What to see in Krakow: 10 Things to do and itineraries from 1 3 5 days

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Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
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wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Krakow is the heart of Polish culture and is steeped in history. If you dream of coming here to relax and absorb the history and culture of the place, you will certainly not be disappointed. Numerous cafes, restaurants, museums, bars and clubs are just waiting to be visited and experienced. The city is really full of attractions and if you are wondering what the best things to visit absolutely, here is the perfect article for you!


Index

  1. Wawel Castle
  2. Wawel Cathedral
  3. Rynek Główny Square
  4. Basilica of Santa Maria
  5. Wieliczka Salt Mine
  6. Czartoryski Museum
  7. Auschwitz
  8. The Kazimierz District and the Podgorze Jewish Ghetto
  9. Schindler's factory
  10. Ojcow National Park
  11. 5 things to do in Krakow
  12. User questions and comments

1 - Wawel Castle

Political and cultural heart of Poland in the 16th century, the Wawel Castle it is a strong symbol of national identity. Today it houses a museum with five distinct sections, each of which requires a separate ticket to visit. In our opinion the most suggestive areas are the State Rooms and the Royal apartments. Since 2012 inside the Castle one of the masterpieces of the master Leonardo da Vinci is exhibited: "The Lady with the Ermine".


  • located in the upper part of Krakow, you can reach it on foot from the Old Town or by Tram (Wawel stop, lines 9, 10, 13, 19, 22, 24) - Get directions
  • 6: 00-19: 00 Apr and Sep, 6: 00-20: 00 May and Aug, 6: 00-17: 00 Nov and Feb, 6: 00-18: 00 Mar and Oct)
  • 18 zloty (€ 4,00, excluding temporary exhibitions)

Limited Seats: The Castle is the most visited monument in Krakow, so you are very likely to encounter long queues at the entrance. Not only that, the number of tickets is also limited, so on peak days (summer and weekends), they sell out immediately! To avoid wasting time in line or even not finding tickets available, we strongly recommend the purchase of priority access, even better if combined with a guided tour to better discover all the legends and curiosities around the attraction.



2 - Wawel Cathedral

The Catholic conversion of Poland and its rise as an important seat of Christianity is a historical-cultural element closely linked to the identity of the nation. The emblem of this is the Wawel Cathedral, located in the homonymous hill, not far from the castle. For over 400 years it has been the cathedral of Polish kings, and its vaults have seen the kingdom fall and rise again over the last millennium.

Also for the Cathedral, as for the Castle, the suggestion of buying a skip-the-line ticket online is valid, possibly combined with a guided tour in your language.

  • located in the upper part of Krakow, you can reach it on foot from the Old Town or by Tram (Wawel stop, lines 9, 10, 13, 19, 22, 24) - Get directions
  • from Apr to Sep Mon-Sat 09: 00-17: 00 and Sun 12: 30-17: 00; From Oct to Tue Mon-Sat 09: 00-16: 00 and Sun 12: 30-16: 00
  • 12 zloty (€ 3,00)

3 - Rynek Główny Square

Krakow offers many fascinating squares, each with its own characteristics and history, but among all the central square stands out: Rynek Główny.
It is usually the starting point for most of the guided tours of the city, as there is also the place here Basilica of Santa Maria and the Textile Market, home to the Polish painting gallery, itself a section of the National Museum.

Just to give an idea of ​​its beauty, grandeur and importance, suffice it to say that it is the largest in Poland and also the largest medieval square in Europe (about 40.000 square meters)
In the evening it becomes the center of Krakow's nightlife, with outdoor bars and restaurants and a lively movement of young people. Moreover, every hour, from the highest tower of the Basilica of Santa Maria, a trumpeter plays the melody known as "hejnal".



  • It is the heart of the city center, connected with many tram lines. It is located 600 meters from the Central Station - Get directions
  • always open
  • Free

4 - Basilica of Santa Maria

The Basilica of Santa Maria, located in the historic city center, is one of the attractions not to be missed. Its recently restored interiors are an incredible display of Gothic opulence. The milestone is obviously the Gothic altar: a Polyptych of 13 meters made in the 15th century by Veit Stoss.

From the outside, you immediately notice a peculiarity: the two towers that flank the main facade have a different height. The tallest is known as the hejnalic tower (from Hejnal, trumpet), and was used to warn in case of fires and to announce the closing of doors in the medieval period.
Entrance to the Basilica is included in the Krakow City Pass (Krakow Card).

