5 Best Farmers’ Markets In Krakow
Autumn is here and it won’t go away for a while. And then winter comes which does not make things any better when it comes to you dreaming of flip flops and short sleeves. Autumn can take us in two directions. First – the so called Golden Polish Autumn with beautiful colourful leaves, picturesque sunrays and relative warmth. Second – the unpleasant option with dark and grim skies, constant rain and bone-chilling winds. This year it seems that we’ve had a bit of option no.1. But that’s not the only good news. Autumn is the best time of the year when it comes to fresh vegetables. Marketplaces all over the country are sprawling with fresh veggies. Pumpkins, Brussels sprouts, root vegetables and a real apple extravaganza. But most of modern Polish marketplaces are not only about carrots and apples. You can buy local goods in jars which work great as souvenirs, try something tasty (like a traditional stuffed jacket potato) or simply go eye shopping. There’s plenty of markets in Krakow and some of them are definitely worth a visit. Here’s our top 5!
Stary Kleparz/Nowy Kleparz
Two sisterly markets located in the city centre. If you don’t have time to visit both of them, focus on the first one – it’s 5 minutes walk from the Main Square. The place has pretty much everything. Starting with fresh vegetables of all kinds such as pumpkins, cucumbers, carrots, fresh horseradish and ready-made fermentation mixtures (horseradish, dill and garlic). Then there are mushrooms. Stary Kleparz is basically Krakow’s wild mushroom central. There’s a whole alley dedicated to mushrooms, and since there are no limits for mushroom picking in Poland, there are plenty of them available. They may be hard to carry overseas, but if you have a kitchen in your apartment, buy them! What else is there? Fresh eggs, cheese and poultry sold by old ladies who just got out of the bus to Krakow, a stand with the most sought-for spices, another one with dozens of types of Greek, Italian and Spanish olives and several nation-oriented stores (Turkish, Italian, Arabic, Hungarian and others).
Stary Kleparz, Rynek Kleparski
Nowy Kleparz, ul. Długa
Another location relatively close to the city centre, between the Main Square and Kazimierz (the Jewish district). Like everywhere else, fresh vegetables rule, but there’s much more here, like a stand with fresh herbs, for instance. Sold in bunches, sprinkled with water from a hose in the summer, kept undercover in autumn and winter. If you’re feeling adventurous, you may proceed to the back of the market and get some horse meat from a specialised butcher. Hala Targowa provides some cool local fast food opportunities too. There’s Krakowski Kumpir that serves huge jacket potatoes stuffed with various things such as oscypek cheese, Greek feta, sausage or cottage cheese and chives. Another place to eat is the so called ‘Nyska’ (that’s the brand of the car) which is the oldest Polish food trucks. It’s been there for decades and keeps serving the same thing – fire-grilled sausage with a bread roll and oldschool Polish soda. You can catch it between 7 pm and 5 am. If you come on Saturday morning, you can grab some cool vintage records too!
Hala Targowa, ul. Grzegórzecka 14
Probably the largest market in Krakow. It sells much more than food including Christmas trees, cheap electronics and flowers. There’s an almost proverbial question among Krakow foodies – “Is it on Imbram yet?”. Most of the fresh produce appears on Plac Imbramowski (or Imbram) first. That’s because the central area is occupied by real farmers who sell directly from their crates, sometimes from their trailers. If you’re into apples, that’s the place you should go to now. Dozens of varieties are available at low prices. The central area is surrounded by tiny specialised shops: butchers, shops with organic goods and local honey, fish stores and bakeries. Before Christmas it’s also one of the few places that sells genuine soused herrings (“matjasy” in Polish) in Krakow.
Plac Imbramowski, plac Imbramowski 179
Plac na stawach
This place is a bit off the beaten track, hidden among the tenement houses, but also quite near to a Premonstratensians Monastery in Salwator. It’s a small market with food, clothes, flowers, newspapers and other things. There’s a nice butcher, a good bakery and plenty of fresh loal produce which is all a good market needs. One particular stall stands out. It’s called Stragan Ekologiczny (The Eco Stand) and sells all sorts of bio goods starting with fresh vegetables, through honeys and bread and ending with nuts. A whole lot of nuts. In the past, there used to be a bar called ‘Bar na Stawach’ near the market. It was a place with a cult following, poets wrote about it in the 70s, musicians sang about it in the 90s and a local television even made a documentary. Right now the former bar venue houses a bakery.
Plac na stawach, Plac na Stawach 7
That’s a completely different story. Two markets located near each other in Nowa Huta – a district which is pretty much a different city. Built in the 50s as an exemplary communist city. It deserves a blog post of its own so let’s focus on the markets. They’re totally oldschool. Hipsters have never got that far from the city centre, so there’s not much for them to find here. But if you’re looking for a genuine experience, that’s the place you wanna go to. You will find people selling food from their cars or old grannies offering their produce laid down on cloths on the ground (usually garlic and dill at this time of year) for pennies. A drunk guy may want to sell you a crate of tomatoes for half the price and if you look trustworthy enough you may even find some moonshine. Even though, most of the people don’t speak English, they will be super friendly, inviting you to their stand and politely offering their goods.
Tomex, ul. Bieńczycka 168
Plac Bieńczycki, between ul. Obrońców Krzyża and ul. Kocmyrzowska
Text: Krzysiek Sokalla
We’re Eat Polska. We run culinary tours about food and vodka in Warsaw, Krakow and Gdansk. We’re also passionate foodies and city explorers, and this blog is where we share our hints with you.