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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 10 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
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
#5
St. Mary's Basilica (Kościól Mariacki)

St. Mary's Basilica (Kościól Mariacki)

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The lop-sided towers of the majestic Saint Mary’s Basilica dominate the northeast corner of Krakow’s lively central square, the Rynek Główny. A church has graced this spot since medieval times, but this incarnation was built of red-brick in Gothic style and consecrated in 1320 after the original was destroyed by invading Tartars in the 13th century. The northern tower was raised to 263 feet (80 meters) and became the city’s watchtower.The interior is handsomely decorated with a star-spangled blue ceiling, heavy Gothic ornamentation and stained-glass windows that shaft sunlight into patterns in the floor. The showpiece is the magnificent carved altar, constructed with wood by the German craftsman Veit Stoss in 1489; it took him 12 long years to finish his creation, which measures 47 feet (13 meters) across and is carved with 200 biblical figures. The altar is opened daily at 11:50 a.m. to reveal gilded scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary.St Mary’s Basilica is most famous for the much-loved bugle call that rings out across the city on the hour, every hour, played by a trumpeter standing at the top of the structure’s taller, northern tower.More
#6
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
#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
Krakow Old Town (Kraków Stare Miasto)

Krakow Old Town (Kraków Stare Miasto)

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The cobblestone Main Square (Rynek Główny) of Krakow Old Town (Kraków Stare Miasto or, more correctly, Stare Miasto w Krakowie) is Central Europe’s largest and has been the center of the city’s social, religious and political life since the Middle Ages. Today the Old Town still serves as Krakow’s modern pulse, dominated by the splendid Renaissance arcades of the Sukiennce (Cloth Hall), the lop-sided St Mary Basilica and an endless supply of cafés and bars.From the square, Krakow’s complex medieval alleyways peel off in all directions and work as the focus of most visits. The Old Town contains Baroque churches by the handful, a gorgeous ensemble of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture, as well as about 25 museums covering subjects as diverse as Japanese manga, photography and stained glass. The standout historical collections are found in the many branches of the National Museum and in the Rynek Underground below the Cloth Hall.The so-called “royal route” leaves the square down Grodzka and leads directly to the great architectural mish-mash of Wawel, perched on a rocky crag south of the square. Some of Poland’s most important buildings are assembled here, including the Renaissance castle, the flamboyant cathedral and the Crown Treasury, which houses the Polish crown jewels.More
#9
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
#10
Cloth Hall (Sukiennice)

Cloth Hall (Sukiennice)

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The focal building of Krakow’s fanciful Main Square (Rynek Główny), the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) has stood in the same spot in various forms for about 800 years but was originally built to house the local textile traders. From its humble beginnings as a small open-air market, the Renaissance-style hall is now 354 feet (108 meters) long and hosts Krakow’s biggest and best souvenir market, with stalls on the ground floor selling painted eggs, amber jewelry, wooden puppets and organic goods. The hall is gloriously floodlit by night.On the first floor of the Cloth Hall is the charming, revamped Gallery of 19-Century Polish Art (Galeria Sztuki Polskiej XIX wieku w Sukiennicach). It reopened in 2010 after an extensive facelift, and its artwork hangs in elegant Renaissance salons. The highlights are the two massive satirical works by Polish nationalist artist Jan Matejko.Well below ground and actually constructed underneath the Cloth Hall, a fairly new addition to Krakow’s museum scene is the Podziemia Rynku (Rynek Underground). Romping through Krakow’s turbulent backstory from prehistory to modern day, the high-tech museum uses interactive displays, special effects, informative touchscreens and holograms to engage the public. After some five years of construction, during which time the Main Square was partially under cover, the museum finally opened in 2010.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 and Salt Mine Full day tour
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Auschwitz & Birkenau: Live-Guided tour with transportation and hotel pickup
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Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine guided ONE DAY TOUR
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Auschwitz - Birkenau Memorial Tour from Krakow

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Auschwitz - Birkenau Memorial Tour from Krakow

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Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum Full-Day Tour from Krakow
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Delicious Kazimierz Food Tour from Krakow

