When the Christmas Fair begins in the heart of Gdańsk, and the Coal Market (Targ Węglowy) transforms into a Christmas festival with a dazzling display of lights, it means that Christmas is near. This year, the festival began earlier than usual, on November 19, and will last until the Christmas Eve. This means that the holiday shopping spree has been extended to last full entire weeks!
Most of us enjoy the Christmas spirit that lingers in the streets of the Old Town, and is in the hearts of tourists and locals alike. It’s a magical time, waited for by many throughout the year. To come to Gdańsk and not visit the Christmas Fair is like going to Paris and not climbing the Eiffel Tower – you just have to do it!
The scent of mulled wine and gingerbread, stalls full of delicacies, regional products and handicraft, combined with magical illumination and fresh delights, attract guests from the Tri-City area and beyond. During the official opening, despite the pouring rain, people flooded the Fair. Good thing the organisers thought of expanding the area of the event to the neighbouring streets, otherwise it might have gotten a bit crowded.
New space at the Christmas Fair
This year, trade stands were also set up on Tkacka and Bogusławskiego Streets. The new space has been neatly arranged. A net with densely placed, tiny lights, hung between the stands on Bogusławskiego Street makes it look like a luminous tunnel.
It was visible during the first weekend that the event sparked attention. The Fair teemed with life during the colourful parade with the guest appearance by the white and silver dressed members of the Mosaic group, who flapped their LED wings to the rhythm of the drums. People were lining up at the food stands, as well as other attractions, such as the luminescent Santa Claus’s chair, where you could sit and take a photo, or the Elf House, where Santa’s Magical sledge was parked.
Santa’s Corner, with its enormous snowball from GPEC Group, and the beautifully lit up Venetian Carousel, saw happy faces smeared with goffers and chocolate dipped fruit. The giggle of amused children waiting for a ride on the carousel or a bicycle generating energy to light the giant ball blended with the street bustle. In the space dedicated to children, with a traditional Christmas tree decorated by the youngest inhabitants of Gdańsk, Santa’s luminous throne and a magic train, adults also had a lot of fun.
This year’s fair was divided into zones with a total of 120 Christmas stands. Nearly 50 of them are catering stalls. They were located on the Coal Market in the vicinity of the Wyżynna Gate and together they form the Joyful Corner (Radosny Zakątek). You can reach it through the huge Advent gate with a calendar, whose windows are opened daily.
The catering area will let you have a great time with your family and friends, drink mulled wine, hot chocolate, or try delicacies from twelve different parts of the world. This includes Hungarian, Lithuanian, Asian, German, Spanish, Greek and Crimean-Tatar cuisines. The offer includes Vilnius cepelinai, Spanish churros, Greek halva, Kashubian winter warmer soups with goose meat. You can buy spices from all over the world and various types of coffee. In short, you will have everything you need to feel the true spirit of Christmas.
Where to buy presents at the Christmas Fair?
For scarves, hats, scented candles, Christmas tree decorations, sweets and products from artists and craftsmen, visit Tkacka and Bogusławskiego Streets. For official gifts from the Christmas Market and souvenirs from Gdańsk: a mug for mulled wine or socks, visit Santa’s Gift Factory. The busy Elves will wrap them beautifully on the spot. You can send a gift bought at the fair through a parcel machine thanks to free, economic and ecological shipment by InPost. If you want to take a break from Christmas shopping, come to the Moose Corner, where the well-known Lucek the Moose awaits with his jokes.
A new feature this year is the points system. With the Gdańsk Resident’s Card or the Tourist Card you can collect points for visiting individual stations of the fair. The game involves scanning QR codes that hang in the frames using your mobile phone and the “I am from Gdańsk” (Jestem z Gdańska) app. Collected points can be exchanged for souvenirs.
The Gdańsk Fair, visually impressive and interesting in terms of its commercial offer, has been a tourist magnet for several years now. In 2019 it was awarded in the “European Best Christmas Market 2020” competition, thus becoming one of the top three most beautiful fairs in Europe, right after Budapest and Vienna.
A year ago it was held virtually. This year’s edition was launched on a spectacular scale, with a wide range of regional products and new attractions. The programme does not lack colourful parades, Christmas music, fairy tale readings, and meetings with Father Christmas.
You can visit the Christmas Market seven days a week. The stands are open from Sunday to Thursday from 12.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from 12.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. You have to come to Gdańsk!