Let’s be honest, some cities are much better for solo travel than others. Krakow is one of those cities. It’s not overwhelmingly large, like mega cities such as Tokyo or New York, but still has a great city vibe to it. As a female traveler, I visit Krakow often and I always look forward to wandering the streets by myself. For me, there is something about the city that makes it easier to be alone in than other destinations.
Krakow is a walking city, where a lot of main sights are within close distance from one another. If you stay near the Main Square, there is really no need to ever use public transportation or taxis. Coming and going from Krakow is easy because the train station is walking distance to the Main Square, which is where the tram from the airport also stops.
The city center follows an easy layout and is perfect for those who are worried about getting lost. As a solo traveler, this put my mind at ease, since I don’t have to rely on a map, and instead had a general sense of where I am most of the time.
Below I answer some common questions and concerns people have about traveling solo in one of Poland’s most visited cities.
Is Krakow safe to travel alone?
Krakow has always felt safe to me, even more so than my own suburban city back home in the U.S. I felt perfectly comfortable walking home at night from the city center to my studio down a quiet residential street.
Since the city comes alive especially at night with all the bars and cafes, it feels like I was never really alone on the streets, especially when I was walking on the side streets.
Of course like any city there are dangers, and Krakow is no exception. With its high volume of bars there can be alcohol-fueled incidents, but if you don’t go looking for trouble, you should be fine. To be honest, I feel like the most trouble is from visitors, especially bachelor parties that see the city as their personal playground.
Eating Alone in Krakow
There are plenty of restaurants in Krakow catering to solo diners. From bare bones milk bars to cafes that have full menus, there’s no shortage of options for dinning alone. I don’t always feel this way when I travel, but here in Poland it seems a natural thing to eat by yourself, especially at informal restaurants.
It’s not unusual to see locals in milk bars eating by themselves, enjoying their food in silence. It’s a great way to experience a bit of Polish history from Soviet times and get delicious local comfort food while saving money since everything is dirt cheap. A great milk bar to check out is Bar Mleczny on Grodzka Street.
The cafes in Krakow are a solid place to get a filling meal, where you can bring a book and sit for hours while lingering over your food. Cafe Botanica is a great spot for sandwiches, and Cafe Camelot has excellent breakfast options.
Even in more formal restaurants, I felt more comfortable digging into a plate of pierogi by my lonesome. There is something about Eastern Europe that seems more relaxed than Western Europe countries when it comes to dining, whether you are eating by yourself or with a group.
Things To Do In Krakow Alone
The Main Square may be touristy, but it’s one of my favorite places to go to be part of a crowd. Wandering around the square, I would often find street musicians (some of them are seriously very good) and join the growing audience around them. There was one guy who had a large YouTube following, and who became a regular stopping point on my stroll through the Main Square.
There are also free walking tours in Krakow for when you want to feel part of a group without actually engaging (a introvert’s dream). Tour options include Old Town Krakow, Macabre Krakow (a personal favorite), Jewish Krakow, Street Art, and World War II in Krakow. There is no booking required, you just need to show up at the scheduled time. There is also paid tours of historical sights like Schindler’s Factory, where you do need to sign up. These tours are a great way to get to know the city from an insider’s perspective.
Companies like Eat With allow you to spend the evening at a local’s home either eating a meal cooked by your host or helping prepare traditional polish dishes like pierogi.
This historic Jewish quarter of the city now houses numerous hip cafes, restaurants, and bars. It’s a great neighborhood to explore solo, where you can grab a zapiekanki (a open-faced baguette with pizza toppings) that is as big as your face from Plac Nowy. The Galicia Jewish Museum is worth stopping by to learn about the often sobering history of Polish Jews. The Remuh Synagogue is one of the last active places of worship in this neighborhood and dates back to 1550’s. Make sure to also stop at Alchemia, a candle-lit bar that is popular with the locals and tourist alike.
The green park that borders the entire city center is a great place to wander along and take in the sights from this beautiful outdoor space. You will often find obwarzanek (a cross between a pretzel and a bagel) kiosks around this park and they make a great snack to fuel your walk. The park takes you pass notable landmarks like St. Florian’s Gate and Wawel Castle and a bit beyond the Visula River.
St. Mary’s Basilica Tower
One of the best ways to see the city is from above, where after getting your workout climbing hundreds of steps, you will be rewarded with a stunning aerial view of the Main Square and the city beyond. Don’t forget to take a peak inside the ornate interior of the church as well.