Bernatka Footbridge, also known as Kładka Ojca Bernatka in Krakow, is a pretty important landmark that any tourist visiting the City of Kings should check out. Of course, there are many places in Kraków that have exactly the same thing said about it - "must-see, cannot skip"! And you are right to ask these questions! Kraków has way too many attractions to see, and your time is a precious and limited resource. What is so special about this site? What makes the bridge above Vistula River so special and worth checking out? Who is father Bernatek? If you want to learn more about Bernatek Footbridge, read further! B

What is Father Bernatek Footbridge in Kraków?

Father Bernatek Footbridge is a footbridge built under Podgórze Bridge, above Vistula River in Kraków. It creates a direct passage for pedestrians and bikers alike, linking two popular districts of Krakow – Podgórze, and Kazimierz. It’s adorned with fantastic, gravity-defying sculptures. It is named after monk Father Bernatek and is considered a Bridge of Love. Bernatka Footbridge is a relatively new addition to Krakow, only 11 years old.Bernatek Footbridge combine Kazimierz and Podgorrze district

A Footbridge To Pubcrawl

The importance of the bridge between Kazimierz and Podgórze cannot be underestimated. Kazimierz and Podgórze are tourist-friendly areas and contain many interesting places, especially pubs. Thanks to the increased pedestrian connection between each other, both districts became revitalized as centers of nightlife and fun activity. Thanks to this connection between Plac Wolnica of Kazimierz and Rynek Podgórski, you can stroll between some of the best entertainment Krakow has to offer. All in walking distance!

Be it a romantic walk or a pub crawl adventure, Father Bernatek Footbridge will serve you well. And since it is a pedestrian-specific route, you don’t have to worry about cars, making it extra safe. Especially when in a middle of a fun night! Even if you are not interested in the bridge itself, knowing where it is is very practical. It will help you flow between tourist centers of Krakow much smoother than using other routes.

Interesting places to visit at Plac Wolnica and Rynek Podgórski:

  • Podkowa
  • Strefa Piwa
  • Absynt Cafe
  • Prosto z Mostu

Bernatek Footbridge

Bridge of Love

You probably have heard of “Love Bridges”, “Bridges of Love”, and so on. Regardless of the name, the idea is popular in many cities across the world. Couples love romantic strolls, and there is something extra romantic about a walk so close to the river! Kładka Ojca Bernatka is one such Love Bridge. It is a perfect location for selfies and photos of you and your significant other. And since it is so close to so many great pubs and restaurants, you don’t really have to plan for it – it is easy to just decide to go there on impulse, as the mood strikes you. Many love confessions have been accepted there! Locals say it brings good luck and blessings.

Padlocks of Unbreakable Love Above Vistula River

Padlocks on Bernatek Footbridge

Some couples want something more than just photos and memories. They want to leave something of themselves on the bridge. You will find many names, initials, and love confessions left on the bridge in one form or another. An elegant way of making a romantic gesture without damaging the bridge has won over the hearts of both locals and tourists. Instead of carving their names into the bridge, damaging it in the process, couples decide to attach a padlock with their names engraved on it to the railing. And then, in a symbolic gesture, throw the key into the Vistula!

If you want to express the unbreakable bond between you and your significant other, this popular custom is a great way to do it. Especially since it will add to the visually stunning and impressive collection of padlocks there. Truly heartwarming!

Gravity-defying sculptures

Suspended and balancing in air-heavy sculptures are nowadays considered an iconic parts of the Bernatek Footbridge. They look almost magical, and anybody who looks at them will ask the same simple question. How are they not falling down? What on earth makes them stay in the air, suspended and balancing so elegantly? It looks almost like impossible magic! The author himself calls the whole composition a “spectacle between heaven and water”.

Iconic bridge art secured by communal effort

The story of these gravity-defying sculptures on Father Bernatek Footbridge is actually pretty cool. Initially, this art installation was only supposed to adorn the bridge for a few months of 2016, and quickly disappear. However, they became part of the iconic landscape of the area, and locals really didn’t want to see them go. Thus, both the city of Krakow and the local neighborhood association started negotiating with the author and the owner of the sculptures, Jerzy Kędziora. Their goal was simple: to have these fantastic sculptures remain there forever!

Initially, the city of Krakow only decided to buy part of the collection, but the neighborhood of Podgórze banded together to continue negotiations on their own and buy the rest of the sculptures. And thanks to this, instead of a short-lived seasonal curiosity, Father Bernatek Footbridge gained its own legit tourist attraction. It is hard to imagine it now without these sculptures. They became part of the identity of the bridge.

Who is Bernatek Footbridge named after?

The name comes from Father Bernatek, a member of the Order of Brothers Hospitallers of St. John. Since Father Bernatek was responsible for building a nearby hospital, the city decided to name the bridge in his honor. Interestingly enough, there was quite a competition for the name of the footbridge! Many people had different ideas. The most popular ones were Podgórze Footbridge (Kładka Podgórska) and Karol Footbridge (Kładka Karola). This is because of the significance of the Podgórze district, and the fact that there used to be a Karol Bridge nearby. The idea was to make the footbridge a spiritual successor of the begone historical bridge.

A direct way to St.Joseph’s church

St Joseph’s church in the Podgorze district of Krakow is one of the prettiest buildings in the city. Many visitors naturally notice it while walking on the bridge, and decide to take a short break from whatever they were planning to do so that they can appreciate this beautiful and charming building. It takes the proverbial 5 minutes to stroll to the St.Joseph’s church from the Bernatek Footbridge. You won’t regret taking the detour! It is a must-see opportunity.