The mythical city of Krakow is a major draw for any visit to Poland, but visiting in February is not for the faint of heart. Traveling to Poland in February means gloomy temperatures and gray days, but the city is home to numerous indoor attractions so travelers can still enjoy Polish culture while staying warm inside. The city's Wawel Royal Castle is a major attraction for most tourists, and Stare Miasto, Krakow's Old Town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to impressive churches, plenty of museums, and Rynek Główny, one of the largest market squares in Europe.
Krakow Weather in February
Krakow is extremely cold in February, albeit slightly warmer than January. As the winter slowly begins to change into spring, the days gradually get warmer as February goes on, so visit later in the month for a greater chance at an above-freezing day.
- Average High: 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius)
- Average Low: 23 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 5 degrees Celsius)
February is typically dry, with the city receiving just under an inch of precipitation throughout the month. But when there is a storm, snow is more likely than rain given that temperatures don't usually exceed freezing. Fog is also common this month, along with skies that are mostly gray and high winds. Adding to the extreme chilliness, sunshine is minimal too; expect just two hours of sunlight per day during February between overcast and short winter days.
What to Pack
Due to the frigid temperatures, a heavy winter coat is an absolute must in Krakow if you'll be spending any time outdoors. Bring a hat, gloves, scarf, and other accessories in your suitcase to protect yourself from the elements. Temperatures can rise slightly in Krakow during February, but it is still a good idea to dress for winter to protect yourself from cold temperatures that can be felt especially keenly at night and on cloudy days. Consider packing:
- A well-insulated coat
- Sweaters and cold-weather accessories like a heavy scarf, hat, and warm gloves
- Waterproof, heavy-duty boots
- Thick, wool socks
- Layers such as long-sleeve shirts and sweaters
February Events in Krakow
Krakow isn't as bustling during February as it is at other less-freezing times of the year, but the city still does host a few interesting events and holidays. While February doesn't have as many lively festivals and annual gatherings, there are typically concerts, theater performances, and other cultural activities that vary from year to year.
- Valentine's Day: Krakow is a romantic setting in which to celebrate February 14 with your loved one. Take a carriage ride, or share a dessert in one of the historic restaurants in the main square. Another idea is to shop for gifts for your sweetheart in the Sukiennice (Cloth Hall), known as the world's oldest shopping mall, dating back to the 14th century.
- Shanties (International Sailing Songs Festival): Each February, this festival comes to Krakow to celebrate the tradition of sailor songs in Poland and elsewhere. In 2021, you can see all of the performances broadcast online from February 25–28.
- Fat Thursday: Fat Thursday, the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, is a day dedicated to eating sweets, especially pączki, traditional donuts with rose marmalade or other fillings. You might also want to try faworki (angel wings), a crisp pastry finger sprinkled with powdered sugar. In 2021, it falls on February 11.
February Travel Tips
- If you need a quick way to warm up if the air gets too cold, ask for Polish honey vodka (krupnik) at any restaurant or bar. This slightly sweet alcoholic beverage goes down easy and is a winter favorite in the country.
- Krakow is just as safe as any other large European city. Use common sense, such as not carrying large amounts of money or showing off flashy jewelry and other valuables, and watch out for pick-pocketers in the city's more crowded and touristic areas.
- Poland's currency is the zloty. Euros and U.S. dollars are not widely accepted, so be prepared.
- If you're seeking souvenirs to take home, look for traditional Polish goods, like amber jewelry (made of the fossilized tree resin from the Baltic Sea), folk art such as needlework, or pottery from the town of Boleslawiec. Additional ideas include Wedel-brand chocolate or Zubrowka, vodka with a bison grass blade inside the bottle. Mead is popular as well.
- Some public toilets in Poland are marked differently than most visitors might be used to. While many have switched over to the commonly-used symbols, in some restrooms, the women's bathrooms are labeled with a circle and the men's with a triangle. Public toilets sometimes charge a small fee.