Tourist Traps in Krakow. What to Watch Out for in Krakow?

Krakow is one of the safest tourist cities in Europe. There are no bad neighbourhoods, homeless people or gangs of thugs on the streets. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be careful in Krakow. If you are going to Krakow and you wonder what to watch out for in Krakow, we have prepared for you a list of tourist traps in Krakow. What to watch out for when visiting Krakow?

Fraudulent currency exchange offices and ATMs

We have already reminded those of you travelling to Krakow what currency is in Poland. If you come to Krakow and need cash, be careful when exchanging money in an exchange office (pol. Kantor). In Cracow the exchange offices are rather honest in the sense that you won’t get counterfeit money or out of circulation notes instead of zlotys. However, there can be far-reaching manipulation of the buying and selling rate, simply low exchange rates. It is worth looking for a suitable exchange office with a good rate for money exchange into zlotys. Kantor in a shopping mall, near the airport or in a tourist street is unlikely to have a good rate. When it comes to ATMs scam, all tourists probably know what it is all about. In Krakow there are machines of one of the chains known for exchanging money at a very unfavourable rate.


In many European countries and tourist cities, going out to a stripclub is normal and legitimate entertainment. In Poland, in many cases, it is different. Because of Catholic morality, strip clubs are not often visited by Poles and in Poland they have become a trap for tourists. In the Polish and world media, you can read stories of many people having problems with this kind of establishments in Poland. Krakow is not a good city to go to a stripclub and these clubs do not have a good reputation. It is better to meet with a professional working girl in her private flat…


Taxis tend to rip off tourists in many countries around the world. Poland is no exception here. Taxi prices in Krakow are not high, but there are cases of dishonest taxi drivers. If you want to order a taxi, order it through the official application in your phone or by calling directly to the cab company headquarters. Instead of a taxi, you can also use Bolt and Uber in Krakow. We do not recommend ordering a taxi on the street or using the services of people who talk to you on the street and offer you a ride. You must get a receipt after each taxi ride!

Restaurants „more Polish than Poland”

Walking around the centre of Krakow, it is easy to come across restaurants serving uncomplicated and unsophisticated Polish cuisine at high prices. Beware of Polish restaurants whose decor is „Polish” to the point of exaggeration. Ethnic countryside motifs, massive wooden furniture, often even no waiter service. These are the typical features of restaurants aimed at serving tourist traffic and not offering top-class culinary experiences. It is very easy to recognise the restaurants we have in mind. Poles do not eat in them. If you want to try Polish cuisine, we suggest going to a good restaurant recommended in the Michelin Guide, or… go to a so-called milk bar (pol. bar mleczny). Milk bars are a relic of communist times in Poland. They are low-class places serving simple meals at very low prices. You won’t find them outside the former Eastern Bloc countries, and they can be a tourist attraction in themselves.

Tourist-oriented restaurants

Continuing the theme of restaurants, it is also worth watching out for those that do not look like a trap for tourists, but in fact are. Especially in the vicinity of the Main Square and on the Square itself there are many restaurants where you will not meet locals. They are characterized by high prices, low quality of served meals and low quality of service. Before you choose a restaurant in Krakow it is worth checking the opinion about it in Google or using our articles about good restaurants in Krakow.

Extortion of tips and careless ordering in restaurants

Restaurants in Krakow can be a trap for tourists. When going to a restaurant it is worth to pay attention to one more important thing. Staff of many establishments focused on tourists in Krakow force tipping. There are restaurants in Krakow in which when giving a bill will be automatically added to it 10 or 15%, although there was no information about it. The staff will give you the price with and without a tip and suggest you pay the tip they have set! Forcing a tip is an outrageous situation which puts the guest in an uncomfortable position. Remember one more thing. If you order drinks or alcohols in Krakow always mention which type of vodka, wine, beer or mineral water you want to order. In unfair places if you order just „water” or „vodka” the staff will serve you the most expensive item on the menu!

Street swindlers

This topic is related to food in restaurants, clubs and stripclubs. A wise Polish saying says that high quality does not need advertising, so if you are approached on the street by a person inviting you to a club or restaurant, you can guess that the recommended place is not the best and is aimed only at rich tourists. Do not be fooled by any leaflets, discounts or attractive girls inviting you for a drink. These are at best not very good clubs and venues and at worst scams and frauds. Do not sign any agreements to help animal shelters or climate-saving donations asked for by people who approach you on the street. Do not give money to people who extort money for sick children or other „life tragedies”. These are also scams

Overpriced souvenirs and services

Poland is one of the poorest countries in the European Union. Poles earn little, prices in Poland are low and shopping in Poland is cheap. If you want to buy souvenirs from Poland, avoid shopping in the tourist centre of Krakow. The shops in the centre are geared towards people willing to pay Western European prices. Jewellery, clothes, souvenirs, mascots or alcohol – look for all these things in normal shops, not in tourist shops. If you want to use services such as a hairdresser, a guide, a beautician, a gym or a shuttle service, find out what salaries and prices are in Poland. Do not overpay when there are no reasons to do so.

Parking in the vicinity of the Main Square

This is not a scam but something to watch out for in Krakow. The centre itself and the streets around Krakow’s Main Square are places where only residents, business owners and people with permits can drive and park. You can only enter the area around the Main Square if your hotel of choice has its own paid parking spaces. Entering without a permit can result in a fine or a wheel lock on your car. Parking in Krakow itself is paid for from Monday to Saturday. Read more about parking in Krakow here.

Common traps for tourists

Krakow is generally a safe city, but as in any tourist city, it is worth being careful here. Do not buy drugs from someone offering them to you on the Market Square. Possession and sale is illegal in Poland. Do not be fooled by any bets or street games. Do not give money to beggars, and on crowded streets watch your documents and wallets. It is better not to leave valuables in the car so that they are visible from outside of the vehicle. Krakow is safe, but this does not exempt you from using common sense.

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