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Are you planning a trip to Poland with kids? Kraków is a great city to visit with kids! Really, the entire country of Poland is super family friendly with tons to do with kids. There are many things to do in Kraków with kids, your days will be filled from morning to night. We flew Air New Zealand from LAX to LHR, then on to Poland after a layover. We had a Skycouch on Air New Zealand, so the flight was very comfortable and we were able to sleep well.
Milana and I stopped in Kraków on our first leg of our European trip. This was her 2nd trip to Poland, last time we visited Gdańsk. We spent 4 days in Kraków and it was the perfect amount of time. If you are coming to Poland or specifically Krakòw with kids, read on for our family friendly Kraków itinerary!
And if you want to combine your trip to Kraków with another city, Prague is very family friendly and just an hour flight from Kraków!
THINGS TO NOTE:
-Poland uses Złoty as their currency. Many places take credit cards but we still encountered some that did not. That said, I pulled out 500 Złoty (around $130 USD) on our first day, and we had a ton left over after 4 days! Poland is super, super cheap. You can have a meal for 2 with many dishes for under $15.
-While English was widely spoken (Kraków is probably the most visited Polish city foreigners), there were still places where Polish came in handy and me being fluent (it’s my first language) helped a lot! Learn some basic phrases or when all else fails, rely on Google translate.
-They are super strict with car seat laws. We had our travel booster and were fine in Ubers (some even had boosters in the trunk) but know that they will not transport you without a proper child seat so if you are traveling with infants or toddlers, you may not be able to use Uber.
-Which brings me to this point. While they have trams and buses that will take you all over, the Uber was so cheap, I didn’t even bother figuring it out. Rides that were 10-15 minutes long cost around $3. It made all the sense to just get into a car and get to where we were going fast.
-We no longer use a stroller, but I did notice people struggling in the Old Town area on the cobblestone. Your umbrella stroller will be fine in the main parts of the city, but consider bringing a carrier for the Old Town.
WHERE TO STAY IN KRAKÓW WITH KIDS
Wondering where to stay in Kraków with kids? There are many hotels to choose from in Kraków. We chose the Sheraton Grand, which is a very family friendly Kraków hotel. I’m loyal to Marriott and have titanium status, so we got upgraded to a bigger room, had lounge access (free food and drinks all day!) and free breakfast buffet, which was actually really good! Kids get a stuffed dragon at check in, important to the history of the city and especially Wawel Castle, which is right next to the hotel. You can walk to Old Town in 10 minutes from the hotel and it takes 2 minutes to get to the castle, we had a view of it from our room. By the time we arrived to our room, it was nearly 11pm so we ordered some really good and cheap room service, something we don’t often come by!
THINGS TO DO IN KRAKÓW WITH KIDS
There are lots of things to do in Kraków with kids. One of the first things we did was a golf cart tour of the city, so that we can get oriented and see what we want to go explore on our own. It was great and Milana really enjoyed learning about the history of the city, particularly the Jewish Quarter. She had lots of questions and couldn’t quite grasp that people, including kids, were killed simply because of their religion. If you’re traveling with older kids (16 and up), I’d say go to Auschwitz but it’s not something little kids need to be exposed to just yet and the tour guides agree and will discourage parents from visiting with little ones. If you’re looking for a tour, this is one of the best family tours in Kraków!
Of course, walking around Stare Miasto, or Old Town, is a must! Here you will find lots of shops, restaurants and a cute little indoor market selling every type of Kraków souvenir you could possibly want. Rynek Główny, the main square in Old Town, is the largest medieval market square in Europe. It’s a must see when in Kraków! The only negative for us was the horse drawn buggies, which seemed to be very popular and constantly busy. It was really hot when we visited and the poor horses looked so tired from hauling people all day. The smoked cheese you see in the photo? It’s the best thing ever! There’s a store that sells it year round in Old Town but in the warmer months they also sell it at the outdoor markets on weekends. Get some, you won’t regret it!
If you’re wandering around Old Town and need a place for your kids to run around, there is an awesome little playground right by Old Town that’s a little tricky to find! Look for the Archaeological Museum and then walk on the path that’s in the park. This playground is hidden behind a brick wall, with only one way in and out making it perfect for little kids to explore. There’s an in ground trampoline, climbing structures, swings and lots of seating for parents. Perfect pit stop on your busy day of sightseeing!
We also just walked around the random streets and alleys around the hotel, you really can’t go wrong as there’s something on every corner!
There are many markets, or targ as they call it in Poland. We went to Stary Kleparz and it was awesome! For under $4USD, we got a giant box of local raspberries, some red currants, a bag of strawberries and the most awesome cheese you will ever taste! You can’t beat their prices, everything was so good, fresh and cheap!
If it’s a warm day, head to Park Jordana. It’s a fairly large park, with lots of walking paths and several playgrounds. One of the playgrounds has a massive climbing structure, and another is fully enclosed with multiple play structures and an area where you can buy (really cheap!) snacks and ice cream. They also rent our these ride on toys for something like $3 an hour which Milana really liked using.
Of course, you can’t come to Kraków and not visit Wawel Castle! It’s one of the best things to do in Kraków! Be sure to tell the story of the dragon to your kids before you come, Milana loved it and really enjoyed visiting the dragon’s den. Though I could have done without climbing down 98308408 winding steps! Once outside, you will see a statue of the dragon that blows real smoke every 3-5 minutes. We didn’t do the tour of the inside of the main areas of the castle and if you don’t want to do that, walk past that giant queue and you can see the outside areas. Then you can purchase a ticket for the dragon’s den right by the entrance to it, without waiting in that massive line. If you do want to go inside the main areas of the castle, purchase your ticket online in advance and you can skip the lines.
If it’s a really hot, cold or rainy day, Kraków has an awesome indoor playground. Go Kidz has is a bit different than your traditional indoor playground. Kids get an electronic wristband when you enter, and they scan it at each attraction. This lets them earn points to use for rides such as bumper cars, race cars, etc. The more they play, the more points they earn. We came here for a few hours on a really hot day, though be warned that they don’t believe in air conditioners so it was super hot inside!
One day, while wandering the streets, we came across this car, Mały Fiat. I told Milana that we had this exact car when I was growing up, this exact color too! She didn’t believe me, stating that no family could fit inside it. The next time she complains about not having room in our massive SUV for our family of 3, I will remind her of this day.
Kraków also has a zoo and while we aren’t normally fans of zoos, Milana really wanted to go so we did. It’s not too big and perfect for wandering around for about an hour. Admission was just over $7 for one adult and one child, making it an inexpensive outing.
WHERE TO EAT IN KRAKÓW
Wondering where to eat in Kraków? With a 4 day Kraków itinerary, we had to be selective where we ate since we couldn’t try it all! There are so many great, cheap restaurants in Kraków that I highly encourage you to eat out for every meal. All of the restaurants we went to were very family friendly as well. You can have an amazing meal for around $7USD, why bother trying to cook something not authentic in your apartment when there are hundreds of locally owned places right outside your door? That said, we skipped dining at bar mleczny, or milk bars. These are super cheap cafeteria style restaurants that have recently made a comeback. I remember going to them in the 80s with my dad and really they didn’t exactly stand for a good thing if you lived here but now this new generation of travelers without knowledge of the past history seem to think they are the best thing ever. I opted for higher quality food that’s not associated with the communist era. If you do go to one, keep in mind that the majority have Polish only menus and do not speak any English at all, they cater to mainly students and locals, many elderly Polish people rely on these for their food. Since they have become so popular with tourists, there are a few in the main areas of Kraków with English many but they aren’t very authentic and you’ll mainly be dining among other tourists.
