Florianska Street is one of the most important streets in the Krakow Old Town. It connects the ancient city gate to the Main Square over about 300 meters of bustling roadway that’s flanked by bars, eateries, and more shops than you can shake a bottle of vodka at.
From bumping bars to boutique shops, Florianska Street has it all. It’s a modern artery of the city but also a fascinating roadway with more than 800 years of history to its back. We think that every first-time visitor to Krakow should spend some time here, hopping the cafes, taking the iconic photo ops of St Mary’s Basilica in the distance, and enjoying the energetic vibe. This guide has all you need to know, from the highlight sights of Florianska to the best hotels on the street itself…
Where is Florianska Street?
Florianska cuts through the northern part of the Krakow Old Town. It’s northern end actually begins in the Planty Park, marked by the handsome outline of St. Florian’s Gate. The south end of the street meets the Main Square, Krakow’s best-known central gathering point. The upshot? This should be one of the easiest places to get to in the whole city!
How to get to Florianska Street?
There’s a very good chance that you’ll be staying within easy walking distance of Florianska. In fact, some people only need to step out the front door of their hotel. Viola: There they are, in the thick of the hustle and bustle of this famous roadway. Basically, if you’re staying anywhere in the Krakow Old Town then you can get here by foot.
If not, it’s still super easy. Multiple trams take you to Dworec Glowny (the main train station) and stop on the western side of the Planty Park along the way. The closest stops are the ones at Stary Kleparz (served by trams 2, 4, 14, 20, 24) and at Teatr Słowackiego (served by 3, 10, 18, 24, 50, 52). If you opt for a taxi, then expect to pay up to 25 PLN from Kazimierz. Remember, though, Florianska is pedestrianized so you’ll need to get dropped off on Szpitalnia one block over.
The history of Florianska Street
Florianska Street dates back to the 13th-century and has remained one of Krakow’s most important streets throughout the ages. Historically, it served as a part of the Royal Route, the path Polish monarchs and distinguished guests would take as they entered the city through St. Florian’s Gate (see below) and proceeded to Wawel Castle.
Today, Florianska Street still retains much of its historical charm, with its well-preserved architecture and picturesque cobblestones, plus the outline of St Mary’s Church (the most famous church in Poland) at its southern end.
Things to see on Florianska
Florianska is riddled with some of Krakow’s most totemic sights. Here’s a little look at the ones you really shouldn’t miss as you pass from top to bottom…
St. Florian’s Gate
St. Florian’s Gate is a captivating monument that embodies the spirit and resilience of Krakow throughout the ages. As you pass beneath its imposing archway, you’ll be following in the footsteps of countless historical figures and entering a realm where the past and present converge. It caps off the northern end of Florianska with its trademark brick tower. There’s often a pretty darn good busker underneath. Pay your dues and come through – one of the best views in the Old Town opens up there, of the Main Square and St Mary’s Church in the distance.
St Mary’s Basilica
This is perhaps the most important church in all of Poland. Technically it’s not on Florianska at all, but on the Main Square just to the south. We list it here because you get one of the very best views of St Mary’s as you walk Florianska from north to south. It’s a bit of a famous photograph, as the Renaissance townhouses crowd the silhouette of the Gothic towers on both sides. Be sure to take your shots and then visit the church itself, which is known for its wonderful wooden altar art and trumpeter.
Muzeum Farmacji Collegium Medicum Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego
One of Krakow’s smaller museums, the fancifully named Muzeum Farmacji Collegium Medicum Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego is a preserved apocathery. It dates all the way back to the 1400s and still has shelves upon shelves of unique drugs on display. See if you can spot the laudanum. This one’s closed on Sundays and Mondays.
The Jan Matejko House
Step into the onetime home of Jan Matejko, perhaps the most famous portrait and historical painter ever to come out of Poland. This whole two-story mansion roughly midway down Florianska has been preserved to showcase exactly what it must have looked like in the days his family made the city their home back in the middle of the 18th centuries. It’s not big so should only take an hour to go through, but is a top draw for the most dedicated art history buffs out there.
Shopping on Florianska Street
Florianska is one of the best-known shopping strips in Krakow. It’s got brand names and boutique stores alike. What’s nice is that it’s not an overload of retail outlets like you get in big malls, but rather a bite-sized bout of places that are good for both casual shopping and souvenir buying. Our favorite shops include:
- Karmello Chocolatier – A famous name among Polish confectioners, this one does a to-die-for dark chocolate.
- Lipka Maria – A boutique hat shop where you can get unique pieces designed locally.
- Staropolskie Trunki – The vodka emporium of Krakow. Dip in to get traditional tipples of the clear stuff. Great for take-home bottles.
The best bars on Florianska Street
Anyone who’s partied in Krakow will tell ya’ that Florianska is a big player on the nightlife scene of the Old Town. It’s got a hodgepodge of fun yet gritty bars. Some are bloody fantastic if you time it right. Here are our top suggestions…
- Viva la Pinta – A moody and atmospheric craft beer bar that hides behind the main facades of Florianska through a courtyard. Great for casual meets, chatting, and – if you’re on Tinder and all that – dates.
- Huki Muki – A bit of fun for the shot aficionados out there, Huki Muki is a poppy bar with curious cocktails and kamikaze shot plates. Cheap and tacky but that’s the good part.
- Pijalnia wódki i piwa – Get to the north end of Florianska and you can hit one of the main outlets of Pijalnia wódki i piwa, a legendary chain that serves cheap beer and wild nights. It goes on late and is great fun if there’s a good crowd in. Popular with the Erasmus bunch.