It can get unbearably hot in the summer months, hot enough to make you want to rip your clothes off and jump straight into the Wisła River. Don’t! It isn’t safe or hygienic (that’s why no one does it, see?).
When the thermostat threatens to break in Kraków, you basically have three options: get into the nearest ice cream line (where gratification will be far from instant), duck into the nearest museum, or strip down and go get wet. The latter can potentially lead you to some of Kraków’s most interesting outdoor destinations, and the people-watching is much better than in Schindler’s Factory, in our view. As such, we submit the best places in Kraków for taking a dip and beating the heat. Follow the links for more detailed info, including how to get to each place.
1. Bagry Lagoon
Located in Podgórze Płaszów, about 5km southeast from the market square, this artificial reservoir is undoubtedly the best (and most popular) swimming destination within city limits. Bagry features three wild beaches and a bathing area (lifeguards on duty from June 15th to August 15th, 10:00-18:00) where you can take a free dip in the regularly monitored and certified clean water. While some areas around the lake have been left wild, offering discretion for fishermen and those seeking privacy, other parts are well-developed and ideal for families, with plenty of benches, hammocks, a playground and food options. The recreation area also features two marinas, and kayak, sailboat, pedalo, SUP board and canoe rental (June until end of September), hosting many sailing events and competitions during the summer.
Like Bagry on a bigger scale, Kryspinów is the favourite summer sun destination for Cracovians keen on a day at the beach. About 12km away and well-connected to Kraków (get there by bus in 15-20mins), Kryspinów Lagoon is a large reservoir that features no less than four separate beaches (though only one watched by lifeguards), meaning there is plenty of space for everyone despite large crowds on sunny weekends. With thorough infrastructure for guests, the recreation area features a range of attractions including water sports equipment and boat rental, windsurfing and wakeboarding instruction (available in English), zorbing and quads, flyboarding, playgrounds, a ropes course, beach volleyball and tennis courts, and plenty of drinking and eating options, including two proper 'karczmas' (traditional Polish taverns). Note that entry is paid, as is parking.
If you’re in the Old Town and about to melt, head fast to this historic square just a block from the market square - a popular place to cool off thanks to its playful fountain. Located directly in front of the majestic art nouveau Palace of the Arts, the fountain features jets of water that unpredictably shoot directly out of the ground, as well as a pool with additional jets coming out. We’re pretty sure you won’t be able to get your kids past it without them getting wet. And why not? When it’s this hot out there should be sprinklers on every square.
If you’re savvy with the signage you might notice that it’s officially posted that you shouldn’t play around in the pool, but when the heat ratchets up it’s mob rule, and the authorities have graciously accepted what they’ve wrought in this case. Also note that there’s a wonderful Iranian ice cream parlour - Tiffany - located on the north side of the square.
Of course, Kraków also has an aqua park if you could care less about sand and sunbathing. North of the city centre, this huge indoor pool complex includes 800 metres of water slides for all ages, dragon and pirate play areas, massage fountains, climbing walls, swings and other in-water activities. An incredible aquatic playground, the complex also offers jacuzzis, saunas and a pool-side cafe. Keep in mind that the weekend crowds can be crazy, it's not cheap and only a day pass really makes sense.