17 Best Things To Do In Krakow, Poland

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Krakow is an attractive city to fall in love with. With scenic neighborhood streets and ornate historical monuments and buildings, Krakow offers plenty to explore. 

It’s home to nearly one million people, making it the second largest city in Poland. At one point in time, Krakow held the title of Poland’s capital until 1596. 

It’s filled with a rich history as it is one of Poland’s oldest cities with evidence of a Stone Age settlement. Many of the city’s streets and architecture remains the same as what it used to be before the war.

In addition to its extensive history, Krakow is one of Europe’s most popular cities due to its young and vibrant charm that fills the cobbled streets. 

Best Time To Visit Krakow

The best time to visit Krakow, Poland, is during the warm summer months of July and August. If you’re looking to avoid as many crowds as possible, consider visiting during the spring months of May and June. 

The nights can get a bit chilly, dropping down to, on average, 53° Fahrenheit, so I recommend packing a weather-proof coat to keep warm. 

Krakow Card

As with many popular tourist cities in Europe that offers tourists/city passes, Krakow have the krakow card that provides access to around 40 attractions with options to add transportation access. If you plan to visit most of the attractions, definitely check it out.


Top Things to Do In Krakow

With that said, let’s dive into this picturesque city with the 16 top things to do in Krakow.  

Some attractions are not located right in the city, but they are key highlights when visiting Krakow. These are gathered at the bottom of the list, so be sure to scroll all the way.

The Royal Road


Kings and other celebrities once used the Royal Road formal route as transport to Poland’s capital. 

It is currently intertwined with Krakow’s Old Town landmarks and features significant sites such as St. Mary’s Basilica, Florianska Gate, Rynek Underground, and Town Hall Tower, among many others. 

The route starts at Krakow’s train station and takes you through the Main Market Square for an awe-inspiring stroll. 

If you’re unsure what to do in Krakow when you arrive, taking a walk down the Royal Road will certainly give a general scope of the places to visit in Krakow. 

Main Market Square


Nestled in the Unesco-attested Krakow Old Town, the Market Square has served as the social hub since the Middle Ages. It’s where all the real action happens and features cafes, bars, and restaurants. 

The market square is also home to several landmarks, including Town Hall Tower and the Cloth Hall. It is especially known for florist stalls, rock pigeons, and carriages. 

Encircled by historic townhouses, this lively square is the heart of Krakow. 

Wawel Castle


Wawel Castle sits atop Wawel Hill and is a symbol of political power. It features architectural treasures embodying the Romanesque, Renaissance, and Gothic periods, dating back to the 14th century. 

The castle is one of the largest to exist and has become one of Poland’s most iconic art museums featuring paintings, sculptures, textiles, and more. The Wawel castle is a prime spot for tourists; it is definitely good to book tickets in advance to ensure you can visit.

It is a worthwhile visit even just looking around by yourself. However, if you like know more about history and artefacts, consider going with a guided tour.


Rynek Underground Museum

The Rynek Underground Museum is a hologram-filled multimedia getaway tucked underneath Krakow’s Main Market Square. 

It is a fascinating underground experience and one of the most fun things to do in Krakow. The museum showcases remnants of a cemetery, a settlement, merchant stalls, and more. 

It is fitted with lasers, holograms, and smoke machines to create the ultimate immersive experience of Krakow’s remarkable history. Capacity has a limit of no more than 300 people at a time, so space is pretty limited. It’s definitely worth booking far in advance for a chance to experience this magical wonderland. 

Market Hall Unitarg


Also known as “Hala Targowa,” the Market Hall is Krakow’s most popular outdoor market. It is jam-packed with several goods such as fruit, flowers, produce, apparel, jewelry, and so much more. 

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Krakow on a Sunday, a trip to Market Hall is a great way to start the day. On Sundays, merchants provide their best items, including Old World antiques, vinyl records, and memorabilia, to name a few. 

During the week, merchants have varied operating hours, so the weekends are the best time to visit, with Sunday being the best day to visit.



During the 13th century, Medieval fortifications surrounded the entire city to fight off the Mongol hordes. The Barbican happens to be the only remaining gatehouse from the Medieval fortifications. 

At the time of its development, the design was beyond its time, using innovative engineering to construct it. Now, it has become a hot spot for theatre productions and art shows. 

The Barbican is only open from Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. If you’re wondering what to do in Krakow, this is an excellent choice for history admirers. 

