Why Wrocław is the Only Christmas Market You Need

Christmas markets have made their way all over globe. It used to be just the huge ones like ‘the capital of Christmas’, Strasbourg or Prague that took pride in hosting their own version of the Christmas market. Nowadays, even random towns you’ve never heard of are hosting their own. You can go to Munich or Cologne for a nice cosy Christmas market. They do (technically) originate from Germany, but in my opinion, Wroclaw in Poland has taken it to the next level.

What makes a good Christmas market, you say? Most would point out the obvious but important details:
authentic, quality and heart-warming food, a nice atmosphere, an easy-to-get-around path, and Glühwein that makes you feel like it didn’t come out of the 1 litre packs you can get from Lidl.

What is Glühwein?

I hope you’re not serious with this one. If you haven’t tried it yet, then you need to know it is a must at every Christmas Market. This warming drink is mulled wine. It’s heated (not boiled) to a comfortable temperature you can sip away at and spices are added to make it taste like actual Christmas in a cup. In Wroclaw they had a ‘Christmas’ blend – super nice. The spices included vary, but most contain star anise, cloves, cardamom, oranges, sugar or honey, cinnamon and/or vanilla pods.
It’s seriously easy to make at home; if you’re curious check out this recipe (in German) or this one from Jamie Oliver in English.
In Germany (mainly), they tend to take it up a notch and add a “Schuss” which is hilarious, because they add a shot of brandy, amaretto, cherry liquor incase it’s not hard enough for you. Prost!

Why Wrocław is an incredible Christmas market

The main square is beautiful

The Wroclaw Christmas Market is pedestrianised (nice for us) and the buildings which surround the square are neatly arranged with a cluster of bars, boutiques and hotels. The architecture here is amazing.

The houses look like real-life doll houses

When I first arrived in the Square, called Rynek, I couldn’t believe it was real. The town houses range from gothic to art nouveau and are similar to those found in Amsterdam or Stockholm. So beautiful to look at. Although much was destroyed in Rynek due to the war, the square itself was redesigned from piles of rubble and finally finished in 1945. The doll-like town houses all line up and add to the delicate ambiance within the square.

The weather is cold enough to go to a Christmas Market

With it already being -1 degrees Celsius in Berlin at the start of December, I’m sure it will be easy to get in the festive mood as Christmas draws nearer. When I visited, it was very crisp, about -5 degrees and wonderfully foggy; adding a sort of misty atmosphere amongst the glowing lights. This adds to the Christmas market feel. Once you get a Glühwein or two down you, you’ll be fine. Alternatively, check the weather before you go.

It feels authentic

Everyone know that feeling when you go to a market and it feels very man-made, soulless.
The food is made without love.
The Glühwein is bitter.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Here they sell polish Glühwein, Egg-nog, Polish Tree Cake Wroclaw gingerbread houses, crêpes, roasted chestnuts…

You can walk all the way around the neat square; it’s wide enough to feel comfortable as you pass through it.
There are families, couples and locals who all flock to the square in December to enjoy local food. I ate dumplings at Pierogarnia which was super authentic and tasty. They didn’t serve alcohol but you can definitely get some in the market.

How to get there

Wrocław is the largest city in the West of Poland with a population of almost 700k. From Germany it’s super easy; get a train or bus due to its high-speed routes allowing for easy travel.

As I mentioned before, I think the GoEuro App is really useful to compare times, distances and transport methods to make a good decision. From the UK, you can fly with Ryanair from Luton or Wizzair from Stansted, both of which are cheap & cheerful.

Photo by Ron Loyola.

Where to find the Christmas market:
Rynek 1, 11-400 Wrocław, Poland

Have you been to the Wroclaw Christmas Market? Did you eat polish food? What did you think? Let me know on Instagram!

Finnuala Quinn