Since accession to the European Union in 2004, the medieval city of Krakow has proved itself as one of the major players in the newly instituted Stag do circuit of the continent. Suitably small and compact, the hubbub of bars that dot the large Main Square and filter off down the charming cobbled side streets, offer a real variety of character; from the lively jazz joints of the city’s basements, to the hedonistic chart clubs of the Stare Miasto. So, whether you’re after a quiet farewell to bachelor life, or a climactic last stand that has everything from vodka to Kalashnikovs, Krakow definitely will not disappoint.
Krakow’s newfound reputation as one of the most coveted stag do destinations in Europe really isn’t that surprising. Since 2004, low cost airlines have added routes year on year to the city and its near neighbours, and with as many as 8 departure points in the UK alone, flights direct to the city have proved as wallet friendly as they are short and sharp. On arrival, it is a quickride to the city centre and the pubs, but prospective stags may opt for a more novelty experience, riding in a communist style limousine; bona fide Polish chauffer and bottle of vodka, gratis.
Today, there are numerous stag tour operators in the city, which can tailor make the whole Cracovian Stag experience from arrival to departure, and, while the nightlife in Krakow isn’t hard to enjoy, there are plenty of nocturnal tours that will really help to maximise the hedonism; from booze filled, ‘power hours’ of literally (vodka, beer, rum, whiskey, gin, wine) all you can drink, to after-dark walking tours of the Old Town’s haunted houses.
While in the day, hangovers might abound, it’s really worth forcing yourself from your hostel bunk in this city. Not only is Krakow a real picture of beauty all year round, but the locals have nurtured a great café culture that now means midday beers are definitely admissible (even encouraged!). Drink while you decide which of the many established and compulsory stag bucket list items you want to tick off next.
Tours to nearby Outdoor Activity mecca Zakopane to the south can be a great way to clear the beer from the night before with a dose of fresh mountain air, but why not grab an AK-47 and blast out a few rounds of quintessentially Slavic ammunition en route? If that still doesn’t quite do it, Krakow boasts a number of huge paintball parks, where prices start at a pleasantly low £10 a day, while for all those ailments that yearn for the hair of the dog, vodka tasting is never far away.
Many local party organisers have gotten more creative in recent years, and there’s now even the somewhat geographically confusing ‘Krakow Beach Party’, transporting up to 30 revellers to the nearby Krispinow lake, where, along with chilling on the artificial beach, there’s wakeboarding, and barbeques for all.
With reportedly more bars, clubs and pubs per square metre than any other in the world, and a well established reputation as one of the serious king party towns of Eastern Europe, it’s easy to see why more and more stags are turning their sights to Krakow as the place to bid farewell to their bachelorhood.