Nestled on the southern bank of the Vistula River, Podgorze is a historic district in Krakow, Poland, known for its poignant history, picturesque streets, and vibrant cultural scene.
Once a separate town, Podgorze was incorporated into Krakow in the early 20th century and has since evolved into a compelling blend of historical significance and modern charm.
Just a stone’s throw away from the bustling Old Town (it’s like 20 minutes by foot), it offers a quieter, more authentic experience of Krakow that’s all about raw and often sobering history balanced by a new breed of uber-cool bars and chic wine spots.
Let’s dig in a little deeper to see all that Podgorze has to offer…
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Where is Podgorze?
Podgorze is situated on the south side of the Vistula River. It’s the first area you’ll come to when you cross one of the many bridges from Kazimierz, Krakow’s enthralling Jewish Quarter and newfound nightlife hub.
The area of Podgorze itself is actually massive. It’s split into two: Podgorze and Stary Podgorze. The latter is the one we talk about in this guide. It means “Old Podgorze” and it’s home to most of the things of note to travelers.
The area of Stary Podgorze buts right up to the Vistula Riverbanks and runs for about three blocks south of that.
How to get to Podgorze?
Podgorze is easily accessible from Krakow’s Old Town and other parts of the city.
The most convenient way to reach Podgorze is by tram; lines 8, 10, 13, and 18 will take you there directly.
For a more scenic route, consider walking across the footbridges over the Vistula River. They offer stunning views of the water and the Vistula Boulevards (the walking routes up and down the banks).
You can also hop in an Uber. Expect to pay 20-25 PLN for a trip from the Old Town.
When’s the best time to visit Podgorze?
The ideal time to visit Podgorze is during the late spring (May-June) or early fall (September-October). These months offer pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and the beauty of the city in full bloom or with the warm hues of autumn leaves in the parks (and there are a few lovely parks in Podgorze!).
Winter, with its snow-covered streets, can also be magical, albeit colder. That said, you should know there’s no Christmas Market in Podgorze like there is in the Old Town.
The top things to do and see in Podgorze
- Schindler’s Factory Museum – This former factory, made famous by the film “Schindler’s List,” is now a museum dedicated to Krakow’s experience during World War II. It’s a must-visit for history buffs and actually tells the story of the city since its earliest days.
- MOCAK (Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow) – Featuring modern art from Polish and international artists, MOCAK is a hub for contemporary culture and thought-provoking exhibitions.
- Podgorze Market Square (Rynek Podgórski) – Explore the local market square, where you can experience the daily life of the locals, quaint cafes, and small shops.
- Ghetto Heroes Square (Plac Bohaterów Getta) – This poignant memorial, consisting of oversized chairs, commemorates the victims of the Krakow Ghetto, which actually covered the streets of Podgorze itself.
- Krakus Mound (Kopiec Krakusa) – For panoramic views of the city, hike up to this ancient mound. It’s especially beautiful at sunset. It’s thought to be one of the oldest mounds in the city, dating back some 1,200 years to the middle of the 8th century AD!
- Nightlife – Podgorze is where the locals in Krakow go to start their night. It’s got a more authentic vibe than other areas in town and some great bars. The best place to begin is on Nadwislanska Street right by the Bridge of Locks. (Psst – more on the nightlife below!)
The best hotels in Podgorze
Podgorze is actually a hub for Airbnbs and self-catering rentals, largely because it’s seen as a bit of a residential area. There are a few hotels in these parts, though, mostly of the stylish, boutique type. These would be our pick…
- Lwowska 1 – This chic and cozy hotel combines modern amenities with a touch of history, providing a unique stay experience.
- The Bridge Suites – Very cool, modern spaces that are perched right above the walking bridge that links Kazi to Podgorze. You will be pushed to find a more comfy aparthotel in Krakow than this and it’s right by the main nightlife/gastro hub of the area.
- Galaxy Hotel – Overlooking the Vistula River, Galaxy Hotel offers luxurious rooms, a spa center, and a restaurant serving exquisite dishes. It’s also pet-friendly.
Nightlife in Podgorze
But Podgorze can offer a taste of more local evening enjoyments. There are microbreweries, old-school dive bars, and sleek wine spaces alike…
- Barka – Enjoy a drink on this unique bar-on-a-boat, offering great views of the river and the city alike. Technically, Barka is on the Kazimierz side of the water, but the views are mainly of the soaring spire of St. Joseph’s Church in the middle of Podgorze so we’re gonna say it counts. Gets busy on hot summer days, obviously!
- Drukarnia Klub – Get here for 6pm in the summer and steal a table outside. I’m sure it’s the place that gets the last rays of sun in the evening. But people will vie and jostle for a space for that reason. Later, Drukarnia gets messy. It’s got a gritty inside section that’s a bit like an Irish pub and a chicer bar area. Both are buzzing on weekends.
- SPOKO – A cool microbrew that means “chill”, this one’s perfect for day drinking and craft beer enthusiasts. Fantastic outdoor area in the summer.
- Targowa2 – A quirky little pub that’s reminiscent of the Budapest ruin bars, this one spills out of an old industrial building deeper into Podgorze. They do good food and craft beers.
The parks of Podgorze
One of the highlights of Podgorze has to be its parks. Park Bednarskiego takes the biscuit. It’s got all sorts of nooks and crannies and even buts up to an old quarry area that’s out of bounds. But there’s more than just that…
- Park Bednarskiego – A beautiful park offering walking paths, playgrounds, and a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
- Zabłocie Park – Located near MOCAK and Schindler’s Factory, this park is perfect for a relaxing stroll after visiting the museums.
- Krakus Mound – South of Podgorze over the motorway is this soaring hill. It’s arguably one of the best places in Krakow to watch the sunset and a totally brutal run if you want to punish yourself with steep ascents.