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New Year’s Eve in Krakow: The Ultimate Guide 2024

    New Year’s Eve in Krakow, locally referred to as Sylwester, is one of the most significant events in the city. It is celebrated with free music concerts, spectacular performances in the charming Main Market Square, and a lively atmosphere throughout the streets of the city center.

    Krakow has emerged as a top destination in Europe for New Year’s Eve celebrations, owing to its excellent connectivity with major European cities, vibrant nightlife, abundant activities and sights, outstanding restaurants, and affordable yet fantastic spa hotels, offering a perfect combination for a relaxing stay.

    What you will find in this guide to New Year’s Eve in Krakow:

    New Year’s Eve in Krakow: Main Market Square Celebrations

    The heart of Krakow’s New Year’s Eve festivities is undoubtedly the enchanting Main Market Square. In December, Krakow’s Old Town transforms into a truly magical place adorned with charming Christmas lights and its renowned Krakow Christmas Markets, which are celebrated as some of the most beautiful in all of Europe. As the clock ticks towards New Year’s Eve, the Main Market Square comes alive in a spectacular manner. From the early hours of the afternoon, it starts filling up with locals eager to usher in the new year with a bang.

    On the evening of December 31st, the square becomes a vibrant hub as tourists and locals gather to witness the annual spectacle. A massive stage takes center stage in front of the Kraków Cloth Hall, adorned with a mesmerizing display of lights and lasers that craft an awe-inspiring atmosphere. The New Year’s Eve Concert typically kicks off around 8:30 pm and continues well into the midnight hour. What makes it even more special is that it’s entirely free and features prominent Polish and international artists, who captivate the audience with their electrifying rock performances throughout the evening.

    Just moments before midnight, the countdown to the new year commences. With the arrival of the new year, the square transforms into a lively party with pulsating music, dazzling lights, and an abundance of celebratory beverages. It’s worth noting that in recent years there have been some changes, such as the prohibition of fireworks, but the show remains a splendid and highly recommended experience.

    Nevertheless, it’s important to mention that in both 2020 and 2021, the celebrations were regrettably canceled due to the global pandemic. In 2022, the city opted for a more subdued celebration owing to an energy crisis, which led to the omission of the traditional New Year’s Eve Concert. Nevertheless, the Christmas Markets continued to operate as usual, extending their joyous atmosphere into early January. Numerous parties and celebrations unfolded in the squares, restaurants, hotels, and theaters, making Krakow’s New Year’s Eve a memorable and cherished event, truly worth experiencing.

    KRAKOW NEW YEAR’S EVE 2023/2024

    If you are planning your New Year’s Eve in Krakow in 2024, you should know that the traditional square celebrations, including the big concert featuring rock, pop, and electronic music typically held in the Market Square, will not take place this year. However, this isn’t bad news; the city will still offer a lively and authentic atmosphere. Instead of the usual concert, there will be a huge Christmas Market where you can explore local crafts and indulge in a vast array of gastronomic delights. From grilled meat specialties to soups, local cheeses, drinks, and much more, there will be plenty to savor. Poles know how to celebrate, so anticipate the square becoming a gathering place for celebrations and collective joy nonetheless!

    Furthermore, the Christmas Markets are confirmed and will be held from November 24th until early January. This extended period allows those visiting the city during this time to fully experience the magic of the season.

    Important Notice:

    For Krakow’s New Year’s Eve 2024 the city council has announced that the traditional New Year’s Concert in the Main Market Square will not be held. The televised concert, typically hosted in Krakow’s Main Square, will take place in the mountain resort of Zakopane. Consequently, this year, the usual grand celebration with artists, musicians, and fireworks in Rynek Główny won’t occur. However, the city will still be festively decorated with lights, nativity scenes, and Christmas markets.

    Christmas carols and concerts will be held in Krakow’s Old Town and around the Nowa Huta neighborhood. Festive parties and banquets are scheduled in the city center’s premier hotels and restaurants (advance booking is recommended). Locals are likely to celebrate with friends in squares, streets, and clubs. The absence of this beloved party has become routine for locals since the municipal administration decided not to hold it from 2020 onward. On December 31st, the main museums of the city will be open from 10 am to 3 pm.

