Top attractions in Krakow
Best things to do in Krakow
On the banks of the Vistula River lies one of Europe's most awe-inspiring cities. Historic buildings and monuments abound and create the foundation upon which Poland's capital of culture stands proud. Here are its top attractions!
1. National Museum, Krakow
The main branch of Poland's National Museum boasts around 780,000 art objects that span throughout history. The key draw for tourists, though, is its emphasis on Polish painting.
2. Wieliczka Salt Mine
This 13th-century Wieliczka Salt Mine was in use until 2007. The miners had to spend so much time down there that they carved Catholic statues and chapels out of the rock salt!
3. Wawel Cathedral
For those worshipping above ground, this sightseeing essential has been the center of Krakow's religious life since the 11th century. Pope John Paul II was ordained at the Wawel Cathedral in 1946.
4. Bieszczady Mountains
Keen hikers should allow time for a day trip to the region's scenic Bieszczady Mountains. It's pronounced Bee-esh-chardy, for those unfamiliar with Polish!
5. Tatra Mountains
Significantly higher than the Bieszczady, a far tougher climb is rewarded with breathtaking views. We'd advise against taking Tatras' notoriously dangerous Orla Perć trail though!
6. Main Square, Krakow
Want to cover the main sights of Krakow in a day? Start your tour in the Old Town. The Krakow Main Square alone hosts Cloth Hall, the Town Hall Tower, and the Statue of Adam Mickiewicz.
The magnificent fortress Wawel was the seat of the medieval Polish monarchy, but its fascinating history predates even then by quite a bit. Its oldest buildings date back to 970AD!
Planning Your Visit
How many days?
Krakow offers plenty to see and do, with some extremely appealing day trip options beyond its borders. Book your stay for at least 4 or 5 days.
Where to stay?
If you're only in town for a couple of days, booking a hotel in the Old Town or nearby Kazimierz will place you conveniently by Krakow's main sights. However, for visitors looking to keep their distance from the tourist district, Zwierzyniec might be the best place to stay. It's certainly the greenest!
How much money to bring?
Krakow is not expensive. Even if you only ate in the Old Town you could do all meals and drinks for as little as $30-40 a day. Match that amount for tours and attraction tickets (more for day trips). It's worth checking to see if you'll get a better exchange rate on your currency there, rather than before you leave. Also, don't be persuaded to start a tab in any bars you're not familiar with and check prices first!
Good to know
- Polish złoty (zł)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+01:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
- Spring and fall are the best times to visit, when temperatures are mild and tourist crowds are at a minimum!
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What people are saying about Krakow
This trip Auschwitz-Birkenau was a very enriching experience, of which was expertly led by the guides Francesco and Lucina respectively. Francesco met us at the meeting point in Krakow and was very organised and helpful. Lucina was the guide at Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. Her knowledge was superb and she explained in so much details the horrors that took place here. I highly recommend taking the excursion here if you visit Krakow- it is a truly humbling experience. This tour enabled us to see everything we wished and learn so much. Thank you!
Paul exceeded our expectations of this trip although the experience was of sorrow with what happened at Auschwitz Paul was very informative and we certainly learnt alot with the information he gave us about Auschwitz and Kraków. Paul was very friendly and made us feel at ease as soon as he collected us we were made to feel like VIPs, he was very friendly and respectful and the vehicle was very smart, clean and safe.
It's really hard even writing this review. I knew about the events that took place here before going but I had no idea of the actual scale of the place. I would recommend 2 days as birkenau is a massive site. It is worth the visit but be prepared as its extremely hard to visit. I'm a relatively big guy and even I cried walking round at the horrors that took place here.
This tour is worth your time. It's a good 2-h summary of the Krakow attractions with plenty of languages to choose from (most of any other company). The guide was perfect, helped us to understand everything, very friendly and most importantly a nice guy!! You should take this tour without hesitation. Nice price also.
Absolutely fantastic excursion to see the Salt Mines. They really are stunning and a must-see if you visit Krakow. St Kinga's Chapel takes your breath away! Our guide at the Salt Mines, Natalia, was very informative and entertaining. I'd highly recommend this trip. Thank you!