Visit Krakow Like A Local
When you visit a new place it is great to see the usual tourist attractions but some of us hanker for a more in-depth and wish for a more diverse approach in exploring your surroundings that you eagerly googled out of interest. No matter how much research you do it will never measure up to living the Krakow experience as a local would on any given occasion. Also Krakow is one of the most enchanting and romantic cities in Europe and beyond, the Vistula River flowing through the city with its lit bridges reflecting across the water suffused with the moonlight, the medieval town square with all its roads and alleyways leading to the cafes, bars and bistros adorned and decorated with flowers and candlelit tables in the open air. Krakow brings out the desire and passion that you willingly share with the person you cherish. Krakow’s vast selection of pubs and clubs mainly concentrated in the two most popular zones the Old town and Kazimierz, the Jewish quarter. In the warmer weather Krakowians love to pass time in the many garden and pavement pubs and that also applies to eating too. There are literally 100s of places and usually they have an indoor or cellar bar option. Many of them are themed pubs exhibiting decoration and furnishings connected with their chosen period or subject, it truly fascinating to visit particular pubs with each one reflecting a certain style and atmosphere rarely found in the more well-known pub chains. To further enhance your weekend, although Krakow merits a few more days more to really appreciate it, the following is a perfect guide to experience Krakow as if you are a local couple enjoying that buzz and thrill of being together, group of friends or even a Krakow stag do group. The first thing to take into account is that unlike many countries there no official closing times for pubs and clubs, so, as long as there are people drinking the pub or dancing in a club they remain open.
As vodka is Poland’s national tipple one of the best places to get acquainted with vodka its quirks and origins is the dragon themed pub Mr. Vavelski Cellar & GardenBar just off Rynek the main square, which is by the way located in the same tenement house as one of Krakow top hostels (check https://draggo.house/ ). Here you can also organise a vodka tasting session and the upgraded version combined with a magician entertains you while a pro barman prepares the different shots and giving a little story on how these shots are liked so much by Krakowians and the Polish in general (have a look here: https://partykrakow.co.uk/krakow-stag-do-activities/magic-of-polish-vodka-premium-tasting-experience – it’s also a great Krakow stag do activity).
While the Old Town and Kazimierz captivate most tourists there are some side-street attractions which are relatively tourist free, one of them being the pub Stary Port, styled on a sailor’s shanty bar and hosts live music shows from local or visiting artists located just outside Planty, the pedestrian ring road around the Old Town. Moving closer to Wawel Castle the young Krakowians go to Szafe Café Pub, plenty of entertainment here with live music, open mic nights and themed parties. On the other side of Wawel Castle a bustling locale with seen better days furnishings is Don Chichote under the arches. The incredible atmosphere especially over weekends with live music and local bands perched on one of the smallest stages you will ever see play for an international audience of locals. Decked out in the old Communism paraphernalia you will be introduced to the Polish Punk Rock and Ska environment, this is Propaganda definitely not found on your usual tourist to do list. As part of your vodka training to gain any sort of local level or status then a visit to BaniaLuka for cheap beer and vodka coupled with the necessary oily survival snacks will test your mettle. BaniaLuka is always full with the Krakow dwellers no matter which nation they originate from. The most local pub for local people has to be Awaria Live MusicPub, this very atmospheric cellar bar is where all of Krakow’s local bands play. The reputation for crazy nights and crazy bar girls is well known plus it has a hidden Beer Garden which is accessed via the stage. On a more subtle and romantic note then look for Betel which is hidden down an alley way and is a great place to quiet chat and take an aperitif,. In the same area the wonderful olde worlde effect of Bomba, with its wooden interior and ricketty furniture to whet your appetite.The night is still young and after a sumptuous candle-lit meal you meander through the cobbled streets of the Old Town admiring the city A nightcap after the restaurant or do you cap the night with something a little more lively, the Old Town is teeming with venues of all descriptions from a cosy cognac to nightclub dancing in Krakow’s eternal buzzing nightlife, a great place on the main square would be Mercy Browna speakeasy cocktail bar hidden away on Straszewskiego St., it’s theme reflects the American prohibition times and makes for a romantic tete-a-tete in the late evening. If you are inclined to dance the night away close to the square is the fantastic Coco Club to keep the vibe going through till dawn. Another popular and well-liked venue by locals for live music is the Harris Piano & Jazz Bar which is on the Rynek.
Kazimierz has its own charm and the area highlights the Jewish way of life with its synagogues, museums, restaurants and historical monuments. Like the Old Town an evening spent together here in the streets, squares and alley ways embeds memories in your mind that are not easily forgotten. Kazimierz has concentrated areas of popularity, Szeroka, Plac Nowy and Miodowa host a great many choice of bars and restaurants. We start with a Polish folk orientated restaurant that has all the hallmarks of service, choice and ambience of Bombonierka or The Chocolate Box, very intimate indeed. The unusual and atmospheric A Long Time Ago or Dawno Temu Na Kazimierzu with the ever so tasty Jewish casareccia cooking or KlesmerHois’s Jewish culinary delights. Some of the best local’s bars in Kazimierz include the hugely popular Eszeweria, a very intimate and cosy place to go with lots of nook and crannies a level of privacy, KolankoN.6 with its surprise garden and Alchemia which has 2 floors offering live music, dancing and a restaurant.
The whole area is packed with pubs, cafes, wine bars, restaurants to suit all pockets and clubs. Kazimierz has a great reputation for quality street food from burgers to local delicacies such as the Zapiekanka a sort of large cheese on toast with extra toppings and so tasty too. Now for a local curiosity you may wish to follow do as every city has a Lovers Bridge and Krakow is no exception. Take a stroll by the Vistula River there is a footbridge that connects Kazimierz to Podgorze you will see thousands of padlocks affixed to the railings by couples declaring their undying and eternal love for each other
Krakow has been voted Best City to Eat In for a second consecutive time and voted three times Best European Destination to Visit. Krakow will always offer that extra surprise with its vibrant nightlife and day time city attractions. As a visitor looking for the local traditions, ways and lifestyles it is all here, all you have to do is ask, you will find that all Krakow city dwellers will be proud and more than happy to assist you in making your stay as local as possible.