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Whether you’re looking for snow, romance, or something entirely different, Poland has it all.
Like any other place in the world, the holiday atmosphere in Poland is unique and magical! But the sparkly fireworks and mulled wine are not the only things that make this season so special. The rich history, different traditions, and among all else – the warm and welcoming spirit of the locals – should make you pack your bags and take a trip to Poland for the New Year’s celebration.
To get the most out of your stay in Poland, here is some information about the Polish culture and tradition you need to know:
New Year’s traditions
Locals call the New Year’s Eve Sylwester because it falls on St. Sylvester’s feast day. Polish people know how to party, so the NYE is no exception. The celebration might even include a hayride into the forest, where they gather around a bonfire, eating sausages and of course, drinking vodka!
Polish traditional cuisine is overloaded with tasty dishes. If you’re looking for something unique to try on your holiday trip there, consider the following options:
- Bigos – a stew made from Sauerkraut, meat, and vegetables
- Pierogi – meat, vegetable, cheese, or chocolate-filled dumplings
- Zurek – fermented soup made from sour rye flour
- Flaki – beef tripe soup
- Makowiec – sweet yeast and poppy seed bread roll
No trip can be complete if you don’t buy a unique gift to bring home! And from your holiday travel to Poland, you can make no mistake by buying at least one of these things as a souvenir:
- Amber jewelry
- Oscypek cheese
- Gnome statuette
- Embroidered linen
And although every city brings an unforgettable holiday experience on its own, we recommend visiting Warsaw and Krakow for an ultimate New Years’ experience!
Celebrating in Warsaw
The ancient city of Warsaw is certainly one of the most beautiful capitals in Eastern Europe, so a visit during the holidays is something you won’t regret. With plenty of tourist sites, a welcoming vibe, and warm and joyous people, Warsaw will create a festive atmosphere that we’re sure you haven’t seen before!
Things to do and places to visit
One of the best places you could visit is the Old Town area. This is the liveliest spot around New Year’s when you can drink, dance, and make new friends with tourists and locals. Also, don’t forget to take a walk along the Vistula River during the peak of the holiday season. It will be packed with people and will have live music as well as a spectacular NYE fireworks display.
If you’re a devoted music lover, you should definitely go to Warsaw’s Palace of Culture. This Defilad Square area is popular for having many live music concerts that attract large crowds.
Another good reason to plan a trip to Warsaw is the various clubs and bars decorated to match the season’s spirit. Most of them even host NYE-themed parties, so you’ll have plenty of places to choose from – all for incredibly affordable prices.
In case you’re looking for a higher-end New Year’s celebration, pay a visit to the Bank Club. Apart from the luxurious setting, smooth music, and fun-loving people, you’ll also enjoy mouthwatering culinary delights and tasty drinks.
Where to stay
As Poland’s capital, Warsaw offers a wide range of accommodation options to choose from. If you’re a first-time traveler to Warsaw, we recommend staying in the Old Town area, since it’s the best place to discover almost every major attraction and the city’s rich culture and history. The list of hotels is long, so here are some of our top recommendations.
InterContinental Warsaw Hotel
Located in the heart of Warsaw, the InterContinental Warsaw Hotel is an architectural landmark as one of the highest buildings in the city. Several popular tourist attractions in Warsaw, such as the National Museum and the Frederick Chopin Museum, are within walking distance. This luxurious IHG hotel offers elegantly decorated, comfortable rooms. The hotel has an indoor heated pool, a fitness center, and a spa where guests can exercise, relax, and enjoy a massage. The hotel’s two restaurants serve both modern Polish cuisine and international dishes. The hotel’s central location makes it easy to access several public transport stations and the airport.
Mercure Warszawa Grand Hotel
The Mercure Warszawa Grand Hotel is located in the heart of Warsaw, right on the main streets and near the Old Town. Many of Warsaw’s attractions including Lazienki Park, the Royal Route are nearby. The area is also home to trendy eateries and quirky shops. An array of amenities are available at this 4-star hotel, including a casino, a sauna, two on-site restaurants, and a lounge bar. The air-conditioned rooms come with free Wi-Fi and self-catering amenities like an iron, hair dryer, and coffee machine. The hotel is within close proximity of Warsaw’s central railway station and Warsaw Chopin Airport is just 15 minutes drive away.
Polonia Palace Hotel
Polonia Palace Hotel is centrally located, just opposite the Palace of Culture and Science. This historic four-star hotel features soundproofed, stylishly decorated rooms with minibars and heated bathroom floors. Free Wi-Fi access is available throughout the hotel. The hotel’s on-site restaurant serves Polish and European cuisine. There is also a lounge bar in the lobby. Numerous eateries, nightclubs, bars, and shopping venues are within walking distance. Warsaw Chopin Airport is also a couple of minutes drive away.
Castle Inn is an elegant boutique hotel situated in the heart of the picturesque and vibrant Warsaw’s Old Town. The hotel features themed rooms designed by local artists. Most rooms offer views of the Royal Castle or St. John’s Cathedral. A 15-minute walk gets you to the modern part of Warsaw’s city center. The Central Railway Station and Chopin Airport are less than half an hour’s drive away.
