure the most pretty one. Surrounded by baroque and gothic architecture and sparkling streets with light-colored ornaments. You can try some Polish winter time specialities, like bigos (hunter’s stew), grilled oscypek (sheep cheese) with cranberry and mulled wine. It is also a unique chance to visit annual Nativity scenes exhibition at Krzysztofory Palace (The Historical Museum of the City of Krakow). Art pieces presented there are all hand made by artists from Krakow. This Christmas tradition dates back to 19th century.
Late afternoon Horse drawn sleigh ride in Niepolomice Forest with torches and hot wine and feast at the end, or for those who seek a closer contact with nature in more adventurous version – dog sleigh ride.
Poland is famous for it’s hand made glass Christmas ornaments (loved by Elton John, Oprah Winfrey, Ricky Martin and Nicolas Sarkozy). Why don’t you try to make your very own bauble, which you will take home with you as a souvenir?
Choose between below options and pay less then you expected!
4-star Andels Hotel – the trendiest design hotel in Krakow, just 200 metres from the Old Town
3-star Chopin Old Town – comfortable hotel, located 1 km from the Market Square
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