Kraków is a relaxed and tolerant city. Crime is relatively low, though theft and pickpockets are to be expected in any tourist area. Keep your wits about you and your valuables close, especially after you’ve had a few drinks. This guide aims to cover the needs of particular types of traveller, but the main takeaway should be that everybody can visit Kraków without fear.
Generally speaking, Kraków is not a risky destination. Crime rates are low, police presence is tangible, medical services are good (and cheap!), and the people are welcoming and pleasant. The influx of tourism to Kraków in the last decade has given the city a tolerant and sheltered feel. The civic services here are used to dealing with all the pit-falls of a tourist town, from the rare incidence of theft, to the variety of injuries caused by a few too many Polish beers.
That said, difficult situations are not completely unknown and it’s a good idea to keep your wits about you. This guide covers many typical questions and situations around staying safe in Kraków. Also see our advice on how to deal with an emergency, and our Kraków Basics page has practical information about everything from money and visas to cell phones and public toilets.
Is There Much Crime In Kraków?
Kraków is generally very safe, so enjoy your stay and behave as you would in any other city. Alcohol is often involved in crimes involving tourists. Keep your wits about you and an eye on your valuables, especially if you’re on a pub crawl – theft and scams are inevitable in the busiest areas. There can be some violence, particulary after big football matches. Common sense is enough to keep you safe.
Are There Many Scams In Kraków?
There are a few well-known scams operating in the more touristy areas of the city, which can easily be avoided with a little common sense. One involves attractive Polish women who lure unsuspecting foreigners into bars under the pretext of enjoying a drink, only to promptly present them with an outrageous bill to the tune of 1000 PLN or more. Once the intimidating bouncers get involved, the victim usually pays up.
It’s also wise to be wary of unlicensed street sellers who often peddle fake goods, and unlikely do-gooders who hang around the transport hubs and offer to help you purchase tickets or itineraries. All of Kraków’s transportation is automated, and there are English language options on the machines, so there shouldn’t be any need to enlist the help of locals.
On the other hand, the beggars I have met in Kraków have been unfailingly polite and upfront about their situation, and would rather offer some helpful service in exchange for a small payment. I have never personally felt at risk in these situations.
When using taxis, check that the driver is registered with a well-known provider, and use firms recommended by your hotel. This will avoid bloated charges from cabs picked up on the street.
How Should I Behave In Kraków?
You may be required to dress smartly for an evening out or to get into certain clubs. You should also dress and behave modestly when visiting a religious building. Avoid sightseeing during a religious ceremony. Keep an eye out for no photography signs in certain places. Give up your seat for somebody who may need it more than you. Smoking is banned in most public indoor spaces, such as restaurants and cafes.
What Are The Police Like In Kraków?
You won’t generally have many interactions with the local police, unless you’re out partying in the Old Town or Kazimierz. Things can get rowdy in the early hours and the police are on the lookout for bad behaviour. Drunk drivers will be arrested, as will drunk cyclists!
How Accessible Is Kraków?
Although much of central Kraków is flat and pedestrianised, a great deal of the architecture dates back to Renaissance and medieval times, and much of the city is either upstairs or underground. Despite a concerted effort in recent years to make things more accessible, there is still some way to go. Trams and public toilets are still a challenge, even hotels may not be adequately outfitted, though most museums will be friendlier and the main train station has lifts and wheelchair access. Unfortunately, it’s still necessary to check every venue before venturing out. There is an increasing use of audio signalling at crossings for visually-impaired pedestrians.
Is Kraków Safe For Solo Women Travellers?
Apart from the usual caveats about being out alone at night and avoiding potentially dangerous situations, Kraków is a very safe destination for solo women, with low levels of harassment.
Is Kraków Safe For LGBT+ Travellers?
Poland has a reputation for conservative attitudes around gender and sexuality, and travellers may find the situation more complicated than their own country. Whilst the ruling party has been vocally repressive, public attitudes appear to be increasingly progressive. Kraków holds an annual Tolerance March without serious incident (usually in May).
That said, there are occasional reports of violence in the city and public discretion remains the best advice. The scene is still small and friendly venues come and go. Google is your ally here. Poland is also a reasonably safe medical destination for trans people, looking for high-quality treatment at a competitive price.
Is There Much Racism In Kraków?
Despite a reputation for racism in Poland, there seems to be little evidence of it in Kraków and travellers of every nationality and ethnicity visit the city every year without any problem.
Is Kraków A Good City For Children And Families?
Much of Kraków’s accommodation and restaurants are child-friendly, and there’s plenty for children to do. The centre of the city is largely car-free and there are many parks to play in.
Is Kraków A Good City For Students?
Kraków is a perfect place for cash-strapped students. The population of the city is young and energetic, and there is plenty to do, whatever you consider a good time. Consider the International Student Identity Card or European Youth Card for a range of discounts and special offers.