As one of the finest urban specimens in Central Europe, choosing where to stay in Krakow is a huge part of planning any Poland itinerary.
Whether you’re keen to stroll among the age-old architecture of Krakow Old Town or gawk at the treasures of Wawel Castle, staying at one of the best hotels in Krakow will put all of the city’s graces at your fingertips.
Ready to sort out your Krakow accommodations? Find the perfect Krakow hotel with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Krakow including the top neighbourhoods, areas, & districts for travellers…
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Best areas to stay in Krakow: Top hotels, neighbourhoods & districts guide
Entering Krakow by air or train, you might be shocked at how big Poland’s most popular destination seems. Fortunately for most travellers, Krakow’s size is somewhat irrelevant. Most of the top attractions and best neighbourhoods to stay ring around the city centre. And in these central areas, you’ll find many of the best places to stay in Krakow.
Unless you’re planning to live in Poland as an expat, I’d recommend narrowing your accommodations search to these six central Krakow neighbourhoods.
The best areas to stay in Krakow include:
- Old Town (Stare Miasto): Krakow’s historical centre where a bulk of the action takes place. Most travellers will feel quite at home here as there’s plenty to discover within walking distance whether its museums, churches, cafés, markets or the granddaddy of them all, Wawel Royal Castle. Overall, this the best area to stay for travellers.
- Kazimierz: Krakow’s happenin’ Jewish Quarter is one of the hippest places to hang your hat in the city, and my own personal favourite area to explore. Foodies will love staying in this area as it’s home to some of Krakow’s top restaurants, cafés, & bar, and is on the cutting edge of the Polish craft beer & food scene.
- Kleparz: A Krakow neighbourhood located just north of Stare Miasto. It’s a great escape from the Disneyland-esque bubble of Stare Miasto with a more local feel to it. This central district is a good choice for travellers who’d prefer a quieter location without sacrificing centrality.
- Podgórze: A mostly-residential neighbourhood that’s reeled from its infamous reputation as the site of Krakow’s Jewish Ghetto during WWII (and unpleasant industrial zone) to becoming one of the Krakow’s trendier places to live. Even with its off-beat location, there’s a handful of cool cultural activities here to keep you busy including Oskar Schindler’s Factory.
- Dębniki: Although it’s just across the river from Wawel Castle, the residential area of Dębniki is not often on the radar for travellers. Like other areas in Krakow, Dębniki is quickly changing, especially the neighbourhood of Ludwinów, which, in recent years, has witnessed an influx of development from new hotels to cool attractions like Krakow’s first artificial beach.
- Grzegórzki: Lying directly east of Old Town, Grzegórzki is a far-cry from the tourist sector of Krakow in the looks department with a rather sober cityscape. It’s developing quickly though, and more and more accommodations options are moving into its fringes to provide budget-friendly alternatives.
Now, let’s dig into each of these areas in a little more detail, shall we?
Old Town (Stare Miasto)
✓ Best area to stay for culture lovers & travellers on time-crunch
Whether you’ve got one day in Krakow or a week, there’s no better choice for travellers than Old Town (Stare Miasto).
The bulk of the most exciting things to do in Krakow are found here from the city’s most-popular museums & churches to its crown jewel, Wawel Royal Castle.
The heart of the district beats at Rynek Glowny, Krakow’s main market square that’s pulsed since the 13th century.
Its centrepiece, the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), built in Renaissance style in the mid-16th century, is a masterpiece more fitting for an ancient Italian city than Central Europe, and is bound to make an immediate impact as you start exploring Krakow.
Elsewhere, the charms continue unabated. Whether you decide to swipe a view of Krakow from above at St. Mary’s Basilica or slowly peruse the royal treasures of Wawel Castle, you won’t regret your decision to hang your hat here.
The only downside to staying here is the price. Since Old Town is the most popular area in Krakow (and the most beautiful), accommodation here comes at a premium. If you want to get the most out of visit—and have the budget—though, there’s no better place to stay than here.
