Krakow Travel Guide
Krakow is one of the main highlights of Poland. It’s obviously good to see places like Zakopane, seaside (gdansk, Gdynia, Sopot), Wroclaw, Poznan too, but if you are planning a short visit to Poland, stick to Krakow, as it has everything you are looking for - the people, the views and the spirit.
Krakow Travel Ideas, Tours & Things to Do
Krakow is a city you need to tick off your travel bucket list. Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Oskar Schindler museum, Kazimierz and one of the fantastic free walking tours are all must sees in order to fully appreciate what this city has endured over the decades. Krakow also offers fantastic day trips, delicious dining and a great night out!
If you would like to plan a trip to Krakov our directory features trips, ideas for things to do, travel tips, recommendations for what to see and do, suggestions for getting around and suggestions for places to stay.
Weather and Best Time to Visit Krakow
The best times to visit Krakow are late April till October. That guarantees you a good / semi-good/too good weather. Temperatures are around 20 in April, May and Sept / Oct and 30 in the summer time. That’s the time when all the outdoor bars are open with their lovely cosy beer gardens.
Cheapest Way to Get to Krakow
The best way to get to Krakow is flying with a lowcost airline like Ryanair. This is always the cheapest option and there are usually special offers on throughout the year. We recommend avoiding trains as Polish track lines are unreliable and sometimes is can take a long time to complete journeys. Trains are also not the safest place to be either. You can get a fast train to central Krakow for 20 PLN (30 mins, every 30 mins) or a regular bus that will take up to an hour for 2.80 PLN. A taxi cab will cost you around 50-70 PLN
Krakow Transport Tips
Try to stay as close to city centre as possible, which means you have to look around Main Square, Kazimierz and in-between. That way everything will be in a walking distance for you. Tram / bus tickets cost around 2.80 PLN, taxis within 5-10 mins from central up to 20 PLN - make sure you take the corporate taxis (lots of colourful stickers on) as private ones might rip you off.
Where to Stay in Krakow
There are lots of hotels and hostels in Krakow with different prices for all budget. These are few hostels we would recommend:
- Mundo - nice and cosy with lovely staff
- Tutti Frutti - lively and vibrant in the heart of night life
- Flamingo - in the heart of night life
Best Places to See in Krakow
In Krakov you can visit squares, local markets, the historic centre, churches and museums, you will find this a great city to explore.
Krakov is full of historical buildings and architecture, we recommend visiting Oskar Shindler's Factory and seeing the Twelve Apostles monument. As for the places worth seeing apart from Main sq, Castle, Wisla river side, Blonia Kazimierz (Jewish district) its also worth to check out Zakrzowek, these are like rocks and they put the water in and now it looks amazing - just to chill during the day and get some sun.
Also Kopiec Kosciuszki is worth checking out although it s a bit far from the centre.
Shopping in Krakow
Galeria Krakowska is a place everyone goes to or Gakleruia Kazimierz is another shopping mall people check out. For an alternative shopping there are plenty of second hand shops in Krakow almost everywhere (Ul. Dluga for example) and Sunday Flea Market in Plac Nowy (kazimierz).
Food and Drink
Food in Poland is lovely! As for food, typical Polish food is served at:
- Babcia Malina (in Szpitalna for example)
- Chlopskie jadlo
- Polskie jadlo
- Zapiekanki in Plac Nowy (Kazimierz) (7 PLN)
- BBQ sausage at night in hala targowa (it's not far from Wielopole 15) (6 PLN)
As for international food:
Pizza's are good at
- Fabryka Pizzy in Szewska
- 3 papryczki
Burgers, Shoarma, steaks:
- Sioux in Rynek glowny
If the weather is nice relax in the main square with a pint of beer (like 10 PLN), there are plenty of beer gardens location in this area.
Pubs in Main Sq – there are many cool pubs in main sq with beer gardens. It’s cool to sit there and check out people (pint costs 12 PLN)
Pubs in Kazimierz – lots of pubs around Plac Nowy, Alchemia is the most famous one , also café Nova, Tajemniczy Ogrod and many others.
Pubs in streets around Main Sq - Pauza 2 in Florianska st and Lodz Kaliska in Florianska as well. there is also Przychodnia bar where people dance on the tables and Irish Mbassy in Stolarska St where you have lots of foreigners and hot bar staff.
As for clubs, they all play either house / electro music, rnb music or mixed music.
Goraczka club is a club running everyday of the week and it's busy everyday of the week, a bit cheesy though.
Wielopole 15 – that’s a proper students’ place and that's like an old building with flats turned into set of 5 clubs, it’s for alternative people and young students. A bit of a dirty place, but good fun if you're drunk and reasonably cheap. Kitsch is the most famous of those clubs there
There is a new rnb club called Blue in Main Sq its a bit stinky as far as i remember. Also good old clubs like Midgard and Ministerstwo, both in Wielopole... you get to see lots of people aged 18-22 there though.
More posh places are Taawa in Kazimierz (people 25+), Frantic (22+ but very pricey place) and Shakers above that, then few other places like Baccarat, Prozak, Rdza.
Tips For Visiting For the First Time
1. Don't be wary when accepting help from strangers
It is fairly safe to say that Poles have a reputation for being pretty cool customers toward those they encounter. However, my companion and I were greeted by a man keen to help us find our way as soon as we arrived at the main train station. What a contrast to the common perception!
His polite conversation and inquisitive questions, however, soon turned to requests for money in way of payment for his help. Of course, we politely (and sternly) sent him on his way. I hasten to add that was the only negative experience we had, and it could have happened anywhere.
However it serves as a warning for all newcomers to be wary of any situations they may deem odd.
2. Embrace the local cuisine
Becoming ever popular with tourists, Krakow has an increasing number of cuisines featuring in its restaurants to suit all tastebuds. However to taste the local food and drink means your break in this fabulous city will be delicious, interesting and cheap!
For quick, filling snacks try pierogi – dumplings with a variety of fillings, or zapiekanka – Polish pizzabread. For heartier meals, bigos – meat stew and kielbasa – Polish sausage will do the trick, while pork, veal and sauerkraut also feature heavily on menus.
To wash all the food down, local beer and vodka is abundantly available.
3. Prepare for the weather
When preparing for the early-February trip to Krakow I was in a bit of a quandary about what to pack in my small, cabin bag. I knew it was going to be cold, and probably wet but snow? Naaah! The morning after our arrival well and truly proved me wrong when we saw what seven inches of the white stuff looked like.
Luckily I had thought to wear my snow boots on the plane and they remained on my feet for the duration of the trip. Coming from a country which panics at the first sight of snow, I was incredibly impressed at how efficiently pathways were cleared so people could continue on their way with ease. And the snow only served to add an extra dimension to this already beautiful city.
4. Explore every inch of the city
Go off the beaten track a little. Deviating from the trails featured in the guidebooks will reveal an endless number of hidden gems in the form of underground cafes/bars, restaurants and shops which would otherwise be missed. It is rare to find any chain bars or restaurants there and, because all strive to have individual character, you are sure to have a unique experience each time you set foot into somewhere new.
5. Take it for what it is
To some, Krakow may not be as aesthetically pleasing in the same way that the major cities of Western Europe are. It still bears visible deep scars from troubles gone by, and is not apologetic for this in the slightest. For me, word of mouth and online accounts of other people’s experiences in the city encouraged me to visit, and I quickly identified the beauty and wonder deep within.