Bathed in the Sun

1 July 2022

Summer months in Kraków abound with outdoor activities: walking through lush greenery, picnics in the park, dancing at concerts…

When the weather’s good, Cracovians flock to the Vistula Boulevards and parks in the city centre, as well as venturing further afield to seek the finest music, cinema, markets and food.

But it’s perfectly clear that a real Cracovian summer can’t start without a look at our roots. Before the Wianki Music Festival resounds at the Rynek Główny, Powiśle and Krak Mound on 25 June (see p. 14), check out the Slavic-themed events at the C.K. Norwid Cultural Centre. On 19 June, we celebrate Kupała Night at the Wanda Mound. Justyna Dutka from the C.K. Norwid Cultural Centre explains that the event celebrates a range of Slavic traditions, from customs venerating the dead to food shared at feasts and celebrations. Participants will hear lectures about the region during the days of the Slavs and take part in workshops in weaving garlands and making lucky dolls. The family picnic, outdoor activities and fun in the sun will be accompanied by historical re-enactments by the Dziejawa Living Slavic Museum. Between 16 and 26 June, the St. John Fair returns to the Czerwieński Boulevard, recalling ancient craft and mercantile traditions.

In early July, the Nowa Huta Cultural Centre presents a melting pot of artistic and creative events. “The latest edition of the NH FEST is here. Its idea is rooted in the Nowa Huta Art Festival, a two-day event held a few years ago. NH FEST encompasses concerts, theatre and dance performances, visual arts and workshops held at the revitalised space around the Nowa Huta Cultural Centre throughout the two months of summer,” says Zbigniew Grzyb, the centre’s director. As well as concerts held at two outdoor stages, welcoming artists such as Antoni Krupa, Wolna Grupa Bukowina, Czerwono-Czarni and the Military Orchestra of Kraków, there will be a cycle of meetings “Breakfast TV for Supper”. The garden of the Łaźnia Nowa Theatre and the Utopia House presents Bulwar(t) Sztuki, featuring film screenings, performances and workshops held throughout the summer.

The Biały Prądnik district promises fascinating holiday weekends. “The outdoor stage at the Białoprądnicki Manor Cultural Centre welcomes artists including Ablaye Badji with his international ensemble, Dark Leaves, Cinemon, Sekcja Muzyczna Kołłątajowskiej Kuźni Prawdziwych Mężczyzn, Tan Freaky, Grzegorz Dowgiałło and Piotr Bolanowski, Skubisz/Lemańczyk Cooperation, Zuza Baum and New Bone. The project NATURAlnie Kino starts on 25 June. It features magical screenings under starry skies, far from the hustle and bustle,” says Monika Szostek from the Białoprądnicki Manor Cultural Centre.

Let’s head to the Old Town to find more attractions. If you encounter the Lajkonik, it means summer is in full swing. This year, the hobby horse returns to his usual tricks on 23 June. The cortege follows its traditional route, starting from Senatorska Street, passing the Norbertine Convent, Kościuszki Street, Zwierzyniecka Street, the Kraków Philharmonic, Franciszkańska Street and Grodzka Street to reach the Rynek Główny where the Lajkonik collects his ransom money from the Mayor of the City of Kraków. The 46th International Folk Art Fair comes to the Rynek Główny between 6 and 21 August. It is the largest and most extensive presentation of Polish folk art and arts and crafts in Central and Eastern Europe, creating the perfect conditions for cultivating and preserving traditional handicrafts and folk arts. There will be stalls with embroiderers, potters, lacemakers, weavers and sculptors selling their wares, and a stage hosting folk ensembles from Poland and abroad. The nearby Mały Rynek hosts the Pierogi Festival (11-15 August), with exhibitors serving up boiled, fried and roasted delicacies with traditional and more exotic fillings. Once you’ve eaten your fill, wander down to the gazebo at Planty Park (on the side of Westerplatte Street) where the Kraków Cultural Forum presents Promenade Concerts. Concerts for audiences of all ages fill all summertime weekends.

Kraków’s outdoor spaces also host myriad food festivals, food trucks and green fairs. Don’t miss the Art & Food Bazaar at the Stary Kleparz market on 26 June, 31 July, 21 August and 11 September where you can sample dishes prepared by local producers. The event promotes food made using top-quality produce, delicacies and dishes from all corners of the globe, with the menu regularly featuring seafood, oysters and organic prosecco. The Arena Garden by Tauron Arena Kraków celebrates world street food. Stretch out on a sun lounger and join culinary demonstrations, workshops and animations and breakfast on the lawn. In the evenings, the nearby stage presents DJ sets, stand-up comedians, meetings with YouTubers and concerts. The NaBagry Food Park near the Bagry Reservoir by Kozia Street welcomes visitors to its lush gardens filled with flowers and greenery. The Bezogródek Food & Music on Błonia Meadows (41 Focha Avenue) is an urban jungle chill-out zone with food trucks, events for kids and DJ sets inspired by exotic journeys and tropical vegetation. Pop into the Hype Park complex at Kamienna Street with its live music stages (see p. …) and food stalls in a beautifully arranged post-industrial recreation space. Finally, the Najedzeni Fest! comes to Stary Kleparz on 18 September with a focus on the humble potato. Get ready for fascinating culinary initiatives, cookery workshops and presentations by restaurants, bars, online shops and delicious publications.

If you feel like breathing in fresh air (almost) beyond the city, head to the Wolski Forest on 18 June during the 24th Małopolska Days of Cultural Heritage. The event, organised by the Małopolska Cultural Institute and held under the banner “Nature”, promotes the region with a screening of the film Slow Las, guided tours at the former Okocim Pavilion with the art historian Piotr Cypryański, and children’s workshops hosted by the “Symbiosis” Education Centre. The Mech Café serves coffee and stories rooted in nature – it is the perfect inspiration for creating delicious infusions.

Bathed in sunshine, Kraków has plenty of attractions to offer – even if the sunshine turns into light summer rain!

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