Why to spend Christmas in Poland and New Year in Warsaw
Pack your bag and get ready for your best New Year's Eve in Warsaw. Also, any other city in Poland offers great value for money during Christmas. Time to discover what Poland offers for the Christmas and New Year and live magical moments.
Spend Christmas and New Year's Eve in Poland
Warsaw, Wroclaw, Krakow, and Zakopane are Awesome!
Let the Christmas & New Year magic begin!
Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku - Happy New Year!
Christmas Traditions in Poland
Christmas is a family time here in Poland. Most of the people meet together and spent that time all together eating and drinking.
Poland is a Catholic country and Christmas Eve is the most important day. The day of the Wigilia.
The preparation for Christmas start for the Catholic church around 4 weeks before and this period is called: "Advent".
This is a fasting period. The Polish people, in contrast with the Orthodox church, they choose which food they would like to avoid and also which temptations to avoid.
They believe that this will bring them inner peace and harmony.
The fasting period ends on Christmas Eve (Wigilia), which is on December the 24th.
Even though it's not a public holiday, families sit to the Christmas table as soon as they spot the first star on the sky (around 6-7 p.m.).
The star symbolizes the star which led the magicians to Jesus in Bethlehem.
Before sitting on the table for Wigilia, they share Christmas wafers (opłatek) and wish to each other.
Opłatek is a white, thin like a paper wafer made of flour and water. After this, the red soup is served, called Barszcz Czerwony.
The soup contains small dumplings called Uszka and in one of those, there is a small coin. Whoever finds that coin, will be wealthy in the coming year.
Barszcz Czerwony with Uszka
There must be 12 dishes served on the Christmas table, all without meat. Everybody should try every dish, so in the next year, nothing will be missing.
Number 12 refers to the number of apostles and also the number of months.
It is a tradition that they must keep one empty space on the table for a person that might knock the door. Nobody should be alone during that day!
They have to accept anyone that might visit them, otherwise, this will bring bad luck.
After dinner, it’s time for presents! Adults give each other gifts (or put them directly under the Christmas tree).
Children will also get their Christmas presents under the tree.
It’s the Baby Jesus, Star, or an Angel who brings the gifts on the 24th of December.
For the Greek people, you can find the Greek version of Polish traditions.
New Year's Eve in Warsaw (Poland)
New Year’s Eve is not an official public holiday in Poland, although many businesses work a half-day.
It is maybe the busiest time of the year for many shops, restaurants, bars, and other commercial businesses.
Traffic may be heavy in many cases and in the biggest cities, but a big amount of people will go out of Warsaw.
Transport services might be affected, as people travel to attend events or spend time with their family and friends.
It is relatively better than in other European countries, so moving around might not be so bad.
More Ideas for the New Year Eve's
Everyone wants New Year’s eve to be special. But the choice of what to do and where to go is always hard.
Every bar, club, hotel, and even restaurants organize a special event for that night.
Also, each city organizes an open party for everyone with concerts and fireworks.
The open party starts usually around 19:00 - 19:45 at big squares and is usually accompanied with awesome concerts, fireworks or laser shows.
Usually, the public open parties finish around 01:00, and then it is time for clubbing, but there are so many clubs, so the decision is hard.
In many cases, you need to decide and book something in advance.
Some restaurants and hotels organize very interesting dinners with parties to keep people in for all night long and they even offer the morning breakfast.
It is very hard to mention all the events of that night because every place has its own.
You can read about the best places to party in Warsaw and maybe check their websites for New Year Eve's special event.
Some more good options for spending the night are:
- Bar Studio. Bar Studio is located in the theatre, at the Palace of Culture and Science (Ticket around 50 PLN).
- The next option is the Club Spatif. This club is located 15 minutes walk from the Palace of Culture and Science. Enjoy the New Year's Eve night drinking cocktails in vintage interior's (Ticket around 60 PLN).
- Just walk around the city without special planning. Go to Mazowiecka Street where there are many clubs - ENKLAWA can be a good place to spend the night.
