Best time to travel to Krakow

Krakow has become an up-and-coming destination. However, the experience will depend a lot on the time of the year you travel. Here are some tips for you to choose the most appropriate one for you

Joaquín Montaño

Joaquín Montaño

9 min read

Best time to travel to Krakow

Krakow, Poland | ©Jen Hunter

Krakow's extraordinary medieval center and the rest of its attractions make it worth visiting no matter when. It is important, however, to take into account the date you want to travel to better plan your stay and get the most out of it.

Among the most important aspects in deciding when to go is the weather. Krakow, due to its geographical location, suffers from very cold winters and, in addition, with few hours of daylight. For this reason, it is generally better to travel at other times to make the most of the days spent there.

When is the best time to visit Krakow?

Sunset at Wawel Castle| ©Brandon Atkinson
Sunset at Wawel Castle| ©Brandon Atkinson

There are two interrelated factors that will determine the best time to travel to Krakow: temperature and daylight hours. Considering both, along with the influx of tourists, it is clear that the best months are between April and October. If you have the opportunity, you can still delimit further to decide for spring or early autumn.

In all seasons there will be some chance of rain, so I advise you to check the weather forecast before embarking on the trip to get an idea of what you will find.

  • Summer: In the case of summer, the main problem is the large number of tourists in the main monuments, so it is good to know the schedules and type of guided tours of Krakow Castle, for example. Likewise, you will also notice it when strolling through the streets of the historical center, the Stare Miasto. The prices of flights and accommodations also increase quite a bit. In favor of this season is the good temperature, without ever getting stiflingly hot, and the hours of daylight.
  • Winter: Winter, on the other hand, is characterized by low temperatures that can make walking through the streets quite unpleasant. In addition, daylight hours decrease a lot as the season progresses, to the point that at the end of December it is night before 4 p.m. However, as you can see in this article on what to do in Krakow during Christmas, this period can be very interesting if you plan your stay well.
  • Spring and autumn: In particular, in April, May, September and October temperatures are much milder and the arrival of tourists is also much lower. It is an ideal time to book a tour of Krakow's Old Town.

Book a tour of Krakow's Old Town

Travel to Croatia in spring, the best option

Krakow sightseeing bus| ©Jose K
Krakow sightseeing bus| ©Jose K

Regardless of the calendar, spring in Krakow in terms of temperature does not begin until April, as March is usually still quite cold. It is from that month when temperatures begin to soften, although the mornings and nights can still be unpleasant.

According to averages, the minimum temperatures during this season are usually around 7 ° C, while the maximum (already in May), moving around 20 ° C. Of course, the chances of precipitation are quite high. One of the effects of these temperatures is that Krakow is full of color, and not only because of the flowers and leaves in its various parks. The city hosts numerous celebrations in which locals and visitors can participate.

The days are very conducive to strolling, including on the promenade along the river. Likewise, it is also a great time to book the Krakow sightseeing bus or, if it's not raining, book a Krakow bike tour to get to know the city. In addition, spring is a time when Krakow' s nightlife is at its peak, with thousands of students flocking to the venues around the Jewish quarter.

Krakow's most interesting activities in spring

  • Immerse yourself in Easter, when it is traditional to decorate the famous Easter eggs and make palm trees woven with flowers. The country's Catholic tradition comes to the fore during Easter. In addition to the attractions that you can usually see in the Krakow Market Square, there are several stalls of Polish, Slovak, Hungarian and Ukrainian artisans where you will find some of the best gifts. There are also others dedicated to gastronomy where you can try some of the country's main dishes.
  • Attend The Drowning of Marzanna, which is a very popular pagan festival.
  • Take part in sporting activities such as the Krakow Marathon.
  • Don't miss the Film Festival.

Book the Krakow sightseeing bus

Travel to Krakow in summer, the best temperature but with a lot of tourism.

Touring Planty Park in Summer| ©Soon Keat Ong
Touring Planty Park in Summer| ©Soon Keat Ong

The high season in Krakow lasts from mid-June to the first half of September. The best thing about Krakow in summer is that the weather will be more pleasant, with an average temperature ranging from 20ºC to 30ºC. The average minimum temperature is not too low either, at 12.7ºC.

Another positive aspect is the amount of daylight hours you will find. During these months it gets dark around 9 p.m., so you will have more time for sightseeing and for excursions such as the one to Auschwitz

However, the summer in Krakow also has some negative points for travelers. To begin with, this is the period when there are the most tourists in the city. The crowds in some places will be constant and, for example, will not let you see the fabulous view of the Market Square or go to see the best churches in Krakow. As is obvious, the high season also brings with it a significant increase in prices, both for flights and accommodation.

Most interesting activities if you travel in summer

  • Go to Wianki, also known as the Flower Garland Festival, held along the Vistula River.

  • Do not miss the Festival of Jewish Culture, where you can listen to music, dance and attend other activities in the Jewish quarter. This is definitely a great time to book a tour of Krakow's Jewish quarter.

  • Discover the Festival of Mobile Theaters, an option not to be missed if you like theater.

Book a bike tour in Krakow

Travel to Krakow in autumn, a great time to visit the city

Daniłowicza Well in the Salt Mines| ©Aleksandr Zykov
Daniłowicza Well in the Salt Mines| ©Aleksandr Zykov

Autumn in Krakow climatologically only lasts until the beginning of November. This season is one of the best times to visit the city, as the weather has not yet reached the low temperatures typical of winter and, in addition, the chances of rain decrease.

Maximum temperatures range from an average of 19ºC in September to 13ºC in October, while in November they already drop to 7ºC. The minimum, meanwhile, stays around 6ºC, with the exception of the cold 0ºC reached at the end of the season.

On the other hand, the city is noticing the drop in tourist arrivals. The streets are much clearer and the queues to enter the most important monuments are greatly reduced. In addition, this lower influx of tourists makes this season the perfect time to make an excursion to the spectacular salt mines of Wieliczka or to escape for a day (with its corresponding night) to the beautiful town of Wroclaw.

Most interesting activities if you travel in autumn

  • Attend the Zaduszki Jazz Festival: It is the best way to see the latest in this musical genre.
  • Eat in the interesting Plac Nowy, in the Jewish quarter: With the beginning of the university year, the city recovers its local nightlife and, when the weather is good, it is even difficult to find a free place.
  • Taste the traditional autumn dishes: Food is also one of the protagonists of this season in which some dishes are traditional, such as the hunter's stew or its most famous soup, the zurek, which you will undoubtedly have tasted if you have done any of the highly recommended gastronomic tours listed in this article.

Book an excursion to the salt mines of Wieliczka

Travel in winter to Krakow, bitter cold and darkness, but with a different charm

Winter in Krakow| ©Roman Boyko
Winter in Krakow| ©Roman Boyko

If we go by the facts, winter is undoubtedly the least favorable time to visit Krakow. Temperatures are very low, with maximum temperatures of 2 or 3º C, while minimum temperatures are around 5 or 6º C below zero. In addition, snow is often present and daylight hours are so short that in December it gets dark before 4 p.m.

However, as I tell you in my article about the best things to do in Krakow in winter, it also has a special charm from mid-December onwards. With the arrival of Christmas, it dresses up with its illumination and decoration. The Christmas market in the Market Square is really impressive and you can find other smaller ones in the neighborhoods. Few sensations are more pleasant than ordering a mulled wine in the middle of the winter cold. Another possibility is to try the hot spiced beer.

On the other hand, many Krakowers take advantage of the winter week ends to go on one of the best excursions from Krakow: for example you can book an excursion to Zakopane, the so-called winter capital of Poland. Unlike in spring and summer, these getaways are not for hiking in the forests, but mainly for skiing. If you decide to visit Krakow in this season, thermal clothing is essential, as well as a hat, gloves and a good coat.

Most interesting activities if you travel in winter

  • Visit the Christmas market: The main activity you can do in Krakow in December. Despite the cold, the atmosphere in the Market Square and the stalls selling crafts, Christmas decorations and food make you forget about the low temperatures and enjoy like a child.
  • Make a route of Nativity Scenes: Among the Christmas traditions, especially if you travel with children to Krakow, the particular nativity scenes that are exhibited in some corners of the city attract a lot of attention. Unlike the Spanish ones, they represent small buildings inspired by the most important monuments of the city.

Book an excursion to Zakopane and Tatra

Comparative table on the best time to travel to Krakow

So that you can access at a glance the most important information for deciding when to travel to Krakow, here is a table with data on the different seasons.

  • Spring
  • April-June
  • High 17º C
  • Low 6º C
  • The best: the weather is improving and there are no crowds yet.
  • Worst: it usually rains a lot during this season.
  • Summer
  • June-September
  • High 23º C
  • Low 12º C
  • The best: more daylight hours and good weather.
  • The worst: crowds and the possibility of rain.
  • Autumn
  • September-November
  • High 13º C
  • Low 4º C
  • The best: less tourists and more tranquility for walking.
  • The worst: in November it starts to get quite cold.
  • Winter
  • December-March
  • Maximum 2º C
  • Minimum -5º C
  • The best: Christmas and seeing the city under the snow.
  • Worst: the cold and the few hours of daylight.

Best time to go to Auschwitz

Barracks in which prisoners were crammed at Auschwitz| ©Fred Romero
Barracks in which prisoners were crammed at Auschwitz| ©Fred Romero

The visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp (actually to the two that were erected in the area) is almost a must for everyone who travels to Krakow. Here is some information depending on the date you travel:

  • As with the city itself, the best months to make this visit are from May to September.
  • In winter, on the other hand, the cold can make the visit too uncomfortable and it is even possible that the countryside is snowy. It should also be taken into account that the tour of Auschwitz II takes place completely outdoors, so low temperatures are not the best way to get to know the place well.
  • Another important aspect when making this visit is that from April until the end of October, as you can see in the information about the opening hours of the Austchwitz complex, you can only enter Auschwitz I without a guide (on your own) early in the morning (before 10 am) and in the last hours of opening (from 15 pm, approximately). During the rest of the year, the hours in which self-guided tours are not allowed are between 10:00 and 13:00.
  • If you go in summer do not forget to book the Auschwitz tour in advance, something that is necessary even if you want to enter on your own. High demand may cause you to arrive and not be able to purchase a ticket. To avoid this, the most convenient way is to book an excursion from Krakow. In these summer dates it is also advisable to bring a cap and water, as you will need them to be able to walk for so long under the sun.

Book your excursion to Auschwitz