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Delicious Kazimierz Food Tour from Krakow

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Recent reviews from experiences in Krakow

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Two must do tours in one
Kerry_G, Dec 2021
Auschwitz Tour and Salt Mines Krakow - One day trip with transport
A great way to see two highlights when visiting Krakow.
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Krakow Food and Vodka Tour
Brian_S, Nov 2021
The Full Polish Food & Vodka Experience
He made us feel like old friends and gave us plenty of good advice to what to see and do around Krakow.
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See the most of it in a short span. Check this out when in Krakow.
Vivek_M, Nov 2021
Day Trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine from Krakow including Lunch
Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine are two of the most popular attractions near Krakow, but sufficiently far.
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Brilliant half day excursion.
Julie_H, Oct 2021
Wieliczka Salt Mine: Regular Guided Tour (free door to door service)
We were picked up promptly by a very courteous driver, who gave us tips on where to visit, eat etc.
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Krakow in a Golf Cart!!
Patricia_B, Aug 2021
Krakow in a Day: 3-Hours City Tour by Electric Car
His English was good also!
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Extremely Solemn and Wonderful Tour
Marc_C, Nov 2021
Day Trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine from Krakow including Lunch
I have been wanting to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Salt mine was an added trip.
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Amazing day trip to Auschwitz and Salt Mines
Anna_F, Nov 2021
Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine guided ONE DAY TOUR
The communication before the tour was clear, driver was punctual, car very clean and everyone spoke excellent English and made sure we knew what to expect.
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Must visit whilst in Krakow
Robert_W, Nov 2021
Schindler's Factory Guided Tour in Krakow
Excellent English speaking guide and audio equipment meany everything could be heard clearly.
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Anna - The best tour guide in Krakow!
Anna_K, Oct 2021
Krakow’s Old Town & Wawel Castle at Night Private Tour
All the monuments and attractions are highlighted, which creates amazing atmosphere.
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A fantastic and fun tour of Krakows highlights
Georgia_T, Oct 2021
Krakow city tour by electric car
30am) did not catch her name but she was great fun and showed us some of the main attractions in Krakow.
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The only way to see the city of Krakow
Jennifer_V, Oct 2021
Krakow: Private Guided City Tour by Electric Car
This was the best way to see Krakow instead of having to walk as there is a lot to cover!
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Spending the day seeing the important sites associated with Saint John Paul II
Robert_S, Aug 2021
Saint John Paul II Private Day Tour from Krakow
This excursion is an excellent way to see so much of the history of one of history's greatest men, as well as an excellent way to see the beautiful Polish countryside south of Krakow (which is very scenic foothills, unlike the flat plains north of Krakow).
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An awesome active near krakow!
Chanjong_K, Jun 2021
Krakow: Extreme Shooting Range with Hotel Pick-Up
Even, they are friendly and good at English, though they said they are good at polish more.
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Krakow experiences
Amanda_D, Sep 2020
Krakow in a Day: 3-Hours City Tour by Electric Car
We were able to see a wider area than by walking, thank you for our day
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Fun way to see Krakow
Colin_D, Sep 2020
Electric Scooter Tours Kraków
An excellent way to see the city.
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Very chilling
Sophie_A, Mar 2020
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum from Krakow
The most heartbreaking but fantastic day, Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and very clear English spoken.
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Mr
Barry_U, Mar 2020
Sightseeing Bike Tour of Krakow
Highly recommended if you want to see and learn more about Krakow.
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Vodka education
Roger_W, Mar 2020
The Kraków Vodka Tour
Combined with a short walk around Krakow to visit the specialist shops and bars and finishing with some Polish dumplings.
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Fantastic tour
alastercunningham, Feb 2020
Wieliczka Salt Mine: Regular Guided Tour (free door to door service)
Salt mine is a fantastic place to visit and tour guide excellent.
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Great tour with Auschwitz + Wieliczka in the same day
Thais_S, Jan 2020
Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine guided ONE DAY TOUR
Just enough to get to know this 2 attractions in Krakow.

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.

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.

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