- Another place with bars and clubs within walking distance is Novogrodzka Street and Zurawia Street. Just behind the Novotel Hotel.
- Book in advance to Paros Greek restaurant and spend a Greek night. Usually, the price is around 350 PLN with food and drinks.
- New Greek Restaurant and a Party Place in Warsaw is Mykonos.
- If you prefer to spend a Rock New Year Eve, then you can check the Club Proxima for their New Year's Eve Event.
- Another amazing idea for the New Year Night in Warsaw is Club Sen. On the banks of the Wisła river and with a beautiful glass view to the river.
- Every good hotel should have some special internal events for New Year Eve. Check with your hotel. Make sure you be out 5 minutes before midnight.
- Hala Koszyki usually organizes events with Live music, awesome food, and Free entrance.
- Finally, why don't you climb in the roof garden of LEVEL 27? You are going to see all the shows from one of the highest buildings in Warsaw.
Well, it doesn't have to be New Year Eve in Warsaw to visit this place. You can visit any Friday or Saturday.
New Year's Open Party in Warsaw
Warsaw every year provides city residents and visitors with a great outdoor open party with concerts, fireworks, or laser shows.
Yes, last year the fireworks were replaced with a laser show with respect to the animals.
The best way to celebrate the beginning of the new year. Have fun and enjoy a show of beautiful lights in the sky.
Open Party at Plac Bankowy (2019-2020)
The city's New Year's Eve 2019/20, like last year, will be held at Bankowy Square.
The event will feature performances by an array of Polish stars, who will sing their songs, as well as the greatest world hits.
The event is scheduled to start at 19:45, and all the fun will last for 5 hours. Until 01:00.
This event is a joint project by the city authorities and the TVN TV station. Will hopefully attract tens of thousands to the Bank square.
Plac Bank is located around 20 minutes walk from the Palace of Culture in Warsaw.
Since New Year's Eve 2018 - Warsaw without fireworks, there were no fireworks but a laser show!
Colored lasers brighten the sky like fireworks and are no less spectacular.
Fireworks have been the culmination of the New Year's Eve party in the capital for years.
But in 2018 it was decided to accept the appeal of dog owners. Animals suffer the sounds of shots, which makes Sylwester very stressful for them.
To Do: Christmas & New Year in Warsaw
Visit Warsaw's National Stadium
The National Stadium of Warsaw during the wintertime is changed to a place full of winter attractions.
Called Zimowy Narodowy is a place to have fun during your time in Warsaw and do something different.
There are options for group tickets and they also accept Multisport cards.
Find all the necessary information on the Zimowy Narodowy Website.
Spend some quality wintertime with your kids at the National Stadium. What to expect to find in the National Stadium:
- Ice Hill
- Bumper Cars
- Food court
- Winter School
- 4FUN.TV DISCO RINK
There might be also a New Year Eve party with fireworks at Warsaw's national stadium.
Meet Nice People (Join A Party)
It might be cold and hopefully will be some snow this year, but Polish people and foreigners that visit Poland are open and warm.
It is very easy to catch up with some other visitors and locals and have a great time with them in the capital of Poland.
Just be open, smile, and get ready to have a lot of fun.
After a few shots of Vodka, you are definitely going to feel the capital of Poland's amazing atmosphere.
The majority of people in Poland are well educated and well-traveled. They know what they want and they go after it.
Girls are open and easy to talk to and they usually not ignore other people.
Finally, the majority of young people speak English and they like a meeting, talking and having fun.
Warsaw Pub Crawl - The best way to Party!
Join a Pub Crawl or a Vodka Tour and Have Some Fun, while meeting people from around the world.
Lot's of fireworks
Whether you are in the last neighborhood of Warsaw, in the city center, or up to the mountains, it is a guarantee that you are going to see a lot of fireworks.
People save money the whole year to buy fireworks for the New Year's Eve.
