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Shopping in Cracow

From vintage clobber to high-street fashion, Cracow has much to offer shoppers, and those arriving from Western Europe will notice significant price reductions. Cracow shopping may not make it a rival to larger European cities, but it's a good place to hunt down individual items with a bit of history to them.

Key areas

Rynek Glowny still performs its medieval function as Cracow's beating heart and living room. The Cloth Hall is a good place to find handicrafts, such as jewellery, wooden chess sets, glass, textiles, lace and other reasonably priced items. The range of shops clustering around the Hotel Cracovia, aleja Focha 1, is also worth a visit for Polish handicrafts. The section of the Old Town wall on ulica Florianska is given over to local artists, who present works of varying quality for sale.


The colourful vegetable market Stary Kleparz at Rynek Kleparski, just to the north of the Old Town, is one of the oldest markets in Poland, dating back to the 14th century. A little farther north, around plac Nowy Kleparz, at the end of ulica Dluga (the longest street in Cracow), is another vegetable market - although not quite as cheap as its older cousin. Cracow's biggest flea market (open Sunday 0700-1300) is located at plac Nowy in Kazimierz.

Shopping centres

The gigantic Galeria Krakowska, ulica Pawia 5, is a very large shopping mall and home to all the usual, multinational suspects, plus many of Poland's high-street chains. Located near the train station, the shopping centre offers consumerism on a scale many Poles wouldn't have dreamt of 20 years ago. It's a startling contrast to the quaint shops and traditional markets in the Old Town.

Opening hours

Shops in Cracow are generally open Monday to Friday 1000-1800/2000 and Saturday 1000-1300/1400. Shopping malls, hypermarkets and the larger shops are often open seven days a week, and there are a number of 24-hour shops.


If you're looking for souvenirs in Cracow, avoid the plethora of shops peddling the usual wares (fridge magnets, key rings and T-shirts) and head to the Cloth Hall at Rynek Glowny (Main Market Square). This ancient market is a great place to pick up jewellery and handicrafts at reasonable prices. They may be made for tourists nowadays but they continue strong peasant woodworking and weaving traditions. Alternatively, Krakuska, ulica Szewska 9, has an Aladdin's cave of quirky souvenirs.

Alcoholic drinks are also a good buy: Poland produces excellent flavoured vodkas that are hard to find outside the country. For beers, look out for brews from the nearby hill town of Zywiec, Poland's main brewery centre.

Tax information

VAT is 23%. Tax-free shopping is available at various venues displaying the 'Tax Free Shopping' sign.

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Featured Hotels


Palac Bonerowski

In the 16th century, Palac Bonerowski was the opulent abode of a wealthy, aristocratic family called the Boners (no chuckling at the back). Today the former royal residence is one of the finest, most lovingly restored hotels in Cracow. Located directly opposite the Main Market Square, Palac Bonerowski sits within a UNESCO World Heritage site and has some of the best views in town. Inside, the elegant rooms are still fit for royalty, and there are period features aplenty.

Hotel Polski

This slice of local history has been operating as an inn since 1815, making it one of the oldest hotels in Cracow. Modern amenities aside, guests could be forgiven for thinking they've stepped back in time; the hotel retains its decadent, 19th-century charm with beautiful antique furniture and period features. Add to that the stunning, Old Town location and exemplary service and you have to surmise this hotel will be good for another 200 years.

Hotel Mikolaj

Nestled down a quiet side street near the Main Market Square, Hotel Mikolaj is a tranquil retreat in the centre of this lively city. The refurbished town house has 10 cosy rooms, including suites which come with a kitchenette and lounge. If you don't fancy the short stroll into town for dinner then the hotel boasts an in-house restaurant, which serves Polish and international fare over two atmospheric levels.

The Piano Guest House

Enter The Piano Guest House and you follow in holy footsteps; Pope John Paul II visited twice when he was vicar of the parish in the 1950s. Today, this beautifully preserved, Viennese-style town house (which has been in the same family since 1886) is something of a diamond in the rough, although the legendary hospitality, beautiful breakfasts and the property's raconteur owners more than compensate for the scruffy neighbourhood.

The Secret Garden Hostel

The Secret Garden Hostel covers all bases, offering guests a choice of dorm rooms, luxury doubles and apartments within staggering distance of the lively Jewish quarter, Kazimierz. Private rooms are simple and contemporary with wrought-iron furnishings, colourful walls and vibrant bed spreads making for a clean and comfortable stay. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable and, although the buffet breakfast is a fairly basic, DIY affair, you really can't grumble for the price.

Hotel Amadeus

Located within the labyrinth of Santa Cruz, Hotel Amadeus is set in a classically-furnished, 18th-century manor house and has music as a theme. Several instruments, including a grand piano, are available for use by guests. Rooms are small but attractively furnished, with antique furniture and original patterned tile flooring. The hotel's rooftop terrace opens up to a panorama of Seville’s historic centre and is an excellent spot to enjoy breakfast.