Are you planning to visit Krakow for the first time? Or maybe you live in this beautiful city every day, but you haven’t had time to see all the most interesting corners and attractions in Krakow? You have nothing to wait for! Krakow is waiting for tourists from all over the world and its surroundings. Get to know the top attractions closer! Rushing through everyday life, it is worth stopping to notice the beauty that surrounds us, the amazing architecture, developing gastronomy, and unique places set in the capital of Malopolska.
Thanks to the Krakow Airport, you can sightseeing and discover Krakow’s attractions even if you are from another country or continent. Krakow is waiting for visitors from all over Europe!
Visiting Krakow – must-see attractions in Krakow
Krakow, also called the City of Kings, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Poland. It attracts tourists from all over Europe, mainly by its well-preserved monuments, interesting local culture, fantastic museums, and a very well-developed gastronomic offer. Every day thousands of people come here to see the Wawel Royal Castle with Cloth Hall, to get a taste of Cracovian bagels or local food, and to take a picture in front of St Mary’s Basilica on the Main Market Square. Being next to this historic church, it is worth visiting inside. The colorful wall paintings, designed by Jan Matejko, harmonize beautifully with the medieval architecture and are an appropriate background for the Veit Stoss Altar, officially recognized as the greatest masterpiece of Gothic art in Poland and the eighth wonder of the world by Pablo Picasso. It is a must-see during visiting Krakow Old Town.
Activities in Krakow
Is a weekend enough to see and explore the whole city? Probably not, however, nobody said that it’s not worth coming here more than once. Being here, it’s worth gathering forces and setting off to explore not only the magnificent Wawel Castle, but also Jewish Quartet, Oskar Schindler’s Factory, art galleries and all the other places worth seeing. Ready to go? Get to the heart of Krakow and get to know the former capital of Poland, which has stolen the admiration of more than one traveler, hundreds of artists and thousands of students.
Even the locals here, all the time discovering new and interesting places that they have never heard of from anyone before, but which attract with their “otherness” and uniqueness.
Sightseeing the Old Town in Krakow
Each city has a few characteristic symbols that simply must be seen. It is the same with Krakow. If you want to follow the most famous route, take the Royal Route, which is the name of the trail leading through all the famous monuments in Krakow.
Discover the Royal Route tour
The Royal Route starts from Matejko Square, through Florianska Street, to the Main Square, then through Grodzka Street to the Wawel Castle. You will see the most characteristic monuments of the city such as the Barbican, St. Florian’s Gate, St. Mary’s Church, the Cloth Hall, the Town Hall Tower and Wawel Hill. There are also numerous churches along the Royal Route: St. Adalbert’s Church, St. Peter and Paul’s Church, St. Andrew’s Church and St Mary’s Basilica. The icing on the cake is the Renaissance Royal Castle, known as Wawel. And under it the mysterious Dragon’s Den – a cave where the legendary Wawel Dragon used to live. This is undoubtedly a very common attraction, but anyone who is interested in Polish history and has read about all the kings or bards buried at Wawel Castle will be fascinated by the first visit to the castle. It’s worth visiting it at least once in your life. After all, this place is as important for Poland as the Acropolis is for Greece or the Capitol is for Rome.
Beautiful Polish City on the Vistula River
On the city map, there are four characteristic viewpoints – Krakow’s mounds! The views from a bird’s eye view can be stunning! You can climb the Kościuszko Mound, the Wanda Mound, the Krakus Mound or the highest point in Krakow – the Piłsudski Mound (383 m above sea level) and admire the panorama stretching from them. Streets full of people, fantastic view to the Old Town, Wawel Royal Castle and fantastic sunsets for free!
Planty Park is one of the most important symbols of the city. Whether you like it or not, everyone in Krakow will walk at least a part of this magnificent path. They are, after all, the silent witness of all human emotions and events, ranging from wonderful love triumphs to crimes. They saw people laughing and crying, lonely and unhappy, in joyful euphoria. Walking through here, you will hear music from every street, see interesting art exhibitions, or people dressed up. Planty Park is the perfect place, located near main Market Square, where you can walk with a dog or sightseeing buildings. Along the park, there are a lot of restaurants where you can eat local food or delicious sweets. For nighttime and walk with your dog, you should try a special cocktail from the bar.
In the basement of the Main Market Square
Probably no one can imagine a visit to Krakow without a walk around the Main Market Square. The tall St. Mary’s Basilica, the historic Cloth Hall, a building that was once the heart of Krakow’s largest medieval clothing trade, and horse-drawn carriages with hundreds of flying pigeons. You will not feel such an atmosphere in any other place on Earth. What other attractions are waiting for you on the main square, or more precisely under it?
