In this ultimate guide to Kazimierz, we cover everything from self-guided walking routes of the Krakow Jewish Quarter to the top bars and clubs. Enjoy…
The Ultimate Guide to Kazimierz
Once you’ve exhausted the sights of Krakow’s Old Town and had enough of dodging packs of Free Walking Tour groups in the city’s busiest area, it’s time to head a little more off the beaten path. Cue Kazimierz (or Kazi, as it’s so affectionately known to the locals). A place of paint-peeling frontispieces and chipped facades, it’s got an enthralling, vintage vibe, and comes steeped in history, having once been the Jewish Quarter of the city and a medieval township in its own right!
But Kazi is also a hub for cafes and bars that take the boho and beatnik to all new and dizzying heights. There are more hand-roasted coffee joints and falafel-touting veggie spots here than you can shake a shot of vodka at, and the Krakow nightlife is simply awesome to boot – it’s often where the locals go to party.
Where is Kazimierz?
Kazimierz sits just to the south of the Krakow Old Town. Its borders go from busy Dietla Street in the north to the meanders of the Vistula River in the south. In the west, it buts up to Krakow Wawel and joins busy Grodzka Street.
How to get to Kazimierz
Don’t worry, Kazi isn’t hard to get to. You can walk there in about 15 minutes from the Main Square that’s in the middle of the Old Town. The stroll is a nice one, too – through leafy Planty Park and beneath the beautiful Krakow Wawel. A taxi from the Old Town to Kazimierz should take around 5-10 minutes in normal traffic and costs about 15 PLN if you go with the budget-friendly MegaTaxi. Alternatively, trams 8, 13, 52, and 18 all stop in the area – look to get out at Stradom, Plac Wolnica or Miodowa.
Nightlife in Kazimierz
No ultimate guide to Kazimierz could possibly be complete without a guide to the nightlife in Kazimierz. With countless little dives, jazz bars, shot bars, boho kitchens, craft beer bars, kitschy little drinking holes and all sorts of clubs in between, it’s one of the favourite spots for locals to head for a night on the tiles. We recommend picking just one or two of the pubs and bars mentioned below and letting the night take on a life of its own – they have a way of doing that down in Kazimierz!
Must-drink bars in Kazimierz
Teeny-weeny Maly Sledz is tucked into a corner of Bozego Ciala street, one of the main drags of Kazi’s bar scene. It’s got to be up there with the smallest watering holes in the city. Just a couple of high stool chairs are crammed around a metre-long bar, which continually sloshes with cheap beers and multicoloured vodka shots. You can also order dishes of pickled herring here – if that’s the sort of thing that floats your boat.
Not a city break to Krakow goes by without a visit to Alchemia – at least that’s how it seems whenever we try to settle in for a pint of Czech Pilsner and a good old haloumi burger here. A perennial mention in the Lonely Planet guide to Kazimierz, it’s hardly a surprise it’s so popular a drinking hole. The energy that brings is fantastic, but be ready to jostle for a table. You can pick between indoor seats in the antique-filled living room space or go outside to grab a chair overlooking Plac Nowy – top people watching in the summer. Look out for the Narnia-esque wardrobe door that leads to the smoking area. Also be sure to check if there’s an event on in the basement downstairs – it’s a cracking venue for electronic music and all that jazz.
Estery 5, 31-056 Kraków, Poland +48 882 044 299
Dark, brooding and lit by flickering candles, Eszeweria is the moody sort of cafe-bar that really sums up Kazimierz. It’s spread over a series of small rooms that are really more like a corridor, with sofas and big lounge chairs wedged into an inhabitable corner between haunting portraits strewn with cobwebs.
Józefa 9, 33-332 Kraków, 12 292 04 58
Certainly not for the faint-hearted, PUB Propaganda rocks with 80s Alt, 90s Punk and gritty metal music until the very early hours. It’s filled with smoke and beer-stained tables, has hazy neon lights illuminating its various alcoves, and touts a selection of home-grown Polish beers to keep things ticking over.
