Krakow is easily one of the best cities in Europe to party, and in fact, the Old Town district has more pubs and bars per square meter than anywhere else in the world. Because of this, Krakow has become home to some of the best, strangest and most exciting nightlife in Europe.
To help you experience all that Krakow has to offer, we have made a quick list of the Dos and Don’ts of partying in Krakow. You can also check out our Nightlife Survival Guide.
#1 Go to a Polish Shot Bar
The many shot bars located all over Krakow are uniquely Polish. Thanks to there love of vodka, and low taxes and regulation on alcohol compared to most western countries. Each shot bar typically has a set of inhouse mixed vodka flavours to choose from plus a range of spirits and beers. The atmosphere at these bars is always lively, no matter what time of the day or night you visit. The most famous shot bars in Krakow are BaniaLuka and Pijalnia. Shots and beers start from only €1
#2 Try wiht the Locals
Generally, Polish people are very welcoming and approachable, don’t let the language barrier hold you back. Krakow is a student city, so most young people speak excellent English and if not then have shot and try to speak polish. Hot Tip: Learn a few basic Polish words as it will surely impress the locals. Check out this pocket polish guide with the most common words and pronunciation.
#3 Tip the Bar Staff
Don’t be such a tight arse. It doesn’t matter if they don’t tip where you’re from, everyone tips in Poland so you should too. More often then not the bar staff will undoubtedly look after you if you do leave a tip. Even if it’s just a couple of zł
#4 Late night snack
Swap out the standard greasy kebab for some Polish Pierogi. Most people will grab a quick heart-stopping kebab on there way back to there accommodation after a night on the town, but in Krakow, you can skip that and instead get yourself some excellent pierogi from some of the all-night pierogi shops. It’s much better for you than a kebab, and you won’t feel sick in the morning. Our favourite is 24Pierogi
#5 Do a Pub Crawl
There are so many excellent and popular bars and clubs in Krakow. But there are also some horrible and shit bare and clubs in Krakow (not many but some). The best way to see them all or at least the best ones is to join a Pub Crawl. It’s cheap, very convenient but most of all you skip all the bad venues.
#6 Visit the Lesser Known Places
Most people spend all there time around the main square, but there are lots of great bars and areas you can venture out to. The Jewish Quarter (also known as Kazimierz) has some great bars and pubs. If you’re looking to spend some time with locals, then check out the area Dolnych Młynów or our Alternative Krakow Guide.
#7 Specify what Drinks you Want
When ordering drinks at clubs, you need to make sure you tell them precisely what drink you want, or they will charge you for the most expensive option. For example, if you only saya “vodka lemonade please” they will give you top-shelf stuff, and you’ll be paying upwards of 15 euro for one drink. Just ask for the cheapest, and you’ll be fine. Hot Tip: Ask for the polish vodka Wyborowa as its excellent quality but also inexpensive.
#1 Avoid Strip Clubs
No, really don’t go. It doesn’t matter how much you want to go or how strong your urge is to throw money at tits you can’t touch…..just don’t do it. The strip clubs here are not like the upstanding, respectable family-friendly business from your home town. They are extraordinarily dodgy and are purely designed to steal as much money off drunk tourist’s as possible. If you still really need to go then watch only bring cash and be very careful. You can also get in contact with us as we can recommend the best ones. Hot Tip: Don’t pay with a card as they will charge your card multiple times and say its declined or incorrect pin, but they are just putting the transaction through numerous times.
#2 Street Girls
If two girls approach you on the street and say they are lost or not from around here and ask you to take them somewhere. Unless you look like Brad Pit, run away as fast as you can. This is a scam where they bring you to a bar they work for, and you will be charged ridiculously high prices for drinks. For a full list of nighttime scams, check out our blog post with all the worst scams to watch out for in Krakow.
#3 Don’t Drink in Public
Unlike Poland’s neighbour Germany, you can’t drink on the street here and can receive hefty fines from the city police who are sick of hearing tourists whinge and whine about how they didn’t know they couldn’t drink on the streets. Hot Tip: just put it and a coke bottle or McDonalds Cup
#4 Don’t Fall Asleep on the Street
This rule is a bit of common sense, but when you’ve had twenty shots of vodka, the footpath and garden bed can look like a very enticing place to sleep. No matter how good it seems, don’t lay down not even for a quick nap, as you might wake up with no phone, wallet, shoes or in a police cell.
#5 Don’t Look at the Security
Well, you can look at them but as long as your smiling and not swaying side to side with your eyes rolling into the back of your head you’ll be fine. It’s safe to say that security on Poland don’t have the best temperaments and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of one of them having a bad day.
#6 Don’t use the 24-hour Currency Exchange
Generally, exchanges (Kantor in Polish) that are open during the night will most likely give you terrible rates and rip you off. You can pay with a debit or credit card at most venues in Krakow.
#7 Don’t Pay with Big Notes
Don’t pay with big denomination notes as most bars and clubs always seem to be low on change and they will wither not serve you or take bigger tip than expected.
Do’s & Dont’s
Depending on what type of person you are, these could be in either section. Because of this, we have decided to make a section with both, and you can try at your own risk.
There can be sort of a love-hate relationship with this one, this stuff is super strong and will get you super wasted, and at 95% alcohol , it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.
#2 Order every Vodka Flovour
Order and attempt to drink every flavour of vodka. There are so many great polish vodkas, and you should try them all but maybe not all in the one night.