  • Located in Rynek Główny, which is 600 meters from the Central Station - Get directions
  • from 11:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Friday, from 14:00 to 18:00 on Sunday
  • 10 zloty (about € 2,30 - for adults), 5 zloty (just over € 1,00 - reduced for children, seniors and students)

Climb to the top of the tower: in the summer you can go up to the top of the tower and visit the room of the trumpeter who was murdered for playing the trumpet as a warning of the invasion of the Tartars in 1241. Also from the top of the tower you can admire a wonderful view of the city exceptional photographs! However, I advise you to go to the ticket office early in the morning, the tickets sell out really quickly.



5 - Wieliczka Salt Mine

About 14 km east of Krakow is the Wieliczka Salt Mine, UNESCO heritage.
It is a mysterious tangle of wells, chambers and tunnels dug deep, with sculptures carved by hand from blocks of salt. The mine extends for 300 km, distributed over nine levels of depth; the deepest reaches 327 meters underground.

Given its location outside the city, it is advisable to book a guided tour with pickup, in order to avoid delays due to transport or, worse still, to miss the means!

  • about 14 km from Krakow. The suburban train and minibus leave from the Central Station. You can also get there by bus 304 at the Kurniki stop to the Wieliczka Kopalnia Soli stop, get a day ticket with Strefa I + II Aglomeracja fare - Get directions
  • from apr to oct 7: 30-19: 30, from nov to mar 8: 00-17: 00
  • 84 zloty (€ 20,00) full price, 64 zloty (€ 15,00) reduced, 232 zloty (€ 55,00) family for 4 people. The price includes admission + the guided tour in a foreign language. By choosing a Polish-speaking guide, the visit has a lower cost.

6 - Czartoryski Museum

La Czartoryski collection it was started in 1795 by Princess Izabela Fleming, who intended to preserve and preserve the national artistic heritage. Unfortunately, the collection has had a somewhat turbulent history. During the Second World War many works were looted by the Nazis. Many were later recovered, but not all! To date, 840 finds are still missing, including a painting by Raphael.
L'most famous work it is without doubt the "Lady with an Ermine".
The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00, and on Sundays from 10:00 to 16:00.
Entrance to the Museum is included in the Krakow City Pass (Krakow Card).

  • by Bus (lines 124, 152, 424, 502 and 512) or by Tram (lines 2, 3, 4, 5, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 24) - Get directions
  • Tue and Thu 10: 00-15: 30, Wed, Fri and Sat 10: 00-18: 30, Sun 10: 00-14: 30. Closed Mon
  • full 10 zloty (about € 2,30), reduced 5 zloty (just over € 1,00 - for children, seniors and students), Free on Thursday

The Lady with the Ermine: together with the Castle, it is certainly the most viewed and sought after attraction in Krakow. Therefore, in the high season the queues are likely to be interminable. For this, I absolutely recommend the Krakow City Pass (Krakow Card) which, in addition to this, gives priority access to many other museums and all public transport in the city.

7 - Auschwitz

Just over 50km west of Krakow is the town of Oswiecim, a place that would certainly have remained unknown if only the Nazis hadn't decided to build right here. the extermination camps Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Since the end of the war, the site has been preserved as a museum and memorial, and receives more than one million visitors a year. Devote at least three hours for the visit on a full-day guided tour from Krakow that includes both camps: Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. Know that this is certainly a deeply heartbreaking experience, but absolutely due. Entry to the museum is free, but various types of guided tours are available at different prices.

  • Oswiecim is about 50 km away. You can arrive by PKP train from the central station.
    The price of the trip is 15 zloty (€ 4,00), the duration of the journey is 1 hour and 30 minutes - Get directions
  • 8:00 - 15:00 (December / February), 8:00 - 16:00 (March and November), 8:00 - 17:00 (April and October), 8:00 - 18:00 (May and September) ), 8:00 - 19:00 (June, July and August)
  • The Museum and Killing Fields Tour lasts 4 hours. The price is between 20 and 25 zloty (visit in Polish) and between 30 and 40 zloty (visit in another language)

Reservation required online: new provisions stipulate that it is not possible to access the museum without booking, which must be done online. Once the reservation has been presented, you can choose between a visit on your own or an entrance with a guided tour. Alternatively, to avoid the risk of not finding tickets available, we recommend booking a tour with transfer from Krakow A / R, entrance and guide in Italian, also because the number of seats for each slot and language is limited.

8 - The Kazimierz District and the Podgorze Jewish Ghetto

Kazimierz was once the beating heart of the Jewish community of Krakow, which was sadly torn apart by Nazi troops. Today the culture of the Jewish people is celebrated in this place. The area is home to many artistic and alternative communities and has an atmosphere distinct from the rest of the city. Kazimierz is divided into two parts, one Christian and one Jewish, the latter coinciding with the Podgorze ghetto. The stories related to these neighborhoods are very interesting, so they lend themselves very well to being visited with a guided tour of the Jewish quarter which also includes Schindler's Factory and the Podgorze Ghetto (from around € 22,00).