    To celebrate in style, we recommend immersing yourself in the magical atmosphere of the city during this time of year. Visit the world-famous Christmas markets, savor the delicious local cuisine at one of the traditional restaurants, and consider relaxing in the warm waters of a spa, indulging in the accessible luxury offered by one of the fabulous historic hotels in the Old Town. You might want to explore Krakow’s top 5-star hotels and spa hotels, often featuring excellent, award-winning restaurants—perfect for celebrating in style.

    Krakow’s Christmas Markets are actually the main attraction on New Year’s Eve in Krakow. The locals call them Jarmarkiem Bożonarodzeniowym, and they are the heart of the city’s legendary Christmas atmosphere. Memorable Christmas decorations, Christmas trees, and illuminations adorn the main square and line the streets of the Old Town (Stare Miasto).

    You will be able to see traditional handcrafted nativity scenes and attend one of the Christmas carol concerts. But the highlight is the Christmas markets themselves: there will be around 80 stalls offering a wide range of goods, from local crafts (featuring artisans from all over Eastern Europe) to regional gastronomic delights.

    Best Restaurants and Pubs for New Year’s Eve in Krakow

    If, on the other hand, the bustling party in the square isn’t quite your scene, the city offers a vibrant food scene, and for your New Year’s Eve in Krakow you can indulge in the delectable specialties of the local cuisine.

    Throughout the city, numerous restaurants offer special set menus for New Year’s Eve Dinners. Most feature authentic Polish cuisine, complete with hot and cold buffets and a range of courses, from traditional pierogi to more upscale dishes. You’ll also find classic meat specialties and delightful Polish desserts on these menus. As you dine, music and entertainment often enhance the atmosphere, and when the clock strikes midnight, the arrival of the new year is celebrated with sparkling wine and desserts. It’s highly recommended to secure a reservation in advance, as many of the city’s top restaurants are booked by locals weeks ahead of time.

    Are you searching for an unforgettable and wild way to welcome the New Year? Look no further than Krakow’s legendary pub crawls! These crawls, featuring a mix of lively bars, great drinks, and a festive atmosphere, are the ideal way to bid farewell to one year and usher in the next. After thoroughly testing them personally, we have prepared a guide for you on the best Krakow Pub Crawls, complete with honest reviews and advice on which one to choose and why.

    The folks at Krawl Through Krakow, renowned for their pub crawls (considered the longest-running in Krakow), organize a massive New Year’s Pub Crawl, anticipating the participation of over 200 girls and boys from around the world, all eager to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2024 together! Having been to Krakow’s lively pub crawls numerous times myself, I can wholeheartedly attest that it’s an absolute must-do!

    For just 200 zł (approximately €45, making it one of the most budget-friendly parties in town), you can experience one of the city’s most exciting parties. Enjoy TWO HOURS OF UNLIMITED DRINKS (Yes, you got it right: you can drink as much as you can!) Indulge to your heart’s content, including Beer, Wine, Polish Vodka, Gin, Rum, Whiskey, Shots, Mixers, and Champagne!

    Plus you’ll enjoy a huge all-you-can-eat buffet (including options for vegetarians and vegans) and FREE VIP Entry to 3 of Krakow’s Best Bars and Clubs, with FREE Welcome Shots in each bar and champagne at midnight! Given its high demand, be sure to secure your spot for the New Year’s Pub Crawl well in advance!

    Another hotspot for New Year’s Eve in Krakow is Kazimierz, the historic Jewish Quarter, famous for being a major nightlife hub and quite popular among locals and students alike. In Kazimierz, you’ll find several traditional restaurants that serve outstanding Jewish dishes, often accompanied by live music and folk dances.

    Many young revelers opt to spend the night at one of the city’s many clubs and pubs, but be aware that tickets usually start selling out several months in advance and go quickly. In most venues, the entrance fee includes a complimentary drink. Among the most popular spots are the Alchemia Pub, located in Kazimierz, which hosts intriguing themed parties for New Year’s Eve, and the Propaganda Pub, one of the oldest and most iconic pubs in the Jewish Quarter, renowned for its excellent beers, cocktails and live music.

    ☞ Find out more: Check out our guide to the best KRAKOW PUB CRAWLS

    Best SPA Hotels for New Year’s Eve in Krakow

    One of the most delightful ways to spend your New Year’s Eve holidays in Krakow is by choosing one of the city’s splendid spa hotels for your stay. This option is particularly favored among couples, as Krakow boasts an array of exceptional hotels conveniently situated within the charming confines of the Old Town. These establishments place you within easy walking distance of major attractions like the Main Market Square and the city’s most exquisite dining establishments.

