Krakow City Guide – Poland’s Second Largest City
Krakow is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland dating back to the 7th century. It’s also considered as one of Poland’s most important cities for its unmatched beauty and unparalleled history.
If you want to journey to some place new and exciting, with so much you can look forward to, try Krakow. For its small size, you’ll be surprised that it has so much to offer any tourist who is looking for fresh sights and extraordinary adventures.
Top Things To Do in Krakow
- Watch performers and buildings in the Main Square.
The Main Square is by far one of the busiest areas in the Krakow. It’s packed with hustling and bustling tourists and locals but even so, you can admire the awe-inspiring architecture of the most important and noteworthy buildings in Krakow as you sit in the Main Square. This place has been the central meeting area in Krakow since the 1300s. While strolling, you can also watch street performers or enjoy a cup of coffee.
- Visit the iconic Saint Mary’s Basilica.
Bazylika Mariacka is one of the highlights of Krakow’s secular architecture. It’s an iconic symbol of the Main
Square and has stood in its current location since the 12th century. You can enter and explore the area for free with the exception of the Veit Stoss Altar. There are occasional concerts held here so if there are artists playing on the same day as your visit, then you can stick around to listen and appreciate the music of Krakow. Other than that, another thing you can look forward to is the famous trumpeter, who blows the trumpet every hour.
- Explore the museums.
You’ll be amazed at the number of museums you can find in Krakow. Another good thing about it is the fact that there are days each week that you can enter them at no cost. So if you’re staying awhile in Krakow, make sure to check out the museums and find out when admission is free so you can save money. Krakow has about 20 museums, all housing the most important stuffs to the culture and history of Krakow. It’s going to be worth your while, for sure.
Some of the museums in Krakow that you can go to which offers free admission on specific days are the following.
- Rynek Underground Museum – free admission on Tuesdays with the exception of the first Tuesday each month
- Muzeum Archeologiczne(The Archeology Museum) – free every Sunday
- MOCAK(The Museum of Contemporary Art) – free every Tuesday
- Manggha – free every Tuesday
- Schindler Factory Museum – free every Monday except the first Monday of every month when it is closed
- Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art at Sukiennice – Fee every Sunday from May 1st until October 31st
- Wawel Hill and Castle – There are selected exhibits which are free on Mondays from April 1st until
October 31st at exactly 9:30 am to 1 pm. From November 1st until March 31st selected exhibits are free on Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm.
- Be amazed at the beauty of Plac Nowy.
Plac Nowy is located at the heart of Kazimierz. It’s where you can find flea markets and all antique bazaars you can possibly think of. You can shop fresh produce, sweets, and possibly all mementos and gifts you can bring home to your loved-ones. The flea markets and antique bazaars are open every Saturday and Sunday mornings There is also a weekend market which is something that tourists of old and new look forward to. There are bars and cafés in the area so if you’re tired of shopping and just wanted to just chill and hangout, there’s definitely a place for you in this area of Krakow! The nightlife is so alive, so inviting, and so lively.
- Visit Skałki Twardowskiego.
Skałki Twardowskiego was formerly an old limestone quarry and is now a nature reserve. It is a favorite among tourists who are enthusiasts of hiking and biking. It’s also a great place for rock climbers and those who are aspiring to climb mountains for there are regular classes offered by different schools. Once you are on top of the peak, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the Krakow wit Wawel Hill dominating the skyline. It is very well worth the effort and the pain of climbing up. The air is fresh and the surroundings are a relief in themselves.
- Visit Zakrzowek.
Zarzowek is a turquioise oasis where you can explore some magnificent and challenging hiking trails. You can also take scuba diving lessons if you’re interested. Those who have a license and are certified scuba divers can definitely enjoy this area as the water is 30 meters deep! Another reason on why this tourist destination is so popular among tourists visiting Krakow is the fact that the late popo Karol Wojtyla, also known as Pope John Paul II, used to worked in this area during the World War II.
- Go mountain climbing at Kopiec Kraka.
Kopiec Kraka offers a stunning view of the Krakow and the cities nearby. It is absolutely free to climb Kopiec Kraka and it is not as challenging as other peaks you have tried to climb if any. Once up the peak, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking view of Old Town and Kazimierz which will only convince you about how perfect your decision was to climb it in the first place. The lawn in the Kopiec Kraka is also an excellent spot for when you want to have picnics with fellow travelers.