Nothing short of legendary on Krakow’s line-up of late-night haunts, Piękny Pies is a must in this guide to Kazimierz. On days with a big event, you can expect the back room to be rumbling with grunge and alternative rock anthems, with dancing bodies crammed into smoky backrooms. The front area is more of a traditional bar, with a scythe of stool seats where you can sit, chat and sip cold pints.
The best restaurants in Kazimierz
Officially titles Hamsa – hummus and happiness, this Middle Eastern-inspired mezze joint is the place to go in Krakow for that fix of falafel and chickpea mash. We’re a little concerned that the menu keeps creeping up in price, but still think it’s top value for a whole mixed platter of pickled veggies, dips and pitas. Meat eaters wax lyrical about the pastrami sandwiches. And for non-meat eaters? Try that scrumptious muhammara walnut paste!
Szeroka 2, 31-053 Kraków, 515 150 145
We simply can’t get enough of Nolio‘s cushion-like DOP pizzas. Cooked in a real-wood oven and topped with creamy buffalo mozzarella, they are the real deal, straight out of the traditional kitchens of Naples. Of course, there are pastas and Italian taster plates of olives to get through, too, all in a chic, modern setting with a lively open kitchen vibe.
Krakowska 27, 31-062 Kraków, 12 346 24 49
Casual eats for on-the-go curry fanatics, Curry Up! is the brainchild of a local Pole with a penchant for all things tandoor and spice. There’s usually a taste-bud-tingling chickpea curry on offer in the vats, along with great deals on combo meals with nan breads, mango lassi and the like.
Krakowska 29, 31-062 Kraków, 730 775 073
The food trucks on Świętego Wawrzyńca
A cluster of creative little food trucks sits in a disused car lot on the edge of Świętego Wawrzyńca. They are right in the heart of Kazimierz district and have been making waves on the Krakow food scene thanks to their medley of Mexican tacos, British fish and chips, Belgian fries, baked potato, artisan coffee tipples the list goes on. In short – the perfect spot to dine on route to the clubs and bars in the heart of Kazi.
Zapiekanki on Plac Nowy
Everyone must try a traditional Polish Zapiekanki on Plac Nowy. It’s considered the place where they were invented and still the best spot to dine on these half-baguette pizza breads with toppings as diverse as goat’s cheese and pickled gherkin. Head to the old fish market that occupies the centre of the square and choose what tickles your fancy from the menu.
The top hotels in Kazimierz
Choosing to bed down in Kazimierz is a great way to really experience this more off-beat corner of the city. There are plenty of places to stay, from low-cost hostels to boutique hotels. Here are a few with good locations that regularly come with high ratings.
A sleek new addition to the line-up of hotels in Kazimierz, PURO promises something stylish from the get go. Its suites are packed with modern touches, contemporary furnishings and mod cons. You get a desk in each room, on-site saunas and gym, and a duo of outdoor terraces. There’s also an artisan baker’s downstairs for that morning fill of pastries and Polish rye bread. CLICK HERE TO BOOK PURO KAZIMIERZ.
Doing precisely what they say on the tin, Elegant Apartments sit in a handsome townhouse on the north-eastern edge of Kazimiez. They channel a touch of grand Slavic design with flowing drapes and sumptuous mahogany inlays in the suites. What’s more, you also get the added bonus of a self-catering cooking area in each rental unit, and the location means the Old Town’s bucket-list sights are within walking distance. CLICK HERE TO BOOK ELEGANT APARTMENTS.
For real immersion in the very heart of Kazimierz, there’s perhaps no hotel better than Hotel Eden. It’s sat on the cobbled lane of Ciemna, just a whisker off Plac Nowy’s beating bars and the food courts. Inside, you’ll find a series of characterful rooms with balconies and a vintage eating area that’s huddled between exposed-stone walls from centuries gone by. CLICK HERE TO BOOK HOTEL EDEN.
This ultimate guide to Kazimierz is always changing – otherwise it wouldn’t be the ultimate guide to Kazimierz! We also love having suggestions, so feel free to get in touch or leave a comment if you’re keen to have something added.
(This article uses affiliate links, notably with Booking.com. They are there to help you find the top accommodation and come from genuine recommendations on highly-rated hotels with great locations in the Kazi area)