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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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This brick Gothic church in the northeast corner of Old Town’s main square (Rynek Główny, dominates the skyline at 262 feet (80 meters tall. Dating back to the 13th century, St. Mary’s Basilica (Kościól Mariacki is famous for its stunning wooden altarpiece carved by German sculptor Veit Stoss.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
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
#9
Cloth Hall (Sukiennice)

Cloth Hall (Sukiennice)

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Cloth Hall (Sukiennice dates back to the Renaissance and is one of the city’s most recognizable structures. Featured prominently in Old Town’s main square (Rynek Główny, Cloth Hall was originally intended as a linen and textile marketplace for local merchants to sell and house their goods.More
#10
Great Barbican

Great Barbican

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The Great Barbican is a 15th-century, 7-turreted bastion in Krakow that once protected the city’s main gate—St. Florian’s Gate—and the Old Town within it. One of the few remnants of Krakow’s fortifications, the barbican consists of a small museum, medieval passageways, and a courtyard that hosts summer events such as jousting and pageants.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 Museum and Memorial Guided Tour from Krakow
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Auschwitz & Birkenau: Live-Guided Tour with Transportation and Hotel Pickup
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Wieliczka Salt Mine Guided Tour from Krakow
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The Kraków Vodka Tour
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The Kraków Vodka Tour

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Krakow Old Town Guided Walking Tour
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Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine Guided One Day Tour
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Auschwitz-Birkenau Best Value Shared Tour
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Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum from Krakow
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Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum Guided Tour from Krakow
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Auschwitz - Birkenau Memorial Tour from Krakow
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From Kraków: Auschwitz-Birkenau Guided Tour with professional Guide
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Auschwitz-Birkenau and Salt Mine in One Day from Krakow
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Combo Tour to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine in One Day
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Recent reviews from experiences in Krakow

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A Day In Old Town Krakow
Richard_J, May 2022
Krakow Private Walking City Tour
I would recommend him to any one coming to visit Poland.
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Excellent
Sarah_L, May 2022
Krakow: Private Guided City Tour by Electric Car
He had great knowledge of the area and good English.
star-5
Respectful visit
Kathryn_H, Apr 2022
Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour from Krakow with Hotel Pickup
An emotional day and absolutely astounded to see the scale of the Nazi operation.
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A great way to see Krakow
Richard_M, Apr 2022
Segway Tour of Krakow: Old Town Tour - 1,5-Hour of Magic!
A great way to see and learn about Krakow.
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Loved it!
victoria_s, Apr 2022
Zakopane & Polish Mountains Tour (hotel pick up)
Absolutely brilliant, stunning views and so interesting to see a different side of Krakow.
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Will def do again
Gemma_f, Apr 2022
Krakow: Old Town, Jewish Kazimierz and Ghetto Sightseeing by Electric Golf Cart
Absolute loved this tour by far one of the best things to do within Krakow the driver is so so clued up and informative it makes it super more fun and enjoying booking this through Viator was easy
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Auschwitz full day tour
Robin_A, Feb 2022
Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial Guided Tour from Krakow
Very impressive to see a concentration camp live and listen to the stories.
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Cycling Tour
Leanne_W, Jan 2022
Krakow Bike Tour of the Old Town, Jewish Quarter, and the Ghetto
A really nice way to see Krakow.
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Great tour
Anthony_D, Dec 2021
Day Trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine from Krakow including Lunch
Great way to see the best 2 things just outside Krakow.
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Excellent tour, excellent guide.
Patrick_B, Dec 2021
Schindler's Factory Guided Tour in Krakow
Really a must-see place to visit 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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Brilliant Day Out
ian_d, May 2022
ZAKOPANE & Thermal Springs
We then returned to the transport and Patrick took us the the thermal spring pool complex and once again just brilliant.
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Sunday Morning Salt Mine tour
peterjacklin, May 2022
Salt Mine Wieliczka Guided Tour with Private Transport from Krakow
Our driver/guide was friendly, spoke good english and provided lots of interesting information on the way to and from the mine.
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Auschwitz-Birkenau Camps Tour.
Richard_M, Apr 2022
Auschwitz-Birkenau Guided Tour by Private Transport from Krakow
He picked us up on time and was very knowledgeable about the area and his English was excellent.
star-5
A definite if visiting Krakow
Richard_M, Apr 2022
Wieliczka Salt Mine: Guided Tour from Krakow (with hotel pickup)
His knowledge and English were both excellent.
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An all inclusive day trip
Kirsteen_A, Apr 2022
Auschwitz Birkenau Museum and Salt Mine All Inclusive DAY TRIP with Local Guides
The English speaking guides at the camps and salt mines were informative and pleasant.
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Amazing!
Lauren_J, Mar 2022
Pierogi Cooking Class with Market Shopping and Local Snacks
Olga was able to recommend various activities to do in Krakow from an array of local cafes, and street food to the more tourist aspects.
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A long day and totally worth it.
Jade_M, Mar 2022
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum Guided Tour from Krakow
But there is so much to see and hear about, it’s understandable that time is tight.
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Worthwhile experience.
Holly_B, Feb 2022
Auschwitz-Birkenau Best Value Shared Tour
The tour itself was exceptionally well organised - pick up from our hotel doorstep, comfortable journey with helpful and friendly driver speaking with us around attractions in Krakow and the points to look out for on the tour.

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.

People Also Ask

What should you not miss in Krakow?

A visit to Krakow must include a visit to the Old Town and Rynek Glowny Central Square—one of Europe’s largest medieval market squares. Browse handmade wooden goods in the cloth hall (Sukiennice), and stroll down the Royal Route towards Wawel Castle and Cathedral. Also, don’t miss Kazimierz, the city’s Jewish Quarter.

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How many days do you need in Krakow?

Krakow is a perfect weekend destination. Stay in the Jewish District of Kazimierz, a treasure trove of coffee shops, cool bars, ancient synagogues, and art galleries; then spend a day exploring the historical wonders of the Old Town such as the Cloth Hall, and Saint Mary's Basilica.

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Is it safe to walk around Krakow at night?

Yes, it’s safe to walk around Krakow at night, but it’s best to stick to busier well-lit areas such as the Old Town and Kazimierz. As it’s a popular bachelor party destination, sometimes drunk tourists may be gathered in groups in the main square, but they’re unlikely to bother you.

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Is Auschwitz close to Krakow?

Yes, Auschwitz is roughly 42 miles (69 km) from Krakow, so it’s an ideal day-trip destination. The quickest way to get there is by taxi which takes around an hour. Alternatively, you could get the train which takes just under 2 hours, or go on organized tour with round-trip transportation included.

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Is it cheap to eat out in Krakow?

Yes, Krakow is often listed as one of Europe’s cheapest cities, and you can easily find generous main courses for under US$10. For super cheap eats, go to milk bars (Bar Mleczny), which sell hearty traditional food. Also, look out for zapiekanki stands, Poland’s tasty pizza-style open baguettes.

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Is Krakow good for nightlife?

Yes, Krakow has excellent nightlife options. In fact, it has one of the highest concentrations of bars and clubs per square mile in Europe. There’s something for every taste including swanky cocktail bars, techno clubs, jazz venues, atmospheric cellar bars, beer gardens, '70s music clubs, and the ever-popular vodka shot bars.

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