Attractions in Old Town: Rynek Glowny (Main Market Square), Cloth Hall, Rynek Underground, St. Mary’s Basilica, Wawel Royal Castle, Jan Matejko House, Planty Park, Kraków Barbican
Recommended hotels in Old Town
With the area’s elephantine popularity, accommodations in Old Town fall into just about every category from budget backpacker digs to swanky hotels to holiday rentals. Thanks to the immense competition, the offerings here are, in general, fairly high quality.
- Hotel Legend: A delightful 3-star located just steps from Wawel Castle. The value-laden rooms here are modern & spacious, decorated with a splash of bright colours for a cheery atmosphere.
- Hotel Polski Pod Białym Orłem: Located just inside the city walls, this 4-star Old Town hotel features classy rooms with more than a dash of traditional Central European royal charm.
- Hotel Gródek: A boutique hotel leaning towards classic stylings rather than modern ones. The location in a quiet corner of Old Town less than a block away from Planty Park provides plenty of opportunity for relaxation among the bustle.
- Hotel Copernicus: Quite possibly the best luxury hotel in Krakow, this unique 5-star occupies a stunning Renaissance building that holds true to its 14th-century roots inside and out. If the outside terrace peering upon Wawel Castle isn’t enough to chill you out, descend into the ancient cellar vaults for a dip in the luxurious swimming pool or to sweat out some kielbasa in the sauna.
✓ Best area for travellers seeking a cool laid-back vibe in a central location
Next to Old Town, Kazimierz slots in as one of the best areas in Krakow to stay. This small neighbourhood, set just southeast of Stare Miasto, has overcome immense adversity to become one of Krakow’s trendiest and most sought-after neighbourhoods.
At the time of WWII, Kazimierz housed one of the world’s largest Jewish populations. As the Nazis made their presence known in Poland, one of their first targets was the Jewish District. Sadly, WWII left the district shattered and in shambles, both physically and spiritually.
Things didn’t improve much in the post-war communist era as a lack of attention led Kazimierz to become one of Krakow’s most notorious districts for crime & squalor. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the neighbourhood finally resurrected, pinning itself on a road to becoming one of Krakow’s trendiest neighbourhoods today.
Throughout Kazimierz, you’ll find a smattering of cool restaurants, cafés, and bars. The neighbourhood is home to some of the city’s craziest nightlife along with taking a seat on the cutting edge of Krakow’s burgeoning craft beer & culinary scene. Aside from Stare Miasto, this area is the top choice district for travellers.
Attractions in Kazimierz: Plac Nowy, Galicia Jewish Museum, Remuh Synagogue, Old Synagogue, Mleczarnia, Corpus Christi Church
Recommended hotels in Kazimierz
Accommodations in Kazimierz come in a whole arrangement of shapes and sizes from boutique aparthotels to backpacker hostels. Prices tend to be a little cheaper than Old Town but a little higher than in other less central areas like Podgórze or Grzegórzki.
- Hotel Eden: Showing off in a historic 15th-century building, this cosy hotel offers some of the coolest rooms in the area without breaking the bank. The unique underground salt grotto and spa treatments put this property in a league of its own in its price range.
- Hotel Columbus: Perched on the eastern edge of Kazimierz, this delightful 3-star hotel is steps away from some of the area’s top tourist sites and restaurants. Rooms are ample and modern with a dash of red & gold accents that point towards the Orient.
- Dada Boutique Home Hotel: A lovely design hotel set in the heart of the district. Rooms feature ultra-modern furnishings & fixtures, a welcome addition to a Krakow accommodations scene that’s known more for embracing its medieval history than living on the cutting-edge.
- INX Design Hotel: A supremely colourful and unique boutique design hotel that’s among the coolest places to stay in Krakow. Besides the spacious and well-appointed rooms, guests are welcome to use the sauna or eat at the on-site restaurant serving up an array of classic Polish cuisine and international flavours including vegetarian and vegan options.
✓ Recommended area for travellers wanting more bang-for-their-zloty close to the top attractions
Located just north of Old Town, the upscale residential district from Kleparz is a welcome escape from the tourist bubble of Stare Miasto without the inconvenience of getting too far-flung from it. Accommodations here are generally of better value than similar digs in the tourist centre.