- Walk and unwind at the Wisla Boulevards.
The Wisla Boulevards is along both sides of the iconic Wisla River. It’s perfect for when you just want to savor the moment, to unwind, to relax, and to give yourself sometime to think. It is also a great spot for picnics or for leisurely biking or recreational jogging. If you don’t want to have a picnic session, just take a favorite book with you (or an e-book) and sit down at the side and enjoy reading. This spot is perfect for when you are seeking calm and you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Lastly, this place offers visitors of Krakow many activities like boating or lake dining. So grab your camera and make sure you take as many pictures as you can of this ethereal beauty.
- Visit the Cmentarz Rokowicki.
Cmentarz Rokowicki is one of Krakow’s famous cemeteries. It has a total area of 42 hectares and is a delight to visitors who are enthusiasts of architecture. It is packed with gem featuring graves, tombs, and mausoleums which are more beautiful than a residential house you’ve seen wherever country you came from. They come in many sizes, shapes, designs, and styles, are renowned around the world for they were the creation of the brilliant minds of different artists. One of the most perfect day to visit if ever you’re going to be traveling is on All Saints Day, for when the place is like heaven at night, glowing with all kinds and colors of candlelight.
- Cross the Kładka Bernatka bridge.
Kładka Bernatka is a bridge which connects Kazimierz to Podgorz and provides easy access to what used to be the border of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This bridge is the best way to get to some awesome restaurants and bars for when you want to go bar hopping during your adventure in Krakow.
- Visit the 19th Century Polish Art Gallery.
The Polish Art Gallery from the 1900s is one of the most magnificent and historic galleries you’ll ever come across with in your entire lifetime. The four rooms of the gallery are filled with art collections of all sizes and ages. You’ll see most of the national treasures and including the awe-inspiring works of Jan Matejko, Jacek Malczewski, Jozef Chelmonski, and Stanislaw Witkiewicz. It’s a small slice of Louvre, but an absolutely delicious and satisfying slice in Krakow.
- Go to the Schindler’s Factory.
The Oskar Schindler Enamelled Goods Factory just recently opened to the public in the year of 2010. Since then, it has been one of the go-to sites of tourists when visiting Krakow. This factory is famous and almost all people in the world who were able to watch the film of Steven Spielberg called Schindler’s List know the story behind this factory. It is indeed one of the most awe-inspiring museums in the whole Poland.
- Take a trip to the Judaica Foundation.
This civic and cultural center hosts lectures and exhibits reflecting Jewish past and present life. They also have a cafe with a great little summer roof terrace – one of Kazimierz’s best-kept secrets. Try attending one of their lectures and you’ll be amazed to know more about Krakow. The place is perfect if you are traveling with history buffs, or if you are a proud history buff yourself. Make sure you call them first to know their schedules at (48) 12 430 64 49 or you can also visit their website at www.judaica.pl.
- Go to Auschwitz.
Just over 50 kilometers of Krakow is the small town of Oswiecim, the place where the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was established during the Holocaust. Since the war ended, the site has been preserved as a memorial museum and it receives millions of visitors each year. Prepare for your visit and allow plenty of time for this place is packed with people, locals and tourists alike (but mostly tourists) any time of the year, regardless of the season. It can be a profoundly life-changing and moving experience. There is no cost to enter the area but you can take guided tours for more in-depth information. You can contact S-Tours, a family owned tour company who provides personalized guided tours anywhere in Krakow and the surrounding regions for those who are traveling alone or in groups. Their phone number is (+48) 530 17 07 80 or shoot them an email at email@example.com.
- Visit the Jewish Quarter.
Originally Krakow’s Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz was for centuries where Catholics and Jews existed peacefully together, having a noticeably different architectural character than the main city. Since most Jews were killed during the Holocaust, this are fell into a decline and only got back up during the 1990s. This place is famous for its night life.
Krakow is Your Ultimate Destination
Whether you want to party, relax, or just soak yourself up in culture and history, Krakow is the best place to go to. Krakow’s numerous museums and scenic sights won’t disappoint you at all. It’s definitely worth giving a try and if ever you do, you’ll be sure to come back with a smile ear to ear, for your days exploring Krakow are sure to be the best days of your life as an international traveler.
Browse our City Info category for more cities worldwide that may be of interest to your vacation preferences!