Christmas holidays in Warsaw


Christmas holidays in Warsaw

Christmas always seems a bit more ‘Christmasy’ to us when it comes with both a bit of good old-fashioned tradition and a wintry climate in which to enjoy it.  If that’s what you’re after, welcome to Poland, where a snowy ‘święta’ (holiday) is almost guaranteed! Moreover, there’s a full calendar of holiday customs and traditions! It will surely make your experience here unique! Jerulita helps you get into the local Christmas spirit by detailing them below. So you’ll be well-read and ready when you find yourself in Warsaw!

Decorated Christmas tree and installations in the form of gifts on a background of a red castle
Warsaw Christmas Tree

Let’s start with the capital of Poland! We think, Warsaw is such a perfect and underrated city for a festive weekend away! Snow-sprinkled streets, warm inviting cafes, fairy Christmas illuminations, festive markets and parks full of sledging enthusiasts all come together to make a winter break in Warsaw a truly unforgettable adventure. Here are some of the best things to do here around Christmas time in Warsaw.

1. Explore the Warsaw Christmas markets

Every year, more and more Christmas markets are spreading throughout Warsaw, each with its own unique feel. They open in November and run until the beginning of January. 

The largest of Warsaw’s Christmas markets can be found in Warsaw’s Castle Square. Right in front of the Royal Castle and in front of the Palace of Culture and Science, so you can’t miss it! The most attractive and popular stalls are set in the picturesque surroundings of the Old Town – on the Market Square and around the Barbican. For anyone looking to buy an original present for their nearest and dearest, or aiming to find inspiration for the Christmas table decor, then this is the place to be. There’s a more modern Christmas market in the Praga district towards the east of the Vistula River at the foot of the stadium.

Christmas market houses in the center of the old town square, decorated with multi-colored garlands
Old Town Christmas Market

Don’t miss to try local dishes! There is traditional Polish food like pierogies, fried fish, sweets, hearty soups and grilled meat plus dried fruit and chocolate. You can’t go wrong with a cup of mulled wine or a shot of sweet fruit vodka. All of these you can find on Christmas markets!

2. Get Christmas spirit on Warsaw Christmas Light Festival

Join locals for a walk along the beautifully decorated historical Royal Route up to the Old Town. Each year, hundreds of lights in various shapes and colors illuminate the city, making it a perfect setting for unforgettable festive moments.

If you’re in Warsaw at the beginning of December, you might just be lucky enough to catch the switching on ceremony, which marks the start of the festive celebrations in the city. Usually it is very busy but also too magical atmosphere so it’s well worth visiting for that alone!

A woman crosses a snowy street of the old city, decorated with garlands
Warsaw Royal Route

3. Visit Royal Garden of Light

The Royal Palace Wilanow – is a 17th Century palace that’s packed with history and opulent design, but it’s transformed into something even more spectacular at Christmas. When darkness falls, the palace gardens come to life with thousands of eco-friendly LED lights that are accompanied by music, following a new theme each year. On Friday and Sunday evenings, there are also impressive lighting displays on the facade of the palace that are pretty unforgettable.

Christmas trees and bushes illuminated by garlands in a winter park
Park of Royal Palace Wilanow

4. Enjoy festive dinner

On the evening before Christmas, restaurants across Warsaw will offer guests traditional Polish meals featuring menu items like prune dumplings, meatless pierogis, and poppy seed cake. As per tradition, no meat is to be served or consumed on Christmas Eve. By the way, the traditional Polish Christmas meal consists of 12 dishes, one for each of the 12 apostles. 

Braised cabbage, jellied meat, Christmas cake and other dishes on a decorated table
Polish Christmas meal

5. Winter activities in Warsaw

Warsaw’s citizens bravely face winter temperatures and truly enjoy seasonal outdoor sporting activities. Runners can be seen throughout the city, despite the cold weather. Also, the ice skating rink in the Old Town Square, surrounded by picturesque, colorful houses, is a winter attraction not to be missed.

Adults and children skate in the center of the old city
Ice rink in the Old Town Square

On top of all that, the “PGE Narodowy” stadium invites everyone to enjoy the largest ice park in Poland. With its huge ice rink, skate park, multi-lane slides, and all sorts of musical and sporting events, it makes an ideal place to spend unforgettable winter moments in the city.

Are you fond of skiing? Yes, it’s possible to do in Warsaw! Although there are no mountains nearby, the locals don’t let that stop them – they take to Szczesliwice Hill. It is an artificial ski slope with an elevation of 152 metres. Szczesliwice is no Alpine ski resort, but it’s a lot of fun, and you don’t need to bring your own equipment either. Just show up, rent your gear, and hit the slopes – just make sure you bring cash, as no other payment type is accepted.

5. Watch a panoramic view from St. Anne’s Church

The view over the main square from the tower of St. Anne’s church is spectacular all your round but at Christmas, it’s even more breathtaking. You’ll see the Warsaw Christmas markets, the enormous tree, and (hopefully) the snow-covered Old Town, which makes it all look like it belongs on the front of a Christmas card. It’s well worth the 147-step climb and the 6 Zloty entrance fee.

By the way, you can order our fascinating Warsaw city tour to enjoy sightseeing!

Panoramic view of the Warsaw market square, with a Christmas tree in the center surrounded by old houses
Winter Warsaw

With people booking Christmas holidays in various popular European destinations, Poland may not pop up as an obvious holiday destination. Although, being rather cold, Warsaw and Krakow a lot to offer as a perfect place for a Christmas weekend getaway. For example, for a skiing trip or a gastronomic escapade. It is easy to get there with direct flights from Europe and UK airports.

There is a warm, charming atmosphere during the winter months. If you are looking for Christmas or winter holidays in Warsaw and Krakow, contact us via mail travel@jerulita.lt. Whether you have a single question or a special request, we’re here for you! We will do our best to make your winter weekend truly ‘Christmasy’.

Jerulita Travel