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Things to do in Krakow

Things to do in  Krakow

Welcome to Krakow

Krakow combines quaint charm with spacious grandeur. Rynek Glowny, the largest medieval market square in Europe, is reigned over by Gothic jewels such as Town Hall Tower and the Basilica of the Virgin Mary. The capital’s UNESCO-listed Old Town and Wawel Hill, crowned by the impressive Wawel Castle, lend themselves well to walking tours, while the nearby Wieliczka Salt Mine—also a World Heritage Site—makes for an excellent day-trip. If you’re a nature lover, don’t miss out on an excursion to Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains, or float down the scenic Dunajec River on a wooden raft. In the Gothic city of Czestochowa, just a couple of hours away from Krakow, you’ll find the revered religious painting, The Black Madonna. Krakow’s Jewish heritage is prominent and poignant, and history buffs will want to book a guided tour to visit essential stops including Kazimierz (the former Jewish quarter), the Oskar Schindler Museum, and the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. In contrast, Krakow’s nightlife burns bright and its historic center resonates with some of the best restaurants, bars, and clubs in Poland. An evening food tour showcases Polish cuisine and the city’s nighttime ambience, and offers ample opportunities to indulge in dumplings, sour rye soup, wild boar, and vodka.

Top 15 attractions in Krakow

#1
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum

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The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is the resting place for some 1.5 million people, as the site once served as a concentration camp and extermination site of the European Jewish community during World War II. Today, Auschwitz-Birkenau is an important historical area, allowing visitors to reflect on the monumental horrors that occurred during the genocide.More
#2
Wieliczka Salt Mine (Kopalnia Soli)

Wieliczka Salt Mine (Kopalnia Soli)

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An eerie world where everything has been carved from salt blocks, the Wieliczka Salt Mine (Kopalnia Soli) is made up of a labyrinth of tunnels, the deepest of which lies 1,075 feet (327 meters) underground. The ancient UNESCO World Heritage site is a major part of Poland's salt mining history, one of the country's most popular attractions, and one of the world's oldest salt mines, having produced table salt from the 13th century until 2007.More
#3
Rynek Glowny (Main Market Square)

Rynek Glowny (Main Market Square)

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The gigantic town square of Rynek Główny (most often translated Main Market Square) is the centrepiece of Krakow’s UNESCO-listed Old Town and the largest medieval square in Europe. Dominated by the Renaissance-style Cloth Hall and flanked by colorful neoclassical buildings, the square is both an architectural landmark and the main hub of local life.More
#4
St. Mary's Basilica (Kościól Mariacki)

St. Mary's Basilica (Kościól Mariacki)

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This brick Gothic church in the northeast corner of Old Town’s main square (Rynek Główny, dominates the skyline at 262 feet (80 meters tall. Dating back to the 13th century, St. Mary’s Basilica (Kościól Mariacki is famous for its stunning wooden altarpiece carved by German sculptor Veit Stoss.More
#5
Oskar Schindler's Factory (Fabryka Schindlera)

Oskar Schindler's Factory (Fabryka Schindlera)

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A wealthy German and member of the Nazi Party, Oskar Schindler bought the Emalia enamel factory in Krakow following the German invasion of Poland during World War II. By insisting that his Jewish employees were vital to the workforce and often advocating for them, he saved more than 1,000 people from death. Today, Oskar Schindler's Factory (Fabryka Schindlera), part of the City of Krakow Historical Museum, houses a highly emotive, interactive, and visually stunning permanent exhibition on the Nazi occupation of Krakow.More
#6
Wawel Royal Castle (Zamek Wawelski)

Wawel Royal Castle (Zamek Wawelski)

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Crowning Krakow’s Wawel Hill and adjoining Wawel Cathedral, Wawel Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that consists of numerous Romanesque, Renaissance, Gothic, and baroque buildings, courtyards, and gardens. Dating back to the 14th century, the castle was home to many of Poland’s monarchs and is a symbol of Polish history and pride.More
#7
Kazimierz (Krakow Jewish Quarter)

Kazimierz (Krakow Jewish Quarter)

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Krakow’s Jewish Quarter—Kazimierz—has been the heart of the city’s Jewish community since medieval times. Traces of its turbulent past remain, but today it’s reinvented itself as a thriving cultural hub, where historic synagogues and museums sit side by side with art galleries, cocktail bars, bold street art, and vintage boutiques.More
#8
Ghetto Heroes Square (Plac Bohaterów Getta)

