Krakow, Poland is one of the best cities to visit in Europe. It is a charming city with tons of history, culture and several museums, churches and mines to explore.
The city is small enough that you can see most of it in a day or you can take it easy and spend 2 or 3 days in Krakow, although you will want to spend more time here to get the most out of it. It is very walkable and easy to get around.
The old town has a lot of charm with tons of restaurants and shops. It is extremely beautiful and filled with charming architecture. There are also plenty of museums and things to do outside of the old town as well.
Such as visiting Wawel Castle which sits atop a hill overlooking the entire city and the Wieliczka Salt Mines. This post covers some of the best things to do in Krakow, Poland so you can get an idea of what to see when you visit!
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How to get to Krakow
Krakow is very easy to get to. It has two international airports including John Paul II Krakow-Balice International Airport (KRK), which is the main airport and Katowice Airport (KTW). Although it is to be noted that Katowice Airport is 95km away from Krakow itself.
There are also train stations in Krakow, with the main one being called Krakow Glowny. There are also many bus stations in Krakow, however, it is recommended that you use the train as it is a cheaper way of getting to Krakow. There are also many car rental companies in the city if you want to drive yourself around.
How to get around Krakow
The city is very walkable, so you will not need to take any public transportation, however, there is plenty if required. If you do decide to take public transportation, some buses and trams will get you around the city.
If you are looking for something a little more active than just walking around then maybe try riding on one of the city bikes. The city bikes are available for rent at many locations around Krakow and they are a great way to explore the city’s streets.
You can pick up a bike from one location and return it to another, which makes it easy to see all the sights without having to worry about where you are going next.
What to expect in Krakow
In Krakow the language spoken is Polish but most people in Krakow speak English as well. It is a good idea to learn a few key phrases before you visit because locals will appreciate your efforts. Krakow is a budget-friendly destination. The currency is the Polish złoty (PLN).
It is always a good idea to have some cash on hand when you visit. You can also use your credit card in many places but be sure to check before making a purchase just in case.
Tipping in the city is generally not required, but if you have a good experience with a waiter or in another service-based industry it is nice to leave a tip.
Things to do in Krakow
There are a lot of things to do in Krakow. You can go shopping in the main square, eat local dishes at one of the many restaurants and cafes or visit one of the many museums in town. It is easy to spend an entire day just exploring this beautiful city!
Explore Kazimierz (the Jewish Quarter)
The Jewish Quarter or Kazimierz is home to many synagogues and old cemeteries that are worth a visit. The area also has many museums dedicated to Jewish history, art and culture.
If you’re looking to explore the history of Krakow, the Jewish Quarter is a great place to start.
The area is also filled with many restaurants and cafes that serve traditional Polish food, as well as some other international cuisine.
The Jewish quarter is also home to many shops that sell traditional handmade goods, like pottery and jewellery. If you have time, it is worth exploring some of the other neighbourhoods in Krakow as well.
Things to do in Krakow at night
If you have more time in Krakow, there are plenty of things to do at night. You can start with a walk through the streets of Kazimierz and stop by one of the many restaurants for some traditional Polish food or go on a pub crawl with your friends.
If you are looking for something a bit more lively, then head over to the Old Town and enjoy one of the many nightclubs that are located there.
Crazy things to do in Krakow
If you are looking for some crazy things to do in Krakow, then head over to the Old Town and visit the medieval torture museum named the Executioner Museum.
Here you can see all kinds of torture devices that were used by the inquisition during their interrogations. The museum also has a section dedicated to executioners themselves and how they lived their lives during medieval times.
Next up, why not visit the Lost Souls Alley, it is an interactive museum that explores the basic instinct of fear. Visitors can experience a horror-movie-inspired setting on one floor of the museum.
The museum features a variety of horror-themed rooms that are designed to scare the living daylights out of you. If you like being scared, then this is the place for you!
Places to visit in Krakow
Krakow, Poland has many tourist attractions and cultural interest points. When visiting the city be sure to tick the below places off your list to get the whole experience that the city has to offer.
Main Market Square (Rynek Glowny Square)
The Rynek Glowny Square is the main market square in Krakow and is the largest medieval town square in Europe. Situated at the centre of Krakow’s historic city centre, it features a number of statues and several landmarks such as St Mary’s Basilica, Town Hall Tower and Cloth Hall.
The square is an important tourist attraction and a common starting point for exploring the city. It is also a popular venue for outdoor events.
The Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) is the largest market hall in Europe and was built in the 13th century. It is located at the southern end of Main Market Square, opposite St Mary’s Basilica and houses several shops selling souvenirs as well as local crafts.
Wawel Royal Castle and Cathedral
Wawel Royal Castle and Cathedral are two of the most famous landmarks in Krakow and they are located right next to each other on Wawel Hill.
