Pub Crawls in Krakow - Which one is the Best?
I’ve been on my fair share of European pub crawls. From the cobbled streets of Old Town Prague to the sun-kissed sands of Sunny Beach, I’ve checked off countless power hours and nailed more ad hoc Jager bombs than you can shake a Ryanair ticket at! To be honest, the whole rigmarole of partying until sunup and mingling with new folk was getting just a tad old…seriously, it was.
At least, that is, until I discovered the Krawl Through Krakow. I’d heard the legend in whispers as I hopped between the mainstay cities of Central Europe. “It’s simply awesome,” I heard an Aussie gap yearer say over a Wombats breakfasts in Vienna. “No one parties harder,” came the ringing endorsement of seasonaire in the Italian Alps.
It was something I simply had to do in the so-called city of Polish kings. I didn’t leave disappointed!
Joining up with Krakow’s legendary bar crawl
Whatever you might think, I do have the occasional off day. The sort of morning and afternoons where a frothy beer or shot of vodka are the last things on your mind. And that was precisely what was happening on my first day in Krakow; a snowy Saturday when all I wanted to do was wander the pine-peppered parks and sip coffees in the warm cafes on the Market Square.
Sadly, that wasn’t to be.
Just as I was weaving between the pierogi stalls and amber shops in the Krakow Christmas faire, I was approached by a smiling fellow with a medley of tats and piercings over his face. My first instinct was to turn and high-tail it, but the jolly demeanor and enthusiastic invite to join the best pub crawl in Krakow was enough to stem my departure. It wasn’t anything to do with the promise of unlimited shots and whiskey for a whole hour — promise!
Soon I was chin wagging in the snow, listening to my tattooed friend spin tales of his rambunctious nights flitting between the 4/8 bars (uber-cheap drinking holes filled with vodka, apparently) and subterranean clubs of the city. I was sold. I grabbed a leaflet, penciled in the meeting place (9pm at the massive statue in the main square, you can’t miss it), and homed into my hostel dorm to arrange my face.
The nightlife in Krakow will blow your bloody mind!
For a city that touts itself as the cultural capital of Poland, complete with soaring Gothic churches from the Middle Ages and one pretty breathtaking castle laden with legends of marauding dragons, Krakow has one seriously wild and raucous nightlife.
It all started at the appointed time and place: 9pm, under the ever-watchful gaze of Adam Mickiewicz, the Polish bard whose grand and gaudy effigy looms large over the city’s main square. There, huddled between the sausage stalls and plumes of falling snow, I discovered the folk who run Krakow’s best pub crawl.
Soon, we were descending a winding staircase into a smoky underground hall. The vaulted ceilings echoed with Bowie and The Beach Boys and the occasional bout of Euro pop; beer (free, for a whole hour) flowed from the taps; vodkas were guzzled; gins knocked back; sours conquered by the dozen.
It wasn’t long before I found myself perched on a beer-soaked table playing round after round of matches (a particularly dangerous drinking game), downing penalty pints, and chatting about everything from Polish history to pajama parties and the pope. As I flitted between the bar areas and the dance floor, I couldn’t help thinking how glad I was that I’d come — everyone was mingling, everyone was getting loose, everyone was having a blast. This was how pub crawls should be!
Next up, we trundled across the main square and into a tight-knit little bar on the edge of the Old Town area. A free shot on entry perked up the party glands, and the mind-bogglingly cheap beers were enough to keep me going for the next hour. Here, I poured libations to the drinking gods in the company of the pub crawl staff themselves. I was eager to hear their stories and catch up with my tattooed bud who’d reeled me in earlier in the day.
I found them peppered around the place. Some were playing drinking games with Korean folk in the corner, others were yapping at the bar, recommending their favorite vodka to that token middle-aged person on the crawl (there’s always one, and they are usually the most fun!).
I joined a table with another crawl worker and discovered that the KTK (as it’s known to locals) has slowly become one of the most popular things to do in Krakow according to TripAdvisor. Most reviews drop it a well-earned five stars. Only the occasional grump leaves a single star, presumably citing the cold weather and their own misery-guts personality.
Needless to say, I was a firm five starer. I resolved to recount tales of my enjoyment later on (hence this article), and then delved into the hedonism of the night. We moved from bar to bar. We nailed shots in ice-caked entrance-ways. We sung karaoke in the company of Polish undergrads. We danced 50s garage with Spanish students. We downed vodka beneath the medieval main square, and didn’t return until the glow of the sun was peaking on the horizon. Woop!
You can find Krawl Through Krakow here: