Top 5 Off the Beaten Path Gems in Krakow

by Andy Steves

Whether you're learning about its storied history or experiencing the living, breathing present, a trip to Krakow will leave you wanting more. This city has emerged from a devastating past into the 21st century as a thriving, young student city. Leave your inhibitions at home and dive in as you explore some favorite Polish haunts!

Pierogies
Pierogies. Photo by WSA Europe

1. Milk Bars - a left over remnant from the Communist era, these spots are guaranteed to have authentic, hearty food that won't break the bank. Milkbar Tomasza is a great place for a hot breakfast or stick to your ribs dinner, and just off the Main Market Square!

2. Polish Papal Cream Cake - Even if you don't have a sweet tooth, you'll love this light, airy pastry with your cup of joe. Pope John Paul II raved about Krakow's version of this dessert, and often times had it shipped from the city to his residence in Rome. Stop in any local bakery to try their recipe!

3. While it might not seem off the beaten path, Krakow's Main Market Square is one of the most romantic in all of Europe. Day or night, this is the center of town and buzzing with Polish culture. Take a stroll through on your way out at night, and take in the medieval history apparent in the buildings, St. Mary's Church and the Cloth Hall especially. If you have an extra hour, venture under the square to one of the most dazzling museums you’ll ever see. 

4. The old moat around the medieval city, Krakow's Planty Park, is now an enjoyable 1.9 mile stroll around town. Take a few good laps around to kick off the day, or walk from top to bottom, ending at Pad Wawalem for an incredible feast. Check out their kebab to share with friends - it even comes lit on fire!

5. Restaurants named 4zl/8zl might seem odd and just be another shop on the block for you, but inside you'll find a room buzzing with young Polish students, travelers, and young adults looking for a good time. These spots serve €1 drinks and €2 snacks which creates an incredible atmosphere to kick off the night. Some of the most interesting conversations are to be had here over a glass of hot wine in the winter or honey flavored Polish vodka in the summer.