Is Krakow safe

Is Krakow Safe? The Ultimate Guide to Safety in the City [Updated 2024]

Is Krakow safe? Check this guide, which includes all the info you need regarding safety for travellers in the city.

Is Krakow safe? You asked, so here’s an HONEST in-depth guide written by a local, complete with all you need to know about staying safe on your city break.

Ah, Krakow…What a fantastic European city we have here! From the cobbled streets that weave trhough the quaint Old Town to the bustling bars, cafés, and clubs scattered across hip Kazimierz, it’s got lots up its sleeve. There is no doubt it’s worth coming here for a weekend break or a week-long holiday, or even for longer!

But is Krakow safe to visit? This guide has the answer. We’ll take a look at the most likely events that could spoil your trip here, and give you in-depth info on crime and common scams, plus some tips on how to avoid them. You’ll also find some information regarding LGBTQ+ travelers and women traveling without company.

This article may contain affiliate links to hotels, services, and other extras that will earn us something if you click through and book. It’s what helps us keep offering great info on Krakow, so thanks for that!

This is just one part of our guide to everything you need to know about traveling to Krakow

Is Krakow safe to visit in 2024?

Krakow at night

In short: Yes, Krakow is a very safe city.

The majority of tourists who come here will leave without a single hitch.

But you don’t just have to take our word for it, the stats say the same: Krakow has a relatively low crime level of 28 incidents per 1,000 head of population, and travel safety sites like Numbeo rate the town as safer than some Scandinavian cities, like Stockholm!

On a more anecdotal level, we’ve been living in Krakow for the best part of 10 years and, in that time, have only been the victim of one theft (a late-night mugging, which ended pretty tamely, truth be told).

So, overall, we’d say there is not much to worry about in terms of safety in the city, You can go ahead and book your weekend breakaway in Krakow safe in the knowledge that you’re not visiting anywhere with exceptionally high crime rates or anything like that.

Of course, this is a relatively large city (the second largest in Poland), and petty crimes such as pickpocketing and scams happen now and again, That means it’s important to keep a close eye on your valuables, especially in crowded areas like public transport.

You might also know that Krakow is famous for its bustling nightlife. While it’s not dangerous to go out drinking at night, the chances of becoming a victim of some minor crime do become slightly higher during late hours. Violent crimes are rare, but it’s not uncommon for people to lose their valuables in bars and nightclubs.

Crime rates in Krakow

An empty street in Krakow

As mentioned before, Krakow is generally safe, and crime levels are relatively low in comparison to many major European cities.

Let’s start with the big one: The murder rate. In Krakow and across Poland as a whole, it’s now 0.68 per 100,000 head of population. That makes Krakow safer than London, and safer than cities like Miami, New York, LA, and even Paris (1.2 per 1,000 head of population)!

Meanwhile, the risk of muggings is rated at a low 22.4/100 and the risk of car theft and breakages is 22.29/100 (all according to stat collator Numbeo). That means it’s unlikely that you’ll fall victim to any such crimes in Krakow.

One thing to rememebr is that there are certain parts of the city, such as the Main Square and Kazimierz are, where tourists are target. And there are other parts of town – Nowa Huta, in particular – where crime rates are higher.

The good news is that the spikes in crime rates in the main tourist areas are mostly to do with the fights and disruptions caused by drunk people, and the majority of incidents aren’t very serious. Pickpocketing is also more common in the centre, but it’s not as much of a problem as in places like Barcelona or Paris.

Is Krakow safe at night?

Krakow at night

By now, you might know that Krakow is famous for its bustling nightlife. In fact, we rate it as some of the best nightlife in the whole of Europe! Key areas include the Old Town, Kazimierz, and Podgorze, the district over the river.

Again, on an anecdotal level, we can confidently say that the nightlife in Krakow is very safe. We’ve been partying regularly here for a very long time (like a decade!) and have only had a few incidents of note, none of which have proved overly dangerous.

To back that up, the user-submitted stat collator Numbeo lists the risk of violent crimes such as assault and armed robbery as “Very Low” in Krakow, and awards the city a High 64/100 rating for safety walking alone after dark. (Those are numbers the likes of Chicago and New York could only dream of, to put it into perspective).

However, we’d also be lying if we said that there weren’t times when being out after dark in Krakow felt a little more risky. There have been moments when we’ve been scared for our safety and even been robbed (that aforementioned mugging!).

That’s sort of to be expected when you combine late nights with lots of booze. And the specific risks we’d highlight are:

  • Pepper spray – Krakow seems to have a bit of rep for pepper spray. Pretty much every bouncer here is armed with it and they’re not scared to use it, either. In our experience, they can be positively trigger happy with tourists in certain bars, so always do what the big men on the door say and don’t get arsey. Also, keep a wide berth to people who are annoying bouncers, because pepper spray can cause some horrible collateral damage to folk who even go near the cloud!
  • Scams – Most of the scams (which we’ll touch on in more depth later) that occur in Krakow happen in clubs and pubs later on, when potential victims are under the influence. Strip clubs are a particular risk, so if you visit them be wary.
  • Spiked drinks – Same as the above. Spiked drinks can happen. We’ve seen the outcomes once or twice. Always keep your eyes on your beer.