This lovely central neighbourhood, once its own separate city, hosts plenty to do on its own from dashing through the bustling local market stalls of Stary Kleparz to staring down the Baroque goodness of St. Florian’s Church.
With the Krakow Glowny train station by its side, this area is also the perfect location for tackling some of the best day trips from Krakow including Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Attractions in Kleparz: Stary Kleparz, St. Florian’s Church, Jan Matejko Square, Academy of Fine Arts, Grunwald Monument
Recommended hotels in Kleparz
Like in other areas ringing the main tourist areas of Krakow, you’ll get a slightly better bang-for-your-buck if you walk through the Barbican from Old Town into Kleparz for your accommodations. There’s a little of everything here from a barrage aparthotels to boutique hotels exuding more than a dash of Polish charm.
- Art & Garden Residence: A delightful budget-friendly boutique hotel blending old Central European charm with quirky artwork and modern furnishings. The lovely on-site garden restaurant, doling out modern Polish cuisine, provides a relaxing escape from the city.
- Zulian Aparthotel by Artery Hotels: A modern aparthotel featuring ample rooms with city and garden views. Rynek Glowny (Main Market Square) is a short 10-minute walk away.
- Grand Ascot Hotel: A superb 4-star hotel bathed in modern elegance. Rooms are well-appointed with contemporary furnishings and inviting colours. The highest-end of the bunch unleash a private terrace with city views for relaxing after a long day of sightseeing.
- Mercure Krakow Stare Miasto: A lovely boutique-style hotel flexing spacious rooms accented with bright cheery colours that reenergize. Extras like an fitness centre to work off your new pierogi obsession and a trendy on-site bar add to the value.
✓ Recommend choice for a budget-friendly alternative to other central areas
Located just across this river from Kazimierz, Podgórze is moving much in the same direction as its Jewish Quarter companion. As the former site of Krakow’s WWII Jewish Ghetto and, afterwards, among the city’s bleakest industrial districts under communist rule, Podgórze has had quite a lot of catching up to do to come into its own in Krakow’s modern era.
And it finally looks as if it’s on its way.
With Kazimierz just ten minutes away by foot and Old Town less than twice that, Podgórze isn’t so far-flung as to be off-putting and delivers accommodations much cheaper than its northern bank brothers-in-arms. Within Podgórze itself there’s even a handful of important historical sites, none more worthy of a visit than Oskar Schindler’s Factory and Ghetto Heroes Square.
Attractions in Podgórze: Oskar Schindler’s Factory, Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghetto Heroes Square, St. Joseph’s Church, Płaszów Labour Camp, Krakus Mound
Recommended hotels in Podgórze
Like other more areas outside the main tourist areas, Podgórze flashes off some incredible deals for travellers who are willing to sacrifice a central location for their budget. Most of the accommodations in Podgórze consist of apartments with the odd addition of a hotel or hostel in the mix.
- Enamel Apartments: A complex offering fully-stocked self-catering apartments, named for its location just minutes away from the Oskar Schindler Factory. Units are roomy and priced at a fraction of what you’d pay for anything similar in other central Krakow areas.
- Lwowska 1: A colourful aparthotel flashing an artsy vibe among their spacious rooms and self-catering units. Fully decked out with an on-site sauna, spa, and restaurant, this is truly a home-away-from-home for your stay in Podgórze.
- Qubus Hotel Krakow: Easily the top traditional hotel in Podgórze, this delightful 4-star impresses far beyond their clean and comfortable room with a whole host of luxurious on-site amenities including a swimming pool, hot tub, and a Polish-European restaurant. The blissful riverside location delivers incredible views over Krakow.
✓ Top area to stay for an underrated, relaxed & budget-friendly alternative to the touristic centre
Hugging the southern banks of the Vistula River near the castle area, Dębniki is an under-appreciated alternative. With its strategic location next to Krakow’s epicentre, Dębniki has seen a spate of developments in recent years, especially in its southern neighbourhood of Ludwinów.
Besides sprouting new hotels and convention centres, one of the oddest improvements in this landlocked Central European city is Plaża Kraków, a riverside beach club featuring a ten-thousand-square-metre artificial sand beach.