Ghetto Heroes Square (Plac Bohaterów Getta)

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The poignant Ghetto Heroes Square commemorates the thousands of Krakow’s Jewish community who were forcibly moved and incarcerated within the Podgórze ghetto. Plac Zgody, a square in the heart of the ghetto, was the departure point for Jewish people boarding trains to Płaszów, Auschwitz, and other concentration camps during World War II.More
#9
Cloth Hall (Sukiennice)

Cloth Hall (Sukiennice)

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Cloth Hall (Sukiennice dates back to the Renaissance and is one of the city’s most recognizable structures. Featured prominently in Old Town’s main square (Rynek Główny, Cloth Hall was originally intended as a linen and textile marketplace for local merchants to sell and house their goods.More
#10
Great Barbican

Great Barbican

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The Great Barbican is a 15th-century, 7-turreted bastion in Krakow that once protected the city’s main gate—St. Florian’s Gate—and the Old Town within it. One of the few remnants of Krakow’s fortifications, the barbican consists of a small museum, medieval passageways, and a courtyard that hosts summer events such as jousting and pageants.More
#11
Wawel Cathedral (Katedra Wawelska)

Wawel Cathedral (Katedra Wawelska)

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The coronation site of nearly all Polish monarchs, 14th-century Wawel Cathedral is the country’s major religious site. Located on Wawel Hill next to Wawel Castle, the cathedral boasts grand artworks, chapels, a museum, the 16th-century Sigismund Bell, and tombs of Poland’s royals and patron saint, St. Stanislaus.More
#12
Krakow Old Town (Kraków Stare Miasto)

Krakow Old Town (Kraków Stare Miasto)

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Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, Kraków’s Old Town (Kraków Stare Miasto or Stare Miasto w Krakowie has been the epicenter of the city’s cultural, religious, and political life since medieval times. Once completely surrounded by a 1.9-mile-long (3-kilometer-long defensive wall, Old Town is packed with history.More
#13
Chocholow (Chocholów)

Chocholow (Chocholów)

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Chochołów is a tiny village sitting on the border with Slovakia in southern Poland with a great view of the surrounding Tatras Mountains. Dating back to the 16th century, the village has long been home to the indigenous Goral people and today represents the most complete survival of a traditional Goral village. As such, it has the feeling of an open air museum, with one main street lined with traditional wooden houses. The houses are protected by the Tatra Museum in nearby Zakopane and cannot be altered. They are also kept in pristine condition, with annual cleaning and polishes. The home at #24 is said to have been made entirely from a single tree, and the home at #75 features a small museum about the 1846 uprising in Chochołów against Austrian rule.The only non-wooden building in town is St. Hyacinth’s Church, a stone Gothic church that was built to replace a wooden one in the 19th century. Next to the church is a monument to the Chochołów insurgents from the 1846 uprising, from where a hiking trail begins leading up to Mount Gubalowka.More
#14
Mt. Gubalówka

Mt. Gubalówka

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Standing 3,694 feet (1,126 meters) above the southern Polish town of Zakopane, Mt. Gubalowka (Gubałówka) is one of the region’s most popular year-round attractions. Take in excellent views of the surrounding Tatra Mountains while participating in a variety of outdoor activities.More
#15
Krakow Town Hall Tower (Wieza Ratuszowa w Krakowie)

Krakow Town Hall Tower (Wieza Ratuszowa w Krakowie)

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Pisa’s leaning tower may have all the fame, but Krakow’s Town Hall Tower (Wieża Ratuszowa w Krakowie) is a must-see nonetheless. Quite literally – as one of the focal points of Krakow’s main market square, it’s pretty hard to miss. Built towards the end of the 13th century, the 70-meter tall tower started leaning (it currently tilts by as much as 55 centimeters) after massively strong winds in 1703. It should be said, however, that the tower survived many fires and was therefore weakened considerably throughout the years.To this day, the tower is the only remaining part of Krakow’s old town all. Visitors interested in visiting the tower should not worry; the tower is perfectly safe for visitors and even has an observation deck on its upper floor, reachable by a narrow staircase. The tower, as part of the Historical Museum of Kraków and because of its location in the old Cloth Hall, often has artworks and medieval costumes on display. There’s also an underground café, which is housed in the former city dungeons and torture rooms.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Krakow

