Autumn in Krakow can be spectacular. In fact, the locals call the season the Złota Polska Jesień (The Golden Autumn of Poland). It lives up to the name. The trees of the Planty Park turn ochre and daffodil colours, bringing beautiful muted hues across the cityscape. Leaves begin to drop and the air has a crispness about it that you can’t feel at other times of the year.

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The pleasant scenes aside, autumn in Krakow continues to be a vibrant and happening season to come and enjoy the city. You’ll still be able to enjoy al fresco dining. There are outdoor bars bumping along the river and on Vistula boats. Students flock back to town and put the Krakow nightlife into overdrive. Oh, and there’s just a fraction of the crowds there are in the summer months. That’s one serious relief.

This guide takes a look at the ins and the outs of Krakow in October, November and September. You’ll get a feel for the weather you can expect. It’s got tips on what to wear and how to plan your travels. It also comes with information on the events that take place in the town during the autumn months. Let’s begin…

trees in the autumn in Krakow

Krakow weather in the autumn

Although Poland has a reputation for being covered in snow 365 days a year, it’s not. Nope. Sorry to disappoint. In fact, the white stuff usually only starts falling in earnest around early December. The truth is that autumn in Krakow is a real transition period. It starts with balmy September days and finishes with frosty November mornings. Keep that in mind when you start planning your Krakow holiday – a trip here at the beginning of the season will certainly be a lot warmer than at the end!

Our pick: Krakow in September

Best for: Seeing the golden autumn colours

Krakow in September

September in Krakow is often a continuation of the summer months. It’s common for temperatures to linger around the 20-25 mark in the middle of the day. However, averages are more like 20 degrees. There’s an average of seven days of rain in total, so we’d definitely say pack a cagoule and some decent shoes if you’re planning a lot of walking. Evenings in the early autumn are a roll of the dice. You might find it’s a balmy Indian Summer. You could be in for breezy nights that need a jumper.  

Krakow in October

Best for: Mild temperatures and atmospheric city scenes

Krakow in October

October is the first month of the year with a slight possibility of snowfall. Keyword: Slight. Recent winters in Krakow have been super mild, so it’s probably only going to be a dusting if it does come. However, it’s worth remembering that it can get cold. The point is that Krakow in October is rather unpredictable. Some days are 20 degrees and sunny, offering a last-ditch taste of summer on the Vistula Boulevards and the Main Square cafes. Others are cold and icy, requiring you to hit those underground bars beneath the Old Town to keep warm after checking off the sightseeing.

Krakow in November

Best for: Dodging the crowds and feeling the chill

Krakow in November

November is the coldest of the autumn months in Krakow – obviously! Daily highs usually peak at between five and seven degrees. Yep, that’s FIVE and SEVEN degrees. And that’s a high…some days in November are sub-zero with frost on the floor. Pack boots. Remember the thick coat. Be sure to bring the thermal underlayers. Of course, there’s a chance you won’t need them. We’ve sat outside drinking a cold beer with an open shirt on some particularly warm November evenings. That said, those joys will usually be for early November and can be few and far between. The best thing about Krakow holidays in November? Hardly any crowds!

Top things to do in Krakow in the autumn

We keep waxing lyrical about visiting Krakow in the autumn. So, what exactly is there to do at this time of the year? Here are just a few of our favourite things to get stuck into as the summer drifts away and the cooler months take over…

A trip to Ojcow National Park

When the trees start changing colour in Krakow around September, things can get seriously pretty. We’d recommend heading to the gorgeous national park of Ojcow to really make the most of it. Just 20 minutes’ drive to the north of the town, it’s actually super-easy to get to. You can hit some walking trails that weave through old woodlands of oak, chestnut and hornbeam trees, wondering at the golden autumn hues. There’s also a haunting castle and a few folk restaurants serving the regional speciality of river trout.

A path in autumn woods in Poland

Al fresco beers on the Vistula River

We’d say that autumn in Krakow is one of the best times to enjoy an outdoor drink by the Vistula River. The booming crowds of the summer have gone. The heat isn’t unbearable. Oh, and you can enjoy lovely views across the boulevards from the southern district of Podgorze. That’s why we’d recommend hitting Forum for that evening tipple. It’s got craft beer and a prime location right by the water’s edge, the Wawel Castle looming up in the distance.

Vistula River in Autumn

A day trip to the Tatra Mountains

Anyone who’s ever visited Zakopane (the gateway to the Tatra Mountains) will know that it gets seriously busy at two times of the year: Summer and Winter. The first is because of hikers. The latter is because of skiers. Thankfully, the autumn in Krakow ushers in a quieter time for the nearby Carpathians. There are some great daytrips that can take you there from Krakow itself. However, we’d say consider organising the jaunt yourself. Trains and buses run regularly to Zakopane, and the hiking paths are well-marked and easy to follow.

Autumn in the Tatras

Hit some flea markets

With crowds dropping away and the days a little cooler, we think October is prime time to hit Krakow’s flea markets. Try to stay in Kazimierz District if it’s haggling your way through these sorts of bazaars that really excites you – there are two in the vicinity. Our fav is on Plac Nowy on weekend mornings, bursting with old LPs and Communist trinkets. The other is in Plac Targowy to the north-east. It’s walkable from the centre of the city and offers a real glimpse at Krakow’s local scene.

Flea markets in Krakow

Party in the Old Town

The great thing about autumn in Krakow is that the steady stream of tourists falls away for the first time in months. However, Krakow’s after-dark scene hardly dips at all. It’s just different. Thousands of students come back to the town to add some energy to alt beer bars like Albo Tak. Meanwhile, more local-orientated gig nights take over, in underground music venues like Szpitalna 1 and Singer.

Autumn party in Krakow

Dates to remember during the autumn in Krakow

There are a couple of dates worth pencilling into the calendar if you’re set on a Krakow holiday in the autumn. They include important national holidays and

All Saints Day in Krakow

Dzień Chłopaka/Boy’s Day

30th September

Not much happens on Polish Boy’s Day. It’s probably just there to balance out the much-more-important Women’s Day of spring. Still, it might be worth knowing about if you’re visiting someone special on the Slavic side, eh. Small gifts to the masculine half are the norm.

Halloween

31st October

Not much happens on Polish Boy’s Day. It’s probably just there to balance out the much-more-important Women’s Day of spring. Still, it might be worth knowing about if you’re visiting someone special on the Slavic side, eh. Small gifts to the masculine half are the norm.

All Saints’ Day/Wszystkich Świętych

1st November

All Saints’ Day is an important date in the Catholic calendar, so is celebrated widely throughout Poland. Krakow is no exception. Family members take the opportunity to visit the graves of loved ones. Visitors can make for a cemetery (Cmentarz Rakowicki is particularly atmospheric) to see seas of flickering candles and flowers. It’s all quite moving.

Polish Independence Day

11th November

This national holiday sees lots of places shut up shop for the day. Poles will be out and about in the city waving flags and attending parades. It marks the freedom attained by Poland after WWI. So, expect re-enactment processions of soldiers going off to war (you can see those on the main square), along with live renditions of Polish folk music on stages in the Old Town.


If you think we’ve missed anything on this ultimate guide to autumn in Krakow, we’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.