10 Things to Do in Krakow in Summer

With the good weather and the many hours of daylight, the summer season is one of the best times to visit Krakow. Here is a list with a series of interesting activities

Joaquín Montaño

Joaquín Montaño

10 min read

10 Things to Do in Krakow in Summer

Krakow Park in Summer | ©Monika

Krakow is much more than its many monuments. The Polish city offers a wealth of cultural events, gastronomic variety and, of course, entertainment. This, which is true at any time of the year, is even more so during the summer months.

The cold of winter forgotten, the summer season allows visitors and inhabitants of Krakow to go out and enjoy the surroundings of the Vistula River, live the night to the fullest in its countless bars or attend festivals as interesting as the one that pays homage to the pierogi or the one that celebrates Jewish culture.

1. Stroll through Planty Park

Strolling through Planty Park in Summer| ©Soon Keat Ong
Strolling through Planty Park in Summer| ©Soon Keat Ong

One of the favorite activities of the inhabitants of Krakow during the summer is a leisurely stroll through one of its most famous parks: the Planty. I advise you to follow one of the most famous maxims among travelers, "where you go, do what you see", and join young and old on a walk through the more than 4 kilometers of this green space.

In ancient times, the entire medieval city of Krakow was surrounded by defensive walls. From the 18th century, a green belt called Planty began to be built. Today, as you walk along its paths, you can still see some remains of the old walls. Among the most outstanding points of interest are:

  • Florian Gate: In the northern area, it is one of the most striking points of the park and one of the original entrances to the walled city. It is the perfect start to begin a 2-day itinerary in Krakow.
  • Statues: While strolling through the park you will be able to see several sculptures representing important figures in the history of Poland, such as Nicolaus Copernicus, who attended the famous Collegium Maius in Krakow.
  • Near Wawel Castle: It is the most popular and visited part of this space. There, on a boulevard that runs along the river bank, many people gather sitting on the lawn, walking or enjoying the view.

It may be interesting to book a guided tour of the old town to learn about this and other places of interest in the city.

Book a guided tour of the old town

2. Don't miss the Festival of Jewish Culture in Kazimierz

Kazimierz| ©Paul Arps
Kazimierz| ©Paul Arps

I have no doubt that during your stay in Krakow you will have booked a tour of the Jewish quarter, Kazimierz. The Jewish quarter is home to numerous sites worth seeing. It is precisely this quarter that hosts one of the most renowned cultural events in the country: the Festival of Jewish Culture. If the dates coincide, you should not miss the events organized there.

The festival is held every year for 10 days in late June or early July. Originally, in 1988, it was conceived as a series of events to remember the importance of the Hebrew community in the city, as well as a recognition of its historical and cultural contributions.

Since that first edition, the festival has been consolidated and today attracts almost 30,000 people every year. Without a doubt, you will have plenty of activities to choose from: conferences, workshops, guided tours and concerts of traditional music that take place in various places in the neighborhood. Other activities that take place during these days are film screenings, Jewish cooking classes or book presentations.

Book a tour of the Jewish Quarter

3. Take a cruise on the Vistula River

Vistula River boat| ©Leif Arne Storset
Vistula River boat| ©Leif Arne Storset

Although summer is usually considered the best time to visit Krakow, the truth is that it has a small point against it: the crowds of tourists in many streets. A possible option to avoid them for a while is to book a cruise on the Vistula River.

This route will allow you to visit part of the city in a more relaxed and quiet way, something that you will appreciate after visiting the bustling Market Square, for example.

The tour lasts about an hour. The most striking points, besides the views of the castle, are the Pilsudski or Dębnicki bridges, under which you pass. The end point of most of the trips is the interesting monastery of the Benedictines. Another way of river cruising, intended for the more fit, is to rent a kayak and sail it leisurely for a while.

Book a cruise on the Vistula River

4. Take a bike ride to Tyniec

Tyniec| ©Kriksos
Tyniec| ©Kriksos

A really interesting activity to do in summer, when the weather permits, is to book a bike tour in Krakow and head to the Tyniec Monastery.

From the center of Krakow there is a bike path to make the 12 kilometers ride in a safe and comfortable way, as well as to other places in the surroundings of the city.

Tyniec used to be an independent village, but today it is part of Krakow. There, on the banks of the Vistula, a Benedictine abbey was built on a hill in the 11th century. If you want to complete your walk with a visit to the abbey, you should keep in mind that the opening hours are from 10 am to 6 pm.

Book a bike tour in Krakow

5. Take a hiking tour in Zakopane

Zakopane| ©lucy_s86
Zakopane| ©lucy_s86

Although Zakopane is known by the nickname of "winter capital", the truth is that in summer there are a number of activities that are worth booking an excursion, either on your own or organized.

The most popular thing to do in this town located at the foot of the Tatra Mountain s (about two hours from Krakow) is the hiking trail that leads to the spectacular Morskie Oko Lake. If you want to do this route you should know that its beginning is far from the village.

If you have gone on your own, you will have to take one of the minibuses that continuously depart from the bus and train station of the village and leave you at the beginning of the trail. The area has many other routes, some of them with attractions such as churches, small waterfalls or extraordinary viewpoints. If you are lucky, you may even see some deer along the way.

Book a tour to Zakopane

6. Attend a performance of the Summer Opera Festival

Summer Opera Festival| ©Ryszard Kornecki|
Summer Opera Festival| ©Ryszard Kornecki|

Whether you like opera or just want to enjoy a performance in some magical setting, the Summer Opera Festival in Krakow is a great opportunity.

Usually held in July, this festival is considered one of the most anticipated events of the entire artistic season. Performances are held in different parts of the city, both in Krakow's many concert halls and in some less formal venues.

Although tickets are not easy to get, the event that everyone wants to attend takes place in the courtyard of Wawel Castle. In this beautiful setting, surrounded by buildings such as the Royal Palace and Wawel Cathedral, a stage is set up for opera lovers to attend the performances.

Practical information

First of all, I recommend that you start looking for your tickets as soon as possible. The popularity of the festival, especially the performances that take place in the courtyard of the castle, causes the seats are sold out quickly.

To buy them, assuming that you can not do it at the box office, it is best to look at the official website dedicated to this type of events in Krakow. Another option, if you are a classical music lover, is to book a ticket for a Chopin piano concert.

Book a ticket for a Chopin concert

7. Experience the Krakow night

Eating Zapiekanka| ©Zygmunt Put
Eating Zapiekanka| ©Zygmunt Put

The presence of thousands of students in the city, both locals and foreigners, plus the many tourists who travel in summer make the night in Krakow the liveliest in all of Poland. Do not hesitate to book a pub crawl in Krakow and live the experience intensely.

The nightlife in Krakow is concentrated in two different areas. On the one hand, in the Old Town, where tourists tend to gather in the city. And on the other hand, in the Jewish quarter, full of bars and pubs and with an incredible atmosphere in each of its streets.

My advice is to start eating a good zapiekanka in the new square (Plac Nowy). This dish is basically a baguette with mushrooms and other ingredients that is grilled in the oven. In the same square you will also find other food stalls with grilled meat or sausages. After eating it's time to get lost in the lively streets of the neighborhood until you find a place you like to live the night.

More tranquility in the Forum

If the night is not your thing, but you want to have a beer in peace and quiet, one of the best places in the city is the Forum. It is a former communist-era hotel converted into a bar and to find it, you have to cross the river from the Jewish quarter area. Summer is undoubtedly the best time to go to this place, as they put hammocks to have a drink overlooking the river and the Wawel Castle.

Book a pub crawl in Krakow

8. Discover one of the typical dishes of the country at the Pierogi Festival

Pierogi| ©Naomi K-S
Pierogi| ©Naomi K-S

In August in Krakow there is a festival dedicated to a rather appetizing theme: pierogi, similar to stuffed ravioli. Anyone who has booked a gastronomic tour of Krakow or simply entered a restaurant in Krakow will have tasted what is in its own right one of the traditional dishes of Poland.

During the days of the festival, all the restaurants present their best creations with this type of pasta as the star. Some of them experiment to introduce new fillings that go beyond the typical pierogi ruskie or pierogi kirniki (with chicken). Thus, you can try some made with deer meat, smoked cheese or lamb.

Possibly the highlight of the celebration is the contest in which the best pierogi dish of the whole festival is decided. This event is held in Maly Rynek and during it you can listen to live music and, of course, try a recipe for a really low price.

Book a gastronomic tour of the Jewish Quarter

9. Find a wreath and become part of the Wianki

Women in the Wianki| ©Anna Kaczmarz
Women in the Wianki| ©Anna Kaczmarz

Those who travel to Krakow during the summer solstice can witness one of the city's most beloved traditions: the Wianki, a festival of pagan origin that celebrates the arrival of the summer season.

The tradition in Krakow is to throw wreaths of flowers into the river, something that connects with a local legend: thus, Princess Wanda, daughter of the legendary founder of the city, preferred to throw herself into the Vistula before agreeing to marry Rydygier, a German leader who had invaded the city.

But the moment you should not miss of this festival takes place during the night. At the base of Wawel Hill, a large crowd gathers every year to listen to the concerts and enjoy the food. At midnight, those present throw their wreaths into the water, followed by a truly amazing fireworks display. You can also attend concerts and parties held in other squares where medieval markets are also set up.

10. Don't leave the city without trying one of Krakow's typical ice creams

Good Lood ice cream| ©Andre Chang
Good Lood ice cream| ©Andre Chang

You probably don't associate Krakow (or Poland in general) with ice cream. However, Poles love this sweet and in the city you will find a large number of places where you can buy them. Just learn the word lody and point to the flavor to enjoy a delicious bite.

Although stores are open all year round, summer is the peak season for eating ice cream. Long lines form at the best ice cream parlors, something that will be useful for you to know where to go with guarantees.

To make sure you get it right the first time, here are two recommendations to buy your ice cream:

  • Good Lood: just looking at the queues you will realize that it is one of the favorite places of the inhabitants of Krakow. As a curiosity, every evening at 8 pm they publish in their app the flavors they are going to add the next day to their usual four (chocolate, cream, raspberry and salty caramel).
  • Lody na Starowislnej: located on Starowislna Street, near the Jewish quarter, is one of the most traditional and popular ice cream parlors in Krakow.

What is the weather like in Krakow in summer

Summer solstice in Krakow| ©Rafał Zięba
Summer solstice in Krakow| ©Rafał Zięba

Summer in Krakow presents very pleasant temperatures, without really suffocating heat. July and August have an average maximum temperature of 23.4°C, while the average minimum is about 12.7°C.

September is somewhat different, with temperatures dropping. By the final days of summer, the highs are already at a pleasant 19º C, but the lows can drop to 8º C on average.

Something to keep in mind is that the possibility of rain is always present, as the average is that there is rainfall 8 days a month. The best thing to do to ensure you can carry out your plans is to check the weather forecast shortly before you travel.

Book a segway tour Krakow

Tourist influx in Krakow in summertime

Market Square in Summer| ©Iz Marty
Market Square in Summer| ©Iz Marty

Summer is the peak tourist season in Krakow, so crowds are common in the most touristy areas of the city. However, if you go a little out of the historic center (even in the Jewish quarter) the situation is somewhat quieter.

This large influx influences the rise in prices for accommodation and flights. Fortunately, the low prices for food, transportation and entrance fees compensate for this.

Book a ghost tour of Krakow