New Year’s Eve in Krakow, which locals refer to as Sylwester, is one of the most important events in the city, celebrated with free music concerts, spectacular performances in the charming Main Market Square and a lively atmosphere in all the streets of the city center.
Krakow has become one of the top destinations in Europe for the New Year’s Eve celebrations, thanks also to the fact that it is well connected with all major European cities, and boasts a pleasant nightlife, lots to do and see, excellent restaurants and fantastic, affordable spa hotels for a relaxing stay.
What you will find in this guide to New Year’s Eve in Krakow:
- New Year’s Eve in Krakow: Events in the Main Market Square
- Best Restaurants and Pubs for New Year’s Eve in Krakow
- Best SPA Hotels for New Year’s Eve in Krakow
- Christmas Markets in Krakow
- Best Things to See in Krakow
- Best Day Trips from Krakow
- How to get to and around Krakow
5 OVERALL Best Things to Do on New Year’s Eve in Krakow
⓵ – Krakow Guided Tour and Visit to the Ghetto and Schindler’s Factory
⓶ – Visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines (☞ Guided Tour from Krakow)
⓷ – Visit Auschwitz and Birkenau (☞ Guided Tour from Krakow)
⓸ – Sightseeing Cruise on the Vistula River
⓹ – Discover Krakow’s Old Town on a FREE Walking Tour
3 Best Unusual Things to Do on New Year’s Eve in Krakow
⓵ – Discover the Soviet bunkers in the Nowa Huta district
⓶ – Experience the thrill of the Krakow Shooting Range
⓷ – Chopin Piano Recital at Chopin Concert Hall
Still haven’t chosen where to stay?
Here are our guides on 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
New Year’s Eve in Krakow: Events in the Main Market Square
The heart of the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Krakow is the wonderful Main Market Square.
Krakow’s Old Town in December becomes a truly magical place, with lovely Christmas lights and characteristic Christmas Markets, famous for being among the most beautiful in Europe.
For the New Year’s Eve the Main Market Square is illuminated in a scenographic way and already from the early hours of the afternoon it begins to fill up with locals eager to party!
On the evening of December 31st the square is filled with tourists and locals to watch the beautiful show that is organized every year: a huge stage is set up in front of the Kraków Cloth Hall and lots of lights and lasers are mounted that create an impressive atmosphere.
The concert usually starts around 8.30 pm and goes on until midnight, it is free and features important Polish and international artists who entertain the public throughout the evening with their rock music.
Just before midnight the countdown begins and with the arrival of the new year, people explode into a big party with music, lights and liters of alcohol. In recent years, fireworks have been banned but the show is still wonderful and highly recommended.
Krakow Mayor Jacek Majchrowski and the city administration have announced that the traditional New Year’s Eve concert in the Main Market Square will not be held for Krakow’s New Year’s Eve 2023.
This means that there won’t be the usual big party with artists, musicians and fireworks in the Main Market Square. Parties will be organized in hotels and restaurants (advance booking required), and locals will likely celebrate with their friends in the town square, streets and clubs. Source: Gazeta.pl (in Polish).
The New Year’s Eve celebrations in Krakow’s Main Market Square did not take place in 2020 and 2021 due to the global pandemic. Source: Gazeta Wyborcza (in Polish). In 2022 the city administration of Krakow will have to face the energy crisis, which is why it has decided not to spend money on organizing the celebrations of Krakow’s New Year’s Eve 2023.
Shows will take place regularly in theaters and museums, as well as dinners and shows in restaurants and hotels in Krakow.
You might want to check out Krakow’s best 5-star hotels and spa hotels, which often boast excellent award-winning restaurants, perfect for celebrating in style.
Krakow Christmas Markets 2022/2023
Will the Krakow Christmas Markets be held in 2022? YES, the city administration has officially confirmed that the Krakow Christmas Markets will be held regularly in the Main Market Square from 25 November 2022 to 1 January 2023. Source: KRK News (in Polish).
Krakow 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 in the main square and along the streets of the Old Town (Stare Miasto). You will be able to see the traditional handcrafted nativity scenes and attend one of the Christmas carols concerts. But the highlight are the Christmas markets themselves: there will be around 70 stalls ranging from local crafts (with artisans from all over Eastern Europe) to regional gastronomic delights.
Find out more: Guide to visiting the Krakow Christmas Markets 2022/2023
Best Restaurants and Pubs for New Year’s Eve in Krakow
If, on the other hand, the crazy party in the square is not your thing, the city offers a good food scene, and for your New Year’s Eve in Krakow you could feast on the succulent specialties of the local cuisine.
In the city there are many restaurants offering set menus for the New Year’s Eve dinner. Most are based on typical Polish cuisine, sometimes with hot and cold buffets and courses ranging from traditional pierogi to more sophisticated dishes, as well as traditional meat specialties and delicious Polish desserts. Dinner is often enlivened by music and entertainment, and at midnight the arrival of the new year is celebrated with sparkling wine and desserts.
