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New Year in Krakow

Drinks Popular in Krakow 

Whatever you have heard about this nation tea is the everyday drink in Poland, while coffee gives stimulus and sipping it in company often has social function. The country abounds in quality mineral waters, and its excellent fruit crops produce tasty juices. Milk is generally thought the kid’s stuff but homely sour milk and its processed equivalent, kefir, are quite common refreshers. Polish vodka remains the traditional booze, yet beer has recently become even more popular.


Krakow Tea 

A typical Pole drinks a glass of black tea for breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, and in between as well. His “herbata” is usually pretty weak, with sugar and often a slice of lemon, rarely milk (tea with milk is considered good for lactating mothers). And on frosty days hot tea with admixture of rum or strong vodka can warm him up in a flash. Also herbal teas–i.e. various blends of dried leaves, blossoms, and berries – are prized either for their taste or healthy properties, or both. 

Coffee in Krakow

Most Poles seem hooked on strong coffee and they cannot carry on without a cup a day, or two or more. Many still brew it the Polish way by putting a spoonful or two of ground coffee into a glass and filling the vessel up with boiling water. Some do so even in Krakow though it is held rather barbarian in the city enamored of espresso. In its penchant for good coffee Krakow resembles Vienna, close both geographically and historically, and it may well rival the Austrian capital in the saturation with coffee houses (called kawiarnia in Poland), some century-old and museum-like, some brand-new and trendy. They are to the residents of this city what pubs are to Londoners and diners to New Yorkers. In Krakow a meeting over a cup of coffee is the most popular social occasion. It usually entails at least an hour-long chat, argument, or negotiations, be it between fresh acquaintances, old friends, lovers, enemies or business partners.

Soft Drinks in Krakow

Poland’s youngsters – but hardly any adults – have proved a captive market to divers brands of both American cola giants. Conversely, the French mineral waters, though widely available, are no competition to their cheaper Polish counterparts of established reputation, notably those produced in well-known spa resorts. At the same time there is fierce rivalry between the country’s makers of fruit juices (orange and grapefruit are based on imported extracts but try such domestic specialties as apple or black currant). Lastly, do not drink tap water when in Poland unless you must: it is safe yet hardly palatable.

Krakow's Booze

Poland has long been part of the “vodka belt”, i.e. the crescent of north European countries from Russia to Norway where hard drinking looked like a part of everyday life. Actually, Russians adopted their beloved liquor from the Polish neighbors. Polish “wodka” (pronounced “voodkah”) is rather strong, with 40-45 percent alcohol content. It should be served straight, chilled but no ice, and swallowed at one gulp. Unlike the Russian ones, the Polish vodkas come in great variety. In addition to the most popular “czysta wodka” (i.e. absolute vodka) – cheaper brands distilled from potatoes and finer ones from rye – there are many time-honored flavors to choose from, such as juniper, nut, pepper, plum, cherry, caraway seed, etc. Like wines, they can be dry, half-dry, half-sweet and sweet.

The traditional Polish “nalewka” (pronounced “nalevkah”) infusions of herbs, berries or fruits steeped in vodka are yet another story. Some Krakow restaurateurs boasts its own “nalewkas” whose recipes he guards as family secrets.

Wine in Krakow 

Up to the mid 19th century respectable Poles disdained vodka as plebeian booze and their hard liquor of choice was either imported wine or domestic mead made of fermented honey. Nowadays the latter remains a local curio whereas a wide selection of wines from all over the world is available in Krakow shops. Yet some pricey vintages may be hard to come by as most local customers opt for cheaper Italian and Spanish imports as well as Bulgarian, Hungarian and Romanian ones. 

Beer in Krakow 

Beer has been brewed in Krakow for the last thousand years and now it is the most popular alcoholic beverage again (nonalcoholic beers are common in Poland yet hardly popular). Present-day Polish beers mostly resemble German lager. 


Note: Foreigners loyal to their favorite liquor will find all international brands of alcohol in Krakow’s shops and bars. 

Krakow Restaurants
Krakow is Poland’s mecca of gourmets thanks to its many excellent restaurants.

Krakow Clubs
There is no shortage of places to drink, eat, and stay merry late into the night in Krakow.

Krakow Cafes
Where, what, and why a coffee addict may drink.

Eating the Krakow Way
It is hearty indeed.

Smoking in Krakow

Shopping in Krakow


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