10 Best things to do in Krakow
Krakow is one of the oldest city in Poland, after Gniezno was an official capital of Poland until 1596. Leading centre of culture and artistic life. Krakow itself is very romantic and great escape for weekends. Make sure to include these 10 best things to do in Krakow.
1. Wawel Castle
Magnificent castle was built at the behest of the King Casimir III the Great. This historic castle represents couple of architectural styles medieval, renaissance and baroque. In 1978, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For centuries, it was the residence of the Polish Kings. Currently is a museum which contain of separate sections. Please note that the exhibitions will be temporarily closed in 2019, due to conservation reviews. It is one of the must see attractions, you will not be disappointed after visiting Wawel Castle.
2. Cloth Hall
This massive structure is the main attraction of the old town square. Parts of this structure date back to the 13th century and it is essentially the first shopping mall. This is an amazing place and has every type of vendor. You can pick up souvenirs and gifts of all sorts and shapes.
3. Wieliczka Salt Mine
The Wieliczka Salt Mine excavated from 13th century and produced table salt till 2007. It is one of the most popular attractions in Poland, located approximately 30 min from Krakow. Underground labyrinth with tunnels and chambers, reach a depth of 327 meters. The mine is currently one of the National Historic Monuments of Poland and in 2010 it was successfully proposed that the nearby historic Bochnia Salt Mine be added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The two sister salt mines now appear together in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites as the “Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines”. Wieliczka Salt Mine is accessible all year round. It is definitely worth to visit the underground city with a hundred years of the history.
4. Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum
Established by Nazis in 1940, symbol of terror and Holocaust. Built and operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during WW II. It is estimated that Nazi Germany deported at least 1.3 million people to the Auschwitz camp complex between 1940-1945 and approximately 1.1 million of people were murdered. This is really interesting museum that reminds us of sad moments in history. However, it is definitely worth the visit to learn more about its past.
5. Rynek underground
Very interesting museum hidden under the Main Square, the entrance is in Cloth Hall just opposite the Church of Mary. Medieval underground world with exhibits, holograms and audiovisual effects. After an archaeological find discovered and excavated underground tunnels under Krakow´s Main Market Square in 2005, the much publicised
Rynek Underground Museum was created, opening its doors to the public for the first time in September 2010. Enjoy your travel back in time to the atmosphere of Krakow in the Middle Ages.
6. Kosciuszko’s Mound
Dedicated to Polish national military leader and hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko. Officially completed in 1823, Kosciuszko Mound stand 34 meters high. The soil from his battlefields including those in America was placed here. From the top of the mound there is a stunning 360 degree view of Poland.
7. Main Square
Located at the center of the city, the square dates back to the 13th century and is huge 10-acre square, one of the largest medieval square in Europe. Main market square is very picturesque, surrounded by historic townhouses and churches. Perfect place to have a stroll, full of bars, restaurants and shops. You can admire buildings, horse drawn carriages and take a minute to relax.
8. St Mary’s Basillica
Is a brick Gothic church, one of the most famous in Poland. Built in the 14th century, standing 80 m tall, it is particularly famous for its wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss. Located in the heart of the old town. On every hour, a trumpet signal-called the Hejnał mariacki-is played from the top of the taller of Saint Mary’s two towers. The plaintive tune breaks off in mid-stream, to commemorate the famous 13th century trumpeter, who was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before the Mongol attack on the city. The noon-time hejnał is heard across Poland and abroad broadcast live by the Polish national Radio 1 Station.
9. Planty Park
Is one of the largest city parks in Krakow, a scenic walkway that circles around the Old Town. The medieval defensive moat that once surrounded the city walls has been filled up and made into a beautiful park. An old park with lines of trees, grass, places to sit down and some fountains. Park replaced old ramparts on the western part of the city and is essential for the locals and visitors. Walking through the Planty is a wonderful and relaxing experience.
10. Kazimierz Krakow
Kazimierz a historical district of Krakow, it became known as the Jewish Quarter. Today Kazimierz is one of the major tourist attractions of Krakow and an important center of cultural life of the city. Wandering around old narrow streets with unique atmosphere of the Jewish past and a place full of history. The buildings, small coffee shops, bar, galleries and excellent restaurants create a bohemian atmosphere full of life.
Oh wow! There’s so much to do in Poland! Each tie I scrolled the page down to read the next part, I got more and more excited. My cousin actually went to Poland a few months ago and she visited Auschwitz. It made her incredibly sad to see some of the things that remain there, but it is a piece of history that humanity can’t afford to forget – from where we come from we can improve on ourselves so that nothing like that ever repeats in history… at least, that is the hope.
Thanks for your comment Josie, I agree with you, we should never be witnesses of what happened at Auschwitz. Education in the authentic space of the former camp gives you the opportunity to reflect and understand the past. It is really worthy to visit this place!
Information is knowledge and knowledge is fun😜. I am very happy I came across this post because this is insightful and interesting. Adventure is my hobby and I love to explore sacred and worthy places in the world. I just came back from an adventure to homer Alaska. Krakow is definitely the next phase for my vacation. Such beautiful and important places and sights to see. This is worthy of exploration and I will.
Thanks for sharing
Hi RoDarrick, thanks for stopping by. I am glad that you enjoyed my post. Krakow is a very interesting city and one of the best places to see in Poland. I’m sure if you decide to visit it, you will not be disappointed.
After reading this article, now I have more interest in Poland and visiting all these places in Krakow. It’s so fascinating how much people can learn by visiting different parts of the city, about their history, the architecture and even the country’s culture. I’m so intrigued about the Wieliczka Salt Mine, and I wish I could visit it, see it with my own eyes, go through the labyrinth and learn more about it. I think visiting places is a great way to learn, easier than learning from texts and books.
Did you visit these places and if you did, which one is your favorite?
Hi Mariana, thanks for your comment, I visited all these places because I lived close to Krakow. I have been there several times and my favorite place is the Wawel castle located top of the hill. You can enjoy the view of the old town and there are many spots to take a picture. Wieliczka is also great, underground city with a lot of steps to climb down but really worth it. If you choose Krakow as your next destination I’m sure you will enjoy it.
All the best
I read a lot about Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, the Holocaust, the concentration & extermination camp. As a result of my search I also watched the movie Schindler’s List in which Jews are taken to Auschwitz concentration camp. Since then I wanted to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum.
I am a traveller and Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum is on my list. When I came across your post I am amazed at the helpful information on the places I need to visit at Krakow. Your post can be used as a travel guide to visit Krakow and I am book marking your post for future reference.
The images and the description you shared is very helpful. Nice article! I really enjoyed the content and in the manner that you presented.
Hi Paul, thanks for your comment, it’s really hard to explain what happened in Auschwitz. Visiting this place, we can see what horror happened there. I’m glad you enjoyed my post and I encourage you to visit Krakow in the near future.
All the best