This post is sponsored by Poland Culinary Vacations. In addition to their website, you’ll find them on Facebook. All opinions are my own.
European Christmas Markets are the stuff dreams are made of, and the offerings in Poland are some of the best. (I like to tell people that Poland is Europe’s best-kept secret.)
If you’d like to experience these magical markets in a stress-free, leisurely way, let me suggest traveling with Poland Culinary Vacations, The Magic of Christmas Markets in Poland. It’s a great way to add a little Wesołych Świąt (Merry Christmas in Polish) to your December.
They visit five cities; Warsaw, Poznan, Wroclaw, Krakow, and Zakopane; in ten days, taking in a Christmas themed markets in four locations and Poland’s winter capital for a Highlander experience.
The schedule includes three classes, one focusing on traditional dishes for Wigila (Christmas Eve), another on Christmas cookies, and a session on decorating Christmas ornaments. There’s also time to see some of the local art and architecture.
The Christmas Market tour is capped at sixteen people, so it’s a small group making it easy to get around and get to know your traveling companions.
Poland’s Christmas Markets
Are you wondering what Polish Christmas markets are like? Well, in December, I can almost guarantee you some Christmas-like weather to get you in the spirit.
So grab your gloves and scarf and buy a cup of Grzane Wino (warm mulled wine) and let’s wander through the Stary Rynek (Old Market) where dozens of vendors will be set up selling all kinds of Polish artisan goods that would make wonderful Christmas presents:
- intricately carved handmade candles
- bulk spices
- wood carvings
- elaborately decorated gingerbread cookies
- Christmas ornaments
- embroidered linens
- Polish pottery
- Oscypek, the smoked sheep’s milk cheese from the mountains
That’s just to name a few off the top of my head and the food! All of your traditional favorites are being served, Bigos, Golabki, Pierogi, and grilled Oscypek served with a side of cranberry jam.
To this, we should also add, concerts, folk dance demonstrations, and while you’re in Poznan, one of the largest ice carving competitions.
This is an amazing sight – the tools they work with! I think we’ve all seen or imagined someone carving away on a huge block of ice with a chain saw, but they’ll also be using sanders, Dremel tools, and electric irons and tea kettles for the finer details and to patch up broken pieces.
The ice creations are truly works of art, and competitors travel from all over the globe to compete.
The benefits of tour groups
Even though we usually schedule our itinerary ourselves, I always like to take a tour wherever we are, whether we’re in the USA or abroad. I love to hear locals talk about their city and pick up an inside joke or two.
When my mother and siblings visited us in Poland, we hired a tour guide for a walking tour of the city. Even though I had lived in Poznan for years, and read all kind of guide books, I had a better understanding of the city’s history and the people after our tour.
There are some things you just don’t get in guide books, and I knew my family had an experience I couldn’t have provided on my own.
The last time I was in Poland, I made a special trip to Warsaw to take a cooking class. Yes, I paid money to learn how to bake dishes I’d already prepared at home and written about on this website.
More accurately, I paid money to spend the day chatting about food with a Polish chef, and no matter how experienced you are, there’s always something you can learn from a professional, and I did. I also got to know six of the most charming Americans who shared my sense of adventure and love of food and learning about other cultures.
It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, and I would do it again tomorrow.
When Ed first moved to Poland, and I was a new food blogger commuting back and forth between Arizona and Poznan, I looked for some kind of foodie vacation we could take together in Poland. I wish I had found Poland Culinary Vacations then, they are just what I was looking for.
I hope to take one of their tours next year, maybe the Christmas Markets, maybe one of the wine tours. Which one will you join?