Honoured by UNESCO as a global City of Literature
and peppered with monuments dedicated to the great Polish poets, Krakow
is no stranger to the bookish world. It’s also got its fair share of top-class book shops, which come in all shapes and sizes. Check them out…
Boasting an enviable location on the edge of the Main Market Square (the beating heart of the Krakow Old Town), this tight-knit little bookshop specialises in all things musical. Lutes, trumpets, signed pictures of jazz greats and even a huge grand piano are all found inside, while stacks of CDs and musical scripts are the name of the game for the rest of the collections. There’s also an on-site café, which offers arguably some of the best seating for people watching over the square – you’ll have to be the early bird if you want to secure that though!
Kurant. Księgarnia Muzyczna, Rynek Główny 36, Kraków, Poland, +48 12 422 98 59
Massolit Books & Café
Towering shelves of tomes loom overhead from the moment you walk inside Massolit Books; a cosy place nestled in an old tenement on the corners of a street just off the Krakow Old Town. The main room is scented with the freshly ground beans of artisan coffee roasters, and locals can be seen poring over dog-eared volumes in the nooks and crannies. Through a hidden door at the back, corridors that are similarly rammed with pages lead to a larger, more bookish area, where Polish academic publications and regional eastern European literature (all in English translation) are available.
Massolit Books & Café, Felicjanek 4/2, Kraków, Poland, +48 12 432 41 50
Jarden is relatively easy to find these days, thanks mainly the large, Levant-style calligraphy that proclaims “Hummus and Happiness” across its exterior. Those letters are actually for the excellent Middle Eastern mezze restaurant it shares a building with (check out Hamsa), though the bookshop isn’t unrelated to that part of the world in that it sells mainly literature related to Jewish culture and heritage. There’s a big section on Holocaust-related works, along with a multimedia collection of Jewish music and audio, all of which comes in a whole range of different lingos, from Arabic to Hebrew to English.
Jarden, Miodowa 41, Kraków, Poland, +48 12 429 13 74
LOKATOR coffee & books
Hidden on the leafy streets at the south end of the old Jewish Quarter, LOKATOR coffee & books does exactly what it says on the tin: great coffee and an interesting array of books. The interior has all the cool and quirky, swish and artsy features you’d expect of a joint in the city’s bohemian hub (Kazimierz), along with countless volumes on everything from local culture to European history; some in English, most in Polish. LOKATOR also hosts regular readings and workshops, so be sure to ask about upcoming events.
LOKATOR coffee & books, Mostowa 1, Kraków, Poland, +48 505 862 724
Named for the ground-breaking scientific publication that turned the Renaissance on its head back in 1543, this coffee shop come book emporium in the middle of the Old Town includes an honorific little nod to Poland’s own Nicolaus Copernicus. Inside, the place is cosy and clean, with arched white ceilings that dangle with lights and walls clad head-to-toe in stacks of books. There are separate sections for children’s literature and journalism, along with works on travel, art, history – the list goes on. It’s also just a fine spot to settle in for a coffee and a read.
de Revolutionibus, Bracka 14, Kraków, Poland, +48 530 769 530