  • By tram, the closest stops are Limanowskiego (lines 6, 13, 23), Bohaterow Getta (lines 3, 9, 19, 24 and 50) or Zablocie, lines 11 and 20 - Get directions
  • always open
  • Free

9 - Schindler's factory

The Podgorze Ghetto is where many of the events described in Spielberg's cinematic masterpiece Schindler's List took place. Among the most interesting attractions we point out the old Schindler factory, today transformed into a huge museum about the history of the occupation of Krakow.
Admission is included in the Krakow City Pass (Krakow Card).

The story linked to the Factory is touching: Schindler, chosen by the SS as a spy, acquired a factory for the production of pots. To save on labor, he employed Jewish workers. When he discovered the torture suffered by Jews at the hands of the Nazis, he undertook, risking his life, to protect his workers, saving over 1.200 lives. To learn this and other stories, and see the iconic places, we recommend taking a guided tour of Schindler's Factory: without a guided tour, it would risk looking like an old empty factory.

  • By tram, the closest stops are Limanowskiego (lines 6, 13, 23), Bohaterow Getta (lines 3, 9, 19, 24 and 50) or Zablocie, lines 11 and 20 - Get directions
  • From April to October: Mon 10: 00-16: 00, Tue / Sun 10: 00-20: 00; November to March: Mon 10: 00-14: 00, Tue / Sun 10: 00-18: 00
  • 21 zloty (€ 5,00) full, 16 zloty (€ 3,70) reduced

10 - Ojcow National Park

Finally we point out the Ojcow National Park. Despite being among the smallest parks among the 23 Polish national parks, Ojców ranks as the best. It is a large botanical garden located 24 km from the city, with over 1.000 species of flowering plants within its borders. Inside there are several attractions of historical and naturalistic interest. We recommend that you spend at least half a day visiting the park, starting with a day trip from Krakow or exploring paths and trails with a guided bicycle tour.

  • By tram, the closest stops are Limanowskiego (lines 6, 13, 23), Bohaterow Getta (lines 3, 9, 19, 24 and 50) or Zablocie, lines 11 and 20 - Get directions
  • The park can always be visited, but the attractions inside are open only at certain times. For more info consult the website
  • Admission is free but inside it is possible to visit some attractions for a fee: the museum (10 zloty), the ruins of the castle of Casimir the Great (3 zloty), the Łokietek Cave (8 zloty), the Ciemna cave ( 7 zloty) and Pieskowa Skala castle (10 zloty)

5 things to do in Krakow

/5
  1. Take an early morning stroll through the Castle Gardens
    They are an ideal place for a walk in the countryside. Moreover, they open at 6:00 in the morning, if you love to get up early, you will find a breathtaking location for great photos and to enjoy a little relaxation before the rush of rush hour.
  2. Don't miss a typical dinner
    Throughout the city there are many restaurants (some even underground) to enjoy typical dinners. Polish cuisine is full of German, Jewish and Slavic influences: pierogi, beetroot soup, craft beer, ... you can opt for a walking tour to discover Krakow's foods or a traditional show with dinner included.
  3. Cruise on the Vistula River
    Yes, Krakow is a city crossed by a river, and if you are a lover of river cruises and you love to take unforgettable photos, you cannot miss a panoramic cruise on the Vistula River, to admire the most important places from an original perspective and take perfect photos of the Castle for Instagram!
  4. Visit Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains
    If you stay for more than a weekend and love mountain views, Zakopane is the top. It is the most famous winter destination in Poland but it is splendid in every season. with a tour from Krakow (with pick up directly at the hotel) you can admire the peaks of the Tatra Mountains from Gubałówka, try snowboarding and cable car rides, and take unforgettable photos!
  5. Chocholowska Baths
    Just 5 km from the center, they are among the most beautiful spas in Europe with thermal water that flows from 3.600 meters deep. Enjoy the hydromassage pools, spa treatments, but also slides, volleyball and other activities! The best time? In the evening of course! Admission can be booked online

Plan your stay in Krakow: flights, hotels and tours

What is the best place to sleep in Krakow? The city is full of hotels and hostels for all budgets. It is advisable to stay in a hotel located near the market square (Rynek Glowny), this way you can reach almost all major destinations on foot.

  • starting from € 46,00 - compare flights
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 32,00 per room -

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