At Regent we love a Central European city break, especially during atmospheric winter days, the air heavy with a promise of snow, hearty comfort food and of course a Christmas Market or two. With easy access to many cities in Poland from the UK, Gdansk and Poznan’s colourful Hanseatic houses, Wroclaw’s magnificent Gothic Old Town Square and Torun – the Polish Capital of Gingerbread are almost on our doorstops. Here are some of our favourite things to do, see and eat in winter months in Poland.
Quite a few Polish cities open outside ice rinks from mid-December through to February. We love the rink in the middle of Warsaw’s Old Town, where you can ice-skate around the mermaid statue.
Who doesn’t like a Christmas market to get in the festive spirit? Of course, helped by lashings of mulled wine and sizzling hot sausages! Polish cities have their fair share of Christmas markets whether you visit Krakow, Warsaw, Gdansk, Poznan or even Lublin. We love Wroclaw’s Christmas market in its colourful main square. Food features large in Polish Christmas markets, so scoff down delicious Pierogi (savoury or sweet stuffed dumplings), yummy Polish smoked cheese (grilled and served with cranberry sauce) and juicy Kielbasa sausages whilst shopping for wooden decorations, sweets and knitwear.
When the chill of a Polish winter gets too much, the steady 15 degrees Celsius of Wieliczka Salt Mine, outside Krakow, should feel positively balmy. Its unique saline microclimate is celebrated for its health benefits. In addition to being a popular UNESCO-listed tourist attraction, the mine also functions as a full-time health resort.
Forget your mulled wine, go straight for a pint of its Polish cousin 'grzane piwo'! At winter markets and even in some bars warm up over a hot beer flavoured with spices and flavourings that give it a unique zesty flavour. Mmmh, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
One of Kraków’s most quirky Christmas traditions is the popular creation of 'szopki', which are sort of 'Christmas cribs' – a cross between a doll house, nativity scene and gingerbread house. This folk tradition dates back to medieval times and each year from early December to late February you can check out the colourful designs in Krakow.