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While other Christmas Markets throughout Poland are buzzing this time of year with big crowds, the small town of Torun is a nice change of pace. This well kept secret sits beautifully along the Vistula River presenting its visitors with beautiful, old and rustic architecture. This Polish gem plays a part in world history as it was once home to the famous Astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus. If the history isn’t enough for you, Piernik, known as gingerbread to us English speakers, has been the town delicacy since the 14th century.
The cobblestone streets are filled with the scent of ginger and cinnamon which makes it difficult to not press your face against the window of each Piernik shop you pass. It is nearly impossible to walk more than a block without finding the cookies while the streets are lined with bakeries. Make sure to stop into as many shops as possible for a taste as these are the best gingerbread cookies you will ever have.
The Christmas Market itself is very small, but the scenery makes up for the lack of food and souvenirs. The towers surrounding the Market Square are gorgeous while the lights hung above the streets will guide you around with that special Christmas Spirit. If you’re looking for some great Christmas scenery and the best gingerbread out there, Torun should be part of your Winter Market adventure.
November 29th – December 23rd, 2019
Sunday – Thursday: 11am – 6pm
Friday- Saturday: 11am – 9 pm
There are some Polish food options around the Market Stalls such as Polish sausages and soups. You will find a lot of Smalec, a piece of bread smothered with lard, pickles and meat. The tastiest option is Oscypek, a smoked cheese from the Polish mountains. The cheese is served straight from the grill, topped with some cranberry jam. On top of some traditional Polish foods, it is easy to find Grzane Wino (hot wine) and Piernik. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with either at Christmas time.
If the market foods are not suiting your needs, head into one of the restaurants around the square. One of the specialties of the city is a baked Pierogi, which is not as common in other cities through out Poland. The unique Pierogi is baked in the oven and comes out like a mini Stromboli. Don’t let your eyes deceive you, one or two of these are enough as they are extremely filling.
You will find the tree, just on the other side of the market, next to the Copernicus statue. It’s not huge, but the clock tower of Ratusz Staromiejski (Old Town Hall) provides quite the background. The Santa hat sitting atop Copernicus’s head only adds to the overall atmosphere.
There isn’t much to find, but it always important to take home some fresh baked Piernik. If you’re looking for an ornament, a small gingerbread cookie is probably your best option.
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