Krakow Christmas Market
An escorted tour to Krakow's magical Christmas market and the winter wonderland of Zakopane
Experience the real spirit of Christmas in the medieval streets of Krakow, discover the picturesque town of Chocholow and explore Zakopane, Poland's 'winter capital' nestled at the foot of the Tatra mountains on this five-day festive tour
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.
The wooden stalls 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.
And there is much more Krakow Christmas market than shopping. Visitors to the city at this time of year will also discover lots of uniquely Polish seasonal traditions, such as the Christmas crib contest which has been 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.
You will also be treated to a dizzying array of edible treats from dumplings and grilled oscypek (sheep cheese served hot with cranberry jelly) to gingerbread and warm and spicy Galician mulled wine.
This story of this charming village in the Tatras region of Southern Poland dates back to the 16th century. The main road is lined with traditional wooden houses (góralskie chaty), built by the Polish highlanders which create an unforgettable atmosphere, rather like a living open air museum. You will have the opportunity to visit one of these houses.
Often referred to as 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 highest point), which offers panoramic views of the mountain range.
Highlights in the town itself are the Jaszorowka chapel, a Roman Catholic church built by local carpenters between 1904 and 1907 and filled with beautiful sculptures, wooden ornaments and folk glass paintings by regional artists.
We will also visit the Old Zakopane Cemetery (or Pęksowy Brzyzek). Sitting behind the old wooden Church of Our Lady of Częstochowa, the hallowed grounds contain the graves of some of Poland's most celebrated denizens, from Polish war heroes and Nazi resistance fighters to authors, architects, mountain climbers, poets, musicians, artists and scientists.
4* Pod Raza Hotel, Krakow
Located in the former Renaissance palace of Prospero Provano, less than 200m from the Main Square, the Pod Rasa is Krakow's oldest hotel. Since first opening its doors in 17th century, it has played host to numerous international luminaries, including Tsar Alexander I of Russia, Franz Liszt and Honoré de Balzac.
Recently refurbished, the hotel offers all modern comforts, from a fitness centre with panoramic views of the city and free WiFi to two elegant, glass-roofed restaurants. Restauracja Pod Różą serves Polish delicacies with a Mediterranean twist, while Restauracja Amarone is rooted in the classical Italian style.
4* Radisson Blu Hotel & Residences, Zakopane
Close to both the city centre and the Tatra Mountains, the Radisson Blu offers spacious rooms with scenic views. The bedrooms are designed with traditional wood and stone finishes and facilities include a restaurant serving hearty regional cuisine, a cozy bar and rejuvenating wellness and spa facilities.
Day 1, Wednesday 2nd December
AM: meet your Tour Manager at the departure gate, Gatwick airport
PM: transfer to 4* Pod Raza Hotel, Krakow. Check in to hotel approx 1500h
Approx 1600h: after dark walking tour of the city (1 1/2 hrs) with a local guide, who will meet you at the hotel. The tour includes a stop for coffee and snack in a traditional cafe
Approx 19:30h: welcome dinner at the hotel
Day 2, Thursday 3rd December
Breakfast at the hotel
09:30h: meet a local guide at the hotel for a daylight walking tour of Krakow (1 1/2 hrs)
Remainder of the day at leisure to explore the Christmas markets
Or optional afternoon visit to the Wielicka Salt Mines with a local guide (approxr 1300h - 17:30h)
Evening at leisure
Day 3, Friday 4th December
Breakfast at the hotel
Day at leisure to explore the Christmas markets
Or optional day visit to Auschwitz Birkenau (approx 09:30h-16:30h)
Evening at leisure
Day 4, Saturday 5th December
Breakfast at the hotel
0900h: Check out & transfer to Zakopane & the High Tatras Mountains, stopping at Chocholow enroute where we will visit a traditional artist's house.
Gubalowska cable car ride
Lunch at leisure in Zakopane
Visit to Zakopane cemetery and wooden church
Late PM check in to 4* Hotel Radisson Blu
Optional two hour Horse Ride with Fire and Music Experience. (One hour sleigh ride, followed by sausages, traditional Bigos ((hunter's stew)), tea with a shot of alcohol and live highlander's band.)
Approx 19:30h: group dinner at the hotel
Day 5, Sunday 6th December
Breakfast at the hotel & check out
AM: at leisure in Zakopane
Transfer to Krakow for return flights to UK
This tour requires a minimum of 10 passengers - refer to point 7 in our booking conditions
Mobility: this tour is generally suitable for most, if you are concerned or have specific issues please let us know ahead of booking
Please ensure you have a valid passport (at least six months from the date of travel) and visa (if travelling on a non-EU passport)
Travel insurance is required
All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or, for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate, go to www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate.
Our ATOL number is ATOL 6545. ATOL Protection extends primarily to customers who book and pay in the United Kingdom.
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£999 per person*
*Prices are for two people sharing a twin room. The single room supplement is £215 for the four nights
- Return flights to Krakow
- Services of an ECT Tour Manager
- 3 nights B&B at a 4* Pod Raza Hotel, Krakow
- Welcome dinner in Krakow
- All transfers and entrance fees while in Poland
- Evening city tour of Krakow with a local guide
- Walking tour of Krakow with a local guide
- 1 night dinner, bed & breakfast at 4* Radisson Blu, Zakopane
- Guided tour of Chocholow including visit to an artist's house
- Gubalowska cable car ride over Tatra Mountains
- Half day visit to Wielicka Salt Mine with local guide
- Full day visit to Auschwitz Birkenau
- 2 hour sleigh ride with fire and music experience