This weekend, we rang in the Christmas season with Polish mulled wine, grilled Zakopane (oscypek) cheese, Croatian cevapcici and Lithuanian black bread.
The first Christmas Market in Warsaw officially opened on Saturday, and hubby and I made an afternoon of it there. Everyone seemed so cheerful, and many of the stall holders spoke English or at least tolerated my Polish. It seemed like a real Christmas market!
Such a stark contrast from last year when the Christmas markets here sucked so badly that we escaped to Krakow and Copenhagen. (The city had a pitiful market set up in the worst location in front of Warsaw Centralny and a just handful of stalls near St. Anne’s Church in Old Town.) This weekend, we’re visiting our friends in Germany to experience the German Christmas markets for the first time.
But this year, if you’re looking for Christmas spirit in Warsaw, you’ve got plenty of options!
The first place to start is in the Żoliborz neighborhood at the Plac Wilsona metro stop. Here you’ll find more than 20 wooden booths with special exhibitors from Lithuania, Belarus, Croatia and Israel. We had a good time joking with the Croatian guys (in English) since we had visited Croatia just back in September. One of the cooks from Zagreb looks very similar to the chef/owner Duff Goldman of Ace of Cakes, so of course, I had to take a photo with him.
|Croatian cevapcici is very similar to Turkish kofte, |
even served with a spicy red pepper paste.
I grabbed a second glass of grzane wino, but the awful grzane piwo also was for sale. Hubby settled on a normal Polish beer, and there’s a nearby sklep that sells Lithuanian beers on tap as well.
At the market, besides delicious edible goodies, you’ll find a variety of Christmas gifts, including Polish ceramics, handmade Christmas ornaments and mini trees, sets of Russian nesting dolls from Belarus, olive-wood-carved nativity sets, woolen socks and much more!
Since this market is only one metro stop away from our apartment, I’m sure I’ll be returning again soon! Perhaps, just so I hang out with the jolly Croatian guys again!
Let the holiday season begin!
Since good information (in English) is difficult to find, I’ve compiled a list of the Christmas Markets happening in Warsaw this year.
Christmas Market in Żoliborz
Daily until December 22
Location: Plac Wilsona in Żoliborz
Christmas Market 2014 on the Barbakan
November 28th to January 6th
More info: http://barbakanrzemioslemzdobiony.pl
Local Polish vendors selling food and Christmas decorations and gifts will be set up along the Old Town walls from Plac Zamkowy to the Barbikan as well as in the Old Town Square. The ice skating rink in the Old Town opens on December 5th.
Great Christmas Illumination of Warsaw
Saturday, December 1st
Location: along the Royal Route through Old and New Town
Come see the lighting of the 27-meter-tall Christmas tree in Plac Zamkowy in front of the castle as well as the other Christmas lights and decorations in Old and New Town.
Christmas Fair by National Stadium
December 6th-January 6th
More info: http://www.mazowsze.travel/wydarzenia
Other activities include: 3 ice skating rinks, ice slide, an ice bistro and bar and a giant Christmas tree.
Christmas Bazaar in Ursynów
Weekdays 11-19:00; on weekends: 10-19:00
Location: KEN Street 101, next to the Parish of the Ascension
More info: http://www.jarmarkursynowski.pl
Christmas Market at Blue City
Location: Centrum Handlowe Blue City Mall, al. Jerozolimskie 179
This Christmas Market will feature more than 30 wooden booths with products from Hungary, Italy, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, and of course, Poland, mainly from the Podlasie, Mazury and Subcarpathian regions. Some of products will include cheese, fish, baked goods, venison and dumplings.