Krakow, the second-largest city in Poland, has a long history. Its medieval walls are still visible in parts of the city, and it has a large Jewish quarter as well as a 14th-century Gothic church.
In November, like the northeastern United States, Krakow and the rest of Poland are preparing for winter to arrive. Temperatures can be brisk and cold, and snow is likely later in the month.
While the average temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit is well above freezing, nights and mornings can feel especially brisk.
Pack easily layered clothing that you can pare down or pile on as the temperatures and your activities change.
If the cold weather doesn't bother you, you'll find plenty to do and see in this Polish city during November. If you’re just getting introduced to Krakow, be sure to take the time to stroll through its center, starting with Market Square and continuing to Wawel Castle. Many of Krakow’s sights can be found within this area.
November Holidays and Events in Krakow
Though the weather may be less welcoming than other times of the year, November in Krakow is a time of tradition.
November 1 and 2 are All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, both celebrated across Poland. On the night between the two days, it is believed that the spirits of the deceased visit the living. Visitors can look forward to events associated with the jazz festival associated with this important Polish holiday.
All Saints' Day traditions include decorating cemeteries with thousands of candles, which Polish people use to honor deceased family and friends.
Polish Independence Day
November 11 is Independence Day, meaning banks and public institutions will be closed. This is the date Poland celebrates a crucial event in its modern history: when the Second Polish Republic was restored in 1918. November 11 is not the exact date, but it marks the end of Poland being divided into the Kingdom of Prussia and the Habsburg Empire while under the rule of the Russian Empire.
Krakow celebrates Independence Day with a mass at Wawel Cathedral, a procession from Wawel to Plac Matejko, where there's a ceremonial laying of wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
St. Andrew's Day
November 29 is Andrzejki, or St. Andrew's Day. There's a history of fortune-telling on St. Andrew's Eve that dates back to the 1500s. Young women would have their fortunes read to see when they would find a husband.
Modern-day varieties of the St. Andrew's Day celebration are lighthearted and social and keep up the traditional game of young women lining up their shoes, single file, near a doorway. Legend has it the woman whose shoes cross the threshold first is the next to be married.
Festivals during the month of November in Krakow include the Etiuda & Anima Film Festival, the Zaduszki Jazz Festival, the Festival of Polish Music, and the Audio Art Festival.The Krakow Christmas market opens towards the latter half of November, making this is a good time to get some early holiday shopping in.
Besides sightseeing, or attending a festival, visitors should plan to explore the local culture and heritage at Krakow's museums, which include the Stained Glass Museum and Oskar Schindler's factory.
The latter is where Schindler hid hundreds of Jews from the Nazis during World War II, later chronicled by the film "Schindler's List."