The Cloth Hall


Located at the center of the Main Market Square sits The Cloth Hall. It once served as a point of international trade where merchants traveling through would network.

The hall has accommodated many prestigious visitors and still does to this day. The upper floor serves as a museum and holds four exhibition halls categorized by historical period. 

The Cloth Hall has become one of the oldest shopping malls in the world. Its grand walls are filled with souvenirs, trinkets, folk costumes, and many other types of hand-crafted treasures. There is an admission fee of around $4 USD, but it is free to visit every Sunday.

Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory

The Schindler’s Factory is one of the most interesting things to do in Krakow. 

Oscar Schindler first purchased the Emalia enamel factory shortly after the German invasion during World War II. Buying the factory resulted in Oscar saving well over 1,000 people’s lives. 

Today, the factory features two interactive museums that reflect several exhibitions stemming from Krakow’s history, including an exhibition on the Nazi occupation of the city. 

Plac Bohaterów Getta


Plac Bohateró Getta, also known as Ghetto Heroes Square, is a public square that was once the largest open space in the ghetto. 

What once used to be an escape eventually became a place of anguish where families succumbed to deportation. Today, there is a large layout of single metal chairs that now signify the 68,000 people who were victims of deportation. It has become a memorial to the people of the Jewish ghetto of Krakow. 

A parade in honor of the victims occurs every year on the Sunday following March 14th, which serves as the elimination day of the ghetto. 

Polish Aviation Museum

Located further from Krakow’s Old Town rests the once active but no longer functional Kraków-Rakowice-Czyżyny Airport. The airfield was initially established in 1912 and is considered one of the oldest in the entire world. 

During the mid-1960s, the airport shut down and, in its place, opened a museum that hosts over 200 unique aircraft. It might be one of the most extensive aviation collections to exist, with over 20 rare airplanes that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

St Mary’s Basilica


St. Mary’s Basilica is a sight to see its ornate Gothic architecture and is located in the buzzing Main Market Square. At every hour, every day of the year, a signal played by trumpet called the Hejnał mariacki sounds off from the very top of the taller of the two towers. The signal is a tribute to a famous trumpeter who was shot in the throat while sounding the signal before an upcoming Mongol attack.

Despite its shocking history, the gothic church is available for worship at no cost. During visiting hours, I recommend arriving as early as possible to purchase tickets at the tourist entrance. Tickets cannot be purchased in advance, and they tend to sell out pretty early in the morning. 

Places To Visit Near Krakow

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum


Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is one of the most popular places to visit in Krakow and one of the city’s most significant pieces of history. 

It serves as the burial place for approximately 1.5 million people. Its history is a dark one because the site was once a concentration camp during World War II. Today, visitors can explore the area and reflect on the horrors that transpired during that dark time.

Although this museum is not actually within Krakow city, it is easily the most significant and popular to-do attraction for visitors.

The museum is open daily from 8 am, and booking online in advance is recommended. The most convenient way is to just book a tour that brings you there and back. 

Wieliczka Salt Mine


Located outside of Krakow, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of Poland’s most precious pieces of history. 

The Mine’s depths reach up to 327 meters and have nine levels. It is impressive to visit, almost like going into the dwarf mines in Lord of the Rings. 

The underground landscape dated back to the Middle Ages and was known as the largest source of Salt in Poland during the 13th century. With more than 2,000 chambers, only 2% of the entire Mine has been explored. Over time the rock walls that line the corridors transformed into abstract formations. 

Since the Mine is so far underground, it never gets natural lighting, so it is always dark. For that reason, the Mine has its very own lamp room where lamps are stored, repaired, and maintained.

There are a couple of guided routes that you can do, so do check the timing and tickets from the website. You can also get an arranged guided tour with transport.  

The Wieliczka Salt Mine and Auschwitz-Birkenau are two key attractions. For those short in time, there are tours covering both locations within a day trip.


Ojców National Park


Ojców National Park is located about 20 minutes outside of Krakow if you are traveling by car. It’s home to allegedly haunted castle ruins and is filled with caves, windy trails, and a vast landscape. 

It is free to visit the park, but any cafe stands will require payment by cash or card. The caves are monitored, and each has set hours that are open to the public. The park also has a nature exhibition, including a 3D cinema and a castle. 

