Some visitors, notably the business types, find life in
Krakow unnervingly relaxed for a million
the city center, with the huge medieval
Grand Square still at its heart, has about it
almost small-town atmosphere off season where most
people appear to know each other and they are never too
busy for a chat. Matter-of-fact as they are in their
work habits, and while family and family life remain
most dear to them,
Krakow dwellers generally relish good
food, and having plenty of free time. And
humor seems a permanent feature of the city that has
always praised highly jesters and comedians despite its
reputation of the country’s bastion of sobriety. Yet it
that seems all-important in Krakow with its many
museums, innumerable national
university, and plethora of intellectuals. At
the same time, also Krakow thriftiness is legendary in
Poland, and not without reason.
Eating the Krakow Way
daily diet of choice has been traditionally rich
in proteins and even richer in starch. On the Krakow
tables the former usually materializes in red meat,
eggs, cheese, and sausages, whereas the latter as
bread, potatoes, and various noodles, pies and
There are three main meals in
Poland: the morning sniadanie (breakfast),
the afternoon obiad (dinner), and the evening
kolacja (supper). In between they may be
supplemented with a lighter drugie sniadanie
(second breakfast) and a podwieczorek
More on the Krakow diet
Drinking the Krakow Way
Tea is Krakow's everyday drink, while coffee gives
stimulus and sipping it in company often has social
function. Polish vodka remains the traditional booze,
yet beer has recently become more popular.
More on the Krakow beverages
Krakow is Poland’s cultural capital. The city
boasts the best museums in the country and some best
theaters. It is also home to one of the world’s oldest
and most distinguished universities. No wonder Krakow
was named a European City of Culture in 2000.
More on the Krakow culture
Krakow’s abundance of magnificent churches earned the city a reputation of “the
Northern Rome” in the past. They have remained the centers of spiritual life
till now, attended throughout the week and crowded on Sundays.
More on churches in Krakow
Music in Krakow
The city resounds with music of every kind. Its lively
club scene is divided between hip-hop, house, funky, techno, traditional rock
and still more traditional jazz. And demanding audience may choose among
frequent concerts and recitals of classical music.
on Krakow's music
Polish words and phrases useful to visitors to Krakow.
handy expressions in Polish
Hardly a month passes in Krakow without some
time-honored occasion for common festivities or
colorful ceremony. Krakow residents have their own
unique way of celebrating
etc. The city is also famous in Poland for its many
spectacular festivals unknown elsewhere, such as the
wild Lajkonik parade (see the picture above).
More on Krakow's festivals
Krakow has always been Poland’s gourmet Mecca. And the
recent decade brought about a genuine restaurant
explosion all over the city owing to the hectic
efforts of aspiring restaurateurs–native ones as
well as immigrants. The Old Town historic district
seems virtually stuffed with establishments catering
to all kinds of diners.
More on Krakow’s restaurants
There is no shortage of places to drink, eat, and
stay merry late into the night in Krakow.
More on Krakow nightlife
Shopping in Krakow
From designer garb to jewelry, and from antiques to
books and CDs–Krakow’s central
Old Town historic district,
turned into a pedestrian precinct, teems with stores
of all sorts, crammed into every available space.
More on shopping in Krakow
Sport in Krakow
As in the rest of Europe, soccer is the favorite sport of Krakow residents, at
least the male half: the young play it, grown-ups watch it on TV. Hiking remains
the most popular outdoor activity:
the city abounds in fine jogging paths but few natives take advantage of it.
Also bikeways crisscrossing metropolitan Krakow and its
seem mostly underused.
More on Krakow sports
Krakow Folk Traditions
Krakow region has always been rich in colorful folk traditions, handed down from
generation to generation, with almost every village cultivating its own set of
time-honored customs. Nowadays, as new lifestyles spread, some ancient practices
are dead but many flourish.
the Krakow folk traditions
Krakow features prominently on the theater map of
Europe. Its legendary National Stary Theater counts among the
continent’s best companies of players. As the rest of the city's repertory
theaters it runs several playhouses of varied capacity.
More on Krakow theaters