Krakow is an enchanting and historic city with a rich tapestry of its past life visible on every street corner woven into today’s modern world of technology-based needs and lifestyle. The local council provides free internet access to its services and most venues provide it too. The latest in mobile banking services means you are able to pay via your mobile phone or smartwatch for practically everything. Food and drink are relatively cheap you can spend on average 50zl a day to eat well and that includes a couple of drinks during the pub crawl later as well.
Cash & Currency – There are many exchange bureaus dotted around the Old Town look for the sign ‘Kantor’ when you need to change up some money. It’s better to exchange your money when in Krakow for the best rates and for a weekend break you will need no more than 300zl in cash combined with electronic payments. If you are exchanging Scottish or N. Ireland banknotes then be aware that outside of the UK they have a lower rate than Bank of England notes, a strange but true reality.
Pub Culture – Krakow has a unique pub culture with an excellent choice of local craft beers and, of course, the more well-known international brands on sale in the many themed and specialised bars. The bars and pubs in Krakow offer a wide range of services and comforts from cellar bars to garden bars, Ruin bars and even bars on the 1st floor of a building. They include dining and restaurant service, outdoor seating with heating during the colder months and some of them turn into dance clubs with DJs and light shows. Many put on extra attractions such as Karaoke, live music, live sport transmissions, theatre productions and comedy shows plus the ‘Open Mic Nites’ if you fancy putting your artistic attributes on show. Whatever you are looking for or discover serendipitously meandering through the buzzing nightlife streets of Krakow’s Old Town and Kazimierz the Jewish Quarter this historic city has it all. Here are a few venues to put on your visit list:
Awaria Live Music Pub for great bands, cellar bar & beer garden. Klub Pod Jaszczuramy for Karaoke and dancing. Garden Re for an intimate and relaxing drink in a natural garden atmosphere. These venues are situated in the Old Town very close to Rynek the main square.
In the Jewish Quarter or Kazimierz recommendations for venues go to Propaganda for a Ska, Reggae and Punk feel. Eszeweria Pub with its cosy niches, divans & garden bar. Opium Pub & Club for a good all-nighter and added attractions.
Dance Clubs – Again the choice of music and setting is abundant in Krakow, the majority of dance clubs are in the Old town area with Kazimierz pubs and venues doubling up as dance clubs. All genres of music and look out for the promotions on drinks too, many famous international DJs include Krakow on the club circuit throughout the year.
Clubs to consider visiting in the Old Town when here are, Coco Club for lots of promotions and VIP sections. Shine Club with 3 levels and a massive dancefloor. Prozak 2.0 for a night of close contact dancing. In Kazimierz Alchemia for live music and dancing. Havana Music Club for that Latino vibe. Piekny Pies a long-standing favourite for locals and visitors.
Special Note – Pubs and clubs have no official closing hours to adhere to, so, you can savour the nightlife from dusk till dawn and chill out in some for a spot of lunch during the day. The two main zones, Old Town and Kazimierz are cram-packed full of pubs, clubs and speciality venues to make your stay in Krakow eventful. The best way to engage and enjoy it is to join an organised Krakow Pub Crawl which ends with club entry. Why not dedicate an evening to each zone? The Pub Crawl Guides of Party Krakow make sure you visit the most entertaining and trendy venues and show you the very best of the Krakow nightlife scene.
Special Note – The most earnest advice on visiting Gentleman’s Clubs, to NOT accept invitations from street promoters, ALWAYS use a dedicated event company for this activity to avoid nasty surprises if you choose a random club. Like every popular city destination, scams are lurking.
Ways of travelling in Krakow
Public Transport – The beauty of Krakow is that it is a compact city with all major sights and entertainment venues within walking distance, rarely you will require to use it if your accommodation is in the city centre. However, using the tram or bus service requires a ticket that is then validated in a punching machine or confirmed on your telephone, inspectors do spot checks and a hefty fine will ensue if not in regulation. Taxis are quite cheap but watch out for the pirate taxis overcharging unsuspecting visitors. The Uber Taxi service is available in Krakow. You can also rent bicycles and electric scooters by downloading the requisite app. If you want to see the sights in comfort then a Buggy Tour will drive you around the city with a guide giving the info on the landmarks or go for the Horse & Carriage tour, ornate carriages and decorated horses trot around the Old Town including Wawel Castle.
Historical places worth seeing during your visit
Krakow is over 1,000 years old and Rynek, the main square was the silk trade capital of Europe in the 13th century. Rynek or Draper’s Square is used for open-air festivals of all kinds during the course of the year. It is the largest known square in existence and has an underground museum and art galleries in the large building in the centre of it called Sukiennice. The 2 main events on Rynek every year are the Easter Market and Christmas Market. The square is filled with stalls full of artisan products from cheese to traditional clothing, souvenirs and homemade foods and beers. Further places of interest that can be reserved online or at a tourist agency are visits to the acclaimed Wieliczka Salt Mine which attracts over a million visitors a year. An organised trip is advised as entry tickets and transfers to the mine make the experience less stressful if you attempt a DIY approach as it is 15km from Krakow. Immerse yourself in the tragic story of Auschwitz/Birkenau Nazi Camp now a UNESCO Memorial Site. A visit requires at least 6 hours and a morning departure to take in the full tour. Guides are provided to re-tell the horrific acts enacted there. To continue the period of German occupation in Krakow during WWII by the Vistula River is Podgorze an area of Kazimierz home to the Oskar Schindler Factory, recently fully restored and nearby the Plac Bohaterow Getta memorial where the Jewish fraternity was forced to wait before boarding cattle transport trains to the infamous camps.
Take advantage of Krakow’s Street Food Park also in Kazimierz, this international menu and recipes of star quality available in Skwer Judah (Judah’s Square). Freshly cooked delicacies from Poland, Mexico and Belgium to name just a few of the mouth-watering choices on offer. In fact, Krakow has been voted The Best Culinary Destination in Europe for the high standard of food and restaurant services. The world is always a better place when you have had a good and tasty meal.
To conclude an introduction to the peculiarities of Krakow regarding the local laws, the first example is no alcohol drinking on the city centre streets. If you are sat in the outdoor seating of a venue then that is fine but no walking around with a beer in hand. If you are overtly drunk and the police intervene you may end up in the ‘Drunk Tank’ until sober so you can pay a large fine for your overnight stay which will certainly sober you up in an instant.
Secondly, careful when smoking as certain areas even though in the open it is prohibited. Mainly bus and tram shelters where smoking is forbidden and you must move 10m away from if you are. Indoor public places is also a non-smoking zone, however, many venues, pubs and clubs provide ventilated smoking rooms.
Lastly, you must only crossroads where there are the appropriate crossing zones unless it is a pedestrians-only zone.
Although you may be aware of these regulations the local police, identified by the word Straz on their uniforms, can be quite cunning in surprising people in the hotspots around the city and dish out fines for these minor public offences like there is no tomorrow.
In general, Krakow is a safe city by day and at night and the Cracovians warm and sociable plus the majority speak a good level of English.