Krakow, a southern Polish city close to Cech Republic know as party city.
Krakow is Poland’s second largest city located on the Vistula River. Krakow was the official capital of Poland until 1596 before moving to Warsaw.
The cities old town with Wawel Royal Castle was declared the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world.
After the invasion at the start of the World War II by Nazi Germany the city was defined as Distrikt Krakau (Krakow District) and became the capital of Germany's General Government. During this time the Jewish population of the city was forced into a walled zone known as the Krakow Ghetto, from where they were sent to Nazi extermination camps.
The more modern image of Krakow is a popular city for partying however Poland as a strong catholic tradition and therefore not considered as openly minded as many other European LGBTQ friendly countries.
Homosexuality has been legal since 1932 and was never officially banned in Poland
Being gay in Poland is not easy with a socially conservative Catholic Church who until recently wherein the grip of anti-gay hysteria and a state-sponsored campaign of LGBTQ persecution.
While Krakow might be rapidly changing with an influx of Western Europeans looking for both history and nightlife, it is still very much a Catholic city.
However, as in much of Eastern Europe, the younger generation is finding their voice, and in Krakow, you can find trendy cafes and bars frequented by the LGBTQ community.
European Parliament has asked Poland to stop public leaders inciting discrimination against homosexuals.
John Paul II International Airport is 15km from the city and has excellent transport links into Krakow. Although Krakow Airport is open 24 hours, planes are usually scheduled between 5.30am and midnight.
Krakow Airport Taxis run with a flat-rate with set prices, so you always know what you’ll be paying upfront and the journey time will be about 25 minutes with most drivers speaking English.
The train is an excellent and stress-free way to travel into central Krakow. The trains are modern and comfortable, with pleasant views outside and take you to centre next to the old town. Trains run every half-hour between 4.25am and 12.20am.
Krakow Airport Bus is cheaper than the train the bus journey into central Kraków takes at least 45 minutes.
The best ways to get around Krakow is on foot and by tram. Walking is best suited for visitors who plan on spending the majority of their time in and around the Main Market Square area. To reach outlying areas the best way is to hop aboard one of the city's trams.
Places to stay
The old town is the most popular area to stay in Krakow, as it is close to almost everything and a beautiful place to start and end your days.
The Main Market Square, lying in the centre of the Old Town, is the centre of Krakow. Lined by many beautiful buildings and historic townhouses, it is remarkably the largest medieval town square in Europe and a hive of activity at any time of day.
It’s original main purpose over the centuries was trade and commerce, it nowadays is focussed on tourism as people assemble there, and sit to eat and drink at its multitude of cafes and restaurants or shop at the souvenir stands.
Wawel Royal Castle lies on the banks of the Vistula River, having been once the political and cultural centre of Poland. Built in the 13th and 14th centuries on the orders of Casimir III the Great, it is still in remarkably good condition. The castle is located around a large courtyard with many buildings for you to explore. The fantastic Wawel Cathedral with superb gorgeous architecture and substantial collection of artworks and militaria has a lot to see.
Wawel Cathedral was consecrated all the way back in 1364 and considered the national sanctuary of the country. It is here that most of Poland’s kings, queens, and nobles have been coronated and buried. Mostly built in a Gothic style, the current cathedral is actually the third to stand on the same site, as two earlier versions were destroyed.
Kazimierz was originally considered a separate city until the filling in of part of the Vistula River incorporated the former island into part of Krakow itself. Named after Casimir III the Great, for centuries, it was considered to be a ‘Royal City.’ Following a fierce fire that ravaged much of the Old Town in 1495, Krakow’s entire Jewish population moved to Kazimierz which is why now this historic district is considered the Jewish neighbourhood. Around the old cobbled streets, you’ll will see a number of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries.
Towering above the main market square is St Mary’s Basilica, which is the most recognizable symbol of the city. Built of red-brick in 1347, its two towers, which differ in height, reach over 80 meters. From the top of the tallest one, you can enjoy marvellous views out over the Old Town.
Club Papuga (formerly Cocon) has 2 bars, 2 dance floors, a chill out area and a smoking area. A new LGBTQ address in Krakow, this large, colourful gay club is open to all, hosting weekend dance parties and events, including drag shows, queer bingo and karaoke. Located in a basement between Kazimierz and the Old Town. The music is typical disco music, gay anthems and famous hits combined with futuristic light effects, video projections, and a sensational sound system. Every Friday and Saturday a professional body painter paints club guests.
Ciemnia Club is a popular and new night club in the city. Discretely hidden through a passageway, accessed via a courtyard with need to ring the buzzer to be admitted. It is a basement cruising bar\sex club for men only. Drinks are cheap, staff speak English and it's open late, particularly Friday and Saturday when the after parties can last until 14:00 the next day. Open 18:00 - 05:00, Fri, Sat 18:00 - 14:00.
LaF Klub is a straight-friendly lesbian club in Krakow with a heaving dance floor and groovy music. Things heat up quick early here and go until the early morning.
Lindo Cafe & Bar is a gay bar close to the city centre with bright colours, a nice crowd, and friendly staff. The bar has 3 zones with entrance area, down stairs there with bar and a small area and finally another room with sofas and a giant screen. It’s located very close to the market square. Open Thu 21:00-04:00 and on Fridays and Saturdays 22:00-06:00.
Twierdza is a discrete men-only gay club is open weekends only and parties lasting well past dawn. Not exactly a typical bar\club, the vaguely industrial space includes several dark rooms furnished in red and black, 2 large screens showing adult films, a bar, cloakroom, and toilet with a shower. Unlimited alcohol is included in entrance fee with small lockers. Open Friday and Saturdays only from 22:00-08:00.
Spartakus Sauna & Fitness is the only gay sauna in Krakow which has been open for 25 years. Expect to find many local closeted guys. Spartakus has a Finnish sauna, a steam room, sun deck, and bar. Staff can speak basic English. Bring your own condoms or lube. Open 12:00-23:00. Sun 14:00-21:00.
Main LGBTQ events
Krakow Equality Parade has grown each year and usually takes place annually in May and proved to be a huge success in terms of turnout and safety.
Sexy Men's Wear
Fetish Men's Wear
What's Your Fetish?
Safe Flying With A Smile
Walking Jack is here