Poland’s liveliest city appeals at any time of year.
Most attractions in Kraków stay open year-round and events take place every single month. In April, May, September and October, mild temperatures and reduced crowds make for a lovely weekend getaway. Summers are jam-packed with festivals (and visitors), while a dusting of snow makes the city wonderfully photogenic during searingly cold winters.
Here’s our season-by-season, month-by-month guide for when to visit Kraków.
High season (June–August) is best for festivals
Hot days, long daylight hours and balmy summer nights mean that Kraków bustles with visitors in summertime, particularly during July and August. It’s an excellent time to take your kids to the hands-on Stanisław Lem’s Garden of Experiments, for a stroll around the Zoological Gardens or to watch the swans in Krakówski Park. Alternatively, head underground into the Wieliczka Salt Mine or use the pools and waterslides of Park Wodny to seek respite from the heat. This is Kraków’s busiest season, so expect accommodation prices to shoot up correspondingly.
Shoulder season (April–May and September–October) is best for sightseeing
Spring flowers bring a burst of color to Kraków’s tree-lined streets and boulevards, while mild May days mean it’s warm enough to bring a packed lunch to the banks of the Vistula River or the picnic tables of Grazyna Park. Late spring and early autumn, when the leaves change color, is the loveliest time to stroll around Old Town and Kazimierz, since it’s warm without being sweltering, and accommodation prices are reasonable. It’s also a good time to explore Kraków’s cultural offerings, since crowds are thinner.
Low season (November–February) is best for photography and budget travel
Prices drop during the winter months when visitors are few, which makes it an excellent time for budget travelers to visit. It doesn’t snow here all winter (some days you may experience icy winds and freezing rain instead) but if you’re a photographer, you won’t want to miss Kraków’s castle and other Old Town monuments with a dusting of sparkling white. You’ll be able to explore Kraków’s many museums without being jostled by crowds, and seasonal ice rinks spring up in Jordan Park and elsewhere. In December, twinkling lights add festive cheer to the Kraków Christmas market.
January is for snowy panoramas
While most nationals use January to get over Christmas hangovers, in Kraków the party’s just getting started. New Year’s Day marks the start of the carnival season that lasts until Shrove Tuesday and is marked by feverish festivities in the city’s many clubs. Typically, January also brings the heaviest snowfall of the year.
Key events: Opera Rara, Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity
In February, overeat
Another cold and snowy month, February sees Kraków residents (Catholic or not) fill up on Polish doughnut balls with rose jam filling on Fat Thursday, before partying till dawn on Shrove Tuesday. February also sees sea-shanty-singing groups from all over dropping anchor in Kraków, while lovers of drum ’n’ bass head for the nearby Tatra Mountains to ski and/or dance to the likes of Nero and Ghostface Killah.
Celebrate Easter in March
The days are warming up, snow is melting and spring flowers are popping up. Lent sees numerous ceremonies held in Kraków’s churches, culminating in special services over Holy Week. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a hooded procession by the Brothers of the Good Death from the Basilica of the Virgin Mary every Friday during Lent. Watch out on Easter Monday: splashing water over one another is a local tradition.
Key events: Easter, Chocolate Festival, Early Music Days, Kraków Cello Spring
April brings medieval festivities and art
The weather is still brisk, but even occasional April showers are not enough to dampen the enthusiasm of jousting and fencing participants at the Rekawka medieval fair on Krakus Mound. Dozens of contemporary art exhibitions transform the city during Art Week.
May is for holy processions and student celebrations
Warm and sunny with ever-longer daylight hours, May sees local students dressing up in outlandish disguises to wreak havoc in the Old Town for a week. Poland’s faithful follow the relics of Poland’s patron saints from the Wawel Cathedral, while the Lajkonik Parade brings lighthearted pageantry, led by a bearded Tatar.
Celebrate Midsummer in June
Flower wreaths with candles float down Vistula River for the exuberant Midsummer celebrations while Kraków rocks out into the long summer night at a concert venue opposite Wawel Castle. Ten days of Jewish arts, music and film kick off in Kazimierz.
July is all about festivals
This is Kraków’s hottest and rainiest month, so bring your waterproof gear. The rain doesn’t deter most visitors, however, so expect high accommodation prices, particularly during the popular Kraków Jazz Festival.
Enjoy classical music with a side of pierogi in August
Expect another hot and rainy month, with temperatures an average of 77°F (25°C). String quartets, violinists, organists and choirs perform for a cosmopolitan crowd as part of a classical music festival in Old Kraków. Village artisans and countryside entertainers set up shop on Główny Rynek (Main Square), while Maly Rynek fills up with pierogi stalls.
Key events: Kraków Folk Fair, Music in Old Kraków, Pierogi Festival
Take it easy in September
As summer crowds depart and accommodation prices fall, the weather remains a balmy 68°F (20°F). It’s a quiet month event-wise, but it’s a wonderful time to wander around the city just as the leaves begin to change color.
Key events: Veganmania, Fermentation Festival
Expect literature, experimental art and music in October
Brisk days shouldn’t deter you from visiting just as fall reveals its splendor and the trees are in their full autumnal glory. Cold nights are ideal for heading indoors and partaking in offbeat music and literary events.
Key events: Unsound, Conrad Festival
November lets you commune with the dead
As the days get colder, Kraków sees its first snowfall of the season and mournful strains of jazz provide musical accompaniment to the gathering darkness. Locals head for the cemeteries on November 1 – All Saints’ Day – to light candles on the graves of relatives and deck them out with fresh flowers.
Key events: All Saints’ Day, Andzejki, Kraków Jazz Autumn
December is all about Christmas markets
It’s cold and snowy, but the Old Town’s main square is aglow with lights from the Christmas market, where you can admire the elaborate “Christmas cribs” (or Nativity scenes). On New Year’s Eve, accommodation prices soar and Kraków’s Old Town and main square get swamped by tens of thousands of revelers counting down to the new year.
Key events: Mikolaj, Kraków Christmas Crib Competition, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve