Best nature spots in Krakow
The best nature spots from parks around the Old Town area to National Parks outside Krakow.
Even with a population of over 750,000 and a bustling city center, there are enough Krakow nature spots to make it a wonderfully green city. Visitors can enjoy dozens of beautiful parks, green areas, and nearby national parklands like the Tatras Mountains.
With numerous parks and outdoor — not to mention a renewed government effort to protect Krakow and turn it into a truly “green city” — it has become a welcoming place for nature lovers.
Let’s take a look at the best nature spots in Krakow.
Best Parks in Krakow
Planty Park encircles Krakow’s Old Town, meaning that it’s your first point of refuge if you need somewhere quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. The tree-lined walkways, plentiful park benches, and well-maintained flower beds all make this a perfect spot for a relaxed walk.
With around 120 acres of meadowland, we’re quite lucky to have somewhere as green, open, and untouched as the Blonia Grasslands right in the heart of Krakow. Blonia is a ‘recreational ground’, meaning that this area plays host to everything from quiet Sunday picnics, to Saturday morning Parkruns, to busier events like parades and festival activities. The size of the area means that you never feel crammed in and can fully enjoy nature!
Pristine, quiet, well-maintained, and bursting with all manner of plants, trees, and shrubs the Krakow Botanical Garden acts as a lovely retreat from city life, as well as a chance to study and appreciate flora from all over the world.
Truly a must-visit if you’re on holiday with a family – or if you’re just on a weekend break and looking for a Sunday stroll! Park Jordana is famous for having the first public playground in Krakow (which is still there to this day). Alongside this, you’ll find historical monuments and statues, numerous cafes, and leisurely paddleboats which you can take out on the lake.
Designed by the artist Józef Mehoffer and located on the grounds of the historic ‘Mehoffer House’, this Garden is about as regal and manicured as you could ask for – perfect for your leisurely stroll. The grounds were abandoned following the chaos of WWII but were restored in 2004, with the original paths and flowerbeds being recreated using old photos.
Originally a limestone quarry, Zakarowek officially became a reservoir in 1990. In modern-day Krakow, it has taken on new life and emerged as a kind of beautiful, repurposed nature spot within the city.
This area is frequented by both locals and tourists alike, and you’re strongly encouraged to ramble through Zakrowwek’s nature trails, swim or dive in the crystal clear water, or just sun lounge in a peaceful setting.
Lasek Wolski is Krakow’s “forest sanctuary”, meaning that it’s a massive woodland on the edge of the city limits. It’s also perched on top of several hills, meaning that you get a two-for-one deal of boundless nature and spectacular views over the city!
Best nature activities in Krakow
Biking to Tyniec
Top of your list or a nature activity should be taking a trip along the bike path south of the Wisla/Vistula River, where you’ll leave the bustle of the city and feel like you’re out in the untouched Polish countryside. We recommend that you cycle all the way to Tyniec Abbey, a sublimely preserved Benedictine monastery situated in the picturesque village of Tyniec.
River cruising to Tyniec
The joy of taking a cruise to Tyniec Abbey (rather than cycling) is that not only will you be able to take in all the natural beauty on offer on either side of the Vistula River, but you’ll also get one of the best views of the Abbey – as you’ll be able to look up at it from the River as it juts over the clifftop.
Visiting Kościuszki Mound
The Kosciuszko Mound – like the Pilsudski Mound – was constructed to commemorate a famous Polish national hero 19th Century. In the modern day, the green area surrounding the Mound serves as a good example of how Krakow City maintains its open spaces. You can take a walk up the Mound, wander through the small forested area, and enjoy a location where history and nature meet.
Krakus Mound has a more ancient history than Kosciuszko and Pilsudski Mounds. In fact, historians aren’t exactly sure of the origins of these latter two Mounds but believe that they may be related to some ritualistic burial practices from Poland’s ancient past. Travelling to see Krakus Mound can be very rewarding for visitors – it’s more peaceful than other Mounds in the city and is perfect for a contemplative stroll.
Nature spots in Krakow’s surrounding areas
Pieniny National Park
Great for hiking, rafting and walking, we recommend going to Pieniny and taking a crash course (figuratively!) in rafting along the River Dunajec. The River runs through the incredible National Park of Pieniny, where you’ll get a first-hand glimpse of the rugged nature that southern Poland has to offer.
Popular for hiking, climbing, skiing and day trips to Zakopane tow, the Tatras are the open, mountainous landscape which forms a natural border between Poland and neighbouring Slovakia. At the foot of the mountains is the town of Zakopane, which is just a quick 2-hour drive from Krakow. From there, you can venture into the area for all kinds of outdoor activities, whether it’s hiking and climbing in the summer, to skiing and other winter sports later in the year! l
Ojców National Park
Ojców is teeming with nature, literally. This forest has over 1,000 species of flowering plants, 500 species of butterflies, dozens of opportunities for bird spotting, and any number of hiking trails that will take you through sweeping valleys, dense forests, deep ravines, and stunning hillscapes.
Although many are too modest to admit it, most Cracovians are proud of how they’ve maintained and revitalised many of their green spaces in recent years. In a big city, with an ever-growing population and a constant influx of tourists from all over the world, it’s nice to know that there are still places in Krakow where you can get lost.