    Furthermore, many of these hotels are home to superb restaurants, with some even earning the esteemed recommendation of the Michelin Guide. This presents an opportunity for a gourmet dining experience that sets the perfect tone for welcoming the New Year with a relaxing stay in Krakow. The icing on the cake? You won’t have to break the bank for this luxurious experience. Compared to other European cities, Krakow offers surprisingly affordable prices, all while maintaining the high-quality services and facilities that these spa hotels are renowned for.

    Without a doubt, the top choices for your New Year’s Eve in Krakow include:

    1. Hotel Copernicus: Nestled in the heart of the Old Town, this hotel not only offers an exceptional spa but also features a Michelin-recommended restaurant showcasing delectable local cuisine.
    2. Bachleda Luxury Hotel Krakow: Situated a stone’s throw away from the Main Market Square, this hotel boasts a serene spa and a restaurant serving delectable international cuisine.
    3. Hotel Unicus Palace: Located on Ulica Florianska, the Old Town’s main thoroughfare, this hotel stands out with its splendid spa, complete with a wellness center, hammam, and hot tub. It also offers a rooftop terrace and a fine restaurant.

    Additionally, worth noting is the Hotel Stary, also positioned in the heart of the Old Town. It is celebrated for its superb spa and houses one of the city’s best restaurants, Trzy Rybki, which has earned a Michelin recommendation.

    Still haven’t chosen where to stay?
    Here are our guides to the best accommodations in town:

    Best SPA Hotels in Krakow
    Best 5 Star Hotels in Krakow
    Best Hotels and Apartments IN Krakow Main Square
    Best Hotels and Apartments near the Old Town and Central Station
    Best Hotels and Apartments in the Kazimierz district
    Best Budget Accommodations in Krakow
    Best Hostels in Krakow



    Christmas Markets in Krakow

    New Year’s Eve in Krakow is the ideal time to immerse yourself in another one of the city’s most famous and cherished events: the Krakow Christmas Markets. These markets are internationally renowned and stand proudly among the best in Europe. They typically begin in the last week of November and run until December 26th, but often extend their charm until January 6th, morphing into a true Winter Market and becoming the epicenter of New Year’s celebrations in Krakow.

    In the heart of the Main Market Square, you’ll discover over 80 charming wooden stalls that offer a diverse array of products. These treasures encompass local crafts, featuring exquisite wooden artifacts, ceramics, intricate embroidery, and stunning jewelry. Moreover, you’ll find the iconic, beautifully adorned Christmas decorations – perfect souvenirs to commemorate your visit.

    The market also boasts numerous food stalls, tempting your taste buds with the finest Polish cuisine. While you’re there, warm up on chilly December days with a cup of mulled wine or the renowned Polish hot beer. Indulge in mouthwatering pierogies, the signature dumplings stuffed with savory meats and accompanied by a variety of delectable sauces. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the region’s delightful soups, succulent grilled meats, and sandwiches brimming with a medley of vegetables and meats. And of course, there’s the famous smoked sheep cheese known as Oscypek, served alongside sweet jams.

    Save room for dessert, as the markets offer an array of delectable treats such as gingerbread, homemade cakes, scrumptious biscuits, candied fruits, and spiced nuts – all reasonably priced. I highly recommend dining here at least one evening, just as the locals do, to fully immerse yourself in the festive culinary delights of Krakow.

    Krakow Free Walking Tour

    Discover the most beautiful places, stories and legends of Krakow Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) with a local guide.

    Kazimierz Free Walking Tour

    Discover the charm and stories of Krakow’s former Jewish Quarter, now one of the city’s most picturesque and lively neighborhoods.


    Best Things to See in Krakow

    There are numerous compelling reasons to spend New Year’s Eve in Krakow, and one of the most prominent is the opportunity to explore its magnificent Old Town – a place that can be effortlessly traversed on foot in just a few hours. Krakow’s Old Town has earned its place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, solidifying its reputation as one of Poland’s most ancient and graceful medieval cities. As you wander through its cobblestone streets, you’ll be captivated by a plethora of exquisite monuments and historic edifices.

