9 must see parks in Krakow

Published by: BouncePosted
Person walking in between high rock walls in an expansive Krakow park

Krakow has no shortage of attractions to keep everyone engaged, from the iconic Old Town brimming with Gothic churches, museums, ancient palaces, and old homes to the centrally located Kazimierz district with an atmospheric mix of galleries, cafes, and bars. But unbeknownst to many, this historical capital of Poland is one of Europe’s greenest cities, with lush greenery that can be found everywhere.

Within the city’s beating heart are parks surrounding the Old Town, with flowerbeds, tall trees, monuments, and water features that add to its character. Walking distance from the Main Market Square is a botanical garden, offering a peaceful break from all sightseeing and shopping. Besides the public parks in Krakow, a short tram ride from the city center are forests, meadows, and nature reserves waiting to be explored.

No matter what nature experiences you’re looking for, Krakow parks and green spaces will deliver. If you have shopping bags or other heavy items that limit your adventures or slow you down, use our reliable luggage storage service in Krakow to lessen your burden and enjoy your trip without hassle.

House and barn-type building in a tree-filled park in Krakow

Planty Park

If you’re touring Krakow Old Town, you’ll likely come across Planty Park or simply Planty. At eight kilometers long and an area of 21,000 square meters, it’s undoubtedly one of the largest parks in Krakow and arguably the most popular in the city. It was built around the historic center in place of the defensive walls (only a small section of the freestanding wall has survived).

In summer, the park comes alive with more visitors seeking shade from the sun, enjoying the fresh air, and making the most of the pleasant atmosphere. It’s also filled with flower beds, towering pines swaying in the warm breeze, and lush greenery on every corner. Multiple benches line the pathways, so you won’t run out of places to sit on, rest, read a book, or watch people strolling or walking their dogs.

On the north side of Planty Park, you’ll find the formidable Barbican fortification, a powerful defensive construction that has guarded the city since ancient times. There are also hilly walkways and statues you should check out. On the south side is the famous Wawel Hill, where the west and east paths intersect. It’s a must for every international tourist, as it overflows with architectural beauties, artistic gems, and relics of the past.

Small building in the foreground of a mountainous park

Błonia Park

Refresh your mind and take a breather at Blonia Park, a vast expanse of grassland set against the banks of the Rudawa River in the city’s western part. It has been protected as a National Heritage Site since 2000, spanning over a massive 48 hectares (118 acres) of land. Although technically a park, it doesn’t have many trees and other defining characteristics that make it a park. But thanks to its ample, open green space, it has become a popular spot for events and gatherings, from parades and fairs to open-air concerts and even papal Masses attended by millions.

Błonia Meadow used to be a communal pasture but is now surrounded by walking and biking trails. It’s a hub of activity, especially in summer, with joggers, runners, and young people hanging out. It’s a great place to picnic, skate, run around with your dog, kick a ball, or lie on the soft grass and ease your mind. It’s a stone’s throw from Henryk Jordan Park, one of the most famous parks in Krakow, so you can extend your visit and do more outdoor activities.

Henryk Jordan Park

Speaking of Henryk Jordan Park, this Krakow park is not to be missed, whether you’re into sports, history, or leisure. It’s right next to Błonia, featuring multiple playgrounds for children of all ages, volleyball and basketball courts, soccer fields, flowerbeds, monuments, and trees.

The park was named in honor of the revered Polish philanthropist and physician Henryk Jordan, who died in Krakow in 1907. It was established in 1889 to integrate healthy play into the daily routines of the people of Krakow. Today, it’s not only enjoyed by the locals, but international visitors also take advantage of its sports facilities and other equipment that allow everyone to stretch their muscles and exercise in a calming open-air setting.

Henryk Jordan Park is a lovely destination on any day of the week or year. But if you want to visit during the peak times, it comes alive on summer weekends, where you’ll encounter dog walkers, children on climbing frames, people stretched out on the grass, and visitors dipping in water to cool off on a warm day. There’s also a skate park, an artificial lake, and many scenic paths to follow with sculptures of prominent Polish people. You can rent a pedal boat and take a captivating sailing tour with friends and family.

Large historic building overlooking a river and park, with a bridge in the center

Park Lotnikow Polskich (Polish Airmen Park)

Another large park in Krakow worth checking out is Park Lotników Polskich (Polish Airmen Park), which covers an area of over 43 hectares. It was called the Park of Culture and Recreation until 1989, when the city council renamed it. It has varied terrain, with a flat area in the southern part and a slope that rises to about three meters in the central part.

If you love plants and flowers, the Polish Airmen Park will please you with its wealth of flora and fauna. Head to the northern part for dense trees and the southern for areas of grass, herbaceous plants, and trees. There are also fruit trees, including cherries, walnuts, and red-leaved cherry plums. For bird watchers, you’ll likely spot interesting bird species, including magpies, blackbirds, green woodpeckers, and wood pigeons.

The paths are easy and accessible, so you can take your family for a stroll. A playground is accessible for children, while older visitors can play in the multi-purpose sports field. Other open pockets feature a pump track, a skate park, picnic areas, and benches. If you get hungry, there are eateries near the main entrance for coffee, ice cream, and snacks.

