Kraków is a great destination for culture, with festivals and art events taking place every month. Here is a calendar of the most interesting, with details of where to find out more.
Procession of the Three Kings in Kraków – image © Joanna Adamik / Public Domain
From traditional holy parades to a celebration of the mighty dachshund, Kraków has a full annual calendar of public events and festivals. See below for a chronological list of when these events take place.
Jazz, pop, and classical are well covered, and there are a number of festivals representing one of Poland’s main artforms – film, as well as photography and literature. Kraków has also been home to a sea shanty festival for over 30 years! And the festival of Jewish culture is one of the world’s biggest.
Kraków is, of course, a great city for food and August’s Pierogi Festival pays tribute to the famously diverse dumpling. Eating is a big part of the excellent Christmas markets – a great reason to visit in December.
The COVID lockdown saw many events cancelled from 2020. Thankfully, as of April 2023, most of them seem to be back to full strength now.
Aside from fixed public holidays, most of the events listed below have different dates depending on, for example, where Easter or the weekend falls. We’ve listed festival websites, so you find out the specific details around when you plan to travel.
- January 1: New Year’s Day – New Year’s Day is a public holiday in Poland and many things are closed. However, many venues have a tradition of a special concert to kick off the year.
- January 6: Three Kings / Epiphany: Three Kings Day ends the Christmas festivities, and is traditionally celebrated with three parades, congregating on Kraków’s main square shortly after 11am – see image above.
- Shanties – Every February, for over 30 years, Kraków’s Shanties has entertained the city with songs of the sea.
Europa Galante – Misteria Paschalia – image © Mrug / CC BY-SA 4.0
March / April
- Misteria Paschalia – Misteria Paschalia is one of Europe’s most important festivals of early music, which takes place to coincide with Easter every year.
- Photomonth – Kraków Photomonth is an annual, four-week photography festival, starting at the end of May. It ranges across the entire city, with a fringe event running alongside. 2020 was the festival’s 20th anniversary.
Parade of dragons in Cracow – image © APN-PL / CC BY-SA 3.0
- June 8: Corpus Christi – Corpus Christi is an important religious festival in the Polish calendar with an impressive morning procession from Wawel Cathedral through the Old Town.
- Dragon Parade – Every year, the dragon escapes its lair under Wawel Castle and kicks off this weekend of pageant and parade. There are river floats and spectacular puppets, and lots of music and noise.
- Kraków Film Festival – From the end of May, Kraków Film Festival is just over a week of the best contemporary international and Polish cinema.
- Jewish Culture Festival – Since 1988, the Jewish Culture Festival has been one of the world’s biggest, with artists from all over the Diaspora.
- Cracovia Cantans – Cracovia Cantans is an annual music competition, that brings choirs from all over the world to perform in some of the Kraków’s most iconic churches and venues.
- Wianki – Traditionally a midsummer solstice festival and pagan ritutal, Wianki has been adapted into a fascinating music festival with folk and medieval elements, such as the floating of wreaths – after which the event takes its name.
- Summer Jazz Festival Kraków – Jazz has a huge heritage in Poland. Summer Jazz Festival Kraków features artists from around the world at the Kabaret Piwnica Pod Baranami in the Old Town.
- Wawel at Dusk – The castle courtyard provides an iconic setting for Wawel at Dusk, a series of weekend classical performances.
Ellie Goulding – Kraków Live Festival – image © Paweł7 / CC BY-SA 4.0
- Kraków Live Festival – One of Kraków’s big pop events of the year, Kraków Live Festival takes place over nights on two stages.
- Pierogi Festival – The second week of August is when the annual competition to find the tastiest Polish dumpling takes place. It’s a chance to taste hundreds of varieties.
- Dachshund Parade – On the first or second Sunday of September, dozens of well-dressed dachshunds take to the streets of Kraków for the Marsz Jamnikow, vying to become king and queen of the festival.
- Kraków Film Music Festival – With previous visits from Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, and Cliff Martinez, the Kraków Film Music Festival celebrates the art of the score.
- Sfogato Festival – Kraków’s annual tribute to Frederic Chopin, the Sfogato Festival takes place over four days every September.
- Sacrum Profanum – Sacrum Profanum is an experimental music festival with contemporary classical composition mixed with other modern genres.
- International Royal Cracow Piano Festival – The International Royal Cracow Piano Festival showcases some of the world’s greatest piano masters and prodigies.
- Unsound Festival – Unsound Festival features electronic, experimental, and dance music at a number of venues across Kraków, alongside other art events.
- Conrad Festival – Some of literature’s biggest names assemble each year at the Conrad Festival. The festival coincides with Kraków Book Fair.
- Jazz Autumn – Taking place across a number of locations, Jazz Autumn is a festival with the best of contemporary and improvisatory music.
All Saints’ Day – Salwator cemetery – image © annaspies / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
- November 1: All Saints’ Day: A day for remembering the departed with candlelit vigils in Kraków’s cemeteries. All Saints’ Day is an intensely atmospheric experience.
- Jazz All Souls’ Day – Jazz All Souls’ Day is the oldest jazz festival in Kraków.
- November 11: Independence Day: This is a public holiday with parades and a show of patriotism.
- Etiuda & Anima International Film Festival – Etiuda & Anima aims to highlight the work of film students around the world and to bring the best in animation to the city.
- Christmas Markets – Kraków has some of the best Christmas markets in Europe. See Christmas In Kraków for more details.
- December 31: New Year’s Eve – Sylwester is one of the biggest nights out in the Polish year. See New Year’s In Kraków for more details.
- Silent Film Festival – Every December, Kino Pod Baranami – a cute art cinema tucked into a palace on the main market square – organises a festival of silent films, accompanied by live music.
- List of Kraków Public Holidays
- When Is Best To Go To Kraków?
- Christmas In Kraków
- New Year’s In Kraków
Things To Do In Krakow
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