Vodka is Poland’s national drink and a mainstay of the local food culture. Joining a Krakow vodka tasting tour is a must for anyone visiting the town, as it’s a great way to find out more about this famous drink, its history and ancient rituals.
According to many historians, vodka (or wódka, in Polish) originated in Poland at the beginning of the 1400s. After a few years, a similar recipe from Russian monks also appeared, which is why the paternity of the drink is disputed between the two country. The first vodka distilleries are believed to have sprung up around Sandomierz, not far from Kraków.
Over the centuries, the classic recipe of traditional pure white vodka has been joined by hundreds of flavored variations. Tinctures and liqueurs based on vodka, fruit and herbs are still prepared in the homes of locals today, as well as some of the best craft distilleries around Krakow produce vodka of the highest quality. So, there’s more than just a drink. Let’s find out which are the best vodka tastings in Krakow and the best Krakow Vodka Tasting Tours!
What you will find in this guide to the best Krakow Vodka Tasting Tours and Vodka Bars:
- Best Krakow Vodka Tasting Tours
- Krakow Vodka Tasting: Discover Poland’s National Drink
- Best Vodka Bars in Krakow for Vodka Tastings
Best Krakow Vodka Tasting Tours
Krakow’s vodka tasting tours are one of the most popular activities to do in Krakow and this is not surprising, as vodka is Poland’s national drink. Although there are dozens of vodka bars in Krakow, many of them are just tourist traps. Likewise are many of the tours offered by the many agencies in town, which are often nothing more than disguised and overpriced pub crawls.
What do you expect from a good Krakow vodka tasting tour? Well, first you should expect to taste REAL Polish vodkas and not just any cool alcoholic drink. Polish vodka has a compelling history and is part of the local culture. This is what one expects from a good vodka tasting tour in Krakow.
So, I have selected for you the best tours, led by experienced and reputable guides, who will only take you to good vodka bars, will make you taste some of the best Polish vodkas and will give you a lot of information about vodka and local culture.
Krakow Private Vodka Tasting Tour
The Krakow Private Vodka Tasting Tour is by far the best vodka tour in Krakow, and is one of the few that takes you to some of the best vodka bars, where you can taste different authentic Polish vodkas of the best quality. If you are booking just for yourself it may seem a little expensive, but if you are traveling with family or a group of friends then the price will be quite affordable. The reason is simple: this is a private tour, so the guide will be just for you. This is the best way for quality vodka tasting.
During this vodka tour you will take a nice walk around Krakow’s Old Town, led by a licensed guide who will show you some of the best vodka bars and restaurants in the town. Here you will be able to learn many trivia about vodka, you will learn to drink vodka like a local, you will discover many curious anecdotes about the local culture.
Coming to vodka, you will be able to try different types of authentic Polish vodka, made according to tradition with cereals or potatoes. Poles love traditional white vodka, but there are also many types of homemade vodka and natural herb flavored vodka.
Usually, during the tour you will be able to taste at least one glass of traditional white vodka and a selection of fine flavored vodkas. You can also taste the famous J.A. Baczewski Vodka Monopolowa, one of the best and most authentic Polish vodkas, pure distilled from potatoes and finely flavored with citrus.
During the vodka tour you will also be able to taste several traditional snacks, which locals usually nibble on while drinking vodka. Different types of vodka tasting tours are available: the introductory budget tour includes 5 shots of vodka in 3 venues, the standard tour includes 7 shots of vodka in 4 venues.
The premium tour combines a vodka tasting with a food tour that will allow you to try different specialties of Polish cuisine. On this tour you will eat a lot and it can be equivalent to a lunch or dinner. You will visit 5 venues, including 2 traditional Polish restaurants, and enjoy 10 shots of vodka and more food than you are able to eat.
The tour is held every day by reservation. The vodka tasting is conducted by expert licensed guides. There are guides speaking several languages to choose from English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Polish, of course.
Krakow Vodka Tour
The Krakow Vodka Tour is the traditional vodka tasting tour in Krakow. Led by experienced licensed English-speaking guides, this tour is held in small groups of up to 8 people. You will enjoy a nice stroll around the old town, visiting some of the best vodka bars in Krakow.
The Krakow Vodka Tour lasts about 4 hours and allows you to visit 3-4 vodka bars where you can learn many curious facts about vodka, its history and local culture. You will be able to try at least 6 different kinds of vodka, ranging from traditional white vodka to the best flavored vodkas. You can also try a rich selection of traditional snacks and appetizers.
The tour takes place every day, only in the afternoon. Book early, especially in August and December when it’s in high demand!
Krakow Vodka Tasting: Discover Poland’s National Drink
What is the reason for attending a Krakow Vodka Tasting? Well, going to Krakow and not tasting the famous Polish vodkas is like going to Italy or France and not tasting a good local wine. Vodka is the Polish national drink! And after vodka comes beer: every Polish town has its own brewery, and both vodka and beers are still made today according to centuries-old recipes.
Vodka is a pillar of local culture! It is omnipresent in convivial lunches and dinners, between friends and relatives, and has a precise ritual for special occasions and ceremonies. The most solemn moment of a ceremony is the vodka toast, preceded by an elaborate speech.
Unsurprisingly, vodka is a real custom for Poles. There are dozens of types of high quality vodkas, from the most classic white vodkas to the most eclectic ones, flavored with complex aromatic bouquets, herbs, chocolate, hazelnuts and citrus fruits.
Starting with the world famous Wyborowa, a classic white vodka distilled from pure rye, you will immerse yourself in a mysterious world of colorful shot glasses, alchemist’s ampoules and timeless bars. For example, only here will you be able to find out what a nalewki is. These colored ampoules date back to the Middle Ages, and contain precious infusions based on vodka and herbs or various essences. There are hundreds of colorful combinations of aromas and still today they are prepared according to old family recipes.