How to Spend 1 Day in Krakow

Top activities in Krakow

Auschwitz & Birkenau: Live-Guided Tour with Transportation and Hotel Pickup
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Auschwitz-Birkenau and Salt Mine in One Day from Krakow
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From Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Guided Tour, Pickup & Transfers
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Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine Guided One Day Tour
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Auschwitz-Birkenau Best Value Shared Tour
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Auschwitz - Birkenau Memorial Tour from Krakow
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Hotel Pickup: Auschwitz & Birkenau Guided Tour from Krakow
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Auschwitz Birkenau: Live-Guided Tour with Transportation and Hotel Pickup
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Krakow Old Town Guided Walking Tour
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Krakow Old Town Guided Walking Tour

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Recent reviews from experiences in Krakow

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Recommended
Wiktoria_K, Nov 2022
Private Departure Transfer: Hotel in Krakow City To Krakow Airport Balice
The ride went smoothly, without any problems - the driver was waiting for us and spoke well English, also gave some advices for our stay in Krakow.
star-5
Great, informative tour!
Nisha_G, Nov 2022
Krakow Grand City Tour by golf cart
Jacob was a great tour guide and took us to see the famous sights of Krakow.
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Golf buggy tour
Karen_C, Nov 2022
Krakow Grand City Tour by golf cart (private)
Excellent guide with good English.
star-4
Great introduction
Alec_O, Nov 2022
Krakow Grand City Tour by golf cart
It introduces you to a bit of Polish history, some sites and things to do.
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Krakow illuminated!!
Tom_V, Oct 2022
Krakow Old Town Guided Walking Tour
Guide was extremely knowledgeable of the area and enabled me to see many of the major sites in that part of the city with detailed and informative commentary along the way!!
star-5
A good information packed tour
Paul_C, Oct 2022
Krakow Jewish Quarter Guided Walking Tour
This tour was informative and a real insite into what life was like during the war for Jews living in Krakow, the polish guide was really good and spoke good English, a really good walking tour and worth doing if your visiting Krakow a really up close and personal experience
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Memorable day
Paul_C, Oct 2022
Auschwitz & Birkenau: Live-Guided Tour with Transportation and Hotel Pickup
A truly memorable and sad day full of information that went on in the camps during the war , the polish guide who took us around was excellent and spoke good English so was easy to understand, this trip is a must if you are visiting Krakow
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Fantastic tour of Kraków’s major historical attractions
Daniel_A, Oct 2022
Electric Scooter Tours Kraków
My guide Sabina was very knowledgable and ensured that I saw all of the main attractions in Krakow.
star-5
Best tour we have been on in a long time
Dione_W, Sep 2022
The 10 Tastings of Krakow With Locals: Private Food Tour
We also learnt much about Krakows fascinating history, from a local with amazing English.
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Being able to see...
AnVan_C, Aug 2022
Krakow Vistula River 1 Hour Sightseeing Cruise
Being able to see different views in Krakow, the bridges, the castles and all kinds of differents views
star-4
Eye opening
Richard_F, Jul 2022
Auschwitz & Birkenau: Live-Guided Tour with Transportation and Hotel Pickup
Our guide did speak in slightly broken English and even stuttered from time to time but understanding her was no problem.
star-4
Personally and nice
GerdInger_B, Jul 2022
Delicious Kazimierz Food Tour from Krakow
She also speak English very well.
star-5
Must take this tour!
Beth_S, Jun 2022
Segway Tour of Krakow: Full Tour (Old Town + Jewish Quarter) - 3-Hours of Magic!
Great tour, checks all the boxes for sights you need to see in krakow.
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Great trip - very interesting
notty, Jun 2022
Wieliczka Salt Mine Guided Tour from Krakow
Fascinating to see the size of the caverns.
star-5
Brilliant, safe and friendly.
Elaine_K, Nov 2022
Krakow: Extreme Shooting Range with Hotel Pick-Up
Paul our deiver picked us up from the hotel and made the journey very pleasant, sharing tips of what to do and where to go in Krakow which was very helpful, he went above and beyond and we were very Lucky to have him as our driver so special thanks and would definitely recommend this, we booked via viator.
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Wieliczka Salt Mine
Andrew_S, Nov 2022
Wieliczka Salt Mine: Guided Tour from Krakow (with hotel pickup)
Matthew, our English speaking guide was hilarious, and entertained as well as educated.
star-5
First class trip
Grace_R, Nov 2022
Wieliczka Salt Mine tour
Its an amazing place to visit.
star-5
Brilliant tour
Charlotte_F, Oct 2022
Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial Guided Tour from Krakow
Wear comfy shoes as a lot of walking to see everything :)
star-5
Great experience
Gloria_H, Oct 2022
Schindler's Factory Guided Tour in Krakow
We recommend you allow at least 4 hours to visit this museum
star-4
Very good
Colette_B, Oct 2022
From Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Guided Tour, Pickup & Transfers
A must see when going to visiting Krakow or surrounding areas.
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All about Krakow

When to visit

Krakow makes good use of its warm summer months with a stellar festival lineup. For peak culture, visit in June for Photomonth, the Krakow Film Festival, and the Summer Jazz Festival. Alternatively, December offers cheap lodging and the chance to feel festive at the traditional Christmas Market.

Currency
Polish Zloty (PLN)
Time Zone
CET (UTC +1)
Country Code
+48
Language(s)
Polish

A local’s pocket guide to Krakow

Artur Hadrys

Born and raised in Kraków, Artur is a Viator engineer currently living in the UK. He travels to Kraków often to see what’s changed, discover new hidden gems, and revisit his favourite spots.

The first thing you should do in Krakow is...

go to the Main Square, get an obwarzanek (famous local bagel), and then stroll down the Royal Route towards Wawel Castle.

A perfect Saturday in Krakow...

involves breakfast in the Old Town and a bike ride through Planty Park. Take a selfie with Smok Wawelski, the Wawel Castle Dragon, then get dinner and drinks in the Jewish Quarter.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the Main Square. It's Europe's largest medieval market square and a bustling place full of landmarks, museums, restaurants, pubs, live music venues, and shopping opportunities.

To discover the "real" Krakow...

get a good local guide to fill you in on the countless Kraków legends, while simultaneously avoiding the many tourist traps.

For the best view of the city...

go up in the tethered hot-air balloon at Bulwar Wołyński. Alternatively, climb up one of the local mounds like Kosciuszko.

One thing people get wrong...

is not making good use of the very efficient public transportation, including the airport shuttle train.

People Also Ask

What should you not miss in Krakow?

A visit to Krakow must include a visit to the Old Town and Rynek Glowny Central Square—one of Europe’s largest medieval market squares. Browse handmade wooden goods in the cloth hall (Sukiennice), and stroll down the Royal Route towards Wawel Castle and Cathedral. Also, don’t miss Kazimierz, the city’s Jewish Quarter.

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How many days do you need in Krakow?

Krakow is a perfect weekend destination. Stay in the Jewish District of Kazimierz, a treasure trove of coffee shops, cool bars, ancient synagogues, and art galleries; then spend a day exploring the historical wonders of the Old Town such as the Cloth Hall, and Saint Mary's Basilica.

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Is it safe to walk around Krakow at night?

Yes, it’s safe to walk around Krakow at night, but it’s best to stick to busier well-lit areas such as the Old Town and Kazimierz. As it’s a popular bachelor party destination, sometimes drunk tourists may be gathered in groups in the main square, but they’re unlikely to bother you.

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Is Auschwitz close to Krakow?

Yes, Auschwitz is roughly 42 miles (69 km) from Krakow, so it’s an ideal day-trip destination. The quickest way to get there is by taxi which takes around an hour. Alternatively, you could get the train which takes just under 2 hours, or go on organized tour with round-trip transportation included.

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Is it cheap to eat out in Krakow?

Yes, Krakow is often listed as one of Europe’s cheapest cities, and you can easily find generous main courses for under US$10. For super cheap eats, go to milk bars (Bar Mleczny), which sell hearty traditional food. Also, look out for zapiekanki stands, Poland’s tasty pizza-style open baguettes.

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Is Krakow good for nightlife?

Yes, Krakow has excellent nightlife options. In fact, it has one of the highest concentrations of bars and clubs per square mile in Europe. There’s something for every taste including swanky cocktail bars, techno clubs, jazz venues, atmospheric cellar bars, beer gardens, '70s music clubs, and the ever-popular vodka shot bars.

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