Traveling Poland on a Budget in Krakow

Kraków in May: Weather Info & Travel Tips for 2024

Kraków continues to be the most popular city to visit in Poland. Visiting Kraków in May is a great way to see this stellar city with a slightly smaller number of people. From the stunning Old Town to the many parks and museums throughout the city, May is a great month to explore everything Kraków has to offer.

The weather is generally pretty good, the trees are freshly green, and the sun returns from its yearly winter vacation. You can expect temperatures that range from highs of 20 C (68 F) to maybe 25 C (77 F), with the lowest temperatures being no lower than around 8 C (46 F).

I first came to Poland in May of 2022, and part of the reason I fell in love with Poland. Not only is the weather great and the scenery great, but the air is fresh, and people in general are happier. The temperatures also allow for a greater range of activities, and you do not have to worry about the larger crowds that come as the summer comes. The same applies to Kraków. The reason to visit in May is for great weather and somewhat smaller crowds than in the normal smaller months! 

Many special events happen in Kraków in May. From film festivals to music festivals, the calendar for May is one of the busiest all year. This makes May an especially great month to visit Kraków if you also want to engage in some Polish arts and culture. You will find out about these festivals, and the overall 8 best things to do in Kraków in May. There will also be information about the weather, costs, and other important things! Good luck as you are planning your trip to Kraków in May.  

Weather Information for Kraków in May

In general, the weather in Poland in May is quite nice, and the same will apply to Kraków in May. You can expect temperatures that range from highs of 20 C (68 F) to maybe 25 C (77 F), with the lowest temperatures being no lower than around 8 C (46 F). Of course, the Polish spring weather can be quite unpredictable, so there could be either colder or hotter temperatures! Make sure to check the forecast before you go so that you have the proper clothes. You will likely need to pack multiple layers to account for cooler mornings and warmer afternoons and evenings.  

Compared to other months, Kraków in May will have more sunshine hours than usual. Of course, the clouds will still come here and there, and it does rain a bit in May. But any rain you experience in May shouldn’t be hard for more than a couple of hours at a time, and you are likely to not have too much rain in sum. Bringing an umbrella is still advised, and it is also recommended to watch out for thunderstorms that happen from March to October in Poland.  

Another thing to note about the weather in Kraków in May is that as the month goes on, the temperatures get gradually warmer, which should not be surprising. An old tale of Majówka says that the weather is always bad during these holidays, but so far, I have had good weather both years. The end of May will feature 16+ hours of sunlight, and very pleasant temperatures, sometimes high enough to wear shorts (although Poles rarely wear shorts). In general, winter weather will be completely gone.  

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Important Note about Kraków in May 

One very important thing to consider when planning your trip to Kraków in May is the special holiday period that happens throughout Poland in May. Both May 1st and May 3rd are national holidays, for Labor Day and Constitution Day respectively. Both days most stores, schools, and offices closed for the day. Additionally, with the 2nd of May usually being given off for employees and students alike, this creates a 3-day holiday period called Majówka.  

Majówka is important to consider because it is an extremely popular time for Poles to travel with their entire family. Thus, you should not be surprised if places to stay and transport tickets are both harder to come by and more expensive during this period. Additionally, if Majówka happens to fall on a weekend, a super long 5-day holiday period can be created, which is the case for 2024, and thus even more people will be traveling for long periods, although you could also choose to make a great 3–5-day trip to Kraków.   

Jeremy in Krakow
Poland Insiders writer Jeremy in Krakow.

Another important thing to consider is that because so many things are closed, you might not have the best experience traveling to Poland during this time. While some restaurants and corner stores will remain open, you will have a hard time buying other things, and some attractions may either be closed entirely or have shorter hours. If you do choose to travel during this period, make sure to either check the opening hours of the places you want to visit or orient your activities to be outdoor based, as this is what many Poles choose to enjoy during their holidays! 

Additionally, a national holiday celebrated in Poland is Corpus Christi, which always falls on the 9th Thursday after Easter. For 2024, this falls on May 30, so this will be another day this year with shut down stores, schools, and offices, as well as some attractions. For those of you reading in a future year, make sure to check when this holiday happens as well! There is a chance it could fall in May! 