Of course, it is highly recommended to reserve a table in advance: most of the best restaurants in town are reserved by the locals several weeks in advance.
Looking for a wild and memorable way to ring in the New Year? Look no further than Krakow’s legendary pub crawls! With a mix of lively bars, great drinks, and a festive atmosphere, these crawls are the perfect way to celebrate the end of one year and the start of the next.
☞ Find out more: Our guide to KRAKOW’S BEST PUB CRAWLS
The guys from Krawl Through Krakow (famous for their pub crawls, which are said to be the longest running in Krakow) organize a huge New Year’s Pub Crawl, expecting over 200 girls and boys from all over the world eager to celebrate the New Year’s Eve 2023 together!
For just 200 zł (approx. € 40, which makes it one of the most affordable parties in town) you can experience one of the most exciting parties in the city, with two hours of UNLIMITED DRINKS (Yes, you got it right: you can drink as much as you can! 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! The New Year’s Pub Crawl is hugely in demand, so make sure you book your spot early!
I’ve been to Krakow’s crazy pub crawls dozens of times, and I can assure you it’s really a must-do!
Another hot spot for New Year’s Eve in Krakow is Kazimierz, the old Jewish Quarter, famous for being one of the main nightlife areas, quite popular with locals and students.
In Kazimierz there are several traditional restaurants serving excellent traditional Jewish dishes, enlivened by live music and folk dances.
Many young people choose to spend the night in one of the many clubs and pubs in the city, but tickets usually start selling out several months in advance and run out quickly. In most places, the entrance includes a drink.
Among the most popular are the Alchemia Pub, located in Kazimierz, which organizes interesting themed parties for the New Year’s Eve and the Propaganda Pub, one of the oldest and most characteristic pubs in the Jewish quarter, which serves excellent beers and cocktails accompanied by good live music.
Best SPA Hotels for New Year’s Eve in Krakow
One of the best ways to spend your New Year’s Eve holidays in Krakow is to stay in one of the wonderful spa hotels in the city.
This is a popular choice for couples, as there are excellent hotels located right in Krakow’s Old Town, within walking distance of all attractions, such as the Main Market Square and all the best restaurants in the city.
Many of these hotels also boast excellent restaurants, some even recommended by the Michelin Guide, for a gourmet dining experience and a great start to the New Year with a nice relaxing stay in Krakow.
All without spending a fortune: prices, compared to other European cities, are very cheap, and the quality is very high.
The best spa hotels for your New Year’s Eve in Krakow are undoubtedly the Hotel Copernicus, located in the heart of the Old Town, which boasts an excellent spa and a Michelin-recommended restaurant with local cuisine, the Bachleda Luxury Hotel Krakow located a short distance from the Main Market Square, which boasts a beautiful spa and a good restaurant with international cuisine, and the Hotel Unicus Palace, located on Ulica Florianska, the main street of the Old Town, which boasts a beautiful spa with wellness center, hammam and hot tub, a rooftop terrace and a good restaurant.
Also noteworthy is the Hotel Stary, located in the heart of the old town, which boasts an excellent spa and one of the best restaurants in town, the Michelin-recommended Trzy Rybki.
LAST MINUTE OFFERS ON THE BEST SPA HOTELS IN KRAKOW
FOR YOUR NEW YEAR’S EVE HOLIDAYS!
Christmas Markets in Krakow
Krakow Christmas Markets are one of the most famous and important events for the city. They take place from November 26th to December 26th, but in recent years they are almost always extended to January 6th.
Over 80 wooden houses are set up in the Main Market Square and offer a huge range of products. They range from local crafts, with wooden artifacts, ceramics, embroidery and jewelry, but also the famous decorated Christmas decorations, which could be a nice souvenir.
In addition, there are dozens of kiosks where you can try the best delights of Polish cuisine, sipping mulled wine or the famous Polish hot beer, perfect for warming up during the cold days of December.
You can taste the pierogies, the typical dumplings stuffed with meat and seasoned with various sauces, the delicious local soups, grilled meats, sandwiches stuffed with vegetables and meat and the famous smoked sheep cheese called Oscypek, served with jam.
Desserts, such as gingerbread, homemade cakes, biscuits, candied fruit and spiced nuts are also worth tasting. Prices are quite cheap. I recommend you come for dinner here at least one night, just like the locals do!
Best Things to See in Krakow
There are tons of reasons to spend New Year’s Eve in Krakow, one of them is to see its marvelous Old Town, easily explored on foot in just a few hours.
Krakow’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is one of the oldest and most graceful medieval cities in Poland. Walking through its streets, you can admire wonderful monuments and historic buildings.
