Are you wondering about the Kraków weather in January? If you are planning your trip, then this guide will definitely come in handy! You’ll find everything you need to know about the weather, temperatures and practical advice from a local on what to expect, things to see and do and what to pack.
January is typically the coldest month in Krakow, characterized by plummeting nighttime temperatures that can reach as low as -5°C. However, the weather tends to remain relatively dry, occasionally graced by sporadic showers, and the occurrence of substantial snowfall has been scarce in recent years. To comfortably navigate these conditions, it’s advisable to don cozy and warm attire and carry an umbrella. Despite the cold, Krakow boasts its own charm during this season, making it a delightful destination to explore.
As mentioned earlier, temperatures are among the chilliest of the year and can be colder than you might imagine at certain times. However, the average temperature during the day usually hovers around zero degrees, and it’s still pleasant to walk around, wander through the alleys of the Krakow Old Town without the usual summer crowds, and explore the monuments, museums, and the many attractions that Krakow and the surrounding region have to offer.
January is one of the best times to visit Krakow due to its charming winter atmosphere. The first few days of the month, until Epiphany, are still considered high season, as Krakow is very popular around Christmas and New Year’s. The second part of the month tends to be less crowded, making it a poignant time to visit Auschwitz, which is often covered in snow during this period.
What you will find in this guide to Kraków Weather in January:
Kraków Weather In January: An Overview
When January arrives in Kraków, you better be prepared to face the chill. This month, the city experiences a cold wave with an average temperature of -3°C (about 28°F), making it the perfect time for cozying up in your heavy coat or parka. The highs barely touch freezing at around 0°C (32°F), while the lows can plummet to a bone-chilling -5°C (about 23°F). Don’t forget to arm yourself with gloves, a snug hat and scarves to shield your skin from the biting cold.
Kraków boasts a continental climate with a dash of influence from the neighboring Tatra Mountains, an impressive range that adds character to the picturesque village of Zakopane, a quick journey away. If you’re a fan of winter sports and activities, Zakopane’s slopes will beckon you. The region’s renowned Chochołów Thermal Baths offer a chance to unwind in the warmth, surrounded by a winter wonderland.
Rainfall in January is relatively sparse, with about 24 mm spread over 13 days, making it one of the driest periods in the region. Expect a toss-up between rain and snow, each having a 50 percent chance of making an appearance. Keep an umbrella handy, just in case. Cloudy days and windy days each have a 33 percent likelihood, but with the prevailing cold, snow showers are the more common spectacle.
Fog blankets the cityscape around 50 percent of the time, adding an enchanting touch to your winter sojourn. Sunshine, however, is a rarity, granting just 1.3 hours per day on average. But fear not, as many of Kraków’s captivating attractions and treasures can be enjoyed indoors. As you traverse this wintry landscape, remember to dress warmly and perhaps even glide across the ice rink near the Galeria Krakowska shopping mall. And for those smitten by winter’s embrace, a short jaunt to Zakopane could be the perfect addition to your Kraków adventure.
Temperatures in Kraków in January
The average temperatures in Kraków in January ranged between an average high of 0°C (32°F) and an average low of -5°C (23°F). It’s not extremely cold, but it still might be colder than you’re accustomed to. Therefore, it’s advisable to dress appropriately to ensure you can explore the city comfortably. Choosing a hotel near the Old Town is recommended (you can refer to our guide on the Best Areas to Stay in Krakow). This will allow you to experience the city peacefully and avoid frequent bus or tram rides, as well as excessive walking in the winter cold.
What to Pack for Kraków in January
When gearing up for a January adventure in Kraków, practicality takes the lead. Embrace the chill with a well-equipped suitcase, favoring functionality over frills. Layer up for the ever-changing indoor-outdoor dynamic, a mix of warm and comfortable clothing is the key. Don a trusty coat, cozy gloves, a snug hat and a scarf that boasts a furry lining for an extra dose of snugness.
Opt for light wool against your skin – a temperature-regulating marvel. Whether facing the frosty air or stepping into the toasty havens of bars, eateries, and museums, this versatile fabric keeps you cozy while handling moisture and odor like a champ. Don’t forget your feet’s winter armor. Prioritize boots or shoes with soft rubber soles, as they remain supple even in the most bitter cold. Their traction-enhancing tread pattern should have ample gaps to prevent snow from turning them into ice skates.
Given the unpredictability of Kraków’s climate, stash a raincoat and travel-friendly umbrella. These pragmatic choices ensure you’re prepped for both the wintry flurries and any unexpected downpours. As you navigate the charming streets and immerse yourself in the city’s allure, remember: practicality, warmth, and adaptability are your steadfast companions in this winter wonderland.
Events and Things to Do in Kraków in January
As January unfolds in Kraków, a mix of festivities, cultural experiences and cozy retreats await. New Year’s Day kicks off the month, with banks and malls closed, but eateries buzzing. Grab a bite at local restaurants and bars, which remain open. Museums and galleries beckon with their doors wide open, offering a warm respite from the chill. Don’t miss the traditional New Year’s Day concerts that grace various venues around the city.
Epiphany, marked on January 6th, draws a reverent pause to the festive season. Kraków commemorates this day with three parades converging on the Krakow Market Square shortly after 11am. It’s a religious occasion, leading to closures of banks and stores. Still, select museums and eateries remain at your service.
Escape the cold by venturing into the subterranean marvel that is the Wieliczka Salt Mine. With a constant underground temperature of around 17–18°C, it offers a cozy contrast to the winter outside. For those seeking a more invigorating experience, set your sights on Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains. Soothe your senses at the Chochołów Thermal Baths or indulge in pampering at top-notch Kraków’s Spa Hotels.
This month paints a perfect canvas for museum enthusiasts, inviting you to explore Kraków’s cultural treasures. Embrace the unhurried local vibe and savor Kraków’s signature cuisine at its many beloved bars, pubs, and traditional restaurants. Don’t forget to sample local street food that lines the charming streets of the Krakow Old Town and beyond. And for a deeply poignant experience, consider a visit to Auschwitz. January’s cold, often snowy or fog-clad landscape amplifies the somber atmosphere, providing a glimpse into the chilling realities faced by those who once lived there.
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