Best Events in Kraków in May

1. Kraków Film Festival 

Location | Website 

The Kraków Film Festival is one of the most esteemed film festivals in Poland. It is dedicated to the art of documentaries and short films rather than long feature films. Each year, the festival shows hundreds of films from around the world, with a special focus on Poland. Filmmakers compete for a variety of awards, including the Golden and Silver Horn, the Golden and Silver Dragon, the Golden and Silver Hobby Horse, and the Golden Bugle Call, with the latter being especially prestigious.  

Over the 8 days of the festival, you will have a chance to see the movies screened, but also there will be many workshops to attend for aspiring filmmakers or others interested in the art of making movies. Additionally, there will be a variety of other cultural performances, including concerts, and many panels and conferences as part of everything. However, for those of you interested in seeing a few movies by great filmmakers, attending the festival is a great opportunity!  

For 2024, the event takes place from May 26th to June 2nd. So, while not entirely in May, most of the event is. The Opening Gala on opening night is especially worth your time if you would like to have a fun experience. The festival offers three different passes for entry. These are described in the table below.  

Pass Name Price What’s Included 
Max Insider 250 PLN early bird
300 PLN otherwise 
Unlimited film screenings
Access to movies after the festival  
Access to opening/closing ceremony 
Unique insider bag 
Hot Insider 164 PLN early bird  
200 PLN otherwise 
Unlimited film screenings
Access to movies after the festival  
Access to opening/closing ceremony 
Crazy Insider 150 PLN Viewing 10 movies at the theater, or the ability to watch 10 movies after 
Passes available for attending the Kraków Film Festival

2. Kraków Film Music Festival 

Location is spread across various venues in Kraków | Website 

A partner event to the Kraków Film Festival, the Kraków Film Music Festival focuses on the music and soundtracks of movies that help create ambiance and memorable moments. It is considered one of the best festivals of its kind in the world, and famous composers such as Hans Zimmer (Interstellar, Inception, Dune, The Dark Knight) and Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings). The festival shows movies with live concert bands and orchestras playing the soundtrack alongside the movie.  

Events at the festival include the showing of many movies, a competition that awards a variety of music composers, and panels featuring top conductors and musicians featured in movies. There are also usually big blockbusters featured, with 2024 hosting a showing of The Lion King with a live orchestra and choir. Other highlights include the International Gala, which focuses on the key hit movies of the previous year and shines a light on their composers. Featured movies in 2024 include Saltburn, Napoleon, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.  

This year’s event takes place from Wednesday, May 22nd until Sunday, May 26th. In future years, the festival will take place around the same time. Showings are hosted in various famous venues around Kraków, including the Kraków ICE Congress Centre, Tauron Arena, and the Manggha Museum. Each event has its own individual ticket, with this year’s events linked here. Ticket prices range between 80 PLN and 200 PLN depending on the event and the seat location. Tickets sell out early, so make sure to check out soon if you are interested in going!

3. OFF Camera

Locations throughout Kraków | Website 

OFF Camera is another movie-related festival that has taken place since 2008. It takes a different approach to a typical film festival; it is a “festival of festivals.” Film competitors from famous film competitions from around the world come here to interact and compete for large cash prizes awarded by the mayor of Kraków.  Films are shown in prominent locations throughout Kraków and are judged by an internationally renowned panel.  

Filmmakers are competing mostly for the Making Way award, which comes with a 25 thousand USD prize. But there is also a focus on female filmmakers, Polish filmmakers, actors and actresses, and rising stars. Participants also get a chance to vote for their favorite movie.  

If you would like to attend, this year’s version takes place from Friday, April 26th until Sunday, May 5th. However, in any given year, the event will happen from the end of April into the beginning of May. Tickets can be bought on-site for individual movie screenings but also can be bought in advance for a collection of movies. To have full access to every movie, a ticket costs 450 PLN, and to have access to your choice of 10 movies, a ticket costs 200 PLN. So, check out this festival if you are interested in independent films from around the world! 

