The Complete Guide
Kraków also spelled Cracow or Krakow in English, is the second-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, cited as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, it’s Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city has grown from a Stone Age settlement to Poland’s second most important city. In 2000, Kraków was named European Capital of Culture. In 2013, Kraków was officially approved as a UNESCO City of Literature. The city hosted the World Youth Day in July 2016.
The rich culture and unique attractions make this city a rare destination in Europe where the medieval city is still the central attraction of the modern metropolis. This magical city is indeed worldwide famous for its various tourist places, nightlife, clubs, food joints, economical accommodation and many more. If you want to taste the lifestyle, cultural and history in Poland, just plan your trip out of the center of the city and visit nearby areas too.
Here in this article, we will provide all the necessary information related to nightlife features of Kraków, including a comprehensive list of the best destinations. You will find all the tools and necessary information here to organize your holidays in Kraków the most complete way to make your journey a beautiful experience.
Kraków lays claim to being one of the oldest city in Poland and is one of the leading centers of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life. Famous for its preserved medieval core, the Kraków Old Town, and the Jewish quarter, there are numerous things to do and nightlife attractions to experience while in Kraków.
So check out our recommended options here for the best venues available in Kraków and all are ready to make you happy while you are enjoying your nightlife experience over there:
Kraków is famous for the Jewish quarter, a district located just south of the old town. For over 500 years, this area was the center of Jewish life, before it was systematically destroyed during World War 2. It is considered as Krakow’s most exciting district due to the bustling, bohemian atmosphere, historical sites, art galleries, and quirky cafes. This area has a massive tourist attraction and is even used as a pilgrimage site for Jews. Every summer, there is a huge festival here in the quarter to celebrate the Jewish culture and educate guests and residents about the city’s prewar history. The Jewish quarter is also the best for nightlife in Kraków!
Another relaxed attraction that cannot be missed in Kraków is the boat trip around the city on the Vistula River. Although only enjoyed in the summer, it is one of the best ways to see parts of the city that would not be otherwise accessible.
Every night starting from St. Mary’s Church at 7 PM, you can join a free walking tour around the dark and mysterious Kraków. This 1.5 hour exotic tour focuses on medieval methods of punishment, ghosts of unhappy lovers and a scary dragon. Admire the alternative magical sides of the city and enjoy its lively nightlife at the oldest nightclubs of Kraków afterward. The local travel professionals also offer many other tours for you to discover Kraków such as the daily Old Town Tour and the Food Tour.
The shot bars in Krakow are unique to Poland due to their love of vodka and lack of high taxes & regulations on spirits that most western countries have, you can get many delicious flavors, from chupa chup to monte. The most popular shot bars in Krakow are BaniaLuka and Pijalnia with shots and beers at cheap rates.
Another stop on the Krakow nightlife adventure is Cybermachina Game Pub. This place is reserved for those who want a geeky night out in the city. The bar offers drinks inspired by famous franchises and games such as Star Wars or Mario Bros. You will be able to unleash your inner geek with video and board games. The interior goes perfectly well with the theme of the bar. Being located in a raw basement with bright lighting inside, it creates an atmosphere of an old school arcade to put you even more into a geeky mood. The Mario Bros inspired lamp-shades are a nice finishing touch appreciated by most of the bar’s guests.
Generally, Polish people are very friendly and approachable, don’t let the language barrier hold you back. As Krakow is a student city, most young people speak great English and if not then have shot and try to speak polish. There are so many great popular bars and clubs in Krakow but there are also some, well frankly, shit places in Krakow (not many but some) and the best way to have an authentic and really fun night out with the locals & fellow travelers is to join a Pub Crawl where you will have a blast, avoid tourist-traps and crap venues, and save a fortune while partying with new people. So if you are taking a trip to Kraków very soon, here your recreation for the nightlife attraction and liquor need is sorted with the list of best bars, pubs and cocktail lounges available in Kraków. Go out with your friends and loved one to have a memorable experience on your vacation:
The slightly rusty and dusty vibe of Singer cafe gives a real sense of what prewar Krakow might have looked like. The place is in the heart of the hipster district Kazimierz and was named after the iconic Singer sewing machines, which have been transformed into tables. The granny-chic patterned wallpaper, heavy antique furniture and old paintings create a somewhat spooky atmosphere. Although haunted by its own legend, the small Singer space still remains a popular hangout among both locals and expats. Towards the end of the night, people start to dance on those old sewing tables, or sew they say!
The rather minimalist interior of Ursa Maior with it’s wholesome, the folky vibe is pretty refreshing after visiting many of the vintage-esque hipster bars Krakow has to offer. Ursa Maior is all about craft beers from their microbrewery in the Bieszczady Mountains. You will find a fantastic selection of craft beers from Belgian style, smoked and even IPAs. The really friendly staff always up for a chat you can easily while away an afternoon at Ursa Maior sampling beers and swapping stories.
