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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
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
#4
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
#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
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
#14
Jagiellonian University (Uniwersytet Jagielloński)

Jagiellonian University (Uniwersytet Jagielloński)

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Krakow’s Jagiellonian University (Uniwersytet Jagielloński), dating to 1364, is one of the oldest universities in Central Europe and is considered one of the best on the continent. You can explore the Jagiellonian University Museum in the Collegium Maius building, which is filled with university memorabilia, scientific instruments, and a medieval art gallery.More
#15
St. Florian's Gate (Brama Floriańska)

St. Florian's Gate (Brama Floriańska)

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Built in 1300 as part of extensive fortifications to protect against Turkish attack, St Florian’s Gate (Brama Florianska) once served as the main entrance to Krakow. It was also the starting point of the Royal Road, the route Polish royalty and nobility would follow from the city entrance to the castle. Today, it’s the only remaining gate of the original eight in the old city walls, the others having been dismantled during the nineteenth century modernization of the city.The Gothic-style stone tower stands 110 feet (33.5 meters) tall and features a decorative metal Baroque topper that was added in the seventeenth century. A bas-relief on the southern wall of the gate houses a statue of the gate’s namesake, while the north side has a stone carving of an eagle. Vendors can often be found selling art and souvenirs around the base of the gate.More

Trip ideas

Must-See Museums in Krakow

Must-See Museums in Krakow

How to Spend 1 Day in Krakow

How to Spend 1 Day in Krakow

Top activities in Krakow

Day Trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine from Krakow including Lunch
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Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial Guided Tour from Krakow
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Auschwitz & Birkenau: Live-Guided Tour with Transportation and Hotel Pickup
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Krakow: Extreme Shooting Range with Hotel Pick-Up
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Krakow Old Town Guided Walking Tour
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Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine Guided One Day Tour
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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 Memorial Tour from Krakow
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Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum Guided Tour from Krakow
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences 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.
star-4
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.
star-5
Great trip - very interesting
notty, Jun 2022
Wieliczka Salt Mine Guided Tour from Krakow
Fascinating to see the size of the caverns.
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A Day In Old Town Krakow
Richard_J, May 2022
Krakow Private City Tour- Krakow Old Town walking tour
I would recommend him to any one coming to visit Poland.
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Excellent
Sarah_L, May 2022
Krakow: Private Guided City Tour by Electric Car
He had great knowledge of the area and good English.
star-5
Respectful visit
Kathryn_H, Apr 2022
Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour from Krakow with Hotel Pickup
An emotional day and absolutely astounded to see the scale of the Nazi operation.
star-5
A great way to see Krakow
Richard_M, Apr 2022
Segway Tour of Krakow: Old Town Tour - 1,5-Hour of Magic!
A great way to see and learn about Krakow.
star-5
Loved it!
victoria_s, Apr 2022
Zakopane & Polish Mountains Tour (hotel pick up)
Absolutely brilliant, stunning views and so interesting to see a different side of Krakow.
star-5
Will def do again
Gemma_f, Apr 2022
Krakow: Old Town, Jewish Kazimierz and Ghetto Sightseeing by Electric Golf Cart
Absolute loved this tour by far one of the best things to do within Krakow the driver is so so clued up and informative it makes it super more fun and enjoying booking this through Viator was easy
star-5
Veteran Package
Rachel_B, Sep 2022
Krakow: Extreme Shooting Range with Hotel Pick-Up
The staff were friendly and helpful and showed us exactly what to do.
star-5
2 days with ComFort tours of Cracow
graffen, Sep 2022
Horse Riding by the Lake
Such a gentle, intelligent horse, and I was pleased to see how cared for she was.
star-5
Wonderful tour
Nina_S, Aug 2022
Private Częstochowa Black Madonna and Lagiewniki Tour
He knows the area very well and is able to answer most questions about Krakow and most of the nearby attractions.
star-5
BEST part of my multi-country trip to Europe
Marissa_R, Jul 2022
Pierogi Cooking Class at Home
She gave us a history recap of Krakow and created a comfortable and fun environment where two Americans, two Danes, and an Englishman all were able to chat about shared interests.
star-4
Definitely recommended
Nikolay_L, Jul 2022
Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial Guided Tour from Krakow
The bus driver did not speak English fluently, but the guide in the Museum did quite good.
star-5
Great activity to feel like a local
Karla_C, Jun 2022
Delicious Kazimierz Food Tour from Krakow
I was in Krakow for a very short business trip and was looking for activities to get best experience.
star-5
See a lot in short space of time
Joanna_K, Jun 2022
Krakow Grand City Tour by golf cart
Really good trip if you’re short on time and you want to see a lot.
star-5
Brilliant Day Out
ian_d, May 2022
ZAKOPANE & Thermal Springs
We then returned to the transport and Patrick took us the the thermal spring pool complex and once again just brilliant.
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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
CEST (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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