4. Kraków Museum Night 

Location is at various museums throughout Kraków | Website 

Every year throughout Poland, Polish cities host a unique day called “Night of Museums,” in which many amazing museums are open for later hours than usual. Kraków is no exception. Each year for one Friday in May, fabulous Kraków museums, such as the National Museum, the Wawel Royal Castle, or the Princes Czartoryski Museum, are open late into the night for guests to explore.  

Having taken part before in this event in Warsaw, it is cool to walk amongst paintings or massive displays of historical artifacts while the moon shines above. One downside of this event is that you can only pick one museum, as the extended hours for most museums usually last from 7 PM until 10 PM. If you are quick, you may be able to attend two museums, but this is probably it. In Kraków, I would recommend checking out the Wawel Royal Castle, where you can live like a king in the night hours.  

This year’s event takes place on Friday, May 17th, 2024. In future years, the event will also usually take place on the 3rd Friday of the month. Tickets usually cost a symbolic 1 PLN. For the more popular museums, you will need to buy your ticket in advance, which can be done at the website linked above, approximately 2-3 weeks before the event. So, take part in this event if you happen to be in Kraków on this Friday this year! 

Best Attractions to Visit in Kraków in May 

These attractions in Kraków are good to visit any time of the year. But, in May especially, they shine. So, center your time in Kraków in May around these activities, while adding in other essential activities.  

The market square of Krakow with horses
The market square of Krakow with horses. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

5. Take a walk around the Old Town


The picturesque Old Town of Kraków is always the best thing to do when visiting Kraków. With stunning buildings that have outlasted both World Wars, charming cobblestone streets, and top restaurants and shops, the Old Town has it all. Every person who visits Kraków spends a lot of their time here. You will also find many great museums, starting by walking down historic medieval streets such as Ulica Floriańska, or admiring its historic buildings, such as the Cloth Hall, or the double-towered St. Mary’s Church.  

Everything that goes on in Kraków happens in the Old Town. You can go to museums as well, such as the fabulous Princes Czartoryski Museum with a hidden DaVinci painting, or the intriguing Rynek Underground Museum with its historical relics. You can also enjoy some great restaurants on the Kraków Market Square or explore some views from the top of the Town Hall tower. At night, the Old Town becomes the center of nightlife as well. All in all, you must visit the Old Town on your trip to Kraków in May. 

You can walk around this area at any time 100% for free. However, I guarantee you will buy at least one souvenir, if not a delicious Polish donut. Note that in the rain, the Old Town can be slightly unsafe for people with disabilities, as the cobblestones get quite slippery. In the sun of May, the Old Town is glorious. There will always be lots of people here, so be pickpocket wise, and watch your belongings. 

6. Visit one of Kraków’s many green spaces

Locations are spread throughout the city 

One thing many people do not expect when coming to Poland is how great nature is in the country! The city of Kraków is no exception. There are dozens of amazing green spaces to explore in the city. You can start with the always popular Planty, a green park that surrounds the Old Town, full of big leafy trees and benches to sit on. But there is no shortage of parks outside of the city center to visit as well. These are listed below. 

  • Henryk Jordan Park: This park is styled as a British garden, full of hedges, monuments, and small gardens. There is also a great children’s area with ball courts and a seasonal treat stand.  
  • Krakus Mound: This park is in one of the oldest parts of Kraków and is named after the namesake of the city. Here you will get stellar views of the city entirely for free. There is also a lot of lawn space for playing and picnics.  
  • Wandy Mound: If you want to get away from the crowds, Wandy Mound will do the trick. A shorter mound than its Krakus counterpart, this is still a great place to hang out with a more local feel.  
  • Park Floriana Nowackiego: Found along the south bank of the Vistula River, here you will get fabulous views of the Wawel Royal Castle and the bridges of Kraków, but also have a fantastic playground for your children.  
  • Płaszów: For a more solemn experience, visit Płaszów, the former site of a Nazi work camp during WWII, one made famous by the Schindler’s List movie. Rather than play, you can walk amongst the now beautiful green spaces and urban forests of this area, reflecting on a dark time in Poland’s history.  

