So, you’re looking for the top spas in Krakow? We can only discern that all that medieval history and UNESCO sightseeing has taken its toll. Or is it the vodka and Polish beer that’s been giving you a hammering. Whatever the reason you think you need a bit of hard-earned pampering, this guide is to the rescue. It homes in on seven of the very finest spas in Krakow to help you pinpoint the one that’s right for you.
They can all be broken into two groups: Spas in Krakow and spas just outside of Krakow. The reason for that is the region around Zakopane (some 1.5-2 hours to the south) can’t be ignored when it comes to wellness facilities. It’s been famed for centuries as a spa escape and has all the thermal bathing complexes to show for it. If you’re serious about getting your hit of R&R, that’s the place to go. We list two of the finest thermal options there that are doable on day trips. The rest of the list is about spa facilities in the city itself, which you can easily work into your usual itinerary without too much trouble.
Beernarium Piwne Spa Kraków
The Beernarium Piwne Spa Kraków is a unique – and very Polish – take on the classic spa experience. Instead of flaunting famous cosmetic brands and fancy massage routines, the folk here rely on the healing powers of everyone’s favorite pub tipple: Beer.
Yep, the folks here brew up hot baths of beer and do beer massages that take place in heated infrared saunas. They claim that the treatments up the level of Vitamin B and C in the body, whilst also doing the usual loosening of muscles to cut out all those aches and pains you’ve gathered on the day’s walking tours. Oh, and – naturally – you get to taste some great locally brewed craft beers while your on site.
Packages are varied but there are two main options: Group and couples’ beer spa sessions. They start at $42 per person.
May Thai Massage
May Thai Massage is our favorite go-to for a proper Thai massage in Krakow. It’s staffed by Thai expats who know exactly what bone to click and when. We’ve gone in here with tight lumbar bones and stiff spines and emerged feeling ready for an evening on the pub crawl. We hope they can do the same for you!
Look for the joint on Świętej Agnieszki street just south of the Wawel Castle, close to Kazimierz and about 10 minutes’ walking from the Old Town. The setting is calm and simple. They play Thai folk tunes and have a no-messing approach. Get in. Strip off. Lay on the bed. Viola: You’re away.
May Thai massage also happens to be among the best-priced spas in Krakow. They have packages that start at around $30 for a full hour’s treatment.
Transport yourself to Istanbul by choosing Hammam SPA, a wellness center that draws on the mystery and ancient traditions of Eurasia. Hiding within a Turkish shisha spot and coffee shop on Smolensk Street, it’s less than five minutes’ walking from the western edge of the Old Town, and around 15 minutes’ walk from the Main Square.
Dip inside and you’ll be greeted by a darkened reception room that’s painted in rich oranges and reds, with exposed brick ceilings vaulted above. From there, you’ll be led into a spa facility that includes a classic hammam steam room. Those who opt for the self-service are provided with towels and soap, along with a proper kessa scrubbing glove. Alternatively, you can choose packages that include face masks and massages that make use of Dead Sea mud cosmetics.
The basic self-service package at the Hammam costs €28. Packages that include scrubbing and massages start at €60 per person.
Tarita Salt SPA & Wellness
Tarita Salt SPA & Wellness draws on one of the natural resources that Krakow has had its disposal for centuries: Salt. They bill themselves as a holistic therapy center that can help locals counter the bad effects of the city’s smog problem in winter, but also up all round energy levels with innovative treatments based on good old sodium chloride.
Believe as much of that as you like. All we can say is that we’ve felt positively rejuvenated when leaving the establishment whenever we’ve been. Packages involve sessions in salty inhalation chambers that are said to work wonders for the respiratory system, along with isolation in floatation rooms filled with highly salinized water.
Tarita Salt SPA & Wellness is to the east of Krakow Old Town, but still only 15 minutes’ walking from the Main Square. One entry to the salt inhalation rooms is just 30 PLN (around $6 at the time of writing).
Thai Bali Spa
Thai Bali Spa is actually a whole chain of spa and wellness facilities that have outlets across Poland, in Gdnask and Warsaw. Their Krakow iteration sits smack dab in the middle of the Old Town on bustling Florianska street, which is why we make a mention of them here – they are accessible from pretty much anywhere in the city and most major hotels are within walking distance.
As the name implies, the two flagship treatments are the Thai massage (a harder type of massage that’s all about clicking joints and relieving stress through stretching) and Balinese massage (a deep-tissue massage that’s supposed to help increase blood flow levels). Both start at 195 PLN ($40) for an hour but there are often 30% off promos up for grabs.
Interiors here are pleasant enough, with a theme that’s in line with the eastern inspiration behind it all. The major downside is that we’d say it’s a spa overtly aimed at tourists looking for a quick massage and out. The prices reflect that, so does the lack of authentic Polish thermal baths and saunas.
Chocholow Thermal Baths
The Chocholow Thermal Baths are the first of the spas in Krakow listed here that are actually outside of the city. They’re actually much closer to the mountain town of Zakopane (which is well known for its thermal bathing traditions), about 1.5 hours’ driving to the south. Don’t worry, though – there are regular day trips on offer that can do pick ups and drop offs right at your hotel in Krakow, ferrying you down to enjoy the mineral waters of this alluring spa facility.
Alluring is putting it lightly, too. The Chocholow Thermal Baths span two levels and spill from inside to outside. In all, they have over 3,000 square meters of spa space, which includes 30 individual pools and countless water fountains. All that includes specialist treatment options like brine isolation pools and sulfur-infused pools. Oh, and the whole thing sits in the shadow of the Tatra Mountains, so you’ll be bathing with visions of snow-capped peaks on the horizon.
As we’ve mentioned, the best way to visit these is definitely on a planned day trip. You can book those for around $80 per person. We can recommend this simple there-and-back option that has hotel pick up and entry to the baths for three hours.
Just like the Chocholow Thermal Baths, the Terma Bania complex isn’t in Krakow but rather closer to the Tatra Mountains just to the south of town. You can drive here on your own in about 1.5 hours. However, we recommend this planned tour that takes seven hours and includes entry – it will probably save you money overall when you factor in the cost of car rentals.
The Terma Bania is one of the best spa offerings in the region. It has saunas and steam rooms in its dedicated relax zone and even some play areas for the little ones in the main swimming space. The piece de resistance is an indoor-outdoor pool that offers head-on views of the Tatras. You can even watch the skiers on the slopes from there in the winter months.