    The ideal way to unravel the secrets and legends of Krakow’s Old Town is by participating in one of the engaging free walking tours offered each morning. These tours are led by knowledgeable and friendly guides proficient in English, Spanish, or Italian. Due to their immense popularity, particularly during December and January, it’s advisable to book in advance, as the groups are deliberately kept small to ensure a more intimate experience.

    ☞ Find out more: Check out our guide to the best KRAKOW FREE TOURS

    Embarking from the Rynek Glowny, the Main Market Square, you’ll first encounter the stunning St. Mary’s Basilica and the iconic Kraków Cloth Hall (known as Sukiennice in Polish). Inside the Cloth Hall, you’ll discover a vibrant local handicraft market and an art gallery. Krakow boasts a rich artistic and cultural heritage, boasting more than 30 great museums. Among the prominent ones, located beneath the Main Market Square there is the Rynek Underground Museum, offering a fascinating glimpse into Krakow’s medieval past.

    Art enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to visit the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow and the Czartoryski Museum, where Leonardo Da Vinci’s renowned masterpiece “Lady with an Ermine” is on display. The Manggha Museum, dedicated to Japanese art and culture, also offers a captivating experience. Venturing toward the Vistula River, you’ll arrive at the Wawel Castle, once the opulent residence of Poland’s royal families. The castle houses an intriguing museum, offering a panoramic view of the city and the river. Note that on December 31st, only select attractions within the museum are open, and it is entirely closed on January 1st.

    Krakow’s museums are conveniently compact, allowing you to explore several in a single day. Consider acquiring the affordable City Pass Krakow Card, which grants complimentary access to over 40 museums and includes unlimited rides on city buses and trams.

    No visit to Krakow would be complete without exploring Kazimierz, the former Jewish Quarter, and the Krakow Ghetto in the Podgòrze district, just outside Krakow’s Old Town. Kazimierz now pulsates with vibrant nightlife, featuring numerous traditional pubs and restaurants serving both Jewish and Polish specialties. While strolling through Kazimierz, take in the sight of ancient synagogues, including the Tempel Synagogue and the Old Synagogue, which graces the district’s main street, ulica Szeroka.

    Crossing one of the bridges over the Vistula River leads you to the Krakow Ghetto, a place infamous for the horrors endured by Jews during World War II. Here, you can witness a poignant remnant of the ghetto wall and visit the Eagle Pharmacy, owned by Dr. Tadeusz Pankiewicz, celebrated for his aid to the Ghetto’s Jewish population. From there, a brief walk brings you to Schindler’s Factory, immortalized in Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List“. Today, it functions as a captivating museum, recounting the city’s wartime Nazi occupation and the remarkable actions of Oskar Schindler, whose factory saved countless Jewish lives.

    To enhance your exploration of the old Jewish Quarter and delve deeper into the history of the Krakow Ghetto, consider joining an outstanding free walking tour. As demand is high, it’s prudent to secure your spot in advance. For a more comprehensive experience, there are guided tours available that encompass visits to Schindler’s Factory, the Krakow Ghetto, and the nearby Plaszow Concentration Camp, another significant location associated with “Schindler’s List”.

    Best Day Trips from Krakow

    One of the compelling reasons to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Krakow is the plethora of activities it offers. If you plan to spend at least 3-4 days in this vibrant city, you’ll have the opportunity to also explore two of Poland’s most important landmarks: the Wieliczka Salt Mines and the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, both designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

    The renowned Wieliczka Salt Mines are easily accessible through well-organized guided day tours from Krakow. These mines, some of the world’s oldest and most stunning, boast extensive underground tunnels, vast chambers adorned with exquisite salt sculptures, subterranean lakes, and even underground cathedrals. It’s important to note that the mines close early at 4:00 pm on December 31st and remain closed on January 1st.

    Another deeply meaningful excursion is a visit to the Auschwitz Birkenau Concentration Camp, conveniently reachable via guided tours from Krakow. These tours typically include round-trip transportation, admission fees, and an official guide fluent in your preferred language. Do keep in mind that the Auschwitz Museum is closed on January 1st but operates regularly on December 31st. Advance booking is highly recommended to secure your spot.

