Not only a beautiful former capital city, steeped in Polish history, Krakow also has some of the best vegan and gluten-free cafes that I’ve been to in Poland. I visited Krakow a few times while living in Wroclaw, and whether you’re just wandering around, or with a walking tour, Krakow is a wonderful city to explore. (If you do take a walking tour, I’m a huge fan of Free Walking Tours–and make sure to ask the guide the story of the Trumpeter of Krakow.)
Cafe Młynek in the Jewish Quarter has a great selection of vegan and vegetarian food, with some great gluten-free options.
The gluten-free potato pancakes are savory and fried perfectly, and the portions are generous. The breakfasts are amazingly huge and fresh, loaded with lots of veggies. If you’re more in the mood to stay out late, their kitchen is open late— til about 11 pm— and they serve wonderful gluten-free Czech beer, Celia’s.
(While made the happy discovery of Celia’s while living in the Czech Republic, I didn’t realize they also made a dark beer. I’ll have to start checking stores for this one…)
The best gluten-free pierogies in Poland are, hands down, at Pod Baranem in Krakow. You might need to make a reservation, as it’s a popular restaurant, but those delicious stars of Polish comfort food are totally worth it. Also, a delectable array of desserts, also gluten-free.
(They do have a full menu of other dishes, but I was focused on the pierogies.)
When you’re out exploring the old town square, there are two good vegan-friendly restaurants to check out. One is Glonojad Vegetarian Bar, which in addition to having an English menu, makes it even easier by having their chilled salads and grain dishes in a display case up front.
A few doors down is Miąższ, which has great gluten-free sandwiches. Good quality wheatless bread is hard to come by, but this little shop has tasty bread, a bit like sourdough. (If you need a quick meal for the bus ride home, keep this one in mind!)
In the old town square itself, there’s the buffet restaurant Chimera. The service is quick, food is fast and flavorful, and it’s easy to see what you’re getting— but if you don’t know any Polish, or are shy at communicating, I’d skip this one.
For a good snack, stop by the Cupcake Corner for a gluten-free cupcake. They do only have one kind, but they’re tasty (and travel well, if you want to take one with you.)
And finally, I need to give a recommendation to a very cool tour group: Crazy Guides in Krakow. If you’re interested in Communist history, give this group a call, as they do fun, fascinating tours of Nowa Huta and Communist history. Nowa Huta is now a neighborhood in Krakow, but it began as a Stalin planned and built factory town. Best of all, they take you around in a genuine Trabant car— and the tour includes a stop at an old-fashioned restaurant and a complementary shot of Polish vodka.
Fortunately, it’ s vegan. And who doesn’t like an excuse to drink vodka in the morning?