1. Old Town Main Square
Rynek Glowny is the largest market square in Europe and was once an important trading location. During the day, many activities are held, such as performances, live music, markets, and more.
Enjoy summer days sitting on one of the many restaurant terraces, people watching and taking in the buzz of the city. Alternatively, visit in winter to see the square covered in a blanket of snow and the twinkling lights of the famous Krakow Christmas markets.
2. Sukiennice Cloth Hall
Krakow was once an important trading hub, and a huge amount of the trading took place in the Sukiennice Cloth Hall. In older times, products like spices, leather, and silk were sold.
These days, the Cloth Hall is still very popular, but it is now home to restaurants and souvenir shops. The hall is a beautiful centerpiece of the market square, splitting the square in two and stretching almost its entire length.
Popular thing to do in Krakow: Explore the city by Electric Scooter tour
3. St. Mary’s Basilica
One of Krakow’s iconic sites is St. Mary’s Basilica, also located at the main square. Its interior is decorated with bright blues and dazzling golds and can be visited by spending just a few Polish Zloty. Do note that the entrance is on the side of the basilica. Additionally, climb up the 239 steps to the top of the tower for a priceless view of the city.
Read the complete: 2-week travel guide through Poland
Tip: Every hour on the hour, a window opens where a trumpeter performs a traditional play in Saint Mary’s highest tower. The trumpet’s sound echoes all over the square!
4. Barbican and St. Florian’s gate
The Barbican was once an extraordinary medieval defense that still stands on the outer edge of Krakow’s old town. A drawbridge from the Barbican over the city moat was the only way into the old town. Right across is St. Florian’s Gate, which nowadays, is the main entry point to the old town. Passing through the gate leads you directly into one of Krakow’s most famous promenades: Florianska Street.
5. Wawel Castle
Situated on a hilltop, just outside Krakow old town, is the stunning Wawel Castle. The free-to-enter grounds of the complex are a fantastic place to enjoy a stroll and enjoy a great view of the city.
To enter the castle itself, purchasing a ticket is required. In addition, visit the cathedral, royal gardens, and dragons dens (cave below the castle). Wawel Castle was one of the world’s first UNESCO Heritage Sites back in 1978!
Also read: Ultimate 2-day guide to Gdansk, Poland
Day 2 – Unique Places to visit in Krakow: Salt Mines and Jewish Quarter
Go deep underground into the salt mines and experience complete silence, followed by visiting the lively streets of the Jewish Quarter.
6. Wieliczka Salt Mine – Great Place to visit In Krakow
Wieliczka is a bizarre, 700-year old, underground salt mine, with a mind-blowing size of 300 kilometers! Via a 2-hour tour, you can visit enormous chapels carved out of the rock, chambers, and clear lakes! The tour takes you below the ground to 135 meters for a length of 3 kilometers, which is just 1% of the entire size of the mine!
Equally as impressive, is that the salt mines were still operational until only a few decades ago.
Entrance fee & getting there
The mines are about 35 minutes out of Krakow. You can make your way there yourself by car or public transport (50 min) or alternatively book onto a fully guided tour from Krakow.
7. Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter (Kazimierz) is one of the greatest neighborhoods in Krakow. The streets here feel different and there is an extraordinary atmosphere of incredible buildings, small cafes, shops, and delicious restaurants.
The laid-back vibe and liveliness on the streets make it the ideal place to wander for a bit! Visit the Okraglak, a round-shaped market hall with food vendors and local artists.
Learn about the history of the Jewish Quarter by visiting the oldest synagogue in Krakow.
Make sure to visit: The painted village Zalipie in Poland
Schindler’s List Passage
Pass through the famous Schindler’s List Passage, used as a setting for the legendary film by Steven Spielberg. Schindler’s List is about a man and woman who saved more than a thousand refugees from the Holocaust.
8. Krakow street art
The streets of Krakow are filled with art from street artists. Larger and smaller pieces in all kinds of colors and forms can be discovered on a street art tour. We found a bunch of great murals in the Jewish Quarter. Go on exploration yourself as one of the things to do in Krakow.