While in the area, don’t forget to stop at the Polish Aviation Museum. It has one of the country’s best aircraft collections, including the earliest airplanes from the 1910s and the recently decommissioned jet fighters. The museum grounds are also a famous site for open-air events like fairs and pop festivals.

Park pathway passing in front of a modern building with many windows

Las Wolski

For thrill-seekers who want to go deep into the forest in Krakow, dedicate at least half a day to exploring Las Wolski. It’s the perfect escape from the crowded city without going too far from the historic center. Here, you can immerse yourself in nature and meet wildlife in their natural habitat, so watch out for animals like foxes, squirrels, roe deer, hares, and badgers that may greet you on the way.

Ideal for hikers and cyclists, Wolski Forest is a vast protected woodland towering over the city. When you find the lookouts at the hills, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the river and the surrounding areas. Several marked hiking trails weave throughout the 422-hectare forest, covering a total length of 22 miles (35 km), as well as a cycling path, a cross-country skiing route, and a horse-riding trail. So pick your adventure and get ready for an action-packed day.

Wolski Forest is only about seven kilometers from the Old Town, so it’s an easy and close destination if you suddenly decide to hike or have a long walk through the forest. It can also be part of your itinerary when visiting Krakow Zoo, home to around 1,500 animals.

Park Bednarskiego

Park Bednarskiego is a family-friendly park in Krakow with many attractions to entertain everyone all day. It’s an oasis just outside the city center, boasting plenty of bushes, trees, and lush green spaces for play and recreation. It has a well-maintained playground that kids of every age can enjoy. It's also open to pets, so you can bring your four-legged friends next time you visit.

Why stay in your hotel or house on a summer weekend when you can have fun and be proactive in Park Bednarskiego? Kids will have hours of fun swinging, climbing, and skating, while adults can have a barbecue or picnic. Many benches encourage quiet contemplation, and you'll find green areas to sit and calm your mind. You’ll notice how well-thought-out and organized this park is.

Much of its charm is in its wilderness, but thanks to the park’s major restoration works, it becomes a more welcoming sanctuary to visitors. Besides the new benches, a modern playground, renovated stairways, and lamps, Park Bednarskiego now features a gazebo overlooking the sprawling Podgórze, a viewpoint, and the Gardener’s House. There’s also a gym area for those who want to exercise outdoors.

Park benches lining a paved path that follows a river

Ojcowski National Park

It takes about half an hour to 45 minutes to get to Ojcowski National Park from the city center, but it’s definitely worth the trip. You can relax in nature, listening to birds chirping and smelling the captivating scents of blossoming flowers instead of hearing the sounds of beeping cars and inhaling fumes. It’s the smallest national park in Poland, with an area of 2,145 hectares, but don’t let its size fool you. An excursion to Ojcowski National Park will be filled with wonder, discovery, and learning.

The National Park has numerous points of interest you can’t skip. These include monumental rock formations, ancient fortifications, and castles. The ruins of Ojców Castle are an obligatory stop, set atop a hill in the middle of the park. This Gothic fortress was constructed in the 14th century and was crucial in defending the area during the Medieval era. You’ll also come across a nearly 25-meter-high column called the Cudgel of Hercules.

Let your eyes feast on the stunning Polish countryside and leave your worries behind. Feel like hiking or strolling through the woods? The park is full of fantastic trails for all skill levels, so you’ll find one for your needs. It’s also a wonderful teaching opportunity for kids to be familiar with the different species of plants and animals and learn a bit about history.

Several grey huts in a field with trees and mountains in the background

Botanic Garden of the Jagiellonian University

Situated east of Krakow's Old Town, a short walk from the Main Market Square, is the country’s oldest botanical garden. The Botanic Garden of the Jagiellonian University has been around for nearly 250 years and has seen different periods of the city. It includes an area of almost ten hectares, home to a 250-year-old oak tree. It’s the last remaining tree of primeval forests that once covered the region.

The botanical garden has a small walking area with lanes running among shrubs and trees and a small pond. One of its striking features is the Victoria greenhouse complex, with a history that can be traced back to the park’s early beginnings. Its name comes from the water plant that grows in the pond inside the hothouse. The Arboretum, with a collection of shrubs and trees, covers the largest area.

Park Krakowski

Five hectares of space for relaxation, fun, and leisure await you at Park Krakowski. It’s a historic park founded in 1885 to entertain the public. Initially, the park covered an area of seven hectares. It served multiple functions with a swimming pool, a theater, a restaurant, a dairy, an arena for cyclists, a playground, pavilions with music, and a pond with boats, attracting numerous locals.

Unfortunately, most of those elements no longer exist at the park. Over time, it changed its surface area and layout. The buildings were removed, and more greenery and paths were created, transforming it into a contemporary city park. Though reduced in size, Park Krakowski remains a favorite place with sculptures, benches, a duck pond, and a new wooden playground enjoyed by younger visitors.

Best Krakow parks for nature lovers

Your visit to Poland’s former capital will likely be filled with trips to picturesque palaces, museums, and other historical and cultural jewels scattered around the medieval old town. But before leaving or moving on to your next Polish adventure, be sure to spend time in one of the best natural attractions and parks in Krakow to complete your experience.

When looking for more exciting activities, you’ll benefit from our guides on the top free things to do in Krakow and beaches near Krakow for ideas on what to do and where to go.

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