Attractions in Dębniki: Rynek Dębnicki, Plaża Kraków, Church of Saint Stanislaus Kostka, Forum Przestrzenie, Manggha Centre
Recommended hotels in Dębniki
Although its accommodations inventory is growing with some of the finest mid-range hotels in Krakow opening their doors here, Dębniki lacks the selection of other central neighbourhoods. Nevertheless, there’s some great quality at good prices here, especially in the Ludwinów area.
- B&B Hotel Krakow Centrum: A brand-new budget hotel located just one kilometre from Wawel Royal Castle. Rooms are spick & span with a dash of vivid colour to brighten up your stay & your day.
- Q Hotel Plus Krakow: An ultra-stylish hotel with a flair for eye-catching modern design. Walking to Old Town’s main square takes about 20 minutes by foot.
- Park Inn by Radisson Krakow: Among the top mid-range luxury picks for where to stay in Krakow, this modern 4-star delights with contemporary furnishings accented with royal blues for a peppy introduction. The on-site fitness centre and sauna will appeal to sportier types.
- Hilton Garden Inn Krakow: Boasting clean lines served on an earthy palette, this 4-star hotel delivers everything you need for a relaxing stay from large rooms with city & river views to an on-site restaurant and gym. Both the main square of Old Town and Kazimierz lie within a 30-minute walk.
✓ Recommended area for travellers on a tighter budget looking to dig into local culture
A little farther-flung than the other some of the other top choices for where to stay in Krakow for travellers, Grzegórzki offers insight into the daily life of ordinary Krakovians that staying in neighbourhoods closer to the touristic centre simply can’t match.
On the surface, Grzegórzki isn’t much to behold. It feels a little rougher around the edges than other central districts although its ranks are slowly rising as of late thanks to some promising developments.
Looking past its less-than-handsome façades, you’ll discover a neighbourhood with a barrage of quaint local restaurants, budget-friendly accommodations, and a handful of great shopping options including the Galleria Kazimierz and the Hala Targowa outdoor flea market.
Attractions in Grzegórzki: The Krakow Opera, Jagiellonian University Botanical Garden, Galleria Kazimierz, Hala Targowa, Bastion V Lubicz
Recommended hotels in Grzegórzki
As Grzegórzki lies outside the tourist centre, much of what you’ll find for accommodations comes in the form of apartments & aparthotels with only a handful of ordinary hotels & guesthouses on the menu for your stay. On average, the prices here are quite a bit cheaper than other central neighbourhoods.
- Apartamenty InPoint: A collection of stylish and spacious self-catering apartments that are surprisingly budget-friendly for their superb quality. Select apartments feature private balconies with views to Old Town, less than fifteen minutes away by foot.
- Topolowa Residence: An enchanting aparthotel in a 19th-century building decked out with rich wood grain finishes that add an air of sophistication. The heart of Old Town lies within a 20-minute walk.
- Hampton By Hilton Krakow: A reliable chain hotel sitting in a quieter area on the eastern edge of Grzegórzki. Rooms are standard stock but fairly spacious by Polish standards.
- DoubleTree by Hilton Krakow Hotel & Convention Center: A delightful 4-star hotel that’s shoots a tad above most chains with warm wood-grain panelling and extra amenities like kitchenettes in the suite rooms. Among the finest choices to stay for business travellers.
Summary: The best places to stay in Krakow
- Looking for centrally-located charm on a budget? There’s hardly a better selection than the Hotel Eden in the heart of Kazimierz featuring a unique underground salt grotto to take your relaxation to the next level.
- Got a little more to spend on some modern digs? The lovely Mercure Krakow Stare Miasto in Kleparz is one of the most recommended mid-range picks in Krakow with its modern charms and handsome design aesthetic.
- Want to lap in luxury while visiting Krakow? No luxury hotel in Krakow is quite like Hotel Copernicus. Housed in a spellbinding 14th-century Renaissance building, this property will floor you inside and out. Duck down to the atmospheric swimming pool and spa in the ancient vaulted cellars to see what all the fuss is about.