When the cold front of winter is over and the sun starts shining, Kraków is a great city to enjoy some rays, and people pour outside to do just that.
Whether you’re looking for a thriving bar, some great views or a slice of nature, Kraków has plenty of top spots for relaxing outdoors.
The Planty Park
At almost two miles long, the Planty is one of Kraków’s biggest parks. A slim strip of greenery that wraps around the city centre from Wawel Castle, the Planty is a well-loved and well-visited spot all year round. Pick a bench and enjoy the dappled sunshine as you sit and watch the world go by. It’s a favourite for cycling, walking, rollerblading, and even getting to grips with a segway. There are several monuments, water features, and garden areas with colourful flower displays to enjoy, as well as part of Kraków's Jagiellonian University, where Copernicus famously studied.
Nestled in the Planty is this restaurant bar, which serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and an extensive selection of drinks. Its conservatory-style design makes it popular in both winter and summer and, when the weather warms up, it opens onto the outside patio. The walkway of the Planty runs right beside Bunkier Cafe, meaning you can people-watch as you enjoy your food and drinks, and feel immersed in the heart of Kraków's greenery.
About 20 minutes on foot from Rynek Główny (the main square), Jordana Park holds a variety of attractions for everybody. It's a favourite for kids in particular, with a tennis court, play areas, and a skatepark to keep them amused. There are plenty of open stretches of grass where you will often find people playing frisbee, practising yoga, or stretching out reading a book. The park was created by and named after Dr. Henryk Jordan, and you will find a monument dedicated to him – as well as monuments for multiple other famous Poles – as you walk through the grounds.
Stroll along Kraków's winding Vistula River to take in the calm beauty of the city. There are many points along the river that make great hangout spots, but one of the finest is in front of Wawel Castle. Sit on the wall or spread out a blanket on the grass and join many others who will be enjoying the peaceful atmosphere and view of the stately castle. It’s completely free and you can feed the nearby ducks and swans.
Head a little further along the river towards Kraków's Jewish District, Kazimierz, and you will notice several restaurant boats. Check out moored barge Barka, a restaurant and bar with open-air seating where you can enjoy an excellent view of the river and part of the Podgórze district. Stop by to enjoy a local beer during the day or stay a little longer and grab a bite to eat. Towards night-time the bar fills up as its live music starts, and the city lights up along the river, presenting a stunning evening view.
The bridge near Barka will take you across to neighbouring district Podgórze. If you’re in a walking mood, take a trip to Krakus Mound, said to be the resting place of King Krakus, Kraków's mythical founder. The mound also has connections to pagan ceremonies, and offers an impressive panoramic view of the city. Once you’ve taken in the view, have a seat on one of the benches or stretch out on the grass; this is a popular spot for relaxing, especially after coming so far out of the city centre.
This bar sits atop the Cloth Hall in the middle of the main square. The prices are reasonable for its location and, while the service can be slow when busy, the view more than makes up for it. Szał is a great central stop for a quick refreshment or a longer lounge, and make sure to get plenty of snaps while you’re up there: this is one of the best views of the square and St. Mary’s Basilica.
Don’t be put off by Tytano's former tobacco factory status. Recently revamped into a collection of bars and restaurants, the indoor/outdoor area has a shabby-chic design that is a magnet for Kraków's young people. There is plenty of room – the bar area covers around 160,000 square feet – and it's filled with locals and tourists alike. Pull up a chair, lounger or wooden pallet and immerse yourself in its urban ambience.
Housed in another upcycled building, Forum Przestrzenie was once an abandoned hotel and is now a modern outdoor bar. Casual and very cool, Forum has quickly jumped in status to become one of the top bars in Kraków, and after five minutes of relaxing in a deck chair by the river, it’s not hard to see why. If you’re feeling peckish, burgers and sandwiches are also for sale inside.
Nowa Huta reservoir
For a piece of tranquility, venture out to Kraków's Nowa Huta district and visit its small but serene reservoir. This is some eight miles out of the centre, so taking a bus is your best bet. While the water is off limits for swimming, you can rent paddle boats in the summer and glide around the reservoir in the sunshine. Fishermen line up to catch the local carp, and the walkway is popular for families, skaters, and cyclists. There are play areas for children, and there are plenty of seats lining the perimeter of the reservoir.
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