Set amid rolling Polish countryside and a number of nearby points of interest, Krakow often leads travelers out of the city and into its surroundings. Here are some of the top day trip destinations from this city on the banks of the Vistula River.
Wadowice — 32 miles (53 km) from Krakow
The birthplace of Pope John Paul II, Wadowice is a popular pilgrimage destination for Catholics. Tours from Krakow take travelers through the undulating Beskidy mountains and offer insight into John Paul II’s life when he was better known as Archbishop Karol Wojtyła. Most tour options visit the futuristic church at the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki and allow for samples of kremowka, a tasty cream cake loved by locals.
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum — 42 miles (69 km) from Krakow
Widely considered among the most moving sites in Poland, the UNESCO–listed Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum shines a light on the horrors of World War II. Wander the barracks, crematorium, gas chambers, and prison blocks of the former Nazi concentration camp complex, and watch a documentary on the 1947 liberation of the camp. Tours from Krakow typically last upwards of seven hours, with some options also visiting the labyrinthine caverns of the Wieliczka salt mine, where travelers can see bizarre salt formations and the eerie Chapel of St. Kinga.
Zakopane & the Tatras Mountains — 67 miles (109 km) from Krakow
A popular ski destination, Zakopane lies within the Tatras mountain range, attracting visitors year-round to its ski runs and rugged hiking routes. In the mountains, you can take a funicular to the summit of Mount Gubalowka for a panoramic look at the forested peaks and valleys, and in Zakopane, you’ll want to discover the region’s traditional wooden chalets and churches before hitting the stores and restaurants of the buzzing main street, Krupowki. Tours from Krakow to Zakopane and the Tatras Mountains typically last about nine hours, with round-trip travel included.
Warsaw — 182 miles (294 km) from Krakow
Following widespread destruction during World War II, Poland’s capital has risen to now draw visitors from around the world. Explore bars, galleries, and restaurants in the vibrant Praga area; visit the former royal hunting grounds of Lazienki Park; and follow the Royal Route through the Old Town's UNESCO–listed cobbled streets. During your visit, don’t miss the chance to visit the majestic Royal Castle, once home to the Polish monarchy. Given the distance from Krakow, Warsaw tours typically last a full day.