For many, Kraków is a party destination and the city certainly lives up to its reputation. The Old Town and surrounding areas are packed with thriving and atmospheric bars and pubs. If you’re not sure where to try, a guided tour is an excellent way to find your way around and meet some new faces.
When you fly to Kraków, chances are there is a hen or stag party on board the plane. Kraków is beautiful and steeped in history, but many people travel there just for the nightlife. The Old Town and Kazimierz are full of excellent bars and pubs, and the city’s great history extends to brewing and distilling. Here you’ll find a long and intricate menu of tasty beers and incredible vodkas. A tour is a fun introduction to these thriving aspects of the city’s culture.
Be sure to check out our Kraków Food Tours page as well!
Kraków Pub Crawl
Kraków is a particular favourite for stag and hen weekends, and with good reason. Tucked into the beautiful streets and squares are many bars and clubs. There are almost as many organised pub crawls around the city as there are sightseeing tours. Rather than leaving the evening to chance and ending up in the wrong kind of place, these can be a way of finding some of the best places to have fun, as well as making sure you skip the queue, and meet a few new people along the way. Some will set you up nicely, before dropping you off inside a club at 2am, where you can dance the night away.
As with the food tours, you’ll find a range of tours on Get Your Guide. You can book everything on your phone and won’t need to print anything out. The operator will have your contact details and keep you well informed about the tour. You can choose a night out based in the Old Town but an ’alternative pub crawl’ is offered around Kazimierz. Most tours last 4-5 hours, with 3-5 bars included, and club entry afterwards. The allowance of drinks depends on what you pay upfront, but you can guarantee that regular shots are involved.
Kraków Craft Beer Tour
For a more sedate and taste-focused experience, there are plenty of beer tours available. An expert will introduce you to Poland’s thriving craft brewing scene, taking you to a handful of the best places to taste the different types of beer available, including the ‘champagne beer’ Grodzisk. The guide will explain what these different types are, along with their histories and the techniques involved. In addition to recipes dating back to the 13th century, you’ll also get to know some of the many newer types springing up locally. A tour will typically last 2.5 hours.
Just as visiting a castle or museum is enhanced by the knowledge of a good guide, any visit to a Kraków bar is even better with an expert.
Brewery Day Trips
Think of Polish beer and Tyskie is most likely the first name that comes to mind. Opened in 2004, the Tyskie Brewing Museum is in Tychy, about 85km from Kraków and can be visited as part of a full-day out. The brewery itself dates back to 16th century and the building itself is an impressive mix of old architecture and modern technology. Inside the museum, you’ll learn about the whole history of beer, with a particular focus on this world-famous Polish brand, you’ll get to see the massive tuns where the magic takes place, and you’ll also get to taste freshly-produced Gronie beer. The trip includes a two-way hotel pickup and air-conditioned minibus transport, and lasts around six hours in total.
You can also combine a visit to the Tyskie Musuem with the magnificent Pszczyna Castle Museum. In addition to everything above, you’ll see this 13th-century gothic castle, later rebuilt in the renaissance and baroque styles, and considered one of the most stunning in Poland.
Polish Vodka Tasting
Probably Poland’s most characteristic drink is flavoured vodka, which forms a central part of much of Polish social life. There are countless variations in addition to the basic czysta (or clear), including vodka liqueurs, and many establishments invent their own. You may have seen Żubrówka, a brand sold all over the world, which is flavoured with grass from the Białowieża Forest. It has a smooth and subtle taste. But the range appears to be limited only by imagination, as most fruit and nut flavours have been used to great success, as well as herbs, coffee, honey, spices and different kinds of sweet elements.
What’s more, the basic ingredient of the vodka affects how it will taste. Most Polish vodka is made with rye, which gives it a slightly spicy element. Wheat, oat, barley, and a hyrid called triticale are all used, as well as potatoes. Distillers will also experiment with different blends of these. As you can see, there’s a lot to learn.
You’ll find a vodka tasting menu in a number of Kraków bars but, as with craft beer, it really adds something to let a knowledgeable guide show you the ropes. Most tours will give you a range of flavours so you get to understand the variety for yourself, and you’ll generally get to visit three or four different bars, over a couple of hours.
Polish Wine Tasting
Polish wine is perhaps less famous than vodka and beer but there’s a very long history, which had floundered due to historical disruption and climate, but has seen a big rebirth in the last 40 years. This is very much a new and exciting area to learn about.
Instead of a tour, you are more likely to meet in a city centre restaurant in a small group, and be introduced to around five of the best local red and white wines, each paired with a suitable accompaniment of cheeses, bread, or olives. Hosts tend to be winemakers themselves and can guide you through the history and techniques associated with each glass. The tasting will typically last for two hours.
In addition to a tasting session, there are a number of new tours available to nearby vineyards. Kresy is about 20km from Kraków and offers a private guided tour. There is also an organic vineyard at Wieliczka, near the saltmine. You’ll get picked up from your accommodation and driven in an air-conditioned vehicle to see for yourself how the wine is grown and produced. You can learn the history of vineyard and get to see the grounds, as well as the other plants cultivated on site, as well as trying the varieties of wine and cider.