Zakrzówek Lake – Reviewing Poland’s Hidden Gem of Serenity

Let me start by saying, if you’ve heard of Krakow’s Zakrzówek Lake, it was probably due to the famous Twardowski Rocks and a diving club. It wasn’t a place that the locals or tourists could readily access. Being there, you need to know that the park has gained its charm and popularity from its close proximity to the city center, and the breath-taking ambience of being near the water, encapsulated by lush greenery.

The old quarry, known for its ever-changing colors throughout the year, is a haven for many species of animals and insects, including some under protection. I am convinced that the character of this 'wild’ park is set to shift significantly due to a planned investment aimed at enhancing the area and the safety of its visitors, making it more accessible to everyone, not just diving enthusiasts.

The Zakrzówek Lake – An Urban Marvel

First, few things about the Zakrzówek Lagoon. It’s an artificial water body that came into existence in 1992, following the filling of a closed limestone quarry by the Vistula River. Considering the city surroundings, the lagoon is surprisingly large, comprising two reservoirs, joined by a small isthmus. This, paired with towering, limestone rocks, creates a splendid sight to behold.

If you want to enjoy this beauty fully, there’s a pathway at the top that circles the lagoon. Although, do watch out for the rusty metal mesh that separates you from the cliff.

↳ Make sure to read my guide to the most amazing places to stay in Kraków:
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Zakrzówek Lake in Kraków

The water in the Zakrzówek Lagoon goes as deep as 32 meters. However, I must warn you, swimming is strictly prohibited, as several signs indicate. The high risk of drowning and challenging rescue operations are the reasons behind this ban. The only exception to this rule, is diving in Zakrzówek or the swimming area. Since 1999, the Kraken Diving Center has been based here.

Zakrzówek’s Entry Limits to Swimming Area

Zakrzówek Lake – Swimming Area

Since this year, there’s a limit on the number of people who can enter the Zakrzówek bathing area. This was brought into effect following requests from lifeguardrs overseeing the safety of the area.

Upon arrival at the entrance gates, everyone receives a wristband – your ticket to the bathing area. The bathing staff will check for these bands continuously. Once you’re leaving, your band is taken off.

I believe it’s worth saying that if the place is full, the removal of your band will allow other people to enter, maintaining the 1000 person limit.

Zakrzówek Lagoon – Online Camera

Allow me to explain a neat feature added to the swimming area. They’ve set up an online camera to offer a live view of Zakrzówek. In the near future, keep an eye out for a mast that will pop up in the camera’s view. If the swimming area is full, you’ll see a black flag hanging from it.

Click the picture below to start Zakrzówek online camera:

I believe this feature is a solid solution to enhance the experience at the new swimming pool, especially when it gets crowded. Recently, Zakrzówek was so packed that people had to wait in line for hours just to get in.

Zakrzówek’s Swimming Pools Review

One of the major attractions at Zakrzówek is the set of five floating pools, each with different sizes and depths. And guess what? There’s even a sixth pool in the works, but that one is just for dogs.

Zakrzówek Swimming Pool

Here’s a quick rundown of the pool depths and who they’re for:

  • A 40 cm deep pool with a children’s area marked by white buoys – perfect for non-swimmers
  • An 80 cm deep pool – another zone for non-swimmers
  • A 120 cm deep pool – yet another safe area for non-swimmers
  • A 350 cm deep pool – this one’s for those of you who know how to swim
  • Another 350 cm deep pool – specially designed for experienced swimmers

You need to know that the average water depth around the piers is around 20 m. I can tell you that swimming outside the designated area and its operating hours comes with some risks, so be cautious.

Each of these pool structures, secured to the quarry walls, float on the water thanks to air supports. Around each pool, there are 8 m wide wooden piers that make excellent sunbathing spots.

The rocks of Zakrzówek, I think it’s worth to say, bear a striking resemblance to the landscape of the Croatian coast.

Diving in Zakrzówek Lagoon

Diving in Zakrzówek Lagoon

Back in 1990, the limestone quarry of Zakrzówek was flooded, forming two connected tanks with a strip of land about 25m wide separating them. You can enter the water from one spot in each tank. Imagine yourself diving along limestone walls that descend to about 10-15m before they hit a ledge and then another wall or „scree” continues downward.

Zakrzówek Lake – Diving

In the eyes of many divers, Zakrzówek Lagoon is one of the most attractive diving sites in the country. The underwater visibility here can reach up to an impressive 15 meters. The most fascinating sights are located at a depth of five meters.

Now, this is interesting, there’s even a Fiat 125p, a van, and a bus underwater!

Not to mention a granite plaque commemorating Karol Wojtyła who worked in this very quarry during World War II from September 1940 to October 1941.

Zakrzówek Lake – Underwater Vehicles

At present, the reservoir is leased by the Kraken Diving Center and is open for diving. The underwater attractions, resting at depths of 7-21 meters, as I said, include a large Fiat, a bus, a van, boats, and even an old workers’ changng room. There’s also that granite plaque for Karol Wojtyła.

Exploring Zakrzówek’s Depths

The max depth of the diving spot is about 32m, but from about 25m deep, there’s a dark layer where visibility drops to about 0.5-1m, even with a flashlight. This layer is getting shallower every year, so maybe in a few years, it’ll be clear even at 31m.

I think it is worth to say, just like in lakes, Zakrzówek has thermal layers. In May, the thermocline sits around 3m and by the end of June, it moves up to 7m. Visibility in winter is 10-15m, but it drops to 3-8m in summer. Below 10m, visibility improves to about 12m. The best visibility months are June and September.

Zakrzówek’s Operating Hours and Parking

The area of Zakrzówek itself is always open, including the pools. However, according to the rules, you can only use the pools when lifeguards are on duty, that’s between 10:00 and 18:00. They operate six days a week, with Mondays being closed for maintenance.

Zakrzówek Entrance Path

The official bathing season runs from June 22 to September 3.

If you need parking, there are spaces available at Nurymberska Street (Google Maps) and Wyłom Street.