Kraków is a medieval city of winding streets and hidden courtyards. It's famous, quite rightly, for its voluminous number of bars and cafes, some lining the main streets that lead to the central Rynek Głόwny (Europe's second largest town market square), others hidden neatly in the city's nooks and crannies. Poland as a whole, is a country that has come to fully embrace the 'cafe culture' of the continent, and consequently there are loads of places where you can sit with a steamy coffee, sip a cold beer, or a fruit tea, and just watch the world go by. What's more, especially in the summer, cafes keep very similar time to pubs and clubs, many staying open until the early hours of the morning. You'll never pressed for time, and can really kick back and relax once you've gotten comfortable.
Here we'll take a look at some of the top rated cafes with gardens in Kraków, where, in the summer, the coffee sipping locals spill out into the streets and terraces to enjoy the warm Slavic air.
This is a perfect specimen of a typically Polish cafe. Tucked away in a quiet courtyard just off Ul. Bracka, one of the busiest streets in the Stare Miasto (old town), this compact, boutique coffee shop has its own little garden that’s open in the summer months. It shares the courtyard with a few other establishments, but Czekolada provides the comfiest seats and tastiest coffee on offer there. In true Polish style, there are also beers on tap and bottles available. Czekolada does great hot chocolate and the menu also offers small snacks. If you're looking for a place to sit and ponder the world, without the characteristic hustle of people that is usually found on the streets of Kraków's old town area, then this little cafe enclave, with a good internet connection and a great selection of drinks, could be just the thing for you.
Eszeweria Cafe and Garden
For a more bohemian feel you can head to the old Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz, where a whole different style of coffee shop prevails. Here the paint is peeling and the brickwork is crooked, but all in a chic and stylish way. The garden at Eszewaria is a real favourite among locals, and is opened around May time. There are tall pine trees that provide shade to most tables, so you won't overheat in the Polish sun, and can sit here comfortably most of the day. The interior decor is a palimpsest of intriguing objects and antiques, so if you have to move inside, it's not all bad.
Alchemia Bar and Terrace
Alchemia is one of Kraków's most popular bars amongst both tourists and locals. It's dingy-chic interior, where the novelty of traversing the wardrobe-cum-door entrance way to the back rooms just doesn't wear off, has made it a keystone of the stylistic trends of the Kazimierz district. Unless it's raining or snowing, outdoor seating is available the year round, and while there's no designated garden area like in Eszeweria, here the added pleasure of being able to watch the curious market place on Plac Nowy, and the variety of people it attracts is something that should not be missed.
Luigi 1930 Kawiarnia & Pub
This one's an outside choice. It's not in the old town centre, or in Kazimierz, but rather on Ul. Karmelicka, one of the main roads that heads out of the Stare Miasto. While Ul. Karmelicka can get quite busy, Luigi 1930 has a small gravel garden out front that manages to combat the noise with natural partitions formed by trees and other shrubbery. There's a big menu on offer, with great coffee and a selection of polish beers on tap. If you get peckish, the pizzas are fantastic, and being outside of the more tourist driven centre, means prices are very reasonable indeed.
These are just some suggestions if you're looking for somewhere to relax in the Polish sun as you sip your coffee. If you can’t find any of the above, then there's no need to worry, you don't have to wander far in this city to find a little quiet spot, or welcoming café with an outdoor area.