Summer is a fine time to visit Krakow, Poland: the air is warm, the sky is (probably) blue, and the historic center buzzes with activity. But the other seasons have their unique charms, too—particularly if your motivation to travel is more focused. Consider spring, autumn, or winter for a visit that will buck expectations and allow you to see a side of the Polish cultural capital that you wouldn’t be able to see during the peak tourist times.
Krakow in Spring
Springtime in Krakow bursts with color, and not only because the trees are putting out new leaves and flowers are beginning to bloom. Easter in Poland, and more specifically, Easter in Krakow, is a time of symbols that celebrate the time of year, from cheerfully decorated Easter eggs to imaginative Easter palms woven from dried and colored flowers and plans.
Of course, Easter isn’t the only event that visitors can look forward to in springtime. The Drowning of Marzanna is a pagan springtime festival that ushers out winter and welcomes the growing season. A bevy of festivals accompanies the months of March, April, and May, so whether you’re into photography or find the challenge of running a marathon through the streets of Krakow appealing, this season has you covered.
Krakow in Summer
Summertime is, undoubtedly, the most popular time to visit Krakow and one of the best for sightseeing due to the pleasant weather. Stroll from Market Square to Wawel Castle and explore everything in between. One of the best ways to do so is with a guide who can point out important landmarks and offer insight into Krakow’s long and storied history. Wianki takes place in June, but food festivals, music festivals, and folk fairs fill in the rest of the summer calendar, meaning no matter what time of the season you choose to travel, you’re bound to stumble into a culturally interesting event.
Consider summertime a good opportunity to see other Polish cities, such as Warsaw, Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw, or Torun. You may even decide to devote your visit to exploring the best attractions and landmarks of a single region, such as Pomerania or Silesia.
Krakow in Autumn
While sightseeing at this time of year is also enjoyable, autumn proves to be a good time to visit some of the convenient day trips from Krakow, which will enrich your understanding of Poland and its history. Consider going underground at the famous Wieliczka Salt Mines, which tell the story of centuries’ worth of salt-mining industry. Or visit one of the most significant landmarks of the 20th century, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum to more closely understand the horror of the death camps of WWII.
Krakow’s fall season is perfect for tasting hearty Polish dishes, such as meat-filled dumplings, hunter’s stew, and cuts of game. Spend a rainy afternoon in a cafe to sample Polish-style pastries and cakes.
Krakow in Winter
For what Krakow is missing in good travel weather during the winter, it makes up for in the warmth of traditions surrounding Christmas, New Year’s and other holidays throughout the months of December, January, and February.
For example, the Krakow Christmas Market runs the month of December and is a good opportunity for visitors to purchase Polish Christmas gifts, such as amber jewelry, wood and textile crafts, hand-decorated ornaments, locally produced chocolates, and more. Concerts related to the holiday season, New Year’s Eve parties, and Valentine’s Day specials make the rest of the season full of opportunities for those who are looking to make the most of their visit.
Of course, choosing when to visit Krakow depends upon many factors, including when you schedule vacation, what season will offer the best rates to fit your budget, and what you hope to get out of your visit. However, with each season offering its own set of options, you can’t go wrong even if you travel during a month that initially seems less than ideal due to weather or other issues. Krakow’s endless list of annual festivals, Poland’s traditions through the year, the city’s sights, and attractions near Krakow make any visit one of enormous potential.