It's never too early to start thinking about Christmas and, if your planning to spend some time in Poland around this time of the year, then a visit to the Gdańsk Christmas Market should be in your calendar. Typically, we can expect to find new attractions at the fair from year to year. However, in 2022, local organisers have been forced to scale things back slightly, no thanks to inflation and skyrocketing energy costs! That being said, Targ Węglowy (ENG: The Coal Market) in the picturesque historic centre of Gdańsk Old Townhas been turned into a quaint little Christmas village, offering decorations, treats, woollen scarves and socks, handmade jewellery, children's toys, mulled wine, hot cider and steaming portions of Polish food. It doesn't end there! Passing through Brama Wyżynna and crossing the main road, the grounds around Forum Shopping Centre have scored this year's Christmas tree, as well as extra stalls. In the other direction, through the Golden Gate and back down ul. Długa, you'll find another strip of crafts and food options on the next left - ul. Tkacka. Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned economic conditions, there are less lighting displays in the Old Town in 2022. Does that make things less festive? Hell no! It's as fantastic as always, and the Christmas spirit is certainty not lacking.
What's on at Gdansk Christmas Markets in 2022?
Centred around the stage at Targ Węglowy, there are a whole bunch of events taking place at the Christmas Markets in Gdańsk. After the official opening parade on the afternoon/evening of Nov 18th, there will be frequent performances for children by the organisation Teatr Qfer taking place right through till the late December. On Nov 23rd, there will be Christmas Karaoke, while the professionals take over on Nov 27 with some discerningly tasty Christmas Jazz! From Dec 1st onwards, Mikołaj (the saintly version Of Saint Nicholas AKA Santa Claus) will be taking the throne and posing for your official Christmas photos! The last day of the Gdańsk Christmas Markets is 23rd December 2022.
What to eat at Gdańsk Christmas Markets?
From the range of traditional Polish cuisine that you'll find at the Christmas Markets, servings of Oscypki (ENG: Smoked Cheese), Pierogi and Grilled Meat from one of the BBQ stations are standard fixtures. On the latter, hardcore meat-lovers may want to enquire about Kaszanka (ENG: Black Pudding / Blood Sausage). If you want something a little more balanced (fibre is important on evenings like this), try some Bigos (ENG: Hunter's Stew) which is actually not as wet as it sounds - shredded sour cabbage with chopped meat. Those searching for something more exotic will find a Tatar food stall, which offers foods from the Central Asian republic. Burgers, chip-sticks and other Americanised-standards can also be found. Each to their own... however, we'd love you to be adventurous!
On the sweeter end of the palate, Ginger Bread makes a big appearance at Christmas time, but you'll spot other standards like Gofry (ENG: Waffles) which come with a number of toppings. Another notable non-Polish indulgence are the Hungarian Kurtosze stalls that sell 'Chimney Cakes' - steamy, hollow dough-tubes, baked and covered in sugar and cinnamon or chocolate and nuts.
Christmas is the season of heated alcohol! A pint of Hot Beer (PL: Grzane Piwno) sounds fairly self-explanatory, though it is curiously-spiced with artificial ginger syrup, clove, cinnamon and other mulling spices. For some an acquired taste, for others an early Christmas present and others still an utter profanity, but an invention necessary for everyone to try at least once. Similarly popular is Grzane Wino – or Sweet Mulled Wine – which you'll find is suddenly okay to drink in public places once the holidays come around and barrels of it dispensed on Poland's market squares. You can also order it at the bar and even buy it in the shop and heat it up at home - a popular brand is Grzaniec Galicyjski. If you're looking for something with a bit more kick, take note of Polish flavoured-vodkas like Nalewki, Krupniki and others here!