Posted on December 14, 2015

Krakow Christmas Market: Photo Diary

This time last week I was on my way to Krakow, Poland, for a few days of touristic wanderings and festive indulgence.

Market Square festive scene, Krakow

Even the airport had a beautiful Christmas tree, and the shopping centres too, festooned with baubles and lights.

Around the city oversized baubles lit the way, providing an opportunity to pause a moment and take in the surroundings. They were a good way to orient yourself in the dark too…once you realised there was more than one.

Christmas Bauble, Krakow

In the heart of the ‘Stare Miastro‘ (old town) the market square, one of the largest in Europe (the largest?) boasted the illuminated stalls and oversized barrels where you could buy the Grzaniec Galicyjski (the Polish version of ‘Gluhwein’), with its pungent blend of red wine and spices.

It was strong. It was hot. It was delicious.

IMAG3824 Polish Bread, Christmas Market, Krakow

The horses and carriages lent the square a fairytale charm, and I never tired of taking pictures of them (even the man who had to keep jumping off the back to collect the dung…!)

Horse & Carriage, Krakow Christmas Market

The image below has gone a bit wrong, but I love it. It conjures a lovely sense of movement and atmosphere, like a reflection or a glimpse of another time?

Horse & Carriage, Krakow Christmas Market

St Mary’s Basilica (Kosciol Mariacki) with its ornate interior decoration (so rich it is referred to as the ‘gold church‘), was the perfect escape to slip away from the bustle of the market and light a candle.

This is something my Dad and I like to do every year, so this year it was extra special to do in Krakow in such a celebrated church so steeped in history. (You can’t take photographs inside the church.)

Market Square festive scene, Krakow

The lights in the square and the tree were magical, and I kept stopping to take more pictures: one hand holding my camera, the other balancing a warming cup of Grzaniec Galicyjski. The trams were a fascination too – maybe it’s just because I’m not used to seeing them?

Horse & Carriage, Krakow Christmas MarketKrakow Tram, December 2015 Market Square festive scene, Krakow

There was a huge tree with multicoloured lights at the The Wawel Royal Castle, high up on the hill offering a view across the city.

Christmas Tree, Wawel Castle, Krakow

I love the contrast of colours in the architecture of the castle: the pale green, the red brick, the grey, the golden dome.

These colours are replicated in the architecture across the city, and mingle perfectly with the cold mist and fog that hung atmospherically in the morning, descending again at night.

Shop windows were decorated for Christmas. I had to stop to snap this snowman:

Festive snowman window, KrakowDecorated glass, shop window, Krakow

Travelling to new places, experiencing different cultures, food, the work of artisans in another corner of the world, is so inspiring and you lose yourself in the moment of discovery, the immersion into the new environment with its exotic offerings.

I feel especially lucky to be only a few hours away from the rich culture and history that mainland Europe has to offer and would definitely visit Poland again; Krakow perhaps, but there are so many other interesting cities too.

Do you go to the Christmas markets? What makes it a special experience for you?


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  • Reply tracie @ beets+birch December 14, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    my husband’s family is polish (2nd generation american) on the father’s side. as you know our last name is all kinds of messed up! hahaaaa
    i haven’t been to poland yet but my husband occasionally travels there for work. we’ve talked about going for a holiday.
    christmas markets YES! we walked though the markets in the city center of helsinki yesterday which are charming.
    tracie @ beets+birch recently posted…wandering in italyMy Profile

    • Reply daintydora December 15, 2015 at 8:16 am

      Thanks lady :D

      I LOVE the atmosphere of the markets and exploring the treasures of a new city. I recommend a trip to Poland then as you have a family link.

      I’m already excited about booking a trip somewhere for next year’s markets – thinking perhaps Budapest or Bruges? I’m a bit sad it was summer I was in Helsinki because I know the festive experience would have been so great and we would really have appreciated the saunas in the winter, though it was a bit pricey…(I couldn’t believe the amazing prices in Krakow though sadly I only had hand-luggage allowance…) x

  • Reply the magpie diaries December 16, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    […] last week while in Krakow I had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi concentration and […]

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