How about a visit to the first in Poland archaeological park, which is located 8 meters under the Market Square? A multimedia exhibition Traces of the European identity of Krakow awaits you there and takes you back to the Middle Ages. This unusual place presents as much as 1000 years of the city’s history and you will also see historical objects such as a lead lump weighing almost 700 kilograms or utensils used 600 years ago.
Discover Jewish Quarter
Another place worth seeing in Krakow is the Jewish district of Kazimierz – one of the trendiest and most atmospheric places in Krakow. Jews have lived in Kazimierz since the 14th century and before World War II. While in Krakow, it is worth taking a moment to walk around this very atmospheric, yet not so crowded, part of the city.
A particularly popular route for a stroll starts from Szeroka Street, which then passes by the Old Synagogue into St. Joseph’s Street and heads towards Plac Nowy (New Square), known to all inhabitants of Krakow for its famous casseroles. There you will also find amazing cafes and restaurants, combined with traditional Jewish stores, historic architecture, many murals and art studios. There are still a few synagogues there: Isaac Yaakovich Synagogue, Kupa Synagogue, Popper Synagogue, Progressive Synagogue, Remu Synagogue, High Synagogue.
Visit museums located in the Polish city
For fans of culture and art Krakow also offers a wide range of museums. Among them are:
- Archeological Museum
- MOCAK Museum
- Ethnographic Museum
- Collegium Maius
- Schindler’s Factory
Of all the rich Krakow offer, they deserve a lot of attention because, thanks to their diversity, they allow for a close encounter with the culture of Krakow. There is really something for everyone. Very popular are especially the museums located in the Old Town: the Cloth Hall, the Market Square Underground, or the Czartoryski Museum, where you can see live one of the most famous works of art by Leonardo da Vinci.
Technology Trail attractions tour
If you have already visited Krakow and seen all the characteristic monuments, don’t be afraid to get bored! You will find there many other attractions. In addition to churches and palaces, you can see the Krakow Technology Trail. Although the route was opened in 2006, there are sixteen objects created in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Some of the most interesting are the historic streetcar depot, Gőtz Family Brewery and Schindler’s Factory. Despite the name, this museum contains more than the story of Oskar Schindler, a German Nazi industrialist who saved the lives of members of his Jewish workforce during the Holocaust. Given the museum’s popularity, it’s worth booking tickets in advance.
A favorite walking spot for Krakow residents, the Vistula River Boulevards, are also on this itinerary. Krakow is such a touristy city because there are so many places of interest in the area as well.
Wieliczka Salt Mine tour
Another attraction popular with tourists is the Wieliczka Salt Mine, located about 14 km from the city center. This extraordinary Polish monument was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1989. It’s an underground labyrinth of tunnels and chambers – about 300 km spread over nine levels, the deepest of which is 327 m underground – a small part of which is accessible to visitors. Most impressive is St. Kinga’s Chapel with its phenomenal chandeliers made of salt crystals and reliefs and floor carved in salt lumps. For the first visit in Wieliczka Salt Mine, take the full guided tour to ride the mine elevators, walk the mine galleries, and see the various chambers, chapels, and brine lakes. There is also a health resort within the Wieliczka Salt Mine. There you can stay overnight in the salt pits in a specific, healthy microclimate.
The history of Auschwitz Birkenau
For those interested in history and the wars that took place there, a must-see is the Auschwitz Museum. This is another place near Krakow city that is worth seeing, not necessarily considered an attraction. It is a place to which every polish person and every foreign visitor to Krakow should go at least once. Auschwitz Birkenau is a place of great historical significance, commemorating the greatest crimes of mankind. A visit there is not easy and pleasant, but perhaps it will only illustrate to some the enormity of the tragedy during World War II and the nazi occupation of Krakow. Especially memorable are the rooms devoted to the collected evidence of mass murder.
Are you still wondering?
If you are still thinking if you should visit Krakow, or you do not want to come here alone, we can recommend you an organized tours around the city. The local guide will show you all the most popular attractions in Krakow and you will know the history of century polish. Places like Auschwitz concentration camp, Jewish Quarter, enamel factory of Oskar Schindler or Wawel Castle in Old Town are the best way to feel the history. What is more, during these tours you can try local food, listen to the music of Krakow’s artists and visit museums.
Located near concentration camp Auschwitz Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine are also very popular to visitors and from Krakow there are also plenty of organized tours with an experienced guide.
Hotels near the Market Square
Special offers of hotels near the main Market Square are suitable to visitors and they can prove you a comfortable stay and professional service in average price. Private companies can offer you also a private transfer from the Krakow Airport to Krakow Old Town or the place where you want to stay.