Krakow isn’t the biggest city in Poland, but it very well could be the coolest. For a city of under one million people, Krakow is filled with great things to do, including cultural experiences, historical must-see’s, and more.
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Best Things To Do In Krakow
From stunning avant-garde architecture and the happiest people in the world to some great food and really enjoyable things to do, Copenhagen is probably the coolest city in all of Scandinavia. Here is my list of the best things to do in Copenhagen.
1. Go for a Stroll Around the Main Market Square
Krakow’s Main Market Square, Rynek Główny in Polish, is by far the busiest place in Krakow. This square has been the center of life and culture in Krakow for centuries, and has been around for over 700 years. This is the largest Medieval square in all of Europe, and it has remained generally intact ever since its construction. The Market Square is where you can find iconic spots like the Cloth Hall and Saint Mary’s Basilica, as well as endless great restaurants and cafes. I highly recommend grabbing dinner at Szara Ges, which is known to be one of the finest restaurants in all of Poland. Also, be sure to be in the square at the top of the hour, as a bugler plays from the Saint Mary’s Tower every hour on the dot!
2. Go Shopping along Florianska Street
Florianska Street is named after one of Poland’s most important saints, St. Florian. This road is a beautiful stretch that is lined with great shopping and dining. The street is as fun as it is beautiful, and this is widely known as one of the coolest parts of Krakow. There is no specific place that I recommend along Florianska Street – rather, I recommend just walking along it and soaking in the sights, smells, and sounds in the area and popping into any places that interest you.
3. Head Down to Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral
Wawel Cathedral and Wawel Castle are two of the coolest places in all of Krakow, in my opinion. These are both absolute must-do’s. The Wawel Cathedral is the site of countless Polish coronations, and the tombs and preserved bodies of many Polish rulers and authorities are located here. This cathedral was a personal favorite of Pope John Paul II, who was from a town not too far from Krakow. The cathedral is beautifully ornate, and visiting it is really a great experience. The castle is equally ornate and lavish, and the exhibits in the castle offer a great look into the life of Polish royalty.
4. Visit Kazimierz, The Site of The Schindler’s List
Poland was one of the countries most heavily affected by the Second World War. Before the war, Krakow had one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe. Unfortunately, as Krakow became one of the main operational centers of Nazi Germany’s forces, the Jewish population was decimated. After the war and the eventual falling of the iron curtain, the Jewish population has begun to rebound significantly.
Krakow is especially famous because it is where the movie “The Schindler’s List” takes place and was filmed. This movie actually reinjected money and interest in the area, and the neighborhood of Kazimierz, where the movie was filmed, is now the bustling Jewish Quarter of Krakow. This area is extremely unique and cultural and I highly recommend checking it out.
5. Take a Day Trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp
Words cannot describe the importance of this place. Visiting concentration camps is extremely dark, sickening, and humbling, but you truly learn so much while you’re there. Auschwitz is the epitome of this. I have visited a handful of concentration camps in Europe, and none of them match the feeling you get when you are at Auschwitz. It is located not too far from the city, and there are countless tour operators offering day trips from Krakow. I think it is the single most important thing to do while you visit Krakow. Please, if you visit, be respectful and sensitive. You’d be surprised how many people pose for pictures, especially on the train tracks. Don’t do this.
6. Take a Day Trip to Wieliczka Salt Mine
While Auschwitz is the much more important day trip from Krakow, you really shouldn’t miss Wieliczka Salt Mine either. In fact, many operators will take you to both places in the same day. The salt mine is extremely cool to visit. The tour starts by descending hundreds of steps and then taking an elevator to the lower levels of the mine. The mine has been turned into a museum of sorts, with statues and figures carved out of rock salt all throughout the mine. There is even a Catholic Church carved entirely out of a cave of salt! It is the coolest thing, and learning about the salt mining trade is very interesting as well.
How To Get to Krakow
How To Get Around Krakow
BY FOOT | TRAM | UBER
Krakow is a very walkable city. If you plan on staying mostly in the old town areas, you will not need anything but a good pair of walking shoes. You can see the majority of the cool parts of the city this way. If you do need to go further, Krakow has a pretty decent tram system that connects old town to different parts of the city. The tram is the only real public transportation in the city, but it is effective and extremely affordable, costing as little as 70 cents for a trip. Krakow also has Uber, and it is extremely cheap to use. For information about using Uber in foreign countries, be sure to check out this blog post.
How Many Days Do You Need in Krakow?
Krakow is a medium-sized city, and I recommend going for 4 or 5 days to be able to really enjoy it thoroughly. This is especially true if you plan on taking day trips to Auschwitz or Wieliczka Salt Mine. While you could spend a full week in Krakow and still have more to see I think 4 or 5 days is the sweet spot.
Is Krakow Worth Visiting?
After reading this post, I hope the answer to the question “is Krakow worth visiting?” is clear to you! Krakow is a really interesting place with some stuff you will not find anywhere else. The blend of old and new is on full display, and the popular streets are some of the most charming streets you’ll find to walk on in Europe. There is a little something for everybody in Krakow, which makes it a place that is really worth visiting. Plan ahead, as the list of things to do is diverse and long.
Thanks for reading our Krakow travel guide! I hope this post accomplished its goal of answering the question “Is Krakow worth visiting?” If you have any more questions, be sure to drop a comment in the comment section
If you’re planning a trip to Krakow, let us know by commenting! We’d love to chat ahead of time and answer any questions you have