Is Krakow safe for solo female travellers?

Solo female in Krakow

We’d say that Krakow is safe for solo female visitors. And that comes from a perspective of a girl who grew up in the city (me!).

There is generally not much more risk for women in the city and Krakow is considerably more forward-looking than many more conservative parts of Poland and Eastern Europe.

Of course, me saying that it’s safe doens’t mean incidents never happen. Many female visitors might experience uncomfortable sexual comments or even advances from men, especially while going out at night. That’s not a Krakow thing; it’s a world thing.

Just have your wits about you and be cautious at all times, especially around strangers. Oh yea, and watch that drink – as we’ve mentioned, spikings aren’t unheard of!

With that in mind, it’s worth saying that it’s actually men who are more likely to be victims of muggings or fights, and sexual crime isn’t very common here overall, so the stats bode well. Plus, it is super easy to meet friendly people in hostels and bars, so it’s not hard to find people to hang out with if you’d like to. 

Is Krakow safe for LGBTQ+ travellers?

Traveller in Krakow

While Poland has a bit of a mixed reputation when it comes to tolerance of the LGBTQ+ community, big cities such as Krakow, Warsaw and Wroclaw tend to be better in that regard.

Many bars and clubs in Krakow are overtly gay-friendly – Lindo Bar, Szpitalnia 1, and Ciemna come to mind. There’s also an active Pride community that organizes major marches each year. We’ve been told by LGBTQ+ friends that Krakow is actually one of the best places to be gay in Poland.

That said, things are still far behind other EU destinations, like Stockholm, Copenhagen, or Brussels. Unfortunately, there is a slightly higher risk of becoming a victim of verbal abuse and there’s no doubt that Poland lags behind the continent when it comes to tolerance…

While same-sex relationships were decriminalised way back in 1932, and there’s legislation in place to prevent discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation, hard-held Catholic beliefs still run deep here. Conservative values mean that many people – particularly in the older generations – still have a negative outlook towards homosexuality and often aren’t afraid to let their views be known.

Overall, we wouldn’t say that Krakow is dangerous for LGBTQ+ travelers, but sadly we can’t also say it’s among the most tolerant cities in the world.

Common scams in Krakow

Every traveler – especially those who want to party in Krakow – should know about a couple of very common scams that happen in this city. If I had a zloty for every time I heard the expats here telling a tale of yet another tourist who’d fallen victim to a drinks scam in a strip club, I’d have like 200 PLN by now!

Here are the most common ones to watch out for:

  • Taxi scams – Yes these STILL happen. This is when you get in a taxi only to notice the meter is soaring up and the price is like 10x higher than you expected. Thankfully, the arrival of taxi apps like Uber, iCar, and Free Now have helped to kill the classic taxi scam, and we reccomend you use those all the time anyway cos they are cheaper!
  • Money exchanges – Another thing you should be careful about is exchanging your money around the main square. A lot of currency exchange shops in the Old Town will charge you an extortionate rate for your foreign currency, so check the place out first. We also have a complete guide to Krakow currency, so read that for more info.
  • Strip clubs – Visiting strip clubs in Krakow is like playing dice, or so I’ve heard anyhow. There are lots of these “gentleman’s” clubs that are out there to scam. The most common thing that happens is that girls invite men into the club, hang with them, get them to buy them drinks, and then proceed to deliver a bill for like 3,000 PLN, which is when the beefy bouncer appears. There’s no way out but to pay, so DON’T get yourself in that situation in the first place!

Travel insurance for Krakow

Walking around Krakow

Everyone should get travel insurance for a trip to Krakow – just as you would for any trip, anywhere. It’s just common sense.

We always hear stories of people who’ve thought, “ah, it’s only Europe” and decided not to pay the pretty negligible cost of a travel insurance policy, only to need urgent medical care and then have to sort WAAAY higher bills on thier own.

For us, it just makes sense, espeically since you’re usually looking at paying something like $20-50 for cover for a weekend break. That’s not much for peace of mind.

Lots of people will get short-term or multi-trip travel insurance included with thier bank or credit card provider. It’s certainly worth checking if you’re one of them, since this is generally the easiest and often the most cost-effective way to go about ensuring your insured for your trips.

We use Revolut, for example, who offer premium plans that include travel insurance for trips of up to 30 days at any one time. Be sure to read all the small print, becuase there are some limits to when and how long you can travel. The good news is that not only will you get insurance, but also loads of other perks, AND free cash payments abroad with favorable FX rates (more on all that below).

