What makes Krakow such an amazing and appealing city? Many visitors of this city spend much of their time visiting the “must-sees” like the beautiful architectural buildings, cathedrals and the great museums that Krakow has to offer. Nothing wrong with that of course, but you will spend much of your time queuing with fellow tourists.
Our Spotters will tell you it’s the city’s ability to seamlessly blend old and new together; it’s the city’s international, but somehow still elegant and down-to-earth vibe and it’s the constant change happening all around you. Here are 12 picks for some of the unique gems in Krakow, in the words of our very own team of locals.
Kino ARS was founded back in 1916, and was first known as Kino Sztuka. This name means Cinema Art, very straightforward and fitting as this is a place of art indeed. Krakow has multiple arthouse cinemas, however this one is one of the best ones out there.
The cinema has five screening rooms, all with a different personality. Our local Kalina’s favorite is the cozy Gabinet, inspired by an office with most of the decoration and furniture still in there. Kino ARS often shows indie movies, and have a great selection of these.
Whatever you choose to see, I’m sure you’ll fall in love like I did — Kalina Tyrkiel
Krakow’s Christian history, dating back to pre-966 can still be found in the city’s landscape. Some of the most visible historic remnants are mounds that you can find throughout the city.
One of these mounds, Kopiec Kraka, is an ancient burial mound, thought to be the final resting place of Krakow’s founder. The mound gives you an amazing panoramic view and unlike the other mounds, this one is free of charge. Even if you’re not into the history of Krakow, it’s worth a visit for the view alone!
Despite its location across the river in the Podgorze district of town, it was significant enough throughout Krakow’s history to be visible from the Senator Room in Wawel Castle — Greg Ryzio
Passion for beer
In Nowa Huta, the greenest area in Krakow, you can find a lovely little place called Huta Piwa (“Beer’s Steelwork”). This name refers to the area it is located as Nowa Huta means “New Steelwork”. It is run by a Nowa Huta local, and it’s the biggest beer store in the whole district.
The owner is very passionate about beer. The place sells about 350 different types of beer! It makes choosing very, very difficult but you will find something you love for sure. The collection of Nowa Huta based beers is also really good and made in a small brewery located in the district.
You’ll be surprised with Młodości (Adolescence) – its sweet aroma doesn’t suggest the bitter taste it has! — Zuzanna Dziurda
In an area in Krakow with a desolate vibe that doesn’t get a lot of tourist attention, you can find many hidden gems. One of these is Teatr Barakah Art Café. The place is located in a former mikvah building (a type of Jewish bathhouse).
The largest part of the place is a unique theatre. At Barakah they’re not afraid of connecting cultures, speaking about difficult topics when expressing themselves. The acts they show are bold and executed by the city’s best artists. The other part is the ArtCafe, here you can enjoy some nice food, thought and conversation.
Check out the event calendar on their website and don’t hesitate to visit this unique spot — Kalina Tyrkiel
If you don’t know exactly where the entrance of Klub Kabaret is, you might not be able to find it. Lucky for us we have our locals, so we don’t miss great places like these. The interior of Kabaret is reminiscent of an old-fashioned French cabaret club. However, this place is great to dance as well.
Nearly every evening you’ll find something entertaining here. Think of Tango evening, but also retro Polish evenings. Next to that they also organize drag queen shows!
The structure of Kabaret club is unique – this is the only place I know with a nice mezzanine where you can climb up and watch all the shows from — Zuzanna Dziurda
Folk is an artform that is inspired by nature and day-to-day life, and is therefore a good reflection of culture. This is why it’s always interesting to try and see a little bit of folk everywhere you go, also in Krakow. In Krakuska Sztuka Ludowa you can find a little paradise of folk art from Poland and Krakow.
Especially if you want to find some nice souvenirs, that aren’t just touristy, but actually closely connected to the city’s culture this is the place! Anything form dolls, sculptures, jewelry, scarves and so much more can be found here.
Probably only your imagination or budget can be a limit — Ewelina Tłuczek
Water source in the city center
Spots like these are always great, the contrast with concrete city life is so huge that visiting a spot like this can make you feel like you’ve traveled to another country. Zakrzowek is a water-filled quarry close to some cliffs. The combination of turquoise water and steep cliffs gives off a vacation vibe and makes for some great pictures.
You can usually spot (or join) some rock climbers around here. If you make your way to the top of the cliff you’ll find an amazing view over Krakow. If all this is not adventurous enough for you, you can even take scuba diving classes here, and maybe find some old sunken treasures under water.
It took me a while to get out here because for some reason I thought it was very far and not that interesting, but boy was I wrong — Greg Ryzio
Cuban vibes in Krakow
Now when you think about Krakow, your first thought might not be ‘ah yes, great Cuban clubs’, and that is completely understandable. However, don’t write of Teatro Cubano just yet. It’s located in the courtyard of the Little Havana Party Hostel, and hosts some great events.
The owners organize these events, every weekend they have great Latin parties. And next to that they organize lots of concerts, all free of an entrance fee! The decoration is amazing, look up and you’ll see laundry hanging from balconies, flags and other symbols of Cuba.
Mojito and Cuba Libre are showcases of the club – you can buy them even in an XXL version, which is a reasonable idea if you like them as much as I do — Zuzanna Dziurda
Lokator is an adorable bookstore + coffee shop combination. Although most books are in Polish, it’s still lovely to sip a coffee and have a look around you.
However, they do also have some books that are not in Polish. The selection they have is well thought-out and just really good in general. They have the best translations, most valuable Polish titles and a really impressive selection of beautiful children’s books.
If you’re into beautiful editions, this is your cloud nine in Kraków — Kalina Tyrkiel
Harris Piano Jazz Bar is a place with a real passion for jazz. Enter the bar and expect to hear some great music, whether it’s jazz, soul or blues. You can even take part in the concerts! They feature 3 different rooms, the biggest one has a stage (and I say big, but it is still quite small). The second room is more of a lounge or chatting area and the third room sports a long counter.
And if you can play on something else than nerves you should try to join musicians on stage during a jam session or just listen to them, see and feel the joy of life which is in every tune they play — Ewelina Tłuczek
Drinking beers and playing games is indisputably a great combination. Domówka Café takes this concept and elevates it! You can find the place in Miodowa street, near Love Krove. Their simple concept of combining a chill atmosphere, board games and beers is just great.
They serve a diverse range of beers, featuring anything from regional to niche to more popular brands. The staff is also nice, and has great recommendations (for both beers and games!).
To put it shortly, if you want to spend time with your friends, this may be just the perfect formula — Małgorzata Stypka
New in the old
In the old city center you can find a building that fits in, but not really… This place is Małopolski Ogród Sztuki or The Garden of Art of Lesser Poland. It’s a space where you can find all different types of art, cultivated for the benefit of all age groups. The architecture is quite modern but still manages to complement the older buildings around it.
The spot features a media library, spaces for exhibitions, concerts, lectures and a lovely café downstairs. In the café you can often find events connected to community initiatives or new technologies, great to get a sense of the vibe in the city The place is still developing, making it an exciting place to keep an eye on over the years.
By the streets benches have been installed, so you can sit down for a second and admire a well-done building, quite untypical for this city —Małgorzata Stypka
For more hidden gems, check out the Spotted by Locals Krakow cityblog.