Why you should 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 value for money.
Book your trip and let the Christmas magic begin!
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Recommended Hotel in Warsaw - Radisson BLU Sobieski
Christmas in Poland (Traditions)
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 (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 and 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 the number of months.
Also, they need to keep one space 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. See also the Greek version of Polish traditions.
Christmas traditions in Poland
New Year's Eve in Warsaw and Parties
New Year’s Eve is not an official public holiday in Poland. It is maybe the busiest time of the year for many shops, restaurants, and other commercial businesses. Traffic may be heavy in many cases and in the biggest cities.
Transport services might be affected, as many people travel to attend events or spend time with their family and friends. It is relatively better than in other European countries.
Ideas for the New Year Long night - Party Time!
Everyone wants New Year’s eve to be special. But the choice of what to do and where to go is always hard. Some good options for spending the night are:
- Bar Studio. Start early and watch the fireworks and then continue. Bar Studio is located in the theatre studio in the Palace of Culture and Science (Ticket around 50 PLN).
- Another great place is Club Spatif. This club is located 15 minutes walk from the Palace of Culture and Science. In case you cannot walk, you might want to check our transport guide and try any other option to get there. 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 in walking distance is Novogrodzka Street and Zurawia Street. Just behind the Novotel Hotel.
- Book a table in Paros Greek restaurant and spend a Greek night. Usually, the price is around 350 PLN with food and Drinks.
- If you prefer to spend a Rock New Year Eve, then you can check the ROCK/Metal Sylwester
- 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 the New Year Eve. Check with your hotel. Make sure you be out 5 minutes before midnight.
- Hala Koszyki event 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.
Recommended in Warsaw - Radisson BLU Sobieski Hotel
New Year's Open Parties in Warsaw
Warsaw every year provides city residents and visitors with great outdoor parties with concerts, fireworks, and laser show.
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
For the second time, the city's New Year’s Eve celebrations will take place on 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. At midnight, a unique light and laser show will be held.
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.
Warszawa Stolica Sylwestra 2018. The only one, the best, the most singing and hot! Plac Bank is located around 20 minutes walk from the Palace of Culture in Warsaw.
The Warsaw's free open party with a laser show will be in Plac Bankowy. Starting at 19:00. See more info about the open party in Warsaw.
New Year's Eve 2018 - Warsaw without fireworks! This is the official decision of the city authorities. Fireworks have been the culmination of the New Year's Eve party in the capital for years.
But this year it was decided to accept the appeal of dog owners. Animals suffer the sounds of shots, which makes Sylwester very stressful for them.
What will the residents of Warsaw look at on New Year's Eve 2018? Everything indicates that a laser show will be organized instead of fireworks. Colored lasers brighten the sky like fireworks and are no less spectacular.
In front of the Palace of Culture
Usually, there is a big firework show in front of the Palace of Culture in Warsaw. You can then easily roll in the Studio Bar which is located in the buildings of the Palace.
After, you can also start your awesome pub crawl. Just be there a few minutes before noon or even much earlier and enjoy the whole show. It might be cold so better to dress well.
Visit the National Stadium of Warsaw - Zimowy Narodowy
The National Stadium of Warsaw during the winter time 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 winter time 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 the Warsaw's national stadium.
Meet Nice People
It might be cold and hopefully will be some snow this year. Polish people and foreigners that visit Poland are open and warm. It is very easy to catch up with some other visitors or locals and have a great time with them in the capital of Poland.
Just be open, smile and get ready to have fun.
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.
Also, the majority of young people speak English.
An interesting idea for the party animals is to book the Warsaw Pub Crawl with Free Drinks.
It is the best way to meet other people and have more fun. It is on Discount 20% Now.
Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku - Happy New Year!
Lot's of firework
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.
Visit Krakow and Zakopane for a few nights
It might be much colder in Zakopane but there is a big possibility to see some snow. The view is beautiful and there many 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. It is much better to visit Auschwitz and Wieliczka Salt Mine from Krakow instead of any other city in Poland. But you can visit them from Warsaw as well.
Zakopane might be the best place to spend your Christmas time in Poland. Family, fireplace and you need to try the grilled cheese. I call it halloumi because it smells like the Cyprus Halloumi.
