If there’s anyone you can trust to find the best hangouts, the most delicious eateries, and the hottest bars in any city, it’s students.
Krakow boasts a large student population, and you can be sure that they know all the nooks and crannies of the city that never make it to tourist guides but perfectly capture Krakow’s vibrant atmosphere.
These places aren’t exactly secret, but it takes insider knowledge to find them. If you’re not friends with locals, you need a good source of insider tips about Krakow. You’re in luck because that’s what this post is about.
You might also be interested in: Krakow Map – Free and easy download in PDF
Here’s a lineup of spots Krakow students love to help you make the most of your visit to the city.
Table of Contents
- 1 Forum Przestrzenie (Marii Konopnickiej 28)
- 2 Krakow Botanical Garden (Mikołaja Kopernika 27)
- 3 Dolnych Młynów (Dolnych Młynów 10)
- 4 Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow (MOCAK)
- 5 Kazimierz, the Jewish district
- 6 Alchemia (Estery 5)
- 7 Archaeology Museum Garden (Senacka 3)
- 8 Barka (Podgórska 16)
- 9 Józefa Street
- 10 Klub Re (Świętego Krzyża 4)
- 11 U Romana (Tomasza 43)
- 12 Pauza in Garden (Rajska 12)
Hotel Forum is a Krakow classic that until recently stood completely inaccessible to Krakow’s youth.
Somebody had a genius idea and turned that historical spot into one of the best bars in the city. Forum Przestrzenie quickly became a cult place and today it’s known across the country for its unique atmosphere.
First, there’s the location.
Forum Przestrzenie stands right next to the Vistula River and it overlooks Wawel. You can enjoy that view while dozing off on a comfy sun lounger or having a drink with friends at one of the many tables.
The best thing about Forum Przestrzenie is that you can come here at any time of the day, be it weekday or weekend, and find the space really cool and relaxing.
Add to all that a selection of delicious breakfast options, refreshing homemade lemonade, or the mouthwatering thin-crust pizza, and you got yourself a top spot for a lazy afternoon.
Dating back to 1783, Krakow Botanical Garden is the oldest botanical garden in Poland. It covers a smashing space of almost 10 hectares and offers the most relaxing daytime escape option known to Krakow’s young residents.
Students flock here to chill between the quiet flora-filled paths, fresh herb gardens, and lovely lily-padded ponds. The garden’s greenhouse is a humid paradise that houses all kinds of exotic flora.
If you’re up for a thrilling experience, be sure to visit its macabre collection of carnivorous plants.
During warmer months, the garden offers outdoor classical music concerts – just perfect for taking in some culture in an amazing setting. Note that Krakow Botanical Garden is closed from November till end of March.
The post-industrial area located in Lower Młynów has recently been transformed into an amazing hangout that found instant appreciation among the students of Krakow.
Housed in one place, you’ll find several bars, pubs and eateries that offer anything from delicious breakfast and casual coffee to late dinner and drinks.
You can come here at any time of the day and you’ll find people having all sorts of fun. Tytano – the building that used to serve as a tobacco products factory – today offers a range of fantastic locales like Bonjour Cava, Bifor, Międzymiastowa, Veganic, Weźże, or MashRoom.
And if you’d like to delve into some aesthetics, have a look the Fashion and Design Forum.
Launched only in 2010, the Museum has already become a top spot on Krakow’s cultural map and a favorite among local students that dabble into the arts.
The collections at MOCAK focus on international art created during the last two decades in the context of the post-war art movement, offering a refreshing perspective on contemporary art. The building itself is impressing.
It was designed by the Italian architect Claudio Nardi, MOCAK stands on the site of Oskar Schindler’s factory. The post-industrial Zablocie district is a treat as well. With a combination of warehouse atmosphere and innovative architecture (think glass floors and slanting roofs), no wonder that the place was an instant hit with the youth.
Kazimierz is a mecca for students in search for great nightlife options. But that’s not everything. The historical Jewish district is a trendy spot that houses bohemian cafes, quirky antiquarian shops, and plenty of amazing restaurants.
Check out the former Jewish milk bar called Mleczarnia. Decorated with vintage gramophones, sepia photographs, and candelabras, the place is must-see.
