Is Krakow safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
Visited by millions and home to roughly 770,000 people, Krakow is the second-largest city in Poland. It was the country’s capital and remained Poland’s political front until 1596, when the Polish King and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Sigismund III Vasa, transferred the capital to Warsaw. Although it’s no longer the capital, Krakow remained a prominent city, boasting thousands of historic sites and buildings, including the 11th-century Wawel Cathedral, St. Mary’s Basilica, Rynek Glowny or the Main Square, and other priceless art and architectural treasures.
The high season in Krakow is from June to August, with long daylight hours perfect for concerts, lively festivals, and events. There’s no bad time to visit Krakow, as each season has something to offer, whether you’re looking to explore Krakow Main Market Square and the iconic Old Town, take a boat tour in the Vistula River in summer, or go for a sleigh ride in winter.
This wonderful city in Southern Poland is undoubtedly a lovely destination year-round. To ensure your trip is as smooth and stress-free as possible, leave your belongings at a secure luggage facility in Krakow. That way, you don’t have to worry about losing your valuables while discovering one of Poland’s oldest cities.
Is Krakow safe to visit right now?
With Poland ranking 17th most peaceful country in Europe and 24th in the world on the 2021 Global Peace Index, you can ensure a safe and trouble-free visit to one of its major cities. Overall, Krakow is a very safe city to travel to, but you still need to take security precautions as you would when visiting a new place.
There’s a low rate of violent crime in Krakow and a strong police presence, but petty crimes, such as purse snatching and pickpocketing, still occur, especially in major tourist spots, busy markets, public transportation, and near hotels. So as long as you keep your wits about you, no petty thieves or scammers can ruin your trip.
Be sure to check out your government’s official travel guidelines before deciding to travel to any city or country, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned traveler. Keep in mind that no travel guide is perfect, and your safety and that of your belongings are your responsibility. Do additional research, use common sense, and stay alert at all times.
Top petty crimes and scams in Krakow affecting tourists
While the risks of being a victim of violent crimes in Krakow are low, anyone can fall prey to fraud and scams. Of course, this will greatly depend on how mindful you are of your surroundings and careful of your personal belongings. To help you prepare, here are a few fraudulent behaviors and petty crimes you should be aware of while exploring Krakow.
Pickpocketing and theft
Krakow is a crowded area, especially in the city center, where tourists frequently visit. Unfortunately, it can also be a mecca for thieves and pickpockets. Beware of these criminals in famous destinations and congested areas, such as airports, stations, tourist spots, bus stops, and other public transport. The risk increases at night, so avoid walking alone if possible.
Keep your handbag close to you when strolling the city streets, or have a money belt to keep your properties safe. Avoid wearing flashy jewelry to prevent attracting the attention of pickpockets. Even better, leave your important items locked in the Bounce secure storage facility.
Like in many other cities, taxi scams are also present in Krakow. Some taxi drivers may try to overcharge you by not turning the meter on or taking you to a longer route to your destination to increase the cost. You can avoid this scam by ensuring you’re in a registered cab, tracking your path with your mobile device, or going for a rideshare.
Another common public transportation scam in Krakow targets newcomers. A local may come up to you to help purchase tickets for your train or bus ride. Chances are, they will overcharge you or ask for a high service fee. Refuse their offer as transportation machines in Krakow have the English language option, so you can purchase the ticket yourself without a “friendly” stranger’s help.
Bar scams are pretty well-known in Krakow. It usually involves attractive locals who invite unsuspecting tourists to nightclubs or bars to enjoy a drink. Once the bill comes, it turns out to be really expensive. This kind of scam is easy enough to avoid just by rejecting the offer to drink together.
Credit card scams
If you get a call claiming to be from the hotel you’re staying at and asking you to confirm your bank details, it’s most likely a scam. This is relatively common in Krakow, so you’ll want to be extra careful. Don’t hand out your sensitive information through the call; contact your accommodation instead to be sure.
Is Krakow safe to travel alone
Krakow is a popular tourist destination and one of the most beautiful cities in Poland, so it’s no surprise that travelers around the world want to come here and catch a glimpse of its history and experience its unique culture. Even if you’re traveling on your own, you can feel safe while discovering its architecture and strolling through cobbled streets.
Female solo travelers are also completely safe in Krakow, with Poland having a high Bounce Women Travel Safety Index score of 70.21 and a .840 Women’s Peace and Security index score. The city has low levels of harassment, though you should still avoid being alone at night, drinking excessively, or being in potentially dangerous situations.
Safest neighborhoods in Krakow
When visiting Krakow, rest assured that although the city isn’t free of risks, it’s generally safe. Despite the petty crime and scams being the leading problems, they can easily be avoided by being mindful of your surroundings. When looking for a place to stay, check out the list of the safest Krakow neighborhoods and be aware of the areas you might want to skip.
Although one of the best locations in Krakow for outdoor sightseeing, Salwator is surprisingly not a top tourist destination. In a way, this adds to the neighborhood’s charm as a quiet residential area, radiating a relaxing atmosphere perfect for leisure activities. It’s away from the hustle and bustle of the city and isn’t too crowded, so it’s generally safer and more peaceful than many famous neighborhoods in Krakow.
Another quiet neighborhood in Krakow is Kleparz, despite it being close to the old center. It’s a great place to stay if you want to visit many attractions in the city but want to avoid crowds. Kleparz is also one of the most family-friendly neighborhoods in Krakow, perfect for the needs and entertainment of adults, students, and children. It also offers cheaper accommodation than most areas in the city.
Ludwinow is among the most student-friendly neighborhoods in Krakow. It’s known for its hip vibe and many entertainment sources and is considered generally safe, even for the youth. Also, while Ludwinow is relatively crowded, it’s not as packed as the city center; hence not as susceptible to crimes and scams.
If there are areas that you’re better off avoiding, these are Stare Miasto, Podgórze, Prądnik Biały, Czerwony, and Mistrzejowice. These neighborhoods have records of crime, some even severe. Also, the historical Kazimierz district of the Old Town may be hard to avoid due to its extraordinary atmosphere, but things here can get pretty rowdy in the early hours.
Is Krakow public transportation safe?
There are many ways to get around Krakow through public transportation, and going by car is, in fact, not recommended. This is because of the limited parking space and high rates for the available spots. It’s preferable to go by Krakow’s tram lines, which are more accessible and safer. Alternatively, you can travel to the city by train and bus. Most stations open by 4:00 AM and close by 11:00 PM.
While you can still rely on security early in the morning and late at night, it’s safer to avoid traveling by public transportation by then, especially when alone. Stations are usually dark and quiet at such hours, so it’s recommended to hail a cab or get on ride-sharing services instead. Just be mindful of taxi fare scammers who overcharge passengers, especially tourists, and get on licensed rides only.
Important emergency numbers in Krakow
You’ll want to be fully prepared in the face of danger when visiting a new place. Apart from your emergency contact, here’s a list of main emergency numbers you can call in Krakow when you feel a threat to your safety:
- Poland country code: +48
- Krakow area code: 12
- Emergency number: 112 or 0048-12-112
- Ambulance: 999
- Fire Brigade: 998
- Police: 997
- Road Assistance: 98
- Municipal Police: 986
- Public transportation information: (12) 91 50
Before traveling to Krakow, you should also be aware of your embassy number for emergency assistance.
Staying safe in Krakow
There’s a low safety risk in Krakow for tourists, but it doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. Remain vigilant and be wary of scammers and tricksters looking for an opportunity to take advantage of you. Although this beautiful city in Poland isn’t considered dangerous, it’s worth knowing which situations to avoid so you only take pleasant memories with you when your trip is over.