Finally, visit some nice traditional bars in Zakopane, you might be lucky to see some góralski show. Góralski is the mountain people and they are dressed strangely.
Last but not least, drink hot wine or hot beer, it will keep you warm. Say "vino grzane poproshieou" for hot wine and "pivo grzane poprosheou" for hot beer.
Zakopane is a beautiful place in Poland - The center of Zakopane LIVE (Krupówki)
Zakopane 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!
Things to do in Zakopane
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. There are many places and paths and I am sure if you look you will find something close to you.
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 to see the Siklawa waterfalls and have a cup of hot tea at the local shelter and get some rest.
See also the 15 BEST things to do at the Tatra National Park.
- Visit Chocholow village, which features traditional wooden houses that have been built by the local highlanders years ago.
- Visit 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. You can book this 8-hour tour with an English Driver (59,87 euros per person) as well.
- Ski in the Tatra Mountains. Relax in Hot Baths Therms. Enjoy the most beautiful places in Polish Mountains. You can check this tour as well.
- Visit the Morskie Oko Lake.
- Visit BUKOVINA Thermal Baths. This is a beautiful place right at the feet of the Tatra Mountains. Barely 15 km from Zakopane and 20 km from Nowy Targ.
- Visit Cmentarz Zasluzonych na Peksowym Brzyzku, Zakopane. Find more information on Wikipedia.
- Visit the Giewont Mountain, Zakopane.
- Kasprowy Wierch Cable Car, Zakopane. Find more info on TripAdvisor.
- Relax in the mountain spa resort of Chocholow. An amazing place to relax and Have Fun. Prices from 59 PLN for 3 Hours. See the map below.
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?
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.
You only need 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.
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.
Book the Cheapest Intercity Transfers - FlixBus
Taxi services are also cheaper and you have also Taxify and UBER services. Read the article for all available transportation options in Poland and save a lot of money! Find also discount codes for Taxify and UBER.
Lights of Wilanów Garden and Łazienki illuminations
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 the 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.
Do you like Christmas lights? Then maybe you can also visit the Christmas illumination in the Alley of China (in Łazienki Royal Garden).
On December 7, 2018, 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.
Łazienki Christmas Illuminations
Tip: Warsaw's Christmas illumination is listed among the most beautiful in Europe
Visit Krakow, Auschwitz and Wieliczka Salt Mine
Use one whole day out of your vacation in Poland to see the beautiful Krakow and the horrible Auschwitz. Experience high-quality tours and transports with amazing guides and see the most amazing attractions in Poland.
It is preferred to visit the two attractions from Krakow as it is much closer. You can also visit them from Warsaw with one-day all-inclusive tours.
Finally, for the Greek people, we can arrange a Greek tour to Auschwitz from Warsaw.
You can go to Krakow by train and meet our guide there. It can be in English as well.
Something you cannot find anywhere in the rest of the world
Dig many meters under the ground surface, in the beautiful Ball Chamber of Wieliczka Salt Mine. It definitely cannot be fireworks, but this is a unique style of New Year Party.
Since this UNESCO site is, in fact, one of the most beautiful salt mines in the world, get ready to be spoiled with amazing food and drinks accompanied by awesome live music.
More info at Wieliczka Salt Mine Events Page.
Polish girls 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 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.
You can even 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 Park Szczesliwicki Website.
Many things to do and See
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.
Recommended articles about Warsaw, things to do and what to see:
- Awesome places outside Warsaw - Enjoy the Nature from Warsaw
- Warsaw with Kids and Not Only
- For Free in Warsaw Poland - Free Museums and Free Concerts
- Breakfast for just 1 zloty in Warsaw - Śniadanie za złotówkę
- How to use Public transport in Warsaw - Warsaw Airport
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.
Cheap High-Quality Hotels - Where to stay in Warsaw
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.
You can also book a 5* hotel with prices starting from just €90. See my Hotels Comparison Page and find the best option for you.
There are Hostels, Motels, Shared Rooms, Apartments, and guesthouses.
General Tips for Poland Travel
- 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 of the 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
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