If you happen to visit Krakow in spring, you can relax in a lovely garden located right on the other side of the street. When cherry and chestnut trees bloom, it’s quite a sight. And if you want to grab a quick bite, there’s no better place than Love Krove, a favorite among Krakow’s hipsters that offers a dozen vegetarian burgers.
That one is a true gem and a classic that attracts everyone looking for a genuine Krakow bar atmosphere. Even though it’s a spot you’ll find in your tourist guide, it’s still very popular among the locals – in particular students who flock here to have a drink in Alchemia’s impressive candle-lit rooms decorated with all kinds of alchemist tools.
As one of the oldest functioning bars in the Jewish district of Kazimierz, Alchemia promises to take you to a different reality.
If you happen to drop by during the weekend, you’ll enjoy a concert of one of the local bands – have a look at their Facebook page for news.
Krakow’s Archaeology Museum is a fantastic spot. Housed in an old monastery, the museum offers a look into a range of ancient arts and crafts. It’s especially known for the the Zbruch Idol which is the only existing sculpture of a Slavic god in Europe.
The exhibitions might be a bit dated, but it’s worth to come here for the museum garden. If you’re not visiting the museums, you’ll need to pay 2zł charge.
In exchange, you’ll enter an amazing place where you can relax and take in some breathtaking views on Wawel.
Located in the strict city center, the garden is a favorite among students looking for some quiet time with a book.
If you take a walk along the the footbridge that connects Kazimierz to Podgórze, you’ll find a real treat moored along your way.
Barka is a restored ship that houses some of the most amazing parties in Krakow.
If you want to see how the local students party, that’s the right place to check out. Come here at noon and you’ll find yourself staying there till the early morning hours.
You’ll get to eat, drink and party, all the while admiring the stunning views of the Vistula River. The sights combined with great music are bound to make your night at Barka unforgettable.
Following the steps of Krakow’s students takes a lot of energy, so if you need to relax after a night of partying, you should definitely come to Józefa Street.
This fascinating street is full of antique shops, alternative fashion boutiques, and atmospheric cafe-bars.
Locals’ favorites include Eszeweria, located at Józefa 9 and its sister bar Esze at Józefa 18. Both are amazing spaces filled with old furniture or fun swing-seats at the bar.
Settle in one of the low-slung armchairs, and have some delicious Fairtrade coffee or one of the unpasteurized Polish artisan beers like Perla or Ciechan.
Klub Re is a real hidden spot that can be found only by those who are aware of its existence. Located behind old tenement buildings, Re is a basement club that in warmer moths opens a lovely beer garden in the back where students relax and mingle.
You can access Re from Świętego Krzyża or Mikołajska street. Just look for the Re sign.
Nestled right in the city center, Re is a club where time seems to slow down. Stop here during afternoon or evening and you’ll spot plenty of people having drinks after school or work. Have a look at their website to learn about regular events and concerts too.
U Romana is an absolute must-see if you’re looking for a place with laid-back atmosphere and stunning views.
It’s a canteen located on a top floor of the building that houses Krakow’s Music Academy.
Come early and you might be able to grab a seat at one of the amazing terraces that offer breathtaking views of Krakow’s historical center.
Plus, it’s a student canteen so meals are not only delicious but also affordable. Pick a dish from a choice of classic Polish cuisine, join the crowds of students having their lunch or dinner, and admire the spectacular views.
The brand new library building on Rajska Street here joins the tradition of café Floriańska to bring you a unique combination, Pauza in Garden.
Locals love that spot for many reasons. The interior is full of comfy sofas, the drinks are to die for, and guests get to enjoy many interesting exhibitions.
Located nearby Krupnicza Street, the place is full of students catching up on their work – single tables and fast WiFi certainly do the trick.
Pop in for a coffee or lemonade, pair it with a book, and mingle with Krakow’s students on their afternoon break. The above represents a small chunk of Krakow’s rich offering of perfect student hangouts.
Krakow is a student-friendly city that boasts many places that attract its local youth and make it into the city we love so much – open-minded, relaxed, and cosmopolitan.
Do you know any other amazing spots in Krakow? Let me know in comments, I’m always searching for new amazing places in my favorite city.