You can then taste some of the best herbal vodkas, such as Żołądkowa Gorzka, which is one of the most popular nalewka, or a Wódka Dzięgielówka, an infusion made from vodka and angelica. Also worth trying is Żubrówka Bison Grass Vodka, made with herbs that grow in the Białowieża Forest, hand-picked and dried in the wind and sun.
Then there is the famous J.A. Baczewski Vodka Monopolowa, one of the finest Polish vodkas. Its troubled history dates back to the 18th century and until WWII it was one of the finest spirits produced by the ancient factories of Lviv, which was once the capital of Galicia, while today it is an important city in Ukraine. To learn more about its compelling history you should join a vodka tasting tour in Krakow!
There is a plethora of excellent Polish vodkas to taste, a tasting tour is a great way to approach the world of vodka tasting, to learn the basics of this spirit, its rituals and its importance for the local culture. The vodkas mentioned in this guide are just some of the most popular and loved by the locals, but you can discover many, many more!
Best Vodka Bars in Krakow for Vodka Tastings
A Krakow vodka tasting tour is a great way to discover the best Polish vodkas. Don’t think of it as a pub crawl, but as a cultural experience. In fact, you will also be served abundant appetizers and traditional food, so that you will hardly feel tipsy.
If you’ve already been on a vodka tasting tour or food tour and just want to try a couple of other good vodkas, then these are the addresses of some of the best vodka bars in Krakow.
With such a name, Wodka Bar could not fail to be one of the most popular vodka bars in Krakow. It is a small and cozy bar, which boasts a good selection of vodkas, with some of the best traditional vodkas and dozens of good flavored vodkas. In total, you will have at least a hundred flavors to try. They also have a tasting menu that allows you to try 6 vodkas from a small selection.
Where: Mikołajska 5, a short distance from Krakow’s Main Market Square.
One of the most popular bars in Kazimierz serves dozens of good local vodkas at moderate prices. The place is not very big and is very popular with locals and students. You can choose your vodka from a menu, specifying whether you want the 20ml or 40ml glass. Needless to say, locals order 40. They also have a small selection of nalewki and liqueurs.
Where: Józefa 30, in the heart of Kazimierz.
Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa
Okay, let’s assume you’re in the mood for a cheap booze now. This ubiquitous shot bar chain in Poland serves up good local beers and vodkas at decent prices. Popular with students, tourists and locals alike, it is the place you would go for a fun night out with friends. You will find a good variety of flavored vodka shots, liqueurs, good beers and more. It’s not a fancy place, but it’s good enough!
Where: has 3 venues in the city center, the most popular is at Floriańska 34. A quieter venue is at Szewska 25, the main street west of the main square. Another popular venue is plac Nowy 7 in Kazimierz.
This quirky shop located in Krakow’s Old Town boasts one of the best selections of Polish artisanal liqueurs, nalewki and classic vodkas. Go check out their traditional ampoules filled with colorful fruit and herbal tinctures (these are authentic traditional nalewki). It’s a liquor store, so you can buy some good bottles of vodka or local spirits here. Before buying, you can also taste the different flavors.
Where: Bracka 9, is the parallel street west of Grodzka ulica, in the heart of the old town.
This nice casual little restaurant serves herring and some good regional specialties, as well as local beers and an interesting selection of vodkas. It’s a great place for a traditional meal washed down with a few shots of vodka. Despite being in the heart of the old town, it is mainly frequented by locals and students.
Where: Stolarska 8, a few steps from the Main Market Square.
This stylish, modern bar doesn’t serve vodka. In fact, its name means “no vodka”. I have included it in this guide because it is a curious alternative that only the locals know about, and that you will hardly find elsewhere. It’s a small, lively and quirky bar that serves homemade flavored tinctures: what the locals call kraftowe nalewki. These liqueurs have a lower alcohol content than vodka (about 18%) and are distilled in local artisan distilleries. They also have a small tasting menu, in case you want to try the house specialties.
Where: plac Szczepański 5, in the northwestern part of Planty Park.
Another good place to sample the famous traditional fruit liqueurs, the tinctures commonly called nalewki, is Nalefka, an intriguing little bar located in the heart of the old town. Technically, these too are not vodka, but liqueurs with an alcohol content that varies between 17.5% and 30%. The original vodka is not a liqueur but a pure distillate and has an alcohol content of 40%, while the flavored vodka is technically an infusion and varies between 36% and 40%. Anyway, if you want to come here for a tasting of artisanal liqueurs too, they have a small tasting menu.
Where: Sławkowska 23, is one of the main streets of the old town, parallel to Florianska ulica.
How to book a Krakow Vodka Tasting Tour
The best vodka tours in Krakow are easily bookable on GetYourGuide. They are conducted only by certified guides and organized by some of the best local specialized operators, such as Eat Polska and EOS Tours. No tourist traps, no scams, just knowledgeable, reputable and legal guides. You can book online in a few simple steps, you will get immediate confirmation, no need to prepay and you can cancel your reservation for free if necessary.
Other interesting tips for your trip to Krakow
Here you will find lots of resources and advice from the locals that will surely come in handy.
Planning your trip to Krakow? These are our in-depth guides with everything you need to know to plan an amazing trip to Krakow:
- Krakow Travel Guide: Things to do in and around Krakow
- All You Need to Know Before Going to Krakow (Best Tips for Planning Your Trip)
- Krakow Food Tours: Discover the Best of Authentic Local Food
- Krakow Free Tours: The Best Free Walking Tours of the Old Town and its Most Beautiful Neighborhoods