Krakow has become a popular European city to visit and recently voted for the third time in a row Europe’s Best City Break destination and twice as Best City for Quality Culinary & Cuisine Choices. Krakow also has that little extra you were not expecting. Whether you are a couple looking for a romantic or a family weekend, this city caters for all. It is also a popular destination for team tours, as well as for Krakow stag do groups with great local beers and a plethora of activities available to make your weekend. The choice in pubs, clubs and restaurants is immense. It’s both cosmopolitan and yet full of ancient myths, legends and many romantic places and scenic views.
The urban legend claims there are around 400 bars and clubs only within the old town area. – in and around the largest market square in Europe and the old Jewish district of Kazimierz.
But it’s not only the amount of clubs and bars, but the fact that nightlife here is buzzing 6 out of 7 days a week. This is due to numerous student population (over 10 universities) that keep partying most of the week.
Given the choice of venues, it’s easy to miss the best ones, therefore a guided pub crawl comes highly recommended especially on the first night there. There are many different pub crawl operators and packages which can include free drinks and dance club entry and usually last for around 4 hours. You are accompanied by a Guide and visit several pubs all geared up for large group fun such as Karaoke, live music, special drinks and complimentary shots of Polish vodka. Specialist Stag companies can arrange an entire weekend of day and night activities including being met at the airport with some interesting entertainment involved
Alternatively, if you’d like to cut costs and explore the nightlife side of Krakow on your own, here are a few places which grabbed our attention:
- as for the leisurely nightcap a great place almost on the Main Square would be Mercy Brown a speakeasy cocktail bar hidden away on Straszewskiego St. Its theme reflects the American prohibition times and makes for a romantic tete-a-tete in the late evening.
- Stepping up the entertainment level, Mr. Vavelsky dragon themed cellar bar in Golebia 6 street has Karaoke and an excellent choice of dragon vodka shots to really light your fire and keep you aglow with singing ‘your song’ together for the rest of the night.
- If you are inclined to dance the night away close to the square is the fantastic Coco Club, keep the vibe going through till dawn as Krakow’s bars and clubs remain open as long as people are partying there
- Another popular and well-liked venue by locals for live music is the Harris Piano & Jazz Bar which is on the Rynek / the square itself and features some of Krakow’s top musicians
When it comes to food, the choice of restaurants is huge as well – from street food to fast-food to top quality dining with a vast choice of international cuisine available. For fine dining experience Try Leonardo in Szpitalna street, specialising in Italian cuisine in very romantic and stylish décor and Pimiento for some classic Argentinian dishes. If your preferred style is more “casareccia” or home-made cooking in traditional rustic surroundings of the Polish karczmas then you must spend some time together at Babcia Malina with some very wholesome dishes that are as dear to Poles as the good old British Sunday Roast to Brits. Babcia means Grandma and malina is raspberry in English. The food is so good even celebrities go there and their autographed photographs are displayed on the walls.
When it comes to traditional Polish / snacks the most popular are:
Obwarzanek – These twisted circular bread ring with a sprinkling of sesame seeds are found on every street corner from vendors with mobile stalls.
Zapiekanka-Poland’s version of the Welsh Rarebit with extra toppings. Best to try it in Kazimierz district at “Zapiekanka u Endziora” bar
Oscypek – This is a delicious smoked cheese from the very popular mountain city of Zakopane (btw- it’s only 110km from Krakow, so if you’ve got a day left it’s definitely worth visiting for stunning views and Polish highlanders folklore )
In terms of sightseeing Krakow’s attractions will surprise you – take for instance the Legend of the Wawel Dragon defeated by a cobbler’s apprentice. Visit the dragon’s den by the Vistula riverbank at the foot of the Royal Wawel Castle. Then onto the Royal Castle of Wawel at the top of the hill, this daunting medieval fortress will keep you enthralled with all the ramparts and passages to discover as well as Wawel Cathedral within the castle grounds. A large dragon bone hangs above the cathedral entrance, yes, the Legend of the Wawel Dragon is more than a myth. Continuing the dragon myth try the before mentioned Mr. Vavelsky’s Beer & Food Garden. This used to be the home of the shoemaker that killed the dragon. Down in the cellar bar there is a huge metal dragon that breathes smoke should you get to close for comfort or relax in the garden courtyard with some great food and dragon drinks.
In the Main Market Square Underground Museum, free entrance with the Krakow Card showing daily life in Krakow from 800 years ago. If you are a Leonardo da Vinci fan visit the National Museum in Krakow (al.3 Maja 1) to view the famous Lady with Ermine painting on display or in good weather a trip to Krakow’s Water Park with indoor and outdoor pools with assorted slides, saunas and jacuzzis.
There you have it, Krakow is a city for everyone in one way or another! Regardless of the occasion you are celebrating you will always find that little extra when you are in Krakow’s unique blend of quaint antiquity, modern trends and charming atmosphere.