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Krakow Wellness Guide: Healthy Eating, Spas, Exercise Options and More

March 24, 2020
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Monika Prylinska

Fitness in Krakow

Bikes for rent in Krakow
It's easy to burn some calories on a bike ride in Krakow. | Photo via Pixabay

One of the best places to practice yoga and dance is Kontakt at 40 Szpitalna Street. It is quite small and local, but at the same time attracts people who are very open minded and friendly. Classes are mostly in Polish, but many of them can be translated into English. You can come any time and join any class you are interested in. It’s also worth mentioning that every Sunday at 9 p.m. there is a great party where you can dance like no one is watching and wear whatever you like; nobody will judge you. Prices are very reasonable – between EUR 1-10 per class.

In terms of other spots and physical activities, you can practice almost everything you like in Krakow. We have tennis courts, horse clubs, swimming pools, dance classes, and more – let us know what you wish to do and we can send you details.

The best trekking and skiing is available in the Beskidy and Tatra Mountains outside the city. Some of our local guides are also licensed mountain guides so there is no problem organizing a customized trip just for you. We can prepare anything, from an easy panoramic walk to more strenuous treks and skiing excursions.

There are also a lot of running and cycling possibilities in Krakow. The most popular routes are found along the Vistula River where there is a waterfront path, and in Planty Park where you can jog or walk a 3.4-kilometre loop around the old city’s main sights. For those who prefer to get moving on two wheels, there is also a nice cycling route connecting the city center with the Ruczaj district.

Spa & Beauty

Hotel Stary Krakow
Stop by Hotel Stary to make use of their wellness centre | Photo by Hotel Stary

Krakow is the home of the “Queen of Beauty” AKA Helena Rubinstein, who created the first ever Beauty Institute where she invented Valaze, the first moisturizing cream in 1902. Nowadays you can see her original house in the former Jewish quarter and next to it, a luxurious hotel with a splendid panoramic roof garden named after her. Her branded cosmetics are sold all over the world by French company L’Oréal.

Hammam Szeherezada was the first, and up to now the only original Turkish hammam in Poland. Here you can steam your stress away in comfort and seclusion. The purported health benefits include reduced allergy symptoms and elimination of toxins. They also offer massage and other spa services.

Maha Punye Ayurveda is another spot for relaxation and pampering. Their treatments are based on Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of natural healing.

The wellness centre and spa at Hotel Stary are open to non-guests and include a gym, two swimming pools, massage treatments, dry sauna, salt-iodine chamber, and steam room with aromatherapy.

Only a 20-minute drive from Krakow you will find the UNESCO-listed Wieliczka Salt Mine. You can improve your health even by visiting as its microclimate is very good for your breathing system. If you are not interested in sightseeing at all, but you still feel like going underground to find yourself in a healthy area, we recommend spending a day or a whole night in the spa part of the Salt Mine. For people who are claustrophobic or simply prefer a blue sky over underground chambers and corridors, there is the Graduation Tower. The natural brine mist that forms in the area of the tower is similar to what you would experience by the sea. Purported benefits of breathing deeply here include relaxation and improved breathing for those with respiratory issues.

Healthy Eating in Krakow

Veg To Tu Krakow
Grab a tasty vegetarian meal in Krakow at Veg to Tu | Photo by Veg to Tu

For Polish people there are two things that are staples in most diets: soups and pickles. Traditional soup can be made out of anything, including strawberry in the summertime. Pickles are present all over and they are the most recognizable ingredient of our dishes. Think about a picked cucumber for example: it is possible to have them on your breakfast sandwich, as a soup, as a salad, inside pierogis, or people even drink the brine as a cure for colds. In terms of where to get your good-food fix in Krakow, here are a few local recommendations.

Karma is a good place for a quiet lunch. You will find a large selection of meatless dishes, sandwiches and vegetable pates as well as freshly-roasted, delicious coffee. It tastes like heaven with a slice of local cheesecake or lemon tarte.

Glonojad is a popular restaurant located in a convenient place just behind the medieval Florian Gate. It’s worth taking advantage of a two-course set lunch at a good price, which changes every day. They also offer delicious, freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices.

Bonobo offers local craft beer and vegan sweets. You will not get anything else there, but it’s worth going to have a break from the Main Market Square crowd and to observe its regular visitors, mostly expats, artists and other people who are not fully accepted outside this safe space.

Vege to Tu is where to go for vegetarian food prepared with love. Donata the owner is not only a good cook, she is also a great person to be with and can offer advice on what to eat to be healthy and optimistic.

Hummus Ammamusi is where you can eat freshly prepared hummus with pita bread and pickles, drink coffee or freshly-squeezed juice, read a newspaper, and even talk with the owners or other hummus-eaters sitting nearby.

Healthy Shopping in Krakow

Krakow market
Stock up on healthy goodies at the market | Photo by Urban Adventures

For the best food shopping in Krakow, we recommend Stary Kleparz Market, located very close to the Old Town, just north of St. Florian’s Gate, between Matejko’s Square and Dluga Street. Having run since the 18th century, this is the oldest and most colourful market, where farmers bring fresh fruit and vegetables to sell daily, and for quite reasonable prices. You will always find locals here looking for good bargains. Try some samples, such as fresh mountain cheeses, famous Polish sour cucumbers or sauerkraut, and locally made sweets. As there are some expats in the city, Kleparz also offers small shops selling typical Hungarian, Italian, and even Arabic foods. Do not miss this place as they have great decor, good prices and fresh coffee that smells like heaven.

Drinking Water & Fountains

Water fountains and wells with good drinking water are most often poorly visible and are located in underground casings protected by covers at ground level. The water intake points are located several dozen meters from the well, from which water is supplied underground via a pipeline section.

There are four accessible artesian wells in the city center of Krakow:

  • Royal Well at Inwalidów Square, in the southern part of the square, at the alley bordering the Krakow Park
  • Hope Well at Officerów Street in front of Wawel Stadium
  • Lajkonik Well at Kosciuszki Street
  • Jagiellonian Well at Sikorski Square

Tap water is good for drinking, but restaurants usually don’t give out water for free. So prepare yourself before and fill up your reusable bottle at your room.

Self Improvement

Souvenir making Krakow
Learn to make a traditional folk Polish folk doll with Urban Adventres | Photo by Urban Adventures

There are several options for self improvement in Krakow. For example, our Home Cooked Krakow tour makes it easy to learn how to prepare your very own pierogi (Poland’s national dish) with a local who can give you all sorts of insider tips for perfecting the recipe back home.

Krakow Urban Adventures’ In Focus Souvenir Making Workshop is your special invitation to see the real city of Krakow, with its joys and sorrows, without separation between locals and foreigners. If you join us on this tour, not only will you learn how to make a traditional Polish folk doll to take home with you, you’ll learn about Polish history and local traditions as well as everyday life in the city and the challenges its citizens face. Being part of the tour also means you will contribute directly to the great work of Zywa Pracownia (Alive Lab), which collects funds for the social project Zupa na Plantach (Soup in Planty Park), providing food for the homeless people of Krakow.

There are many local, extraordinary neighborhoods to visit while in Krakow – a great way to get moving and find some inner peace along the way. Some areas to have on your exploration radar include Podgórze, Debniki, and Zwierzyniec where you will be surrounded by beautiful parks, old, aristocratic houses and local, colourful markets full of fresh and tasty products. Some of these areas are visited during our Markets and Flavours of Krakow tour.