This quirky tap bar is just off Krakow’s gorgeous Main Square. If you are looking for a cheap afternoon, walk around the stunning Main Square before heading over to Multi Qlti for some cold ones (with the lads). If you are an indecisive beer nut, you can try all the offers of Multi Qlti without even breaking the bank!
This dark bar on the corner of Plac Nowy in the Kazimierz Jewish Quarter boasts uneven floors, old furniture, candles and random portraits on the wall. They have a great selection of beers, vodkas, and amazing hot chocolates, it was the first of the period style cafe bars in the area and now attracts tourists and locals alike in large numbers thanks also to its popular live jazz club downstairs for making this venue a perfect nightlife attraction in Krakow.
Barka means barge, and that’s exactly what this charming little boat bar docked at the Wisła River is! Barka is one of those places where you stumble across without even knowing it existed, but you will be happy what you did. Located right next to the Lovers’ Bridge, Barka is a pleasant open-air hangout where you won’t pay heavy amounts for any local beer. In the evening the deck turns into a dance floor, so hold on, dear passengers! This is one boozy cruise!
Pod Jaszczurami is an excellent place to visit for a drink or two. Here you can feel the real atmosphere of Krakow nightlife also “as in the good old days”. This pub is located in the heart of the city so you won’t miss it. Amazing parties start here in the evening – you can choose between karaoke, dancing or concerts as well. Brilliant place, great atmosphere and friendly people guaranteed!
Opened in 2016 in a former synagogue in the heart of the Kazimierz Jewish Quarter, this stunning bar is a wonder to behold, if you can ignore the Gordy 1990s style red leather chairs. Despite being badly damaged in WWII, the original frescos are still on display and the original mechitza balcony, which was used to separate men and women, stands above the well-stocked bar and is used to house the beer tanks.
Polish cuisine – often forgotten and underrated, is one of the best ones to find in the Eastern part of Europe. The land of pierogi and sour cabbage will surprise you with the diversity and flavor fullness it provides. If you ever find yourself in Krakow – Poland’s former capital and the most beautiful old city in the whole country, you might want to eat something. The best restaurants of Krakow are one thing – the food that comes from there and managed to cross its borders is another one. Krakow is one of those European cities that may take pride in having the cold cut produced there a brand on its own, like Prosciutto di Parma. These are the products whose taste has long been synonymous with the aroma of traditional Polish sausages. Here we have come up with some of the best and premium restaurants available in Kraków so you don’t find yourself in the hassle of looking for:
If you are looking for one of the best restaurants in Krakow to chow down on grilled meat, Rzeznia should be your first choice. They’ve grown famous in Krakow for their rib platters, but they also serve some tasty chicken and even shrimp. The portions at Rzeznia are always plentiful, and the beers they served up alongside food were excellent matches. Rzeznia has several locations throughout town, including one that is just a block from the New Square. While the decor and atmosphere are not the most unique on this list, the staff are helpful, and the food always hits the spot.
As their name implies, Meat & Go specializes in some of the best meat offered at Krakow restaurants. They serve up delicious pork and more on delicious bread. No matter what you order, all their sandwiches are served with the best quality ingredients, and their large portions mean you will never finish eating still hungry. Located in a popular part of town within a converted historic cigarette factor, Meat & Go has also designed a welcoming seating area.
The Qualita Restaurant is led by Chef Marcin Dudek. This restaurant is recommended by the Gault & Millau guide. It is located in Q Hotel Plus Krakow. Each dish is prepared with the utmost care here, so it looks like art. The restaurant offers colorful, tasty drinks and perfect coffee as well. We highly recommend the dumplings with veal, spicy pepper soup or sous-vide guinea fowl.
Set in a historic bookbinding workshop, this restaurant serves both international and traditional Polish fare in a sleek yet welcoming ambiance. Their menu crafts whole-food dishes from delicious local and seasonal ingredients. People particularly enjoyed their beef plates: both the beef cheeks or beef tenderloin were phenomenal.
If you are looking for some great breakfast food near the city center, look no further than Ranny Ptaszek, where they serve up what locals consider some of the best breakfast in all of Krakow. Their massive helpings of Hungarian sausage and shakshuka, a dish made with poached eggs, vegetables, and tomato sauce, make for a phenomenal start to any day. As a bonus, this Krakow breakfast spot is less than a block away from the stunning St. Katherine’s Church and several other attractions. That makes it a great place to stop for a bite before a day out exploring the town.