Warsaw has an extensive bus and tram network criss-crossing the city as well as a well-developed metro system. The best part? You can travel not only around the city but also to some of the neighboring municipalities and explore a bit further. Taxis are also plentiful and relatively inexpensive compared to other European capitals.
Having a knowledgeable local to navigate you through the streets will allow you to really enjoy your visit. While you’re in Warsaw, it’s worth booking a Blacklane chauffeur to take you around the city. When you download the Blacklane app, you’ll get access to local chauffeurs who’ll whisk you off to your preferred location with ease.
Celebrating in Krakow
Although not as large as Poland’s capital, Krakow still has to offer quite a lot for wandering tourists. It’s one of the most popular destinations for spending the “Sylwester” (this is how the locals refer to New Year’s Eve). This event is among the most important one for the people of Krakow, who celebrate it in a lively atmosphere with music concerts and spectacular performances.
Things to do and places to visit
Krakow is known for its crazy nightlife, lots of must-visit locations, tasty cuisine, and affordable accommodations. There are many reasons why you should make a holiday getaway to this amazing European city, especially during the time around New Year’s holidays.
One of the best places to visit is Krakow’s Old Town, which becomes a truly magical place during this season, with all those Christmas lights and happy crowds. On NYE, the square is full of people who are gathered to watch the show that’s organized every year. The event usually starts before 9 p.m. and lasts until midnight. Not only it’s free, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the performances of Polish and international artists!
The Christmas markets are likely the most famous tourist attraction around this season. They are open from November 26th to December 26th, but sometimes, they even extend to the first week of January. There are more than 80 wooden houses placed around the main square that offer cool handmade crafts, ceramics, embroidery, and of course, plenty of Christmas decorations.
Where to stay
You can’t possibly go wrong with booking a short trip to Krakow for New Year’s Eve. There are plenty of hotels, apartments, and Airbnb options, and if you’re wondering where you can book your stay, here are our recommendations.
Hotel Wentzl is an upscale and historic boutique hotel in the heart of Krakow, whose doors open directly onto the Main Market Square. Originally built as a family residence in the 16th century, this building has an awe-inspiring facade with nostalgic arched windows. Featuring an elegant design and a charming feel, all rooms come with a minibar, a coffee machine, and high-speed internet access.
The Wentzl Hotel houses the iconic Wentzl Restaurant, founded in the 18th century, which is known for its delicious European cuisine. Restaurants, shops, and St. Mary’s Basilica are all within walking distance of this prime location. John Paul II Kraków-Balice International Airport is less than half an hour away from the hotel.
The 5-star Hotel Gródek is in the Old Town of Kraków and is within walking distance of most tourist attractions. The hotel has 23 antique-filled individually designed bedrooms, a cozy and small bar inside a library, a restaurant serving traditional Polish cuisine, and a rooftop terrace with city views.
The hotel is about 20 minutes drive from John Paul II Kraków-Balice International Airport and Krakow Central train station is within 15 minutes of walking distance.
Venetian House Aparthotel
The Venetian House Aparthotel is situated in a beautiful 16th Century townhouse that boasts spectacular views of the Main Square. Apartments and rooms have been designed to be self-contained living spaces, decorated in a contemporary and elegant style to complement the historic architecture. The kitchenettes in the apartments are equipped with a microwave, electric kettle, hob, and kitchenware, so guests can prepare their meals in comfort. Additionally, most have a dining area and a dishwasher.
The Venetian House Aparthotel is located near many of the city’s popular landmarks, including Cloth Hall and St. Mary’s Basilica. John Paul II Kraków-Balice International Airport is less than 30 minutes drive away.
Aparthotel Old Town
Aparthotel Old Town offers a pleasant stay in the center of Kraków’s Old Town, steps away from the Main Market Square and the Wawel Royal Castle. All air-conditioned apartments and suites feature high-speed internet, LCD TVs, and a fully equipped kitchenette, including a refrigerator and electric kettle. Restaurants and cafes abound in the surrounding area. Galeria Krakowska Shopping Centre and Kraków Główny Railway Station are within walking distance. John Paul II Kraków-Balice International Airport is around 30 minutes drive away.
Although there’s no underground system, Krakow’s bus and tram system is great for getting around the city – or even outside of it! The same tickets can be used for buses and trams, regardless of line numbers. Kraków’s trams cover almost everywhere you could want to go, so you won’t have to worry about taking a taxi.
There’s plenty to explore in Krakow’s streets – which is why we advise that you book a reliable Blacklane car service in Krakow to get you to your destination in style. When you download the Blacklane app, you’ll get access to local chauffeurs who know the best route to take.
Ringing in 2023 in style!
Our recommendations are tried and tested, since we celebrated our end of the year party in Poland. Our crew members from around the world gathered at Palac Sulislaw to have fun, celebrate, and create happy memories. We are proud to see the Blacklane crew growing and growing together. Now we’ll take all the heartfelt enthusiasm from those days into next year, and we wish the same to you!