Krakow Weather January

Krakow Weather in January: What to Expect and How to Prepare

January in Krakow brings with it the full brunt of the Polish winter. You can expect temperatures to typically hover around -2°C, though they can dip as low as -5°C on colder days. These chilly conditions are accompanied by rainfall, with an average of 24 mm distributed over about 13 days throughout the month. Despite the cold, Krakow’s charm is never dimmed, presenting a winter landscape that can be both beautiful and crisp.

Krakow Weather January

Daylight in Krakow during January is limited, which means that your activities will largely be confined to the shorter days. The reduced hours of daylight encourage a different experience of the city, perhaps focusing on indoor attractions or enjoying the ambience of cosy cafes and restaurants.

With the right clothing and planning for the weather, you’ll find that Krakow still offers a rich cultural experience, bustling with life despite the frosty weather.

Climate Overview in January

Climate and temperature in Krakow in January

In January, you’ll encounter Krakow’s wintry climate, with temperatures often below freezing and a fair amount of snow and limited sunshine.

Average Temperatures

  • Highs: Expect average high temperatures to hover around 0°C (32°F).
  • Lows: Night-time brings significantly colder temperatures, often dropping to an average low of -5°C (23°F).

Precipitation and Snowfall

January in Krakow typically sees:

  • Rainfall: Expect moderate precipitation with an average monthly accumulation of 40-50 mm.
  • Snowfall: You are likely to experience snow, with an average of about 17 days of snowfall throughout the month.

Wawel castle with snow

Sunlight and Daylight Hours

  • Daylight: The days are short, with sunrise occurring around 7:30 am and sunset around 4:00 pm.
  • Sunshine: You’ll receive an average of approximately 2 hours of sunshine per day, indicating a prevalence of cloud cover during this period.

What To Wear

What to wear to Krakow in January

When planning a trip to Krakow in January, it’s crucial to prepare for cold weather. Average temperatures hover around the freezing mark, so warm and layered clothing is essential.

Appropriate Clothing for the Weather

To comfortably navigate Krakow’s cold January weather, your wardrobe should centre around insulation and layers. Start with a thermal base layer to retain body heat.

Over this, add a mid-layer, such as a fleece or a wool jumper, which provides additional warmth. The outer layer should be a heavy coat or parka—preferably something that’s both insulated and windproof.

Consider the possibility of a 50 percent chance of snow by choosing an outer layer that can handle moisture, like a waterproof jacket.

Part of Body Clothing Recommendation
Upper Body Thermal shirt, fleece/jumper, waterproof insulated coat
Lower Body Thermal trousers, insulated trousers
Feet Insulated, waterproof boots

Accessories for Warmth

Your extremities are most vulnerable to the cold, so proper accessories are essential:

  • Hat: A warm hat that covers your ears is a must-have as it helps prevent significant heat loss.
  • Gloves: Insulated gloves keep your hands warm; waterproof ones are preferable.
  • Scarves: A thick scarf can protect your neck and face from the cold.
  • Boots: Waterproof, insulated boots with good grip are important to navigate icy paths and keep your feet dry.

Remember, accessories are not just about warmth; they can also enhance your style while serving a functional purpose in Krakow’s winter.

Krakow Weather in January What to Expect

Activities and Attractions

January in Krakow offers a range of activities and attractions suited to the chilly weather. You’ll find a variety of indoor and outdoor options to enjoy the city’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant atmosphere, despite the cold.

Winter atmosphere in Krakow

Indoor Activities

Museums: Take advantage of fewer tourists and explore Krakow’s renowned museums. The Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, houses several museums with rich collections. Notable ones include the National Museum, which features Polish art and history, and Oskar Schindler’s Factory.

Cafés and Bars: Warm yourself in the cosy cafés and bars throughout Krakow. The city is known for its unique local cafés, where you can enjoy a hot drink and traditional Polish pastries. In the evening, the bars in both the Old Town and Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter, offer a snug refuge with a variety of warming Polish vodkas.

Unique Features of Krakow's Cafes

Concerts and Events: The cultural calendar doesn’t stop after Christmas. Look out for local concerts and events, including performances at the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre and Philharmonic concerts, which often have a more intimate feel at this time of year.

Outdoor Excursions

Ice-Skating: Embrace the winter by visiting the outdoor ice-skating rinks. There’s often one in the Main Market Square in the Old Town, surrounded by the stunning architecture and the remnants of the festive decorations.

Winter Walks: Your trip to Krakow in January wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through the snow-covered streets of the Old Town or along the Vistula River. It’s a tranquil time to see the Wawel Castle and the Planty Park.

Wawel castle during winter

Local Events: Keep an eye out for local events happening in the city, as January still offers a variety of cultural and social activities. Outdoor events may include winter markets that continue the festive spirit of Christmas into the new year.

