Christmas is here, and if the season coming, than it means Xmas fairs and markets are opening all around the region. Check out the major ones in Krakow, Poland, Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary.
The Market traditionally opens in the beginning of December and lasts till the end, though undoubtedly it's at its most festive in the week or so before Christmas. Amongst the best-loved features of the market are the giant wooden barrels Inside these intriguing objects you can buy yourself a delicious mulled wine (Grzaniec Galicyjski). With the temperatures decidedly chilly to say the least, you could hardly find a more congenial potion to ward off the cold. Stalls selling sausages and the distinctive fried oscypek cheese provide other inviting gastronomic distractions.
Wooden stands sell a wide range of Christmas decorations and sweets as well as other goodies. And open-air eateries offer hearty meals and mulled wine. Plus there are additional attractions such as shows, folk dances, concerts of carols, etc.
Traditional oplatek Christmas greetings.
The Polish Christmas oplatek wafers are wallet-size, paper-thin and crisp leafs of bread, white or colored, with an impression of the Nativity scene. In Poland before the Christmas Eve dinner those present approach one another with an ‘oplatek’ wafer in hand and offer wishes. When approached, everybody listens to wishes, says wishes in return, breaks off a bit from the other person’s wafer, eats it, and kisses him or her on both cheeks. Oplatek also means popular December and January social gatherings in Poland where invited guests, even perfect strangers, practice the ritual among themselves in addition to regular cocktail-party socializing. And it is usual to visit friends and family before or over the Christmastide to share the oplatek wafer with them and exchange wishes.
Kolednicy carol singers
Carolers still go from door to door during the Yuletide but nowadays schoolchildren have replaced expert adult performers of old. Nevertheless, for their efforts the minors expect small change rather than sweets.
Where is the Christmas Market in Krakow ? on the central square in the Old Town district, called Rynek Glowny
From what time to what time? from 1st December
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Starting at the end of November lasting till Christmas Day you can find "Christkindlmarkte" on nearly every corner of the city. Small huts provide you with potentiall Christmas presents, food and most important hot punch and "Gluhwein", heated sweetened wine. The biggest ones are the Christkindlmarkt at the Vienna City Hall, at the Spittelberg and inside the University Campus.
But there are Christmas Fair stages and concerts front of the famous Schonnbrunn Castle, RATHAUSPLATZ and SPITTELBERG, where you can enjoy the historical Vienna buildings, the possible white snow, decorated trees and christmas tradition together.
Where is the Christmas Fair in Vienna? as we stated before, almost every corner of Vienna, that mainly means the downtown and the historical quaters. Like the area of the Stephan's Dom, Schonbrunn Castle
From what time to what time? from 12 Nov till 24 Dec, Opens Mon-Sun 9am till 9/10pm (as it is usuall do not arrive to early, market in the evening much more fun)
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Christmas Market in Budapest is traditionally held on the Vorosmarty square, end of the pedestrian area near the Danube river. There are wooden kiosks, great christmas tree. You can easily buy some unique gift, folk art, hand made product for your loved ones, but the Christmas Market is a gastronomy festival as well. So why not try the 'mulled wine', palinkas, kolbasz and hurka (which are hungarian style sausages)?
Don't forget to taste traditional Hungarian food and cakes: strudel, grilled sasuges and meat, Christmas cookies, kurtos kalacs (hollow, cylinder-shaped pastry with different coatings: sugar, walnut)
You can watch many cultural programmes and listen to folk music while you're looking for gifts. On 21st-23rd December a small Betlehem comes alive on the square with a crib and live animals. You can take part in a Christmas tree decorating competition, as well.You'll find similar Budapest Christmas Markets at Liszt Ferenc square (Pest, near Oktogon) or at Nyugati sq, (Grand Boulevard, M2 line, trams No.4, 6) but this one at Vorosmarty Square represents the sort of Advent atmosphere that we most long for.
Where is the Christmas Market in Budapest? on the Vorosmarty square, easy to go there by underground (yellow line has a stop there).
From what time to what time? 20th Nov - 29th Dec
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