Winter tourism is a type of travel that Poland is ideally situated to accommodate. Visiting in the winter enables travelers to experience the stunning views of the snowcapped peaks of the Tatra Mountains, the natural appeal of wintertime national parks, and the magical aura of Polish Christmas markets.
Among the spots to visit is Zakopane, the capital of winter sports in Poland. Situated in a valley between the Tatra Mountains and Gubalówka Hill, this scenic mountain town has all the facilities one would expect to find in a ski town — and delivers everything with provincial Polish charm. The town’s laid-back feel helps put vacationers immediately at ease. Fans of mountain culture will find plenty to smile about here, from the wooden cottages to the intricate woodwork found everywhere, to the rustic décor that is prevalent in the area.
Poland's national parks take on a fairytale-like quality when blanketed in the winter snow. Tourists can bundle up and use the animal tracks in the snow to increase their odds of spotting some unique wildlife inhabiting places such as the storied Bialowieza Forest and Biebrza National Park. The beautiful Polish cliff coast at Wolinski National Park is the perfect backdrop for a leisurely wintertime stroll.
Throughout December, cities celebrate the Christmas holiday with open-air markets and live entertainment. The largest and best known of these holiday fairs are in Kraków's Market Square and Warsaw’s Old Town.
For winter travelers, the high point of any journey to Kraków will be a trip to the Christmas market. Visitors can purchase unique local handicrafts and gifts, like crocheted lace, Lemko glass bead collars, and handwoven baskets. They also have the opportunity to sample traditional Polish delicacies, like pierogi, cabbage rolls, and hearty soups.
The Main Market Square in Kraków hosts a nativity scene exhibition and contest every year near the Adam Mickiewicz monument. These nativity scenes are wildly creative and often incorporate Kraków landmarks and whimsical puppets into their design. Judging takes place in early December, and the winning artworks are displayed at the city's Historical Museum.
Warsaw is one of the top places to spend the winter in Poland. Although the underground cellars serving great food and drinks are a big hit in chilly weather, there are also plenty of ways to stay active, thanks to several ice-skating rinks in the city. One of the top spots to skate is Old Town Rink, an outdoor rink where visitors can enjoy a hot drink and admire the famous Warsaw Mermaid Statue as they circle the park.
After getting a taste of all that Poland has to offer in the winter, visitors often make a point of coming back. The ways to pass the time are endless, the hospitality is incredible, and the sights are unbelievably breathtaking. When it’s time to go home, travelers walk away not only with once-in-a-lifetime memories, but also with a special place in their hearts for this exceptional country.
FROM THE SPONSOR: Discover Central Europe is a joint marketing initiative run by the national tourism head offices of The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. Discover Central Europe has much to offer travel advisors looking to book an off-the-beaten-path cultural experience in one of the most storied parts of the world. For more information, and contacts on-the-ground in each country, go to https://centraleuropespecialist.com/.