One of our favorite meals was at Pierogarnia Krakowiacy. Now really, who doesn’t like pierogi? Which brings me to another point, don’t be that person who adds s to pierogi, it’s already plural. The singular form of pierogi is pieróg. I had the sauerkraut and mushroom ones (my favorite growing up!) and Milana opted for the fruit ones, which was blackcurrant the day we went but does change seasonally. This meal was less than $10!! Authentic, Polish pierogi just like Babcia used to make. Tell me again how it’s worth making bland pasta in your Airbnb to save $2? Do yourself a favor and go out and experience the true Polish culture and some of the awesome food we have, it was like eating at my mom’s house though mama’s is of course better!
You will see lots of carts selling Obwarzanki Krakowskie all over the city. These are bagel like and are supposed to be chewy when fresh, but we got a dud and it was hard like a rock! Milana said it can be used as a weapon and I had to agree. Make sure to pick one from a busier location, as the one we chose was awful. They cost around 50 cents, making it an inexpensive snack.
Another classic Polish dish is the zapiekanka. It’s essentially a baguette, traditionally topped with mushrooms and cheese. Now they come in many different varieties, pretty much anything you can imagine can be added as a topping. I opted to stick to the traditional one, and Milana who doesn’t like mushrooms but eats pretty much anything else (I told her she’s going to be banished from the Polish culture for not liking mushrooms!) got one with just cheese. I got mine at Zapiekanki Królewskie, there are 3 windows that sell them here and this one is definitely the most popular. However keep in mind that their base includes mushrooms and you cannot remove them. But the one next door to the right makes them with and without mushrooms if they aren’t your thing. Oh, and I have to mention cost-less than $2 each!
A huge favorite for both of us was Restauracja Mieszczanska, which was a short 5 minute walk from our hotel. Beautiful restaurant with some really great, authentic Polish food. Milana loves stuffed cabbage and always asks Babcia to make it when she visits and she loved this one as well! We also tried their bigos (hunter’s stew made out of cabbage/sauerkraut and usually kiełbasa or some other type of meat), pierogi and I ordered the goulash, which was really good! All the food you see here? Less than $18!! Including 2 drinks.
Another place I highly recommend for authentic and excellent Polish food is Kuchnia u Doroty. We loved the food here and once again, less than $15 for all this!
Of course we couldn’t live on just Polish food (well I could but Milana asked for something else after a few days!) so one day we went to lunch and had pizza at King Burger & Pizza. It was actually really good as was the strawberry milkshake Milana had. The restaurant is really cute too!
Another really good Italian restaurant is Trattoria Mamma Mia. The food here was really good and Milana loved their bruschetta, she ate most of it by herself! Our meal cost less than $15 for an appetizer, 2 entrees and a huge bottle of water. It was really good too! If you come here, you will pass 2 other Italian restaurants on the same street, just steps from this one. So be mindful of what the sign says or you will end up at the wrong one!
Of course, no meal is complete without dessert! There are lots of dessert places all over Kraków, you are bound to come across ones. They all sell similar things, so you really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose.
If you like chocolate, then don’t miss Pijalnia Czekolady E. Wedel. This is right in the main square in Old Town, not hard to miss! E. Wedel is a Polish confectionery company, making some of the most popular chocolates you will see in the convince stores and supermarkets. This is essentially a chocolate cafe, with many yummy desserts to choose from. Just like everywhere else, it’s so cheap that you won’t feel bad trying multiple things! Pick up a box of Ptaśie Mleczko on the way out and thank me later!
There you have it, our Kraków 4 day itinerary. The perfect amount of time to get your bearings and explore, and determine if you want to come back at another time for a longer stay. I love bringing Milana back to where I was born and am hoping to make trips to Poland an annual tradition! If you are considering a trip to Europe with toddlers or young kids, don’t miss Poland! It’s a hidden gem, with some awesome food, great prices and friendly locals.