Wintertime in Krakow – what to do?

Wintertime in Krakow – what to do?
Wintertime in Krakow – what to do?

1. Christmas market and New Year’s market

These annual Christmas markets have more than a hundred-year tradition. Its inimitable atmosphere attracts people from around the world. The first part of it has finished on the 26th of January and the next part called New Year’s Market will be open till the 6th of January.

The market offers a broad range of gifts from handcrafted toys and festive decorations to traditional Polish clothes and unique jewelry. However, probably what attracts the most, is the scent of delicious food you can find at the market. An array of meats, cheeses (including famous oscypek) and Polish dumplings not only smells great but is also a feast for the eyes. However, there are also stalls from different countries offering their traditional food as well. Walking among the stalls, you can’t overlook the giant barrels with wonderfully warming hot wine called “grzaniec galicyjski”.

Christmas market, barrel
Taste delicious grzaniec galicyjski straight from the traditional barrel.

2. Skating in Krakow

Spending your free time skating on the ice is another advantage of wintertime in Krakow. No matter if you do not have any experience in skiing – there’s a first time for everything.

The biggest open rink in Poland is located in Krakowskie Blonia, in Jordan Park. It is divided into three zones – small one for children (240 m2), big one for adults (1000 m2) and icy trail for everyone (360 m2). You can go there either in the morning or late evening as the rink is open till 9 pm and on Friday and Saturday even till 10 pm.

Another open rink in Krakow can be find in Nowa Huta quarter, right next to NCK (Nowohuckie Culture Center). It has 800 m2 and the entrance for 45 minutes costs 5 zl. You’ll pay the same price for renting skates, helmets or equipment for children.

If the rinks are not on your way, here are some more in other parts of the city: Cracovia Stadium rink (Siedleckiego 7), Daisy rink in Bronowice quarter (Morelowa 26) or an open rink beside Krakow Gallery.

3. Skiing in Krakow Valley

If you would like to ski a little bit, but don’t want to reserve the whole weekend for a mountain trip, Krakow Valley is the best solution. Located in Paczoltowice, only 30 km from Krakow city center, it’s the high-class golf course that turns into the professional ski resort in winter.

It offers 3 drag lifts: 750 m, 350 m, 100 m (for children) and cross-country ski runs. If you don’t have your own equipment, there is a rental company and service center as well. There is also a restaurant and parking lots right next to the slopes. Moreover, the views that you can admire while skiing in Krakow Valley are definitely worth to see. If the visibility is good, it’s even possible to see Tatra mountains.

What If you have never skied before? Don’t worry – you can always buy ski lessons guided by experienced instructor in Krakow Valley.

4. Krakow Szopka (Nativity scenes from Krakow)

Making Krakow Szopka (Nativity scene) is an old tradition dating back to the XIXth century. Although it is popular all over the country, those Nativities made in Krakow are exceptional. The city’s unique buildings, especially churches with its variety of architectural styles, has been an endless inspiration for artists to create beautiful szopkas. This year, Krakow Szopka was inscribed on the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Szopka represents Nativity scene against the background of buildings based on Krakow monuments and churches. Beside the Holy Family and other evangelical characters, you will see there many figures connected with Polish culture: figures from Krakow legends, dancers in traditional Krakow clothes, important sportsmen, politicians, community activists, priests and artists.

Due to the annual competition, organized on the fourth Thursday of December in Krakow, we can admire 40 beautiful szopkas all over the city. They are placed at different squares, parks, showcases, restaurants, hotels and shopping centers. You can see all of them by participation in the walk “Around Szopka” on the 6th of January 2019. It starts from Sienna 16 street and everyone is welcome to take part.

Krakow Szopka
Each age group is welcome to participate in the competition.

The first competition was organized as far back as in 1937! To suitably prepare for the contest, participants practice for many months, sometimes even years. That’s why their works are so impressive and definitely worth to see.

5. Santa Claus Park in Zator

Zatorland is the biggest theme park in Poland. It offers wide range of attractions for every age group – for the youngest as well as for adventure seekers. It is famous for its extreme entertainment, education through fun and exceptional residents – various dinosaurs, human-size insects or heroes from kids’ favorite fairy tales.

However, when the winter comes, dinosaurs take several months off and they are replaced by Santa! This Winter wonderland, covered in snow and millions of lights is a perfect place to have fun with whole family. It’s a wonderful journey to the fantasy world full of fabulous characters, headed by Santa Claus. You can make your dream come true and seat on Santa’s lap! Moreover, the place attracts with ice sculpture shows, puppet performances, ice rink and 3D cinema.  In a word, you won’t be bored.

Santa Claus Park is open till 11 of February, from Thursday till Sunday. Zator is located only 55 km from Krakow and you can easily get there by car or by public bus from the Main Station.