Historical monumental buildings and trading halls from the 15th century are not everything Krakow has to offer. If you crave some local fruit, fresh meats and cheese, colourful spices, baked goods, ceramic, eccentric clothes and anything else you can think of, visit one of the markets in Krakow. For sure, this is an exceptional cultural experience to be found nowhere else. Krakow’s unique atmosphere and talkative vendors should put these markets on anyone’s travel plans. Make sure have bargaining skills ready.
The iconic market is considered to be the very heart of the Jewish Quatre(Kazimierz). It’s one of the historic squares, a former Jewish market before the war. Inside the rotunda, a former kosher slaughterhouse, there are still butcher shops and fast food stalls serving some local favourites like ‘zapiekanki’. The market is especially loaded with people on Sunday morning when hoc ad market stalls appear. You’ll find literally everything there – from the stacks of vintage vinyl records, through used electronic equipment, ending at tie-dye clothing, not to mention old Soviet trinkets and fake Red Army items. Of course, this is also a good chance to buy fresh fruit and veggies. On Saturdays, the market is full of antiques (however, most of them are just junk), while Sundays offer more clothing stalls. If you’re ready for an unforgettable (yet bizarre) experience, go to Plac Nowy on Friday to see a full-on pigeon fair and rabbit swap. Yes, you’re read it right. Once it gets darker, Plac Nowy changes into one of the hottest spots in the city. Bustling bars attract tourists and locals. After all, a drink after all-day shopping has never killed anybody, right?
One of the biggest markets in the city, located at the north end of Długa Street. It was first opened in 1925, and now we can say it’s definitely one of the most famous ones in Krakow. Tens of stalls serving just about everything: fruit, veggies, flowers, wicker, zippity and jiggery. The fresh fruit and vegetables from local sellers – highly recommended. Same with amazing homemade cheese and bread. Definitely worth trying while wandering around. All these locally grown goodies (including meats and flowers) are available every day, usually, in the morning you can hunt some really rare products. You won’t buy them in nearby grocery stores! Surprisingly, market prices are generally lower than those in grocery stores. Make sure you stop for a while to taste homemade pierogi. Same with traditional ‘oscypek’ – a local cheese – the cheese sold here is really fresh. Spending time on Nowy Kleparz market is also a great chance to spend some time with locals, get to know them better, chat a bit about Krakow and its history. Mingling with the locals should always be on your travel list, shouldn’t it? This is the best way to get to know the local culture.
Locals believe that there is no better place in Krakow if you want to take a deeper dive into the local community. Plac Imbramowski, established in the 1950s, isn’t situated in the very centre of the city but for many people, it’s considered a plus, as it’s usually less crowded than more centrally located markets. Even if it’s a bit away from the heart of the city, you can easily get to Plac Imbramowski by public transport: there are many buses available. When you’re there, you feel like you are back in old times, but the market has been developed a bit in the last few years – the roof was renovated, and proper bathroom facilities have been built. The market covers over 21,000 square meters, so it’s the largest covered market in all Małopolska region. Plac Imbramowski is usually full of local merchants who bring their goods both from the neighbourhood and from as far away as, e.g. Sandomierz. Currently, there are 200 brick merchant stalls (permanent) and more than 100 temporary stalls. Plac Imbramowski is considered to be very cheap when compared to other markets in Krakow. You will find everything there: meat and fish, dairy, cosmetics and clothing, household goods and fresh produce.
Hala Targowa Unitarg (locally known as ‘Hala Targowa’) is probably the most important outdoor market in Krakow. Located close to the centre of the city – a 10-minute walk from the Old Town, the market is very easy to access. If you don’t feel like walking, you’ll quickly get there by tram 50 from the main station. Hala Targowa is open every day. Merchants offer everything – flowers, fruit, DVDs (mostly pirated and not that many people even use DVDs now), wrist watches etc. For the first visit at Hala Targowa you should definitely go there on Sunday to see the market’s crazy vibe. Local people come to set up their ‘shops’ and sell forgotten antiques from their attics. The market gets extremely lively and full of chatter. On Sundays, ( shortly after dawn) Hala Targowa turns into a loud flea market with old furniture (let’s be honest, not necessarily antiques), icons, vinyl records, bikes, books and various types of memorabilia. Prices usually are negotiable so come prepared! After the market is closed (usually around the sunset), the place is still full of 24-hour shops and street food sold directly from vans.
Pijarska Art Market is one of the best markets to buy some antiques. Pijarska Art Market is located right next to Floriańska Gate, just off the Royal Route. The market features framed paintings and the cool thing is that they are all painted by local artists. They are hung on the walls next to the Gate. At Pijarska Art Market you’ll also find some paintings by famous artists from all over the world. If you get lucky, also very old ones. Prices are comparable to those in the rest of European countries; however, you can still bargain with most artists and dealers. The market is open seven days a week, all year round. Pijarska Art Market is a perfect spot for those who want something more than just an odd souvenir while spending time in Krakow. Oh, and the colourful background is a lovely place to take some catchy Instagram pics.
Quite a nostalgic place in Krakow. Sukiennice is considered to be the Europes oldest shopping mall – its structure dates back to 1555 when it was rebuilt in Renaissance style (however, this space was used as a trading hall in the 1300s). The arcades were added in the 19th century. It’s situated in the very heart of Krakow. Sukiennice is a part of the Krakow Old Town UNESCO World Heritage Site. The interior features small shops while the exterior features food stalls, flower stands and cafes. They all surround the statue of a Polish poet and dramatist – Adam Mickiewicz. Below Sukiennice a museum is located and above – a restaurant with a lovely view of the square. On the upper floor, there is the Gallery of 19th Century Polish Painting. Sukiennice is probably the market you’ll buy gifts from Krakow at. Definitely, it’s the quintessential shopping experience in the city.
An atmospheric place with a fish pond. In the past it belonged to Norbertine nuns, now it’s an outdoor market selling veggies and fruit to people living nearby. Plac na Stawach is located in the Salwator district. It’s one of the city outdoor fresh food markets with many locally-grown-products stalls. Besides fresh plants, you’ll also buy fish, meat and flowers there. Sometimes, at certain times of the year, you can buy some honey from the region there. Plac na Stawach was admired and loved by a partially Polish poet – Jerzy Harasymowicz, as well a composer – Wojciech Bellon. They were both under the charm of the market, and both their poems and music have made Plac na Stawach famous, especially among local Bohemians, spending time at the no-longer-existent bar at the corner of the square. The bar was closed in 1991. Plac na Stawach might not be the most interesting thing to visit in Krakow, however, if you feel like some fresh fruit and you’re staying nearby, worth giving a go.
Rynek Dębnicki is the main square of the former village of Dębniki, south of the Vistula River. In the past, the 13th-century square used to be the main market in the neighbourhood. The village has been part of Krakow since 1909. Its extraordinary shape (a bit funny irregular quadrilateral) was formed around 1900, but actually, the whole construction was built between 1893 and 1912. The square itself is beautiful. There are many architecturally interesting tenement houses. Some of them are historical, which makes the place worth visiting if you’re a fan of some historical facts. Besides old buildings and landmarks, the market also hosts local vendors. It’s now a home for farmers’ market selling fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables all year. There is also a nice flower shop.