For long-term travelers, backpackers, nomads, and expats, there’s one saving grace in the travel world. While many insurance policies offer cover for a set period of time, only SafetyWing can provide ongoing mediccal cover worldwide. It’s essentially designed for remote workers who are always on the move. Just be aware that it’s medical cover only (AKA what most people see as the most important part), not fully-fledged travel insurance that offers cover for delays and things.

Keeping your money safe in Krakow

Polish money

It’s no secret what most thieves and pickpockets want: Your moolah!

That’s why one of the most important aspects of having a risk-free trip to Krakow is keeping that dollar safe.

These days, you don’t have to exchange money in the Post Office and load up on travelers cheques before you fly. No one except your 90-year-old nan does that!

The arrival of pre-paid travel cards about 6-7 years ago solved a huge problem for people who travel Europe a lot.

They act just like a normal bank card in practice, letting you do POS and ATM transactions, only you have to load them from your normal bank account before you travel.

The upshot? Only the money on that card is at risk, so if you have your wallet stolen or whatever, your main accounts are all protected cos you didn’t take those cards out with you anyway, right? Right.

There are now oodles of other benefits to using pre-paid travel accounts. Some – like Revolut – offer premium products that include insurance and airport lounge access. Others – like Wise – have exceptionally good exchange rates (like the ones you get on Google). Each also has some limitations, mainly in what you’re allowed to take out of ATMs without being charged.

The three most people opt for are:

  • Wise – Our new favorite travel card, Wise have the best exchange rates we’ve seen anywhere (seriously, the values are like the ones you get on Google). The app is also wonderful and you can also use them to do bank transfers to other currencies that save you loads, though you probably won’t need that on your city break!
  • Revolut – Very popular in Europe, these guys even have an office in Krakow. They do stylish metal-type cards that you load with whatever currency you like. What we love is that you can load just GBP or USD and they’ll auto-exchange that into whatever currency you use when you pay for things, no need to do FX yourself. They have decent exchange rates and do 1% cashback, which does build up if you use it alot.
  • Monzo – Popular in the UK, Monzo also doubles as a travel card because they offer zero foriegn transaction fees. Nice app.

Safety tips for visiting Krakow

Krakow in the summer with flowers

There is no reason why your trip to Krakow should end in a disaster. One of the reasons we love this city so much is precisely because it’s so safe and easy to travel.

However, there are a couple of things you can do to ensure your trip goes smoothly….

  • Always keep an eye on your valuables and hold onto your belongings in crowded areas and on public transport.
  • Don’t leave your belongings unattended in bars and clubs. AND NEVER LET YOUR DRINK OUT OF SIGHT!
  • Don’t hail taxis off the street, and avoid getting a cab from stands by the train and bus stations. We’d recommend using apps such as Uber, Bolt, Free Now, or iCar, which are cheaper anyway. At the very least, ask your hotel to phone a trusted taxi company.
  • Avoid exchanging your cash in the Old Town and at night. If you must change money (and most people shouldn’t need to these days – seriously get a Revolut!), there’s a well-reputed stand on the bottom floor of Galeria Krakowska that usually has fair rates.
  • Don’t show off your cash and valuables because that could make you a target for pickpocketers.
  • Don’t start fights or join fights or be mouthy with bouncers in bars and clubs. There are regular stories of people getting pepper sprayed or punched.
  • Bear in mind that drinking too much on a night out could land you in a drunk tank. However, that only usually happens when a person is causing some trouble.

Is Krakow safe? Our conclusion

Yes, Krakow is generally safe and easy to travel to, so there is no need to take special precautions before your visit. The levels of crime are low, and there is not much risk for women travelling alone. That said, it won’t harm to take the usual safety steps to make sure the trip goes smoothly. Pickpocketing and petty theft are a slight problem in crowded areas and public transport, but it’s not on the same scale as in most major European cities. Krakow is a fantastic city, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t go there.

Is Kraków safe at the moment?

Many people might be worried about the conflict that’s happening just across the border in Ukraine at the time of writing, but Krakow’s safety is not affected by the war caused by Russia. Generally, Krakow is safe to visit, so there is no reason to avoid this wonderful city.

Do people speak English in Kraków?

The official language in Poland is Polish, but you shouldn’t have much trouble communicating with the locals in English. The younger generation and people working in hospitality are usually fluent in the language, and the majority of locals will be able to communicate basic phrases in English.

Is Krakow safe to walk around at night?

It’s pretty safe to walk around Krakow at night, even if you’re alone. However, there is always a slightly higher risk of becoming a victim of petty crimes during late hours, especially in places where alcohol is involved. Keep a close eye on your valuables and steer clear of people who might appear aggressive or agitated.

Asia K
Asia K

Asia K (the surname is long, unspellable, and very Polish!) is a Krakow native. She lived and worked in the city her whole life before heading off to travel the world. Today, she comes to Krakow as a regular visitor, which is just what's needed to put together expert guides for fly-in visitors and weekend breakers. She's an avid hiker (hello Tatra Mountains) and loves craft beer (mmm Kazimierz)

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