    For those yearning for an immersive historical experience but find themselves short on time, there are convenient guided tours that offer the opportunity to explore Auschwitz, Birkenau and the Wieliczka Salt Mines all within a single day. This comprehensive tour package encompasses transportation, entrance fees, and expert-guided tours at both locations, ensuring that you can make the most of your limited time. However, if you can spare more time, we highly recommend dedicating an entire day to visiting Auschwitz and at least half a day to exploring Wieliczka for a more in-depth exploration of these historically significant sites.

    According to information provided by the Auschwitz Museum, the availability of tickets in the last week of December and the first of January is very limited, because they are in high demand. There are still a few tickets available for this guided tour in English (includes round-trip transport and visits to some interesting temporary exhibitions in Auschwitz). Otherwise there are still some tickets available for this guided tour (also available in Italian, Spanish, German and French, as well as in English).

    Availability for the combo tour to visit Auschwitz and the Wieliczka Salt Mines on the same day is very limited (and in high demand).

    Discovering Krakow: Getting There & Around

    In recent years, Krakow has emerged as a popular destination for New Year’s Eve celebrations, drawing visitors with its rich cultural attractions, delectable cuisine, top-notch hospitality, and budget-friendly prices. New Year’s Eve in Krakow has become a highly anticipated event for both locals and tourists, earning recognition as one of the top winter holiday destinations, particularly among European tourists.

    Krakow enjoys excellent connectivity to major European cities, making it an ideal choice for a weekend getaway or a short trip. Krakow Airport serves as a gateway to the city and is well-served by major airlines, including several low-cost carriers. Convenient train and bus links connect the airport to the central railway station, simplifying your journey to the city center. For more detailed information, refer to our comprehensive guide on How to Get from Krakow Airport to the City Centre.

    Given that many businesses in Krakow close early on New Year’s Eve, it’s advisable to pre-book a private transfer between the airport and your hotel, and vice versa. Booking online with reputable authorized operators ensures you benefit from affordable rates and a worry-free experience. Your designated driver will await your arrival at the airport, assist with your luggage, and swiftly transport you to your hotel or chosen destination. This service proves particularly convenient when traveling with bulky luggage, family members, or a group, or when arriving during late or early hours. However, rely only on legal, official, and reputable transfers or taxis to stay on the safe side and start your New Year’s Eve in Krakow on the right foot!

    Still haven’t chosen where to stay?
    Here are our guides to the best accommodations in town:

    Best SPA Hotels in Krakow
    Best 5 Star Hotels in Krakow
    Best Hotels and Apartments IN Krakow Main Square
    Best Hotels and Apartments near the Old Town and Central Station
    Best Hotels and Apartments in the Kazimierz district
    Best Budget Accommodations in Krakow
    Best Hostels in Krakow


    Useful Tips for Your Trip to Krakow

    Planning your New Year’s Eve in Krakow? Then you should check out our ultimate guide to the BEST THINGS TO DO IN KRAKOW, discover the best KRAKOW FREE TOURS, and – if you’re in the mood to party – the legendary KRAKOW PUB CRAWLS.

    If you arrive by plane, our guide on HOW TO GET FROM KRAKOW AIRPORT TO THE CITY CENTER will certainly be useful to you. If you are thinking of exploring the surroundings and the beautiful cities of the region, you may want to rent a car: here you can find our guide about CAR RENTAL IN KRAKOW. Furthermore, Krakow is also well connected to Warsaw, making it possible to plan a trip that includes both of these two beautiful cities. Find out more in our guide to the TRAIN FROM WARSAW TO KRAKOW (AND VICE VERSA).

    If you are looking for advice on must-do day trips, you should take a look at our guides on HOW TO VISIT AUSCHWITZ and WIELICZKA SALT MINES. You may also want to visit the idyllic mountain town of ZAKOPANE, just 100 km from Krakow, known as the Winter Capital of Poland, famous for skiing, mountain cuisine, and the enchanting winter atmosphere of the Tatra Mountains.

    And it doesn’t stop there! You can discover a wealth of valuable advice from locals to enhance your trip planning experience! These are our comprehensive guides containing everything you need to know for planning an extraordinary trip to Krakow:

    • KRAKOW TRAVEL GUIDE: Discover the top things to do and see in Krakow and explore the captivating attractions in the vicinity. This guide is your gateway to a remarkable Krakow experience.
    • KRAKOW TRAVEL TIPS: Our collection of best tips and tricks will equip you with everything necessary for planning your trip effectively. From logistics to cultural insights, we’ve got your back.