The best way to discover Krakow Old Town, with its stories and legends, is to join one of the free walking tours that take place every morning. The tours are really interesting and led by friendly and experienced guides, who speak English, Spanish or Italian. It is necessary to book in advance, because the tours are held in small groups and are very popular, especially in the months of December and January.
☞ Read our guide to the Best Free Tours in Krakow
Starting from Rynek Glowny, the Main Market Square, we find the beautiful St. Mary’s Basilica and the iconic Kraków Cloth Hall (Sukiennice, in Polish), which houses a small local handicraft market and an art gallery.
Krakow has a vast artistic and cultural heritage with more than 30 museums. Among the main ones under the Main Market Square, there is the Rynek Underground Museum, where you can discover what Krakow was like in the Middle Ages.
For art lovers it is worth visiting the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow and the Czartoryski Museum, where the famous painting “Lady with an Ermine” by Leonardo Da Vinci is exhibited. The Manggha, a museum dedicated to Japanese art and culture, is also very interesting.
Krakow’s museums are quite small, so in one day you can see many of them. There is an affordable City Pass Krakow Card, which allows you to enter over 40 museums for free and have unlimited rides on city buses and trams included in the price.
Going towards the Vistula River, you will arrive at the Wawel Royal Castle, the former residence of Poland’s Royal Families. The castle houses an interesting museum, and from here you can have a nice view of the city and the river. On December 31st only some of the museum’s attractions are open and on January 1st it is closed.
You cannot miss a visit to Kazimierz, the former Jewish Quarter of Krakow and to the Krakow Ghetto in the Podgòrze district. They are located just outside Krakow’s Old Town, and Kazimierz has now become the heart of the city’s nightlife, with many traditional pubs and restaurants serving Jewish and Polish specialties.
Walking through Kazimierz you can admire the ancient synagogues, such as the Tempel Synagogue or the Old Synagogue, which overlooks the main street of the district, ulica Szeroka.
Crossing one of the bridges over the Vistula River, you arrive at the Krakow Ghetto, which has become famous for the atrocities suffered by Jews. Here you can see a small piece of the ghetto wall, the Eagle Pharmacy, whose owner Dr. Tadeusz Pankiewicz is famous for his help to the Jews of the Ghetto.
From here, a short walk takes you to Schindler’s Factory, made famous by Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler List”. Today it is an interesting museum that tells the story of the Nazi occupation of the city, and of Oskar Schindler, who thanks to his factory saved the lives of many Jews.
You can join an excellent free walking tour that allows you to better explore the old Jewish Quarter and learn about the history of the Krakow Ghetto. It is necessary to book in advance.
For a more complete visit, there are interesting guided tours that include a visit to Schindler’s Factory, the Krakow Ghetto and the nearby Plaszow Concentration Camp, another of the places where Schindler’s List was set.
FAST AND RELIABLE TRANSFER FROM THE AIRPORT TO YOUR HOTEL IN KRAKOW?
Best Day Trips from Krakow
One of the reasons to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Krakow is that there are so many things to do. If you stay in the city for at least 3-4 days, you might want to take the time to visit Poland’s two most must-see attractions: the Wieliczka Salt Mines and the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The famous Wieliczka Salt Mines are easily visited on convenient guided day tours from Krakow.
The mines are among the oldest and most beautiful in the world, with long underground tunnels, huge halls decorated with magnificent salt sculptures, underground lakes and even underground cathedrals. The mines on December 31st close early at 4.00 pm while on January 1st they remain closed.
Another worthwhile visit is the Auschwitz Birkenau Concentration Camp, also easily accessible on a guided tour from Krakow, which includes round-trip transport, entrance fees and an official guide in the language of your choice. The Auschwitz Museum is closed on January 1st, while it is regularly open on December 31st. Remember to book well in advance.
There are also convenient guided tours that allow you to visit Auschwitz, Birkenau and the Wieliczka Salt Mines on the same day.
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).
How to get to and around
In recent years more and more people are choosing to spend New Year’s Eve in Krakow, attracted by the many things to see, good food, quality hospitality and affordable prices.
Krakow is well connected with all major European cities, it is a compact city, perfect for a weekend or short trip.
Krakow airport is served by the main airlines, including the main low cost ones, and is connected by train to the central railway station.
As most businesses close early for New Year’s Eve in Krakow, it might be a good idea to book your private transfer service from the airport to the hotel (and vice versa) in advance. The rates are very affordable if you book one of the reputable licensed operators online.
Useful Tips for Your Trip to Krakow
Here you will also find ALL the advice you need about the Best Things to Do and See in Krakow and unmissable day trips, such as the one to Auschwitz and the one to the Wieliczka Salt Mines.
Planning your trip to Krakow? These are our in-depth guides with everything you need to know to plan an amazing trip to Krakow: