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I mentioned earlier this year my New Year’s Travel Resolutions, and one that came up was going to Christmas Markets. I had initially hoped to do Paris as well as visit Euro Disney, but the more that we got looking into the Christmas markets in Paris, I decided that this wasn’t something I really was all that enthusiastic for this year, especially after watching a myriad of YouTube videos about other Christmas markets elsewhere. This is what lead us to Wroclaw, Poland.
I’ll admit, I hadn’t heard of Wroclaw. Poland has been on my interest list over the past few years, and I’ve wanted to visit Gdansk, but Wroclaw was a mystery to me. We watched a few videos, including seeing one that showed a big talking moose head in the background, and I was sold. Unfortunately, flight prices were quite high and mileage redemption rates were not favorable with all the fees, so we decided not to move forward with it this year. Long story short, one night after playing with Google flights and seeing that I could get a really inexpensive fare from Phoenix to Prague and back, I decided on a whim to check flight pairings from PHX to Wroclaw and Prague to Phoenix. Low and behold, there was a super low fare there too. It was a sign. Don’t put this off another year – just go. I’d done the research, I knew what there was to see. It was time to pull the trigger. (Several years ago, we planned to do Tallinn and some other cities the following year for the Christmas markets and it never happened.) So the plane tickets were bought and now it was time for me to find the hotels, etc.
I’ll spare you all the commentary on my research, but will start off highlighting the first part of our trip – Wroclaw.
We left Phoenix and flew Delta to JFK and then Paris before arriving in Wroclaw. Surprisingly enough, all of our flights were pleasant. It was overcast and rainy (that would be the theme for the week), when we arrived in Wroclaw. As we picked up our bags and headed out of the airport, I admired a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with airplanes. Yeah, I’m going to like this place I said. We grabbed an Uber and headed to the Europeum Hotel. The drive took a while as it was a Sunday and there was a lot of traffic, but the Uber was around $7 so I can’t complain there. We arrived at the hotel, but it wasn’t time to check-in yet, so they held our bags and we went to walk around. The front desk lady explained that we just had to cross the street and the Christmas market was behind the buildings. So we crossed the street and went through a little tunnel and bam, there we were. It was around noon at this time, but there were people milling around at the booths.
We continued to walk through the square and I noticed that the market went on and on, and then I spotted it – the Moose Head! And he talks – in English and in Polish. And, he’s selling churros. OMG! I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed looking around at all of the colorful buildings around the square. It just seemed so magical.
After going back to the hotel, getting to check in, and getting refreshed, we headed back out. Our mission – to enjoy the Christmas market and that warm, mulled wine. And did we ever. We first grabbed some food. Chris had some sort of open-faced meat sandwich. I had a chicken periogi. It was good put not what I expected. Certainly not the freezer periogies you get at the grocery stores in the U.S.
Then, we grabbed some warm wine with amaretto. Yum! Like many Christmas markets in Europe, you pay a deposit for little mugs which serve the wine. If you return them, you get your deposit back. If you don’t, you get a nice souvenier. I loved that the ones in Wroclaw were shaped like little boots. And, they have these little buildings. Some two stories, one three stories, where you can go inside and keep warm and drink your wine in there. It was so festive! We enjoyed this and then shopping for gifts.
Wroclaw had a lot of items. The majority seemed to be made in Poland, and the prices were more than fair. We’d learn as we went to other Christmas markets that we should have really focused on Wroclaw was where to buy the gifts. But we enjoyed wandering from booth to booth seeing what they had. The one thing I wish I would have bought was a little wooden porcupine, but I was concerned about how well it would travel. I did get a cute wooden porcupine ornament though.
The next day, we got up to tour the town. Wroclaw doesn’t have a lot of attractions, and being that it was cold and rainy, there is even less to do. But, it is still very enjoyable to see. We went in a church just off the square and then continued toward the University. They had a beautifully decorated Christmas tree out front. We tried to peak into another church, but it was apparently closed. The result was a local thinking we were Italian and yelling something at us in Italian. That was interesting.
We crossed a bridge and headed over to an area called Cathedral Island. Noted as such because of the large number of churches they had there. Unfortunately, most were locked. We did find one that we were able to go into which was beautiful. We also saw all the locks on the bridge, and I’m surprised it hasn’t weighed the bridge down yet.
We stopped by the main market downtown. It was what you would expect at a Central European Market. Fresh fish, produce, etc. Not a lot of gifts or things to buy that weren’t food. They had a lot of flowers. I noticed there was a flower market at the Christmas market too. Beautiful flowers and people seemed to enjoy buying them.
We continued walking around and decided to go to lunch. We wanted to go to Konspira for dinner the night before, but they were closed for a private event. We arrived shortly before opening, and waited until they opened. This was the best meal. HIGHLY recommend Konspira. The waitress was very friendly and explained the menu to us. She mentioned that the portions were large and that we could share something. We opted for a platter that featured beets, saurerkraut and goulash with dumplings. It was delicious. We split a cheesecake for dessert and it was huge too! And delicious. I still can’t get over how amazing the food was. It was also very reasonably priced. For those two items plus two beers, it was around $18.
After lunch, we headed back to the hotel for a bit before stopping at a little coffee shop to wake us up (that food was good but nap inducing!) before our shopping extravaganza. We shopped, sampled some more wine, and had a wonderful evening. I loved the mix of contemporary and Christmas music playing and watching people go through the fun house and ride some of the rides.
We left the following morning and headed to Dresden.
My overall thoughts:
Would I go back? Yes, I would definitely go back for the Christmas Market. I’d like to explore more of Poland as a whole.
Hotel: Europeum Hotel. Clean, good price, good service. Very good location. I’d recommend.
Restaurants: We only ate at Konspira. It was amazing. Highly recommend!
Learn more about Wroclaw here.
Coming up next, our two nights in Dresden, Germany.