Krakow Christmas Market & The Winter Resort Town of Zakopane
Krakow Christmas Market & The Winter Resort Town of Zakopane
Krakow's 13th century Market Square with its majestic Cloth Hall and towering St Mary's Basilica, provides the perfect backdrop to this most traditional of Christmas Markets. After soaking up the festive spirit of the City, travel to the pretty alpine town of Zakopane.
The wooden stalls of Krakow's Christmas market, with their twinkling fairy lights, have plenty to tempt Christmas shoppers. Look out for hand painted glass baubles, traditional Boleslawiec pottery tree decorations with their distinctive blue and white designs, pine wreaths and gingerbread in all shapes and sizes.
This tour also takes to the charming villages in the impressive Tatras region of Southern Poland -a majestic mountain range, the highest in the Carpathian Mountains with pretty wooden timbre villages. You will stay in Zakopane amongst breathtaking, natural beauty and warm welcoming hospitality.
Enhance your holiday with a choice of optional experiences along the way:
You also have the option to include a visit to the incredible subterranean salt mines in Wieliczka, create your own stained glass souvenir, learning from a mastercraftsman, take a guided tour through the wonderous artworks of Czartoryski Museum - and try a sleigh ride in the magnificent Chocholowska Valley in the Tatra National Park.
What we love
- A Christmas market set in Krakow's 13th century Market Square where delicious edible treats, from dumplings and grilled oscypek (sheep cheese served hot with cranberry jelly) to gingerbread and warm and spicy Galician mulled wine, tempt at every turn.
- Staying in Zakopane, Poland's snowy 'winter capital' nestled at the foot of the Tatra mountains.
Experiences you will treasure
- Shopping for hand painted glass baubles, traditional Boleslawiec pottery tree decorations with their distinctive blue and white designs, pine wreaths and gingerbread in all shapes and sizes in Krakow's Christmas Market. (You can read more about these traditional decorations on our blog)
- Discovering uniquely Polish seasonal traditions, including the Christmas crib contest. Held in the city each December since the 19th century, the decorated nativity cribs, some of which reach two meters in height, are taken in procession to the Historical Museum where they are put on public display.
- A spectacular Gubalowska cable car ride over Tatra Mountains
- Visiting a traditional wooden 'goralskie chaty' house, built by the Polish highlanders, in the picturesque town of Chocholow
- Exploring Zakopane, Poland's historic winter capital nestled at the foot of the snow-capped Tatra Mountains
- The option to visit Poland's most important sites - the Wielicka Salt Mine (supplement cost: £45pp)
- The option to enjoy a workshop to make your own stained glass design with a master craftsman who will guide you as you go along. The workshop lasts two hours and will be held at Krakow's Stained Glass Museum, all materials are supplied and conducted in English. (supplement cost : £55pp)
- The option to visit The Princes Czartoryski Museum - National Museum in Krakow for a guided tour of its collection. One of the country's oldest museums, it has a wonderful collection, including of Leonardo da Vinci's best-known works, the Lady with an Ermine (supplement cost: £18pp)
- The option to take a traditional horse and sleigh ride through the Tatra Mountains national park (supplement cost £40pp)
Poland's 'winter capital', Zakopane is located at the foot of the spectacular Tatra Mountains and no visit here is complete without a trip up into the peaks. We will take a funicular to Gubałówka (1129 metres at the highest point), which offers panoramic views of the mountain range.
A Deeper Dive
Did you know Krakow holds an annual Christmas Crib Making competition?
One of Kraków's most idiosyncratic Christmas traditions is the creation of szopki. A cross between a nativity scene, gingerbread house and a dolls house, these unique structures date back to the 19th century and were repopularised in 1937 with the launch of the first official Christmas Crib Competition. The Krakow Museum of History, which organises the annual competition, has kept every crib made since 1945 and the collection makes fascinating viewing.
Visiting the Crib collection is included in the tour price
Among the 177 cribs are spectacular recreations of some the city’s most famous landmarks from St Mary’s Church tower and the city walls, to the Cloth Hall and St Florian’s Gate. Not to be missed!
image: © Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa
Princess Izabela Czartoryska was an important royal figure of the Austrian Empire, as well as a writer, art collector, and prominent figure in the Polish Enlightenment.
In 1796, Izabela ordered the rebuilding of the ruined palace at Puławy and began a museum to house a collection of national treasures to preserve Polish heritage, in keeping with her motto, "The Past to the Future."
The museum was destroyed in the Polish-Russian war, with the confiscation of the Czartoryski properties; however, most of the collection was saved, smuggled to Paris to be temporarily housed for safekeeping. Izabela's grandson Prince Władysław (Ladislaus)
returned from life in exile to Krakow with the collection to reinstate as a National Museum at its current site.
The Museum has a wonderful permanent collection of decorative Polish objet, including glassware, porcelain, ceramics, fashion, furniture, traditional musical instruments, and heirlooms of the Royal family. There are also fantastic and well-curated temporary shows.
The Czartorysky Family were some of the most influential art patrons and collectors over several generations. Prince Wladyslaw's father the great diplomat, Adam Jerzy Czartoryski purchased one of Poland's most important national treasures – Leonardo da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine, which he brought as a gift for his mother from Italy and can be viewed in the Museum.
We offer a guided tour of the Museum for supplement of £18pp
Dating back to the Middle Ages, this subterranean labyrinth of tunnels and chambers has morphed from an industrial plant at the heart of the Polish economy, into a world-famous tourist attraction, event location, and a health resort. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
A fascinating feat of engineering and natural artistry, the Mines have long attracted visitors to marvel, its first 'visitor' was Renaissance-era mathematician, astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.
Visiting the Mines can be arranged at a supplement cost of £45pp
Read 10 fascinating facts about the mines in our blog found via the link below:
Strolling through the streets of Krakow one cannot help but notice the number of beautiful stained glass windows decorating churches, monuments, and many of the houses in the Old Town.
Krakow has been involved in the production of stained glass for many centuries, and at the heart of this craft and industry is the oldest functioning stained glass studio in Poland.
Located in an impressive Art Nouveau building built on Krasinski alley Stained Glass Museum and Workshop the traditions of the prestigious S. G. Zelenski Stained Glass Company continue. Built in 1906 to meet the needs of an efficient workplace, with large windows, high ceilings, and a special basement to accommodate a large kiln, today it is a unique “living museum” combining an active stained-glass workshop with exhibition space showcasing works by contemporary designers.
You have the option to enjoy a visit to the Museum, and partake in an exclusive stained-glass workshop, guided by skilled craftsmen, making your own small stained glass object to take home as a unique souvenir. This special experience includes a tour of the museum, and all materials are provided.
The supplement cost for this experience is £55pp
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