The castle used to be a royal residence; today it is a museum with many interesting exhibits and artefacts. It can be dated back to the 11th century and was a residence for Polish monarchs.
Today it houses an art gallery, which has paintings by artists such as Rembrandt, Dürer and Rubens.
The Wawel Royal Castle complex has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historical significance to Polish culture and history. It is a must-see for any Krakow trip!
Ghetto Heroes Square
Ghetto Heroes Square is a memorial to the victims of the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II. It was built in 1948 and is located on the site where the Nazis established a ghetto for Krakow’s Jewish population.
The square also has 33 chair statues named ‘The Empty Chairs of Krakow’ that symbolise the thousands of lives lost in the ghetto during the war.
There are also many shops and restaurants nearby, so if you are looking for something to eat or drink while exploring this area, it is easy to find!
Tours to do in Krakow
Rich with museums, Krakow provides many activities that are full of experiences and learning potential. You can choose to look around these sites on your own or take a guided tour.
Tour guides are very knowledgeable and can often take you to areas that are not open to the general public. Taking a Birkenau guided tour for example will mean you get the most out of your time there.
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is amust-see for any first-time visitor to Krakow. It is also one of the most harrowing experiences you can have while in Poland.
The museum is housed on the grounds of one of the largest Nazi concentration camps during World War II and has been preserved to educate visitors about what happened there.
The museum displays many exhibits telling the story of Auschwitz; it houses personal belongings taken from victims at the camp, as well as many original buildings.
The Nazis built Auschwitz near Oswiecim in 1940 as a prison camp for Polish political prisoners. The original purpose changed when Hitler ordered that it be used as an extermination centre where Jews from across Europe were brought by train to be gassed at nearby Birkenau.
The two complexes were joined together by a rail line, which enabled trains to run directly between. During its three years of operation, more than 1 million people were murdered here including around 90% of all Polish Jews who perished during WW2.
Visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines
The Wieliczka Salt Mines are a must-see attraction in Krakow, Poland. The mine has been operational since the 13th century and is now over 700 years old.
It once supplied more than half of Poland’s salt needs. It has also been named another UNESCO World Heritage Site for Poland. Visitors can take a tour of the mine and learn about its history. The entire complex has been turned into a tourist attraction with restaurants, shops, galleries and even an underground lake!
The mine offers tours of the underground tunnels and chambers, which have been carved out over time by miners.
The mine is also home to many sculptures and carvings that can be seen throughout the complex. Wieliczka Salt Mine also features many chapels and catacombs that can be seen during tours, as well as underground lakes that are filled with minerals from which salt was once extracted.
Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory
The Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory is a Holocaust museum and memorial site located in Krakow, Poland. It was built as part of the efforts to preserve the memory of the lives that were lost during World War II.
The factory itself is located just outside of the city centre and has been turned into a museum that tells visitors about Schindler’s life as well as his role in saving Jewish lives during the war.
Oskar Schindler was a businessman who helped save 1200 Jews from deportation to Auschwitz by employing them in his factory.
The factory itself is an interesting place to visit and it features many of the items that were used by Schindler and his workers. You can also take a museum-guided tour and learn more about what happened during World War II.
Kazimierz Food Tour
Take a Kazimierz Food Tour during your visit to Krakow. The guided food walking tour takes you through the Jewish district.
The tour will take you to various restaurants and cafes where you can stop and enjoy the food while learning about the history of the neighbourhood.
This is not an ordinary food tour; it is much more than that! You will learn about the history of Krakow and its people as well as some great recipes from the region.
You will also have an opportunity to visit some Jewish sites in Krakow and learn about Jewish culture. The tour is not only about food but rather it is a way to get to know the city and its people.
Should I visit Krakow, Poland?
So there you have it, a comprehensive list of activities to do in Krakow, Poland. In the end, Krakow is a city that will surprise you. It is a beautiful place with an amazing history and it is a must-visit if you are travelling to Poland.
There are a lot of things to do in Krakow, so if you are planning a trip there make sure that you do not miss out on the many Krakow sightseeing opportunities that this city has to offer.
Krakow is a place that can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their age or interests. Whether you are looking to visit a museum, go on a tour or just experience the city life, Krakow has something for everyone.
Furthermore, if you are travelling with your family, then this is an ideal spot to visit. It is one of those places that will leave you wanting more!
Recommended tours in Krakow
- Day Trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine from Krakow including Lunch
- Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum Guided Tour from Krakow
- Pub Crawl + Unlimited Drinks + VIP entry + Drinking Games & Photographer
- One day tour: Auschwitz Birkenau + Wieliczka Salt Mine with Pick-Up & Lunch
- Kraków In a Nutshell: Walking Tour
- Zakopane Tour with Hot Bath Pools and Hotel Pickup
- Krakow: Extreme Shooting Range with Hotel Pick-Up