The Best Swimming Places In Krakow

Summer has arrived. The Old Town of Kraków is being scorched by the unrelenting sun, and the heat seems to be emanating from the structures themselves. You’ve done your best to stay cool by eating massive amounts of ice cream, avoiding the sun by haunting different museums, and hiding out in your hotel room. Nothing appears to work, though.

The landlocked city of Kraków offers beaches and other amazing ways to cool off, but think again before you consider stripping naked and jumping into the Vistula River (not a good idea, which is why you won’t see Cracovians doing so). The residents come here to escape the heat.

Use the advice in our weekly newsletter, which is delivered to your mailbox, to make the most of your upcoming trip and take the Swimming lessons for children.

In Kraków, Bagry Lagoon is the most well-liked swimming spot.

Get moving early and head to this artificial reservoir in Podgórze Paszów, about 5 km (3.1 miles) southeast of center Kraków, which is undoubtedly the most well-liked and greatest swimming location in the city.

Families frequently congregate in the built-up leisure area, where the parents unpack snacks and packed lunches at the picnic tables or sway in the hammocks as the kids play on the playground and the lifeguards (on duty from mid-June to mid-August) keep a close eye on the swimmers.

If you enjoy water sports, you can rent paddleboats, SUPs, sailboats, and canoes from the two marinas near the recreation area (June through late September) and even participate in sporadic sailing competitions. Fishermen and sunbathers seeking solitude travel the pathways around the reservoir to the farther-off, untamed beaches.

The beaches at Kryspinów Lagoon are many.

Another Krakowian favorite is Kryspinów, which is south of the airport and just outside the municipal limits of Kraków. A small entrance fee ensures a wonderful day of sun and sand. This substantial reservoir is reached by regular bus from the center of Kraków and offers more room to stretch out than Bagry.

Families congregate at the leisure area next to the busier of the four expansive beaches, where there are two authentic karczmas (Polish taverns) serving refreshments, a playground, and a ropes course.

Adrenaline junkies can enter the water and study wakeboarding fundamentals (a cross between water skiing, surfing and snowboarding). A real wakepark with jumps on the lake for more experienced wakeboarders is available at one of the beaches (make reservations in advance). And if wakeboarding isn’t exhilarating enough, try flyboarding, where you soar far over the lake on a board pushed by two water jets.

On weekends, Przysta Brzegi offers a party atmosphere.

Another great Kraków swimming area is this attractive, long, sandy beach between two reservoirs, which is located on the eastern edge of the city, around 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from Old Town. The finest days to go swimming and sunbathing are during the workweek. Weekends are marked by a beach party atmosphere. While the adults engage in competitive volleyball and tug-of-war matches or take to the sea in rented kayaks and rowboats, the youngsters race down inflatable slides and scramble over water obstacle courses under the watchful eye of on-duty lifeguards.

There are three shuttles every day to Przysta Brzegi, and there is an entry fee per passenger from late June to mid-August. In the off-season, you’ll probably have the place to yourself and require your own wheels.

The entire family will have a terrific time at Kraków Water Park.

The enormous indoor aqua park in Kraków, located north of Old Town, is the perfect place for water babies of all ages to cool down if sand and sunlight are not a deal-breaker.

Smart residents gather here on weekday mornings to take advantage of all the watery attractions, including swings, climbing walls, and a play area with a pirate theme (avoid weekends or you will have to wait in line for each water slide). If your children are old enough to keep themselves occupied, you can enjoy in a leisurely gaze from the poolside cafe while using the hot tubs, saunas, and massage fountains.

The artificial beach at Nova Huta Reservoir is popular during the summer.

This reservoir and the surrounding parkland were meant to give the workers and their families with a much-needed recreational place when the socialist-realist workers’ paradise of Nowa Huta was constructed in the northwest of the city in the 1950s. They were severely neglected in the 1990s, but now that they have been renovated, locals and their children swarm to the artificial beach with sun loungers on hot summer days. If you’re not courageous enough to swim in the reservoir itself, walk to the adjoining sports complex with two swimming pools. The food trucks and ice cream shops give the area a summer fair feel.

Rent a kayak and steer clear of the boisterous group of paddleboats to find some peace among the lone fishermen on the other side of the reservoir (fish are routinely restocked by city authorities).

A trendy riverfront hangout is Forum Przestrzenie.

This enormous, grafitti-covered riverbank cafe/bar/bistro, which channels large beach feelings without the actual beach, has developed into one of Kraków’s hippest and most inventive summer hangouts, drawing a multitude of young local trendies. There are few better ways to spend a lazy summer day than lounging in a beach chair on a strip of artificial beach, your toes firmly in the sand, and a cold craft beer in your hand. It originally opened in the grounds of the hideous concrete monstrosity, Forum Hotel, a throwback to the days of Soviet hospitality. We promise that the very thought of it will make you feel cooler. If not, simply go to the Termy Krakówskie Forum across the street.

Recreational space is being created at Zakrzowek Quarry.

This former limestone quarry’s breathtakingly blue, seemingly endless waters have long attracted residents for some unauthorized swimming and cliff diving. It is surrounded by tall limestone cliffs and a dense pine forest. Even though Zakrzowek seems a million miles from Kraków’s urban bustle, Kapelanka, southwest of Old Town, is only accessible by a quick tram trip (#1, #4). A nearby diving school called Nurkomania teaches scuba diving in the spring and summer. Students exploring the reservoir’s depths come across sunken vessels and even a miniature plane with two mannequins in the cockpit.

You may still go hiking along the densely forested limestone bluffs, take in views of Wawel Castle from the quarry rim, and look forward to future swims in these azure waters even though the lagoon itself is currently off-limits while local officials transform it into a public leisure area.

A sauna and a swimming pool are available at Termy Krakówskie Forum.

This sauna facility, which is situated on the grounds of the “iconic” (read: ugly) Forum Hotel, allows you to unwind while taking in unimpeded views of Wawel Royal Castle while wearing nothing but a smile (well, and a towel). No bathing suits, though—this is a traditional sauna. We hear you saying, “Why would I go to the sauna when it’s so hot outside?” Because after spending some time in the Turkish bath, salt room, and infrared sauna, you may use the little outdoor pool and dash to the chilling section to drench yourself in buckets of ice water.

Water jets in Plac Szczepanski will keep you cool.

This is a bit of a last resort if you’re dragging yourself through Old Town in the heat and feel yourself about to turn into a puddle of melted goo. It’s definitely not a beach or a place to go swimming. This tiny square is focused around a fountain in front of the Art Nouveau Palace of the Arts, a block from Rynek Glowny. You’ll witness children (and occasionally adults) playing in the spray as water jets erupt from the ground in various locations, and the more daring ones may choose to defy the warnings that say “don’t climb in the pool” and splash in the fountain’s main body.