All these parks, except for Henryk Jordan Park, are open 24/7. They are, of course, best visited during the day and in good weather.  

7. Go for a spring swim at Park Zakrzówek


A park that deserves special mention from the others listed above is Park Zakrzówek. Located at the site of a former quarry, today you can walk along the cliffs and get some amazing views of this site. But the highlight of visiting here is certainly the chance to swim. While the earlier May days may not be a great time for swimming, by the end of May, there will be good swimming weather. The opportunity to swim in an old quarry is a unique one, and one you should not skip if you have the chance! 

Visiting Park Zakrzówek is also entirely free! This includes the blocked-off swimming area. The swimming area can get quite busy and is only open from 8 AM to 10 PM each day. Getting there early is a safe bet, as seating space is limited. You can walk around the quarry anytime you want. There is also limited parking, but you can reach here using the amazing Kraków public transport network in about 15 minutes from the town center.  

8. Take a day trip to Auschwitz

Location | Website 

There are many great day trips from Kraków, but Auschwitz is one of the most popular. Millions of people each year make the pilgrimage out to the sight of one of the most dreadful moments in recent history. There is both a museum and sight of a former death camp that are open most days of the year for the public to visit. The museum goes into lots of detail about the atrocities that happened, and the feeling after visiting is one of solemness and sadness.  

Auschwitz is about an hour from Kraków by train. You can also choose to take a bus, drive, or take advantage of one of the many guided tours offered in Kraków. Shop around online for the best price if you want to opt for the last option. In May, Auschwitz is open from 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM. Auschwitz has free hours each day from 4:00-6:00 PM, where you are allowed to do a self-guided tour of the museum and grounds. Otherwise, you will need to opt for a guided tour, which costs 87/75 PLN reduced for non-Polish languages.  

Watch out for some future articles here about how to get to Auschwitz from Kraków, but the article linked here also covers this topic in some detail.  

Cost of Visiting Kraków in May

Poland is a less expensive city to visit in Europe, but the prices are slowly rising. Kraków is one of the more expensive cities in Kraków, but still not a super expensive city in comparison to cities like London and Rome, and there are always ways to save money. But the costs will be typical for Kraków for the season. A hotel room will cost between 300-400 PLN, with budget and expensive options also available, and a meal will cost between 40-50 PLN per person. As mentioned previously, during Majówka prices may increase a bit for both lodging and long-distance train travel (and potentially flights), but not by too much.  

In general, if you are looking for budget tips for Kraków in May, the top things to consider are: 

  • Take advantage of free museum days 
  • Eat outside the historic Old Town and city center for meals 
  • Book in advance, and only use official websites to book tickets 

How busy is Kraków in May

St Marys Church in Krakow
St Marys Church in Krakow, Poland. Taken by Poland Insiders writer Jeremy.

Kraków will be busiest at the beginning of May during Majówka. I visited Kraków with my parents during Majówka in 2023, and there were so many people everywhere at every attraction. We saved a lot of time by booking tickets for our key attractions, especially Wawel Royal Castle, in advance and by eating a bit earlier than most people would. However, even during Majówka, the crowds in Kraków probably are still lesser than in places like Barcelona or Paris where there is no holiday. Most of the crowds will be Polish too, future international tourism during the holiday may make things worse. 

My advice is to visit any other time in May. The crowds will increase as they usually do on the weekends with Polish and international travelers but will still be less than during Majówka. The least busy time would be during the week, especially on Tuesday and Wednesday (although note many museums are closed these days, even during the summer). In general, there will always be people in Kraków, no matter what random day you decide to go, it is the most visited city in Poland for a reason! 

Conclusions about Kraków in May

So, visiting Kraków in May is a great choice! A lot is going on in terms of festivals and major events, the weather has just turned sunny, the parks are extra green, and the crowds are fewer than during the winter or the summer! Kraków is always a great choice but May amplifies the choice in my opinion. I hope you find all the information you need in this article. Check out our other articles on Kraków, linked throughout this article, and check back for much more information soon as this blog continues to grow! Safe travel! 

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