Krakow Holidays

A historic arty Polish city

For vibrant art, masses of culture and delicious Eastern European cuisine, look no further than Krakow. Poland’s oldest and second largest city, located on the Vistula river, is one of Europe’s most beautiful, and has plenty of treasures to discover. Krakow holidays are a time for historic charm and contemporary cool to collide – the city’s buildings are a delightful mix of the old and new, with those dating back to the 13th century located next to contemporary structures.

The grand Wawel Castle is one of the city’s most popular and eye-catching landmarks. Elsewhere, there are many museums, galleries and churches to wonder at. In Kazimierz, the historic Jewish Quarter, you don’t even have to go to a gallery to enjoy the art as the streets are lined with brightly-coloured street art, created by artists from all over the globe. Not far outside the city you can encounter breathtaking nature in Ojcow’s small but beautiful national park, just half an hour’s drive from Krakow.

Holidays to Krakow are a good choice for foodies too, as there are lots of places to dine and plenty of tasty local dishes to try, including ‘pierogi’ – traditional Polish dumplings. With creativity found everywhere, from its art-covered walls to its innovative restaurants, Krakow presents a world of opportunity for holidaymakers.

All resorts in Krakow

Exploring Kraków

Three tips for a top trip

Use public transport

Krakow has trains, buses and trams, all of which are reliable and inexpensive, so make the most of it. A 24-hour travel pass can be good value.

Learn some Polish

Making an effort to speak a little Polish, despite it being a tricky language to learn, is always appreciated. ‘Dzięki’ (pronounced ‘jen-kee’) means ‘thanks’.

Climb the Krakus Mound

Thought to have been built by pagan tribes thousands of years ago for use during rituals, this fascinating 16-metre-high mound offers great views across the city.

Best attractions to see in Krakow

Zakrzowek

A spectacular lagoon inside what was once a limestone quarry, Zakrzowek is a tranquil spot where you can relax away from the bustling city centre.

Wawel Castle

Built during the 13th and 14th centuries, Krakow’s Wawel Castle is an architectural wonder. After you’ve appreciated its exterior, head inside to explore its art museum.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Head a short distance out of the city to this remarkable salt mine. There’s a fascinating underground labyrinth of caverns to explore – expect subterranean lakes and astonishing salt carvings.

Your Krakow questions, answered

Poland is not in the Euro, so make sure you ask for Polish zloty when changing your holiday money. The word ‘zloty’ is the masculine form of the Polish word for ‘golden’.
Definitely. Krakow has lots of different cafés, food stalls and restaurants. You’re just as likely to find global favourites as you are traditional Polish cuisine.
Polish is the official language in Krakow. But, around the city, you’ll find many languages used in day-to-day life. English is widely spoken, especially in the popular tourist areas, and the large population of international students mean you’ll regularly hear different languages from around the world. Polish is a difficult language to learn, so you probably won’t be fluent in time for your Krakow holiday, but the locals will appreciate it if you learn a few phrases.
Both have their charms. In summer the temperatures are warm, making lots of outdoor pursuits possible, while in winter the parks are sometimes snow-covered and Christmas markets arrive.
The old town is popular with couples, as it has a historic, romantic atmosphere, making it the perfect backdrop for a city break. There are many beautiful boutique hotels and fine dining restaurants that couples will love. If you’re visiting during peak season, you may find it a little crowded, so consider less touristy areas such as Kazimierz in the south of the city. This historic Jewish Quarter still has plenty of old-world charm, with cobbled streets and red roof buildings, and its position on the Vistula River means you can enjoy the waterfront and a sunset boat ride.
You can fly from the UK to Krakow in as little as two-and-a-quarter hours, so it’s perfect for a long weekend city break. London to Krakow is the fastest route, while Manchester to Krakow takes two-and-a-half hours, and Belfast to Krakow has a flight time of around two-and-three-quarter hours. Once you land at John Paul II Krakow-Balice International Airport, you can simply take a bus into the city centre, which takes around 50 minutes.
If you’d like to bring home some souvenirs to remember your holiday in Krakow, there are plenty of locally made items to choose from. Many visitors take home some of the world-famous Boleslawiec pottery, made in a small village just a few hours away. Look out for the iconic blue and white polka-dot pattern. Polish vodka is always a great gift to bring home. Search for unusual varieties like Zubrowka – bison grass vodka. Krakow is also famous for amber, which was mined in the Baltic region and would pass through the city. Many Krakow markets sell Amber jewellery.
The old town area is one of the most popular for groups, as it’s central and close to the bars and nightlife. During the summer months, there are quite a few stag and hen groups, so it can be lively, especially at weekends when the nightclubs are open until the small hours. If you’re in a group after a quieter experience, try Kleparz, which is just a 25-minute walk to the north of the old town, but tends to be quieter at night. There are night buses and trams to get you home safely.
Krakow has plenty to keep children entertained, and it’s a friendly city where families will feel welcome. There are lots of kid-friendly attractions, from the Krakow Chocolate Factory to Krakow Zoo. And there are city parks and countryside just a short drive away. Younger visitors will also like the historic vibe of the city and the fairytale-style buildings. Consider booking a boat tour, so they can enjoy the city views and learn more about Krakow from the guide.