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Christmas in Krakow?


My family was musing about spending the holiday in and around Krakow (something like Dec 22 - Dec 28). Questions --- (1) is there enough to see/do at that time of the year? Will restaurants be open Christmas Eve/Christmas Day? (2) One member of the family is a vegetarian -- in most European cities there are enough ethnic/vegetarian options, is this the case with Polish cuisine?

Thanks for any and all replies!

Posted by
6717 posts

I would hesitate to say you will find much open on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. Poland is heavily Roman Catholic so those holidays are celebrated at home with family. I'm not sure how lively the Christmas Market will be in Krakow that close to the holidays (probably much more so earlier in December, and it would be a real treat if you could see it). This is not to say there won't be anything to see or do but I do think it will be quite more limited compared with larger cities. Having said that, Krakow would be very atmospheric while the Christmas Market is going on and you'd find very unique items there. The vegetarian food shouldn't be a problem - it's not common in traditional Polish cuisine but you can easily find some types of pierogi with no meat at all (and Poland has international cuisine, as well, to choose from).

Posted by
37 posts

Hi Christine,
and yes, there is enough to do in Kraków for a week or so. We were there for a week last Christmas / New Year's. Loved it. 10/10 will do again.
The Christmas Market in Rynek with the stalls in the Sukiennice is a very good one. A bit more on offer than the ones in München... I felt it was more like the main one in Salzburg, in that it had a bigger variety of stuff. I'm not a big Xmas market shopper but the wares and prices there were different and interesting. Luggage space restrictions meant we had to be selective. I know my wife would've liked to have scored more booty. But anyways... The market was open every day through December 26... when it downsized by half (staying open nonetheless) and they started building an impressive temporary outdoor venue for New Year's Eve. There was a concert on either the 29th or 30th which I felt was a dress rehearsal for the 31st, but I could be wrong about that since it was pretty well-attended by an enthusiastic crowd. Opening times until 20:00 each night (although I feel like the Sukiennice stalls started shutting earlier, maybe around 18:00?) food stands open longer according to ... I tend to recall that we closed the market down more than once... The Glühwein ("Grzaniec Galicyjski") is 7 zł a mug which is reasonable, pierogi in batches of ten (various types, incl some veggie options), garlic soup for 5 zł... and everything was tasty :)
Due to its central location, it's easy to traverse the Xmas Market at least for a little bit every day, also past the 26th... We couldn't get enough of hearing the Hejnał... or the food... or the mulled wine...
Don't recall any difficulties regarding finding open restaurants, even on the 25th, 26th... I feel like some things closed, but we never were hard up for choices as to where to eat. We airbnb'ed which means we grocery shopped for breakfast stuff; in Germany if you're not stocked up by like 14:00 on the 24th, good luck buying victuals until the 27th... But some supermarkets / convenience stores even opened up on those holidays which I honestly didn't expect. So that was a plus for convenience.
Day trip to Wieliczka (loved it)... a day for the castle... An afternoon visit to Massolit Books for coffee and cake... Definitely enough to do. We spent a great week there four months ago and will certainly go back. Enjoy!