Every neighborhood has a party. Also, people meet in parks and squares and make their show with fireworks.
Especially in the City center, there will be a lot of fireworks in every corner of the town.
This creates an amazing atmosphere with beautiful lights for the whole night.
Ability to Visit Krakow, Auschwitz, and Zakopane
It might be much colder in Zakopane but there is a big possibility to see a lot of snow.
The view and architecture are amazing and there are beautiful, warm, and traditional places to stay.
Enjoy a calm Christmas time in Zakopane next to the fireplace. Watch the snow from the window and try some local products.
On the way back you can also stay in Krakow for a night or two and visit Auschwitz Camp.
It is much better to visit Auschwitz and Wieliczka Salt Mine from Krakow instead of any other city in Poland.
In case you have only one day in Krakow, you can visit both Auschwitz and Wieliczka Salt Mine in One day from Krakow.
In case you are in Warsaw and you would like to visit Auschwitz, then you have two options.
Either you take an all-inclusive tour to Krakow & Auschwitz from Warsaw (from €100 p.p.) or you get there by train and visit alone.
If you are going to get to Krakow by train, then you need to book your tickets to Auschwitz in advance.
Considering that Warsaw - Krakow with a fast train Is just 2 hours and 20 minutes and with a car, around 3,5 hours.
After you arrive in Krakow by train, you need to take a bus to Auschwitz just behind Krakow's Central Station.
The trip from Krakow to Auschwitz with the bus is around 1 hour and 25 minutes and you will be just outside the main entrance.
Zakopane might be the best place to spend your Christmas time in Poland, especially if you are with the family.
Family time, fireplace, grilled cheese (oczypek), I call it halloumi because it smells like the Cyprus Halloumi.
Finally, visit some nice traditional bars and restaurants in Zakopane and you might be lucky to see some góralski show.
Góralski is the mountain people. They are dressed strange but they are very nice and you have a lot of fun with them.
Last but not least, drink hot wine or hot beer, it will keep you warm.
Zakopane New Year Free Open Party
In Zakopane New Year's open party there are always big names playing. We can't wait for the new information.
The atmosphere will be amazing in the Polish winter capital and it will be more crowded than ever before.
Big Names in Zakopane Open Party: Last Year was Alvaro Soler and Albano Carrisi.
Feel free to use the comparison engine below. It will get you the best hotel deals out of all the major companies in a few seconds.
We recommend staying in a traditional hotel with a restaurant and a fireplace.
In case you are a group of people, it is best to book an apartment or a small wooden house with a nice garden.
Check also the neighbor village called Kościelisko. It is very close to Zakopane and is also a very beautiful place and much quieter.
Also, there is a possibility to not be able to find something nice to stay in Zakopane.
Zakopane is considered to be the winter capital of Poland. It is a very beautiful traditional place where you can enjoy the beauty of nature.
Just take your warmest clothes as the temperature can be -15 C during the day or even less.
It is very crowded during the New Year but there is also a nice open party with concerts and fireworks. Fireworks are everywhere!
I know, I recommend you to visit Zakopane when it will be -15C or even less.
Let's see a few ideas on what you can do in Zakopane (The winter Capital or the Ski Capital of Poland).
I am sure you already know the basics, that you can go for Ski and Hiking. For Ski, there are many places, one is the: GoSKI.
There are many places and paths and I am sure if you look you will find something close to you.
I am hoping that you have a rental car, otherwise it might be difficult to visit most of the places.
You can book your private transport Krakow - Zakopane - Krakow from only €130 per group (6 hours in total). Ask me for more info.
You can take some tours with hotel pickup, but you know they will cost more.
The number one attraction to consider when you are with kids and during the winter is Snowlandia.
I strongly recommend Strążyska Valley, which is easily accessible from the center of Zakopane.
If you are not a hiking enthusiast, or you are with kids, you will make it to the end of the valley after 40 minutes of walk.
Enjoy the Siklawa waterfalls and have a cup of hot tea at the local shelter and get some rest.
- Visit Chocholow village, which features traditional wooden houses that have been built by the local highlanders years ago.
- Walk-in Krupowki, the main street of Zakopane. Meet some locals, see what village life has to offer and shop for some souvenirs.
- Take a trip up the mountain Gubalowka, ride in a funicular, and experience the natural surrounds.
- Ski-in the Tatra Mountains. Relax in Hot Baths Therms. Enjoy the most beautiful places in Polish Mountains.
- If you like hiking, then maybe you want to visit Morskie Oko, the famous lake. Around 18KM of walking.
- Enjoy BUKOVINA Thermal Baths. This is a beautiful place right at the feet of the Tatra Mountains. Barely 15 km from Zakopane.
- Visit Cmentarz Zasluzonych na Peksowym Brzyzku, Zakopane.
- Climb the Giewont Mountain.
- Kasprowy Wierch Cable Car or Ski.
Don't forget the Cheese and the Hot Wine next to the fireplace. After a few of those, the cold will be less. Do you agree?
Ask me about your custom private transport to Zakopane from Krakow.
Not much planning and cheap
Poland is considered one of the cheapest destinations in Europe. For European citizens, no VISA is required and you just need to book flights and hotels.
Only take a look at how to exchange euro to zloty.
Although Poland is in the European Union, the euro is still not adapted. 1 euro is around 4,2 zloty on average.
The difficult part is to choose where in Poland: Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, and Zakopane offers awesome value for money experience.
You definitely cannot be everywhere but a good combination can be Christmas in Zakopane and New Year in Warsaw.
Relax with your family or friends in a traditional hotel in Zakopane and then spend awesome NewYear in Warsaw.
It is also in the middle of Europe, so the flights won't be long and can be much cheaper when booking in advance.
READ: How to Plan a Cheap Trip
Easy and Cheap transportation Network
Transportation during this time is much easier in Poland than in other places in Europe.
There are many different options you can use to travel within the city and also when traveling between different cities in Poland.
All you need to know is:
- Jakdojade - The easiest way to use public transport in Poland. You can even buy a ticket through the application.
- Fast trains you can book online through the intercity website
- If time is not an issue, then the cheapest option is FlixBus. Comfortable buses with Wi-Fi will take you anywhere at the best prices. See below.
Taxi services are also cheaper and you have also Taxify and UBER services.
Enjoy the Lights
Lights in the City
The streets of Warsaw are going to shine with beautiful lights adding a festive atmosphere to feel Christmas.
Some of the best installations to focus on are:
Start at the "Castle Square" and follow the "Krakowskie Przedmieście", which then continues to "Nowy Świat" street.
Then move to "Trzech Krzyży Square" and finally take the Aleja Ujazdowskie Street to the Belweder next to the Royal Lazienki.
Old Town - Other Streets
Every year the Warsaw's old town has special light installation across the graphical streets.
The most interesting part is the Market square where you can possibly find the ice-skating area and the small wooden houses with Hot Red Wine.
Another interesting square to note, with a great atmosphere, is Bankowy Square where the New Year's Eve Open Party takes place.
Who doesn't like the Christmas lights? Admire the Christmas illumination in the Alley of China (in Łazienki Royal Garden).
Usually, around December 7, after dark, the Royal Baths sparkled with a Christmas and New Year's glow.
Avenue of China - from the gate at ul. Agrykola to the gate at ul. Gagarin - decorates stylish illumination.
Warsaw's Christmas illumination is listed among the most beautiful in Europe.
Lights of Wilanów Garden
The Royal Garden of Light at the Wilanów Palace is an open-air exhibition, in which thousands of colorful diodes create sophisticated forms.
If you visit Wilanów Park after dusk, you enter the space in which you can feel as at the royal court.
A light installation is a great option for cold and grey nights for children and grown-ups alike!
Every year the Wilanów garden shines with a completely new installation – The King’s Winter Garden.