9. Bernatek Footbridge
From the Jewish district, cross the river via the popular Bernatek Footbridge. This romantic bridge is a pedestrian and bike only bridge, decorated with acrobatic figures that hang from the bridge’s cables.
Over the years it has become a location for loved up couples, who come here to attach padlocks as a declaration of their love. Spend some time taking a look at the carved padlocks, with messages and names, and maybe attach a padlock yourselves.
10. Église Saint-Joseph
Finally, the Disney-like church Eglise Saint-Joseph can’t be missed when exiting the Bernatek footbridge. The imposing 80-meter high clock tower, and beautiful design of the church, is visible from all over Krakow. The small square with a park and benches, in front of the church, is also a wonderful place to sit down.
Day 3 – Auschwitz and Kopiec Krakusa
11. Auschwitz Concentration Camp
Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest Nazi concentration camp, where Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah, Polish, Hungarians, and more were deported. Between 1940 and 1945 over 1.2 million people were gassed and burned at Auschwitz-Birkenau and it became one of the greatest mass murders in human history.
The story of this cruelty has to be told and passed on, so it can never happen again. Visit Auschwitz-Birkenau on a day trip from Krakow.
Read more: Visiting Auschwitz Concentration Camp
Getting from Krakow to Auschwitz
Auschwitz is about 1.5-hour by car from Krakow. There is also a good bus + train connection that takes 2.5-hour. Alternatively, arrange a tour that includes transport from Krakow.
12. Sunset at Kopiec Krakusa – Great Thing to do in Krakow
Close-off your day, and trip in Krakow, with some good vibes, by experiencing the sunset on top of Kopiec hill. It is a lovely hilltop park that overlooks the old town. Many locals come here to relax and walk their dogs.
How to get there:
From the old town, either get an Uber (10 min), use scooters such as Lime (25 min) or by tram (27 min).
Extra: Zalipie Painted Village
Zalipie is an entire village that exists out of brightly colorful painted wooden houses. Even its interior like furniture, kitchen, cutlery, sheets is decorated in floral paintings. Zalipie is one of the hidden gems of Poland and a great addition to the things to do in Krakow.
Visiting can be done by car, which is a 1.5-hour drive. Alternatively, join a half-day tour from Krakow. (Book tour here)
Everything about: The painted village Zalipie in Poland
Getting to & around Krakow
How to get to Krakow
Krakow is connected to a handful of cities via its international airport and via its train station which has services direct to Vienna, Budapest, and more! (See: All train options to Krakow)
For renting a car in Poland we recommend Sunny Cars because they work with local car rental companies. When booking through Sunny Cars, all insurances are included, and you will not have any surprises when collecting your car. Book your rental here.
How to get around
Krakow has a good, affordable transit network that spreads through the entire city. Take the tram or bus to anywhere in Krakow. Tickets can be purchased at the newsstands or from ticket machines at the stations. A single journey ticket costs about 4 ZL (0.90 EUR) and a 3-day pass 36 ZL (8 EUR).
Alternatively, ride-sharing scooters like Lime are everywhere in Krakow. Get your first ride unlocked for free here.
Best cafes and restaurants in Kraow
Krakow’s charming vibes attract fantastic restaurants. Therefore, it has a great selection of cuisines from all over the world and best off all, it’s really affordable too! We listed our favorite restaurants in Krakow.
- Boscaiola Restaurant (Italian)
- Urara Sushi & Hot Pot (Japanese)
- Pierwszy Stopień Restaurant (Polish)
- Cafe Camelot (International)
- Coffee Garden (Cafe)
- Hamsa (Israeli)
Additionally: Join a popular Polish home cooking class.
Where to stay in Krakow
Krakow’s old town is the most popular area to stay in. However, hotels are generally more affordable outside the old city walls. Alternatively, stay in the hipster neighborhood: Kazimierz.
We stayed at a perfect location on the border of the old town near the park at Vienna House Krakow.
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Great blog. A great blog entry with information about Krakow. Although I live nearby, in Nowa Huta, I would certainly follow your path when visiting Krakow. However, I would also add Nowa Huta, which is very interesting part of Krakow and which is waiting to be discovered. And when it comes to the vicinity of Krakow, I would add the Ojców village and the Ojców National Park. Greetings and I hope that you will visit us again. See you soon