When is the best time to visit Krakow?
If you don’t want to risk extreme weather conditions, we recommend May-June and September-October as the best times to go to Krakow.
Alright, we might be biased, but we’re going to go ahead and say that there’s not really a bad time to visit Krakow.
Hear us out — this is a city where every season has its own distinctive beauty and every month brings with it a host of wonderful festivals, events, and traditional celebrations. It doesn’t matter when you visit Krakow, you’re not going to have any shortage of things to do in Krakow.
But everyone has preferences for their own traveling experiences. So, to help you get a sense of when might be the best time for you to visit, here’s everything you need to know.
What’s Krakow’s weather like by month?
Krakow has a continental climate, similar to many other central European cities ranging from Prague to Berlin, and similar to North American cities such as Toronto or Ottawa. This means that it gets warm summers and cold winters.
Therefore, if you don’t want to risk extreme weather conditions, the late-spring/early-summer months (May-June) or early-autumn months (September-October) are often considered the best time to visit Krakow.
In these months, the weather is much more temperate, the tourist throngs are not as apparent, and there are plenty of local celebrations around this period to delight visitors.
Krakow’s Average Temperature & Rainfall by Month
|Month||High / Low(°F)||Rain (days)|
|January||34° / 21°||9|
|February||37° / 23°||6|
|March||47° / 30°||6|
|April||57° / 37°||6|
|May||67° / 46°||9|
|June||72° / 52°||9|
|July||75° / 55°||9|
|August||75° / 54°||8|
|September||66° / 47°||7|
|October||56° / 39°||8|
|November||44° / 31°||8|
|December||37° / 24°||8|
However, if you’re planning on taking a trip beyond Kraków — say, out to the Tatra Mountains to explore their jaw-dropping landscapes — it’s important to know that the weather can really change depending on the geography and altitude. For example, don’t head out to the Tatra Mountains in mid-April without proper, warm clothing (unless you want locals to shake their heads and roll their eyes at you).
Current Krakow weather
Current Krakow air quality
Does Krakow have a smog problem?
Air pollution was once a big problem in Krakow, especially during the winter and early spring months — and this was known to put a lot of tourists off. But the local government has recently taken a lot of steps to tackle smog in the city, including becoming the first Polish city to ban burning coal and wood at home. There is also regulation around the city centre to combat pollution; this includes limited access for cars around the Market Square area and the introduction of a Green Low Emission Zone to help improve air quality. Thanks to all this, our city is much more inviting and environmentally-friendly than ever before! Trust us: we notice it in the morning during our winter runs!
What is the best season to visit Krakow?
Without stressing the point too much, we want to say again that you’ll find the city alive with festivals and events throughout the year, meaning that there are benefits to visiting during any season. Read on for some examples.
Visit Krakow in Spring
Sometimes Spring can get a late bloom in Krakow, but when it arrives, it’s well worth it. We suggest arriving in May just in case Father Winter overstays his welcome into April, which he can be wont to do.
Spring Easter Rekawka
Spring is a big season for Cracovians. If you’re visiting around Easter time, your trip might coincide with the Spring Easter Rekawka, a festival which gives an eye-opening insight into Krakow’s mediaeval and religious history.
If that’s not your thing, come visit during Juwenalia in mid-May. This decades-old tradition sees thousands of the city’s students letting loose with open-air concerts, celebrations, feasts and more. The anything-goes attitude of this festival has seen it become hugely popular not just with students, but with locals and visitors too.
Local Note — Easter
Easter is a major religious holiday for Krakow’s large Catholic population, so if you want to experience the religious aspect, this is the right time to visit. If not, we suggest visiting at another time as a lot of places will be closed for the long holiday weekend.
Visit Krakow in Summer
Although summer is the peak tourist season, that absolutely shouldn’t put you off visiting Krakow. The bigger queues are a small price to pay for the excellent weather that the city gets during these months.
If you visit Krakow during the summer, you can take your pick of fascinating events and festivals to get caught up in.
The Wianki Celebration, which is a traditional mid-summer event, sees thousands of people laying wreaths by the banks of the Vistula River in an act of cultural celebration.
The Dragon Parade
For families, the Dragon Parade (which takes place during the first week of June) is one of the most stunning open-air events in Europe, featuring enormous dragons which are paraded down the Vistula River. (Not real ones, mind you.)
Visit Krakow in Autumn
As mentioned above, autumn is often regarded as the shoulder season in Krakow, with visitors benefitting from fewer crowds but pleasant temperatures and plenty of things to do.
Here are some of our recommendations for what to look out for if you’re in Krakow during autumn.
Taking place at the start of October, the Unsound festival presents a completely unique side of Krakow, with all manner of boundary-breaking contemporary music, visual art, and live performance being showcased. Since being founded in 2003, this festival has gained a strong international reputation, and continues to challenge and innovate each year.
Krakow Music Festival
The Krakow Music Festival takes place right in the heart of the city (Rynek Square) and sees the city come alive with choral, orchestral, and classical music for several days during the end of September and start of October. The Festival has a particular appeal for tourists who are interested in the city’s history, as it sees many of Krakow’s historic buildings and landmarks being rejuvenated with activity as they serve as backdrops for live performances.
Visit Krakow in Winter
Despite the colder weather, Krakow is beginning to emerge as a popular winter city-break destination. Although the temperature drops (as do the hotel prices), life certainly doesn’t stop in Krakow during winter. You’ll still find a buzz in the cafes, bars and restaurants in the Old Town — just with far fewer tourists.
Krakow’s szopka nativity scene tradition is an UNESCO-recognized custom started by 19th century woodworkers who were looking for a side hustle. Now the insanely intricate miniature structures depicting the birth of Jesus are an annual tradition. Every December the city holds a competition to determine the best szopka, drawing crowds and countless Instagrammers.
Beyond the szopka, Krakow is also famous for our charming Christmas Market — one of the top-rated markets in Europe — which is located at Rynek Glowny in the centre of the city. Though if we are being honest, the Christmas Market in Wroclaw is even better!
Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains
Additionally, many head to Krakow in winter as their starting off point for a skiing holiday in the Tatra Mountains. The town of Zakopane, which sits at the foot of the mountains, has become a popular spot for skiers from all over Europe and is incredibly popular during winter break.
We’d recommend mid- to late-spring and early-autumn as the best times to visit Krakow. Fewer crowds, relatively nice weather, and plenty of festivals, events and activities to keep you busy are reason enough. But we think we’ve made a pretty strong case that Krakow is a great city all 12 months of the year!