Zalipie Painted Village


A trip to the Zalipie Painted Village is probably one of the most colorful things to do in Krakow. It is essentially an entire village that is formed on colorful painted wooden houses down to the interior decor. It’s a local favorite and one of the many hidden gems Poland has to offer. 

Explore the Krakow Nightlife

While Krakow is a true symbol of Poland’s rich history, it is also considered to be one of the best urban cities in Europe for nightlife. 

Old Town, where many monuments are, such as Main Market Square, includes popular pubs, clubs, and vodka bars. A trip to Old Town at night will undoubtedly deliver an experience like no other. Just remember to keep the drinks indoors as there are hefty penalties to pay if caught drinking in the streets. 

Krakow nightlife is a lively experience filled with great music, delicious street food, cheap drinks, and more. Most pubs and bars are open until dawn, so there’s plenty of time to get a taste of the city’s nightlife. Pub crawls are always a popular option in Europe.

Here are a couple of hip districts to check out at night:

Main Market Square (Old Town)


Many of Krakow’s historical landmarks are located in the Main Market Square. What is hidden behind the walls of most is the fact that nearly every historical structure has a club, pub, or restaurant. 

Kazimierz District

This bohemian inspired district is an excellent place for a casual drink to end the night at one of its many vodka bars. The Kazimierz district is as charming at night as it is during the day and happens to be a favorite among locals. On top of the endless amount of pubs and bars, Kazimierz is full of street food, including food trucks. 

Podgorze District


The Podgorze district is relatively new and coming in Krakow, but it still has a unique atmosphere, unlike the other districts. It features a full menu of tasty restaurants and the city’s most trendy bars. It’s perfect for a more chill evening to wind down after a day filled with adventures exploring the historical town. 


Where to Stay In Krakow

Hostels in Krakow

Greg & Tom Hostels: These are actually a cluster of 3 hostels by the same owners but offering a different vibe. Each hostel has a sociable atmosphere with themed events going on, the big difference is the level of “party” that’s happening. In brief, the Greg & Tom Hostel is the most homely and calm, the Greg & Tom Beer Hostel is where drinking happens with a more chilled vibe. And the Greg & Tom Party Hostel is where you get the craze, so something for everyone.

Mundo Hostel: Located between the Old Town and Jewish district, this is a cozy and homely hostel with sort of a zen vibe from some of the interior decor. Good getaway after a night from the surrounding bustle, with its central location.

The Little Havana Party Hostel: Another popular party hostel, the little havana is right in the Old Town, and surrounded by and actually on top of bars. This is certainly a place for nightlife and the night owls. The hostel is in a historic building which still retains some authentic elements.

Mid Range Accommodations in Krakow

Ginger ApartHostel: This is an interesting space converted into a hostel with both dorms and private room options. It gives a clean, modern, homely vibe at affordable prices, and the location is near some the city’s key highlights.

Hotel Jan: Relatively modern hotel in an interesting building – a 600 year old townhouse in Krakow’s Old Town. There’s a good mixture of design style because of that and location is great for sightseeing.

Krakow Central Apartments: Apartments are becoming good option for travelers. These are modern, clean, almost IKEA style apartments that make for a convenient stay.

Luxury Accommodations in Krakow

Hotel Polski Pod Białym Orłem: Hotel with beautiful, classic interior design in a historic building. Definitely brings you back to the past. The hotel is also centrally located in the Old Town, a few minutes walk from the market space.

Art & Garden Residence: This is an aparthotel that offers a peaceful getaway with elegant and thoughtfully decorated apartments. Some rooms feature balconies and garden views that makes it a space of its own.

Hotel Unicus Palace: Stylish luxury hotel right in the heart of Krakow. Spacious and bright, with lots of amenities including fitness center, spa and more for a 5 star hotel.

Balthazar Design Hotel: Conveniently placed next to the Wawel castle, this luxury hotel takes you back to the past with some really tasteful, classic design.

The World War History Of Krakow

Krakow has left a strong impression on me, and I think it is in large part due to the history of the city during World War. 

I definitely recommend watching a couple of war movies or documentaries before you visit that will help you gain a better appreciation of the city. 

Here is a couple of my recommendations. Schindler’s list is an obvious choice, particularly before visiting Schindler’s factory. Many of the scenes in this movie are shot around Krakow, and you will likely walk past them. The Pianist is another impactful one for me personally. 



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at three insurance companies depending on my travel needs. Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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