It is an elegant, sophisticated exhibition, directly referring to the Palace’s architecture and history.
As thousands of people visit the garden every night it might be a great idea to buy your tickets online so you skip any line at the selling points.
The price of the normal ticket is just 10 zloty. Buy your tickets here.
Winter illuminations at the Multimedia Fountain
Between the old town and the Wisła river, there is a nice square that hosts the Multimedia Fountain Park.
The fountain is free of charge and you can watch amazing shows with music and lights.
Usually, the shows take place every Friday and Saturday at 16:00, then 17:00 and finally at 18:00.
There will be extra shows at 19:00 and 20:00 on the special days of Christmas and New Year (December: 25, 26, and 31 -- January: 1 and 6).
Polish People know how to Have Fun!
A Polish woman who drinks more than the occasional glass of wine or the famous "hot beer" is truly a thing to marvel at.
Be aware that there is a lot of women that they can drink a guy under the table at any-time.
Note also that Polish girls and Polish guys like to going out and partying a lot, they are easy-going and not a snob at all.
You can easily meet and have fun with them, they will usually smile at you if you behave.
Ski without snow in Warsaw
Do you love to ski or you just want to try to ski? No worries, you can ski in Warsaw even without snow.
You can ski in Zakopane if there will be snow but in Warsaw, you can ski anyway.
One of the biggest facilities of its kind in Europe, where you can practice skiing and snowboarding all year long.
With numerous sports competitions, recreation events, festivals and integration camps, ski and snowboard lessons organized.
The downhill slope is covered with Dentix mats covering a surface of 9,500 m².
A ski lift and chairlift bring over 2,000 people per hour to the hilltop (a height of 74.9 meters), which offers a great panoramic view of Warsaw.
A notable exciting attraction (and not only for kids) is the 700-meter long gravity slide.
We are talking about Szczęśliwice park in Ochota (Happiness Park). See more info on the Park Szczesliwicki Website.
Many To See And More To Do
You are not going to get bored in Warsaw and Poland in general. There are so many beautiful places to see and do here.
Even when traveling with kids the travel time will be pleasant if you spend a bit of time in planning.
To help you out in planning I have written a few articles about Warsaw but you can find thousands of things to do and see.
Food is Relatively Cheap
The food is generally cheap, it depends on what you eat and where.
Avoid eating in the old town or in the most tourist areas of the city like the Nowy Swiat where the food is overpriced.
There are very nice Polish restaurants to visit. Try Rozana and Stary Dom - The Old House.
But if you are looking for a third one, then try Polka.
High-Quality Hotels / Great Prices
There are many different options for accommodation. The cheapest option for a group of people is to book an apartment.
If you are not registered in Airbnb, you can register and get 100 PLN OFF.
Apartments are the best budget option for accommodation.
You can also book a 5* hotel with prices starting from just €90. See ideas on the Hotels Page.
There are Hostels, Motels, Shared Rooms, Apartments, and guesthouses.
Find Your Hotel in Warsaw (New Year's Eve)
- Don't be late and if that is going to happen, notify the people in advance.
- Do not call Poland an Eastern European country. It is better to use central Europe instead - this is the actual location.
- Take out your shoes before you enter a home or apartment.
- Try to learn some basic Polish words, it will open the heart of most people.
- Have cash on hand, as some places don't take credit cards.
- Do not exchange currency at the airport or in train stations.
- Avoid drinking in public places (parks or streets). It is not allowed and you be fined for this.
- Always carry your ID or a document proof of your identity. This can save you from a lot of trouble.
- Don't drink and drive a car or a bike. Police also checking bikes. Driving a bike in winter might be also very risky!
- Smile, don't be shy. Try to talk to other people :)
- Avoid drunk people the much as possible.
- Smoking at public transport stops it is not allowed.
- Crossing the street improperly it is not allowed
- Secure your belongings. It is not that Police ignore you, but they cannot do anything if someone steals you. It happens every 5 minutes.
See you in Poland this Christmas and New Year!
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