Accommodation and Dining

Best winter restaurants in Krakow

January in Kraków may be chilly, but your stay needn’t be. With an array of hotels offering warm beds, and restaurants serving hot meals, you’re well-covered.

Hotels and Stays

Kraków presents a variety of hotels to match your preferences and budget. If you’re seeking luxury, consider a stay at a boutique hotel situated near the Main Square, where the fusion of history and modern amenities provides a cosy retreat from the winter cold.

For travellers watching their spend, numerous mid-range hotels offer a comfortable yet affordable experience, often inclusive of a hearty breakfast to start your day right.

  • Budget: Kraków Hostel, Centrum Hostel
  • Mid-range: Aparthotel Stare Miasto, Hotel Wawel
  • Luxury: Bonerowski Palace, Hotel Stary

Culinary Options

Traditional polish bars and restaurants in Krakow in January

Your culinary journey in Kraków will be as satisfying as the town’s rich history. Heated cafes line the streets, inviting you in with the aroma of fresh coffee and pastries.

Dive into the local cuisine at one of the many traditional Polish restaurants, where you can savour dishes like pierogi and żurek. For a more casual dining experience, explore the bars where you can enjoy local beers and snacks.

  • Restaurants: Pod Baranem, Miod Malina
  • Cafés: Café Camelot, Charlotte
  • Bars: Piwnica Pod Baranami, House of Beer

Cold january evenings in Krakow

Exploring Nearby Attractions

When the chill of January encompasses Kraków, you have the opportunity to venture beyond the city to discover nearby sites of cultural and historical significance.

Day Trips and Local Sites

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Located just within a short journey from Kraków, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is a marvel of underground engineering. Despite the cold temperatures above, the mines maintain a steady climate of about 17-18 degrees Celsius throughout the year.

Your visit will lead you through an intricate network of tunnels, where the rich history of this UNESCO World Heritage site unfolds. Remember to check tram schedules for convenient travel options.

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum

The sombre history of WWII is preserved at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. You should prepare yourself for an emotional experience as you tour the grounds of this former concentration camp, a significant reminder of the atrocities of the Holocaust.

Located approximately 70 km from Kraków, it’s an essential January day trip to Auschwitz for those interested in history.

Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains

For a stark contrast to the city’s landscape, consider a day trip to Zakopane. This mountain resort town lies at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, the highest range of the Carpathians.

Crisp winter air and picturesque snowy peaks await, and you can immerse in the region’s distinctive culture and winter sports.


Kraków’s Market Square

Closer to the heart of the city, Kraków’s Market Square is accessible via a short walk or tram ride, offering a vibrant atmosphere despite the winter cold. Explore the various stalls, cafes, and historic sites like the Cloth Hall and St. Mary’s Basilica.

Galeria Krakowska

For those who prefer indoor activities, Galeria Krakowska presents itself as a modern shopping heaven. Close to the main train station and easily accessible by tram, you can shop for local and international goods, or simply enjoy the warm ambiance.

By integrating these excursions into your itinerary, you’ll witness the diverse facets of Southern Poland, each with its own story and beauty, even during the frostier months.

Galeria Krakowska

Tips for Travellers

When visiting Krakow in January, you’re likely to experience cold temperatures and possibly snow. It’s important to prepare for these conditions to enjoy your trip comfortably and safely.

Weather-Related Tips

Dressing Appropriately:

  • Clothing: Be sure to pack a warm coat, a scarf, and gloves to protect against the chilly weather. Layering is essential, as indoor places may be heated.
  • Footwear: Waterproof boots are advisable as they provide both warmth and dryness, especially if it snows.

Staying Comfortable:

  • Humidity: The relative humidity can make it feel colder, but also bring a picturesque frost. Moisturiser can help protect your skin from the dry air.
  • Rain Gear: While snow is more common, always carry an umbrella to be prepared for rain or sleet.

Navigating Krakow’s January Weather

Understanding the Climate:

  • High Season: January is not high season in Krakow, meaning fewer crowds and more comfortable sightseeing.
  • Sunlight: Days can be quite short with limited sunlight, so plan your outdoor activities accordingly to maximise daylight hours.

Indoor Attractions:

  • Seek out indoor attractions where you can enjoy Krakow’s culture without braving the cold.
  • Many museums and galleries will offer a warm respite while providing enriching experiences.
  • Read also What to do in Krakow when it is raining

By keeping these tips in mind, your January visit to Krakow can be both enjoyable and comfortable. Stay warm and make the most of the city’s beauty during winter.


We are a team of travel lovers passionate about Krakow. We've explored every part of it and learned its history, traditions, and local secrets. We're eager to share our best tips with you. We know hidden gems and local favorites. We're more than writers; we're your personal guides. In our articles, you'll find everything what you need to know about Krakow. team – Your Krakow Experts

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