Full of moody cafes and bearded Bohemians, Kazimierz has been Krakow’s hip spot for nigh on two decades. Despite development, more cool bars seem to open than close, whilst the district’s melancholy soul is as captivating as ever…
For centuries Krakow’s Kazimierz district was the cultural, spiritual and physical home of the city’s Jews – some 64,000 before the Second World War, to be exact. This is why it’s known as the city’s Jewish Quarter to this day, and the place to go to visit historic synagogues, some of which are holding regular services again, and to witness the revitalization of the Yiddish community at the Jewish Community Centre.
Since the 90s, Kazimierz became known as the hip, laid-back alternative to an Old Town overrun by tourists, and many of its cafes and bars have become local icons.
But there’s more to Kazimierz than its Jewish past. After the war devastated the local population, the neighbourhood gained a reputation as the rough part of town, but low rents and its proximity to the Old Town soon attracted brave artists, writers and other assorted bohemians. Since the 90s, Kazimierz became known as the hip, laid-back alternative to an Old Town overrun by tourists, and many of its cafes and bars have become local icons. Today, Kazimierz is no longer the hidden jewel in Krakow’s crown due to huge international events such as the Jewish Culture Festival, which draw tens of thousands of revellers every summer, but it is still a place where life moves a little more slowly than in the rest of the city.
The charm of Kazimierz lies in its many cafes and shops that are still frequented by locals. The best place to get a taste of this lifestyle (because Kazimierz really is a lifestyle, just ask anyone who’s lived there for a few years), is at the market on Plac Nowy. It’s busiest on the weekends, when more vendors are trading, and you can buy or browse through everything from fresh fruit and veggies to vintage records and clothing, and not forgetting Soviet-era postcards and other memorabilia.
Kazimierz really is a lifestyle, just ask anyone who’s lived there for a few years…
If you’re more in the mood to sit and take in the surroundings, grab an outside or window-adjacent table at Kolory on the same square. This à la française café boasts an eccentric mix of clientele as well as delicious cakes to go with your cappuccino.