Krakow city breaks

If you’re looking for a city break with the right blend of culture, nightlife and quaint surroundings, Krakow is hard to beat. While you can see traces of the city’s WWII history, Poland’s former royal capital is also a celebration of the present. Step onto Europe’s largest medieval town square, explore regal Wawel Castle, and take it all in from a quiet café. Come evening, you’ll have your pick of cabaret bars, theatres, clubs and restaurants.

Things to do

From royal Renaissance architecture to one of Europe’s oldest industrial enterprises, there’s more to this city in the south of Poland than meets the eye. Here are our top recommendations for activities in Krakow, to help make your trip unforgettable.

Lovely Old Town

The city has an Old Town that’s full of character, and a great place to start your time in Krakow is at the Rynek. The market square is one of Europe’s biggest, and there’s lots to see and do in and around it. Gaze up at the impressive buildings before sitting outside with a coffee. It’s a great place to use as a reference point while you’re exploring the city, and it’s also an ideal spot to start an evening out, as there’s plenty of restaurants to choose from.

Interesting culture

According to legend, Krakow was founded when mythical ruler Krakus built the city above a dragon’s cave. The cave is said to have been at the foot of Wawel Hill, which nowadays plays host to the National Art Collection, Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral. You can make your way around almost 800,000 art objects at the National Museum, or head below Market Square to the Rynek Underground museum to see an impressive display that celebrates Krakow’s history.

Great nightlife

Once you’re worn out from all your sightseeing, settle down for a relaxing meal as you try authentic Polish food like pierogis and borscht. Make sure you prepare yourself for knocking back your vodka straight just like the locals, and once you feel ready make your way to a lively bar and on to a buzzing nightclub to party into the night.

Map of Krakow

world_map
30 ℃

Best time to visit: June and July

View live forecast

2.5 hours

Fly to: John Paul II International Airport Krakow-Balice, around 11km from central Krakow. 

Alternative transport: Cross the English Channel by Eurostar and book onward travel across the European mainland, which is well connected by rail.

Krakow is best for...

History enthusiasts: Explore the damage done to Poland during WWII – a stark contrast to the bright, optimistic city you see today.

Art lovers: Discover impressive displays of fine art within Krakow’s museums, including Wawel Castle and Czartoryski Museum.

Culture vultures: Come in the summer for the Jewish Culture Festival, or catch the latest Polish movies at the Krakow Film Festival in May.

Fast facts for Krakow

Language: The language spoken in Krakow is Polish

Currency: The currency used in Krakow is the Polish zloty (zl)

Local time: Krakow is 1 hour ahead of GMT/UK time

Fly to: John Paul II International Airport Krakow-Balice, around 11km from central Krakow. 

Alternative transport: Cross the English Channel by Eurostar and book onward travel across the European mainland, which is well connected by rail

Flight time from UK: 2.5 hours

Tourist Information: Further Krakow tourist information can be found at www.poland.travel/en-gb/

 

Getting around Krakow

Bus/tram: Krakow’s reliable bus and tram service gets passengers from A to B, 5am to 11pm. Some buses also run later into the night. Single tickets are available from street kiosks.

Car/taxi: It’s better to avoid driving yourself around Krakow, as it’s not that easy to get around – especially since much of the Old Town is a car-free zone. Call a taxi to minimise the motoring hassle.

Bicycle: Take in more of Krakow, from the seat of a hire bike. Giving you freedom to choose where and when you go, cycling is a great way of keeping active on holiday.

Events in Krakow

Musical Easter: Krakow’s Misteria Paschalia Festival celebrates Easter and Holy Week each year, with a show-stopping programme of Renaissance and Baroque music performed by some of the world’s most admired musicians. 

Celebrating Jewish culture: The Jewish Culture Festival, held each summer in Krakow, is filled with concerts, workshops, lectures, film screenings and visual art presentations representing contemporary Jewish culture.

All about film: Held over seven days each May, Krakow Film Festival is one of the longest running of its kind in Europe. Watch filmmakers compete across a range of categories, with accompanying exhibitions, concerts, open-air screenings and filmmaker meet-and-greets.

Krakow weather

Temperature: Poland has a temperate climate. The average temperature in July is 19(°c), which can rise to as high as 30. 

Best time to visit: If you like to see the sights with a healthy dose of sunshine, head to Krakow in July. The best time of the year for winter sports is between January and March.

Best hotels in Krakow

Similar destinations