Christmas Market – Wroclaw, Poland

Wroclaw’s Christmas market, running from mid-November to the end of December, is one of Europe’s most exciting, spreading throughout the Old Town like glitter across the night sky.

Having just returned from the city, I loved the whole experience. It’s a photographer’s delight as the explosion of colour, banter and sense of party reach their zenith when the early evening darkness descends across the town’s elegant fairytale townhouses and famous Market Square.

Traditional food stalls, handicraft booths and all manner of seasonal decorations set the scene as families excitedly descend on the market stands, hot glühwein bars and jingle of children’s Christmas rides. In the bracing evening chill, crowds gather to mix, laugh and celebrate the end of the family day, or beginning of a good night out.

Originating in Germany during the late Middle Ages, but now held across the length and breadth of Europe, Christmas markets celebrate the four weeks of advent with all the colour and razzmatazz of a full-on festival. As with many others during this build up to Christmas, Wroclaw puts on quite a show. Enhanced by traditional performances, winter parades, mega cook-ups, street theatre, festive drinking, carol services and the official illumination of the Wroclaw Christmas tree, the city’s major seasonal event culminates in the Christmas Carol Singers Parade on 23rd December.

Located on the banks of the Oder River, with a dozen islands and over a hundred bridges, Wroclaw (pronounced “Vrots-wav”), is one of Eastern Europe’s most historic and attractive cities.  If you have an open diary, I urge you to plan a visit during this festive period.