You will taste all kinds of meat there, but at Ed Red special thanks to it’s dry seasoned steaks. This process allows to control meat matures until it acquires special taste and structure. So if you are a meat lover, better book a table there! It will probably be the best steak you can eat in the whole Krakow! And don’t forget to ask a waiter for seasonal cheese – it’s always delicious!
Zazie is a quaint French bistro located in Krakow’s Jewish Quarter. This place has grown popular among Krakow restaurants for its classic French cuisine at good prices. Though the menu is a bit small, everything looked delicious. The frequented visitors loved their pork belly served with octopus, tossed in a lemon mustard sauce, served over a green pea puree and topped with an apple grapefruit salad.
Everyone, who has already visited Krakow, knows that life here never stops. The day-time is for sightseeing and the night is for parties where absolutely everything can happen. The beauty of nightlife in Krakow comes from the fact that party life is geographically concentrated, which means you will have tons of options within walking distance. The three main party hubs are the Rynek area (main square), the Jewish district (Kazimierz) and the berlinised old tobacco factory (Tytano aka Dolnych Młynów 10).
Check out our recommendations here, grab a group of friends or special someone and explore Kraków’s glamorous nightlife activities going on at the optimum best night clubs:
Opened since 2016 and literally translated from Hebrew as “Cool”, this secret cocktail club, hidden up the stairs above Hamsa restaurant in the Szeroka square in the heart of Kazimierz Jewish Quarter, lives up to its name. A stunning array of different rooms, with beautiful chandeliers and a dancefloor, the cocktails, produced by a team of hipsters, are amongst the best in town and offer a mix of the Near East meets West with plenty of Jewish influence.
Frantic Club can hold up to 500 people and is often filled to the brim, such is its popularity. Across its four bars and two dance floors, clubbers gather to dance to a mix of pop, house, R&B, EDM, and hip-hop spun by both Polish and international DJs. Guests in the past have included the producer and former member of Swedish House Mafia, Steve Angello, and British house duo ThirdParty.
If you don’t like Frantic, you can just enter the next door and visit Shakers club. The club stands out with a modern interior, cozy leather sofas, screens on the walls and energetic music. You can go crazy there almost every day. On Mondays, you can feel like at a house party, on Tuesdays you are gonna enjoy lower prices and Fridays have special offers only for ladies. Sounds like fun!
Three bars, two dancefloors, a different DJ every day, great music and pizza – everything in an old tenement house. If your favorite kind of music is R&B, hip-hop and dance music, you are gonna love this place. Brick walls and a lot of mysterious corners make this place unique. Another advantage? It is located on the main square of the old town, so you are close to everywhere.
Looking for some Polish style of partying? Społem Deluxe will be really exotic for you thanks to it’s old-style, retro interior taken from Polish Republic times. Colorful lights and walls, nice drinks and a lot of Polish and disco music can be a perfect plan for the night! Visit Społem Deluxe as soon as it is possible and take an amazing journey back in time. And don’t look for a DJ – he hides in an old car called Nysa.
This place is one of the best nightclubs that students love. Alternatywy is in a typical underground cellar made special by the atmosphere it offers. Their Dance floor is just awesome, where you rock your body to the best music from 80’s and 90’s. Alternatywy is a genuinely happy nightclub, where people go to feel good and not to show off. If you gathered enough bravery from the raw of shots then try karaoke every Tuesday. Remember, there is no such thing as “bad voice”, only not enough alcohol. Drink, sing and enjoy your youth or feel young again!
Let us conclude the topic, here in this article we had a brief introduction of Kraków along with highlighting some of its prominent norms, culture, and nightlife features. We also went through different activities and places to enjoy the nightlife of the region, Musical venues, Bars, Restaurants and Nightclubs as well. Such activities provide a great source of entertainment for tourists and locals as well.
As already elaborated, the nightlife attraction of Kraków is scattered throughout the city. There are several streets / bustling areas of the city where cafes, concert and dance venues, galleries and restaurants offer something special to everyone who loves the culture, shopping and nightlife attraction. There are plenty of pubs & bars throughout the City areas and they are truly satisfying the desire of thirsty visitors where you can enjoy your cocktails with the mesmerizing architectural beauty of the hand-crafted beers and their decors.
You don’t feel any hunger during your trip, that is why we also suggested some of the finest restaurants in the city that offer exotic and delicious food along with your favorite drinks. You can enjoy the taste of good food along with some great booze.
And lastly, we went through comprehensive options of nightclubs of the city that offers great music and fun with some delightfully exotic choices of drinks and cocktail that will delight your overall experience of charming nightlife during your stay at Kraków.
All of the experiences as mentioned above will work together to make your journey to Kraków absolutely a memorable one. A perfect and balanced blend of the above-identified activities can actually boost your experience and make your trip extremely unforgettable for you.