16 Things To Do In Krakow (That Shouldn’t Be Missed!)

things to do in krakow

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Krakow, the pearl of Poland, is a city with a rich thousand-year history and countless attractions to offer visitors.

From the Wawel Royal Castle and historic Main Market Square, to Kazimierz and the Jewish District, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful city.

So whether you’re looking for history, culture, or just some good old-fashioned fun, here are 16 things to do in Krakow that you definitely don’t want to miss! 

Best Things To Do In Krakow

When we originally had a look at the best things to do in Krakow, we were overwhelmed with the number of activities that were on offer. Being a very short getaway, how do you decide what is worth your precious time and money?

If you only have a few days, making the most of your itinerary is extremely important, which is why we’ll only recommend the things we believe are absolutely worth the time. We genuinely believe that anyone experiencing Krakow for the first time should not miss the following activities!

1. Communism Tour – Nowa Huta

trabant communist tour krakow

If there is one type of tour you have to try, it’s the Communism Tour to Nowa Huta – in a Trabant!

The Communism Tour offers an in-depth look at a time period that is often misunderstood, giving you an insight into life under communism, and how people survived (and resisted) the regime.

The tour is led by knowledgeable guides who are passionate about sharing their insights with others. So whether you’re interested in history or simply want to have a unique experience, this is definitely worth checking out.

communism tour nowa huta

Plus, our tour guide was amazing. She really brought the history to life and made it personal. It’ll be the one story you’ll be telling friends about when you get back home!

communist life in krakow
Step into the 50’s – inside an apartment in Nowa Huta

In our opinion, the Communism Tour is a must-do activity while you’re there, and it also includes lunch at a Traditional Milkbar which turned out to be one of the best places to eat in Krakow!

Duration of Activity: 3 hours


2. Auschwitz – Birkenau

auschwitz birkenau tour

No visit to Krakow is complete without a day trip to Auschwitz Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi concentration camps, and a site of immense historical importance.

The camp, located just outside the city, was built in 1940 and operated until 1945. During that time, more than 1 million people were killed here, making it one of the deadliest places in history. 

Today, Auschwitz Birkenau is a powerful reminder of the atrocities of the Holocaust, and it serves as an important warning against prejudice and bigotry. The camp is open to visitors year-round, and there are a number of guided tours available in multiple languages. 

Visiting Auschwitz Birkenau is a moving and sobering experience, and in our opinion – it is one that everyone should have.

Best Way to Get to Auschwitz

Taxi

If you’re short on time (and money is no issue), then a taxi is the best way to get to Auschwitz. We booked a private taxi from the Old Town which cost 200 PLN / $45 (one way) and took just under an hour.

Otherwise, you can save some money by either taking a guided tour or public transportation.

Combined Tour

If you plan on also visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mines, then we’d highly recommend taking the combined tour through Viator to save yourself additional time (and money).

Duration of Activity: 6-8 hours private taxi or 10 hours for a group tour


3. Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine

When visiting Krakow, be sure to add the Wieliczka Salt Mine to your itinerary. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the oldest and largest salt mines in the world, and it’s a truly unique experience. Even if you’re not normally interested in history or mines, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is definitely worth a visit. 

The mine itself is an amazing feat of engineering, and it’s fascinating to explore. But what really makes the Wieliczka salt mine special are the incredible sculptures and artworks that have been created inside. These include life-size models of historical figures, religious scenes, and even a modern art gallery. 

Even if you only have a short time in Krakow, make sure to include a visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mine on your list of things to do.

Duration of Activity: 4 hours


4. Walk And Dine In The Market Square

krakow market square

Krakow’s Market Square is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. And for good reason! 

The square is home to some of Krakow’s most iconic landmarks, including the Cloth Hall and the St. Mary’s Basilica. It’s also a great place to catch a bite to eat or sit back for some enjoyable people-watching.

Walking around the Market Square is one of the best ways to experience Krakow’s unique culture and history. As you stroll through, you’ll get a sense of what daily life was like in medieval times. And if you stop for a meal at one of the square’s many cafes or restaurants, you’ll have a front-row seat to all the action. 

Duration of Activity: Entirely up to you!

The Market Square at Christmas

krakow christmas market square
Market Square at Christmas

Experiencing the Christmas Market is one of the most popular things to do in Krakow during the festive season. The market square comes to life with twinkling lights, traditional stalls selling handmade gifts and Christmas decorations, and the irresistible aroma of mulled wine and gