14 glorious things to do in Krakow in winter (2024)

If you’re planning a winter trip to one of the largest cities in Poland, I’ve rounded up all the essential things to do in Krakow in winter, including where to stay. Plus I’ve included some helpful tips for traveling to this picturesque and historic town. 

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Krakow was my first meeting with Poland a few years back, and I instantly loved it!

While it’s filled with people and flowers on every corner in summer, it turns into a magical winter destination from December to February.

You can still experience the evergreen sights like St. Mary’s Basilica, only now the city is also incredibly festive and cozy.

Here are 14 things to do in Krakow in winter that you shouldn’t miss.

things to do in Krakow in winter - Main square

Read next: How to spend awesome 2 days in Krakow

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Weather in Krakow in winter

In Krakow, the winters are cold, snowy, and windy. Expect short days with grey skies, and possible drizzle or snow where the sun sets around 3:30 pm. Sidewalks can get slushy and dirty.

The sun does get out, though, and the sunrises are the prettiest.

MonthHigh / Low (°C)Rain
December3° / -4°8 days
January1° / -6°9 days
February3° / -5°6 days

14 things to do in Krakow in winter

1. Guided tour in a golf cart

There’s a lot to see in Krakow, but the sights are scattered across town. In the summer, it’s easy to walk but in winter it’s best to optimize your time. You have fewer daylight hours, after all.

I suggest opting for this 1.5-hour tour in an electric golf cart to see the city’s highlights quickly and easily.

You’ll drive through the Old Town, to Wawel Castle, Kazimierz, and even pass by the former site of Oskar Schindler’s Factory. An audio guide keeps you informed as you go.

Book your ticket – Krakow Grand City Tour by golf cart (⭐ 5/5)

things to do in Krakow in winter

2. Visit Wawel Castle

Wawel Castle is a must-see in Krakow, especially in winter when it’s often covered in snow.

Built in the 14th century, the castle was the home of Polish kings and is a key historical site today.

Book here – Wawel Castle & Cathedral Guided Tour (⭐ 4.5/5)

things to do in Krakow in winter - Wavel castle

3. Discover the Market Square Christmas Fair

Each year, the city’s main square transforms into a festive Christmas market from late November until early January.

Picture wooden stalls with twinkling lights, selling everything from ornaments to tasty treats and warm drinks. Live performances and Christmas tunes add to the fairy-tale atmosphere.

Look for the szopkas, which are handmade Christmas cribs so remarkable, that they even made UNESCO’s cultural heritage list in 2018. On the first Thursday of December, there’s an annual competition.

things to do in Krakow in winter - Christmas Fair

4. Explore the Main Market Square (Rynek Główny)

This is the heart of the Old Town and one of the largest medieval squares in Europe.

During winter, it’s where you’ll find the Christmas markets, mulled wine, and traditional Polish treats.

things to do in Krakow in winter - Main square (2)

5. Walk in Planty Park

Planty Park surrounds Krakow Old Town, and it turns into a winter wonderland in the cold months.

It’s a great place to go for a walk and enjoy the winter scenery.

things to do in Krakow in winter - Planty Park

6. Ice skating

Looking for a fun winter activity in Krakow? Ice skating is a hit with both locals and visitors.

You’ll find rinks scattered around the city, some even close to big attractions. Plus, you can easily rent skates on-site.

7. Visit St. Mary’s Basilica

St. Mary’s Basilica lights up Krakow’s Main Square in winter.

Built in the 14th century, this iconic church wows with its intricate wooden altarpiece and the iconic trumpet call heard every hour.

krakow 2 days itinerary

8. Try Traditional Polish Food on a food tour

Polish food is so delicious you won’t believe it.

And winter is the perfect time to try hearty Polish meals like pierogi (dumplings), bigos (hunter’s stew), and barszcz (beet soup).

Whether you taste it in one of Krakow’s Michelin-star restaurants or on a food tour is all the same – just make sure to try it.

This highly rated 2-3 hour food tour takes you to local hotspots where you’ll try traditional dishes. You’ll get to wash it down with Polish vodka and craft beer and cap it off with a tasty dessert.

Book here – Krakow Food Tasting Tour with Delicious Poland (⭐ 5/5)

Polish food

9. Auschwitz and Wieliczka Salt Mine

Although it’s not an uplifting activity, visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp is a humbling and important experience.

The camp is a short distance from Krakow so you can visit on a day trip.

Close by is also the Wieliczka Salt Mine, one of the world’s oldest salt mines and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On this day trip, you’ll get to combine two of Krakow’s most important historic sites. 

Book here – Day Trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine (⭐ 5/5)

things to do in Krakow in winter - Auschwitz

10. Go to Kazimierz

My favorite place in Krakow is Kazimierz.

This is the Jewish quarter in Krakow, and it’s filled with synagogues, interesting cafes, and unique shops. I highly recommend staying here because of the atmosphere. It’s unique.

Things to do in Krakow

11. Visit the best Milk Bar in Krakow

Looking for tasty, affordable food in Krakow? Check out Bar Mleczny Górnik.

Milk Bars date back to the 19th century and were originally set up for affordable dining during the Communist era. Nowadays, there are only about 140 left in Poland.

You can get good meals at Bar Mleczny Górnik without spending a fortune.

12. Zakopane Day Trip

Looking for a day trip from Krakow? Consider Zakopane, a year-round mountain resort popular among Poles.

In winter, it’s a skiing haven; and you can soak in the thermal hot bath pools – they’re open in winter!

Book your tour – Zakopane Tour and Thermal Hot Bath Pool (⭐ 5/5)

things to do in Krakow in winter - Zakopane

13. Schindler’s Factory Museum

If you’re interested in WWII, you should visit Schindler’s Factory Museum.

This museum offers a deep dive into the life of Oskar Schindler and the Jewish workers he saved during World War II. It’s an indoor activity.

Book your transport – Oskar Schindler’s Factory Museum Guided Tour (⭐ 4/5)

Things to do in Krakow

14. Uni targ flea market

Last but not least, visit Uni Targ – Krakow’s biggest and most popular flea market.

This place is legendary for having a little bit of everything—old books, vintage porcelain, artwork, and even fresh produce straight from farmers.

Whether you’re a dedicated bargain hunter or just want to experience a slice of local life, Uni Targ has you covered.

Pro tip: For the best deals, swing by early on Sunday mornings before the crowds roll in.

Things to do in Krakow

FAQ – Krakow in winter

Is Krakow worth visiting in winter?

Yes, Krakow is well worth a visit in winter!

The city’s Christmas market in the main square is a must-see, where you can taste delicious Polish food and experience the UNESCO-listed szopkas.

What is Krakow like in winter?

In winter, Krakow is cold with temperatures often dropping below freezing, so pack accordingly. Snowfall is common but usually not extreme.

On the flip side, you’ll experience a festive vibe in December, and there will be fewer tourists.

Is Krakow worth visiting in December?

You bet it is!

Krakow in December is a total win. It’s cold and can get snowy, but the vibe is super festive. The Christmas market in the Main Square is a highlight, and all the big tourist spots like Wawel Castle are usually open.

You can even go ice skating. Just note some places might close on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

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