Guide to the best Krakow neighborhoods
Get a quick summary of the most popular Krakow neighborhoods to visit and stay in.
With 18 official districts, all Krakow neighborhoods have their own special character and charm. Even though Krakow has 800,000 people in the city center and 1.5 million in the surrounding metro area, most of the historical Krakow neighborhoods are compact and walkable. This makes it a perfect city for visitors who like to stretch their legs. (But not too much!)
Read on to discover five of the best Krakow neighborhoods for tasty gastronomy, grand architecture, and just overall pleasant local vibes. Or if you’re more of an audio person, listen to our Jolly European podcast episode on the best Krakow neighborhoods.
Old Town (Stare Miasto)
The charming heart of Krakow, the Old Town (Stare Miasto in Polish) is home to cultural and historical landmarks and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here you can find important landmarks such as:
- The Market Square — the largest medieval town square in Europe with cafes, restaurants, bars, and has been a popular meeting space over the centuries
- The Barbican — a late 15th-century fortified outpost once part of the city’s walls
- Sukiennice (Cloth Hall) — an important center connecting trade between the Far East and Europe during the end of the Middle Ages. A division of the National Museum, Krakow is located at its top level
Most people fall in love with Krakow here, just wandering the streets and admiring the charm. Or sitting at the Market Square with a beer or coffee watching the world pass by.
If you are interested in Polish nightlife, downtown Krakow stays open late. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of quite pockets where you can stay in this Krakow neighborhood.
Kazimierz – Old Jewish District
The well-preserved Jewish District, Kazimierz is now a trendy Krakow neighborhood with cute cafes (spend an afternoon in Eszeweria, Cytat, or Mleczarnia), little artisan shops, and intimate restaurants that bring people together.
Once the night hits, Kazimierz becomes a popular spot for students looking for a lively night out. Just a 15-minute walk from the city center, this is a popular place to end the night.
Kazimierz is full of history and is a testament to a period before the war when Jewish and Christians coexisted in Krakow. Landmarks include:
- Old Jewish Cemetery of Kraków (Remah Cemetery)
- Historic synagogues like the Izaak synagogue
- New Square (Plac Nowy)
- Galicia Jewish Museum
Podgórze – Former Jewish Ghetto
Continue exploring Krakow by strolling along the pedestrian bridge that connects Podgórze with Kazimierz. Across the Vistula River in Podgórze, there are many cozy cafes where you can sip hot chocolate and rest your feet. A residential area, it’s less run by tourists and more frequented by locals.
Podgórze was the tragic site of the Jewish Ghetto during World War II and has several important Holocaust memorials including:
- The Empty Chairs Memorial
- Under the Eagle Pharmacy – the only clinic allowed to operate in the ghetto
- Oskar Schindler’s Factory- the original factory where Schindler saved Jews during WWII
West Krakow – Local Neighborhood
The western part of the city is really a combo of several Krakow neighborhoods that for convenience we’ll just call West Krakow. This neighborhood is home to several large green areas and nature spots that are perfect for lovers of the outdoors:
- Park Jordana
- Las Wolski forest
- Błonia park
If you want to get more of a local vibe or are planning a really extended stay, we highly recommend this as the best Krakow neighborhood to stay in.
Nowa Huta – Planned Socialist City
Although it’s 10 km (6.2 miles) east of the city center, Nowa Huta is worth the 21-minute tram ride. In 1949, the Socialist government dreamed of a completely separate city to exemplify the greatness of Stalinism. Nowa Huta was a painstakingly planned socialist realist city, with large, imposing city blocks, open boulevards, and the massive green Plac Centralny (Central Square).
For visitors, this is a real time portal and worth the visit. Take a guided tour to learn more about its construction and how it was designed a testament to the new political system in Poland. While interesting, you can manage with just a half-day here, and we certainly don’t recommend staying in Nowa Huta as there are much better Krakow neighborhoods for tourists.
What is the best Krakow neighborhood to stay in?
There are almost endless experiences for visitors – Krakow is definitely a destination worth visiting. Read more about the magic travelers can expect to find in these wonderful neighborhoods and the surrounding area.
Now that you’ve started researching where to go in the city, you are probably wondering where you should stay in Krakow. The old town is one of the most popular and established areas to stay in Krakow. It’s where some of the grandest hotels and boutiques are located, plus you’ll be right next door to all of the city’s most famous landmarks!
Some prefer to stay somewhere quieter, cheaper, or with fewer tourists. If that’s the case, then many visitors also enjoy staying in Kazimierz. Here you have a more bohemian vibe and some boutique hotels.
Whatever you value in a hotel or Airbnb, you will find it in Krakow. But if you’d like some help in deciding or want assistance in planning a trip to Krakow, take a look at our Monty Experience package and see if it’s a fit for you. We’d be happy to help!