Zakopane, known as the capital of the Polish Tatra Mountains, is a popular destination all year round, but it really shines during the Christmas and New Year holidays. You might be wondering if there’s a Christmas market in Zakopane this year. Well, I can tell you all about it, including its history and when it’s held.
The History of Christmas Fairs and Their Connection to Zakopane
The tradition of Weihnachtsmarkt, or Christmas markets, originated in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. With a rich history dating back to the late 13th century in Austria and the late 14th century in Germany, these markets have become a staple of European Christmas celebrations. The oldest Christmas market is thought to be Dresden’s Striezelmarkt.
A typical Christmas market is located in the older parts of a city and features stalls selling Christmas decorations, local culinary specialties, and handicrafts. These markets are accompanied by artistic performances such as nativity plays, benefit concerts, and nativity scenes.
Originally one-day events, they have evolved into multi-day celebrations. Nowadays, Christmas markets usually run from the first Sunday in Advent until Christmas, and sometimes even beyond New Year’s Day.
↳ Make sure to check out my guide to ALL attractions in Zakopane, so you don't overlook anything interesting: 66 Best Attractions in Zakopane 2023 – What to Do – Interesting Places
These fairs have become a major attraction for tourists from all over Europe, including the Zakopane market. Travel agencies often highlight them as an important part of their offer.
The Complex History of Christmas Markets in Zakopane
In Zakopane, the issue of Christmas markets is a bit complicated. In 2019 and 2020 there were no Christmas markets. Why not? Because Zakopane didn’t have a Christmas market for many years. But in 2022 the situation changed.
The 2022 Zakopane Christmas Market took place from December 9, 2022 to January 8, 2023 on Niepodległości Square. It was the first time that a fair was held in this place. In addition to stalls selling handicrafts, gifts, ornaments, mulled wine and food, there was also a Christmas tree. A carousel was one of the attractions of the fair, making it a truly festive experience for everyone.
What Can You Find at the Market?
This year the Christmas Fair took place on the Independence Square (Plac Niepodległości, Check Google Maps Location Here) near Krupówki. As the first extended Christmas fair in Zakopane, it lasted until January 8. Here are some interesting things to find on the market:
- Christmas stalls selling handicrafts, ornaments, decorations and gifts.
- A wide range of food products, treats and Christmas delicacies
- Mulled wine to warm you up on cold days
- A beautiful Christmas Tree in the center of the marketplace
- A festive carousel for the young and kids
You can find Christmas decorations, wreaths, candles and lace from all over the world. You’ll also find a variety of foods, including mead, honey, pickles, sweets, and traditional holiday products such as prunes for Christmas Eve stew. You can taste and buy various beverages, such as beer and wine from Bohemian Moravia.
Hot snacks and warm drinks, such as mulled wine, are available to keep you warm while you explore the market. For the little ones there’s a shooting gallery and a charming Viennese carousel.
Additional Festivities in Zakopane
More details about the fair will be announced before Christmas. Zakopane’s Christmas attractions also include the Festival of Carols, Pastorals and Christmas Songs, which takes place from December to February. Other nearby towns such as Koscielisko, Nowy Targ and Poronin also organize Christmas fairs.
Unique Items and Experiences at Christmas Markets in Podhale Region
At these markets you’ll find:
- Live demonstrations of Christmas tree ornament making
- Handcrafted goods from skilled artisans, including finished products for purchase
- A wide variety of baked goods and delicacies to enjoy and share
- Culinary delights, including hot dishes and drinks seasoned to perfection
- Gifts and decorations that last beyond the holidays
You can also discover strobe lights, baubles and gingerbread made by both professional artists and children. Local vendors from nearby towns such as Koscielisko prepare an array of delicacies to enjoy on site or to take home. Other businesses and individuals offer delicious breads, holiday cakes and other treats.
In short, Christmas markets in the mountains are an excellent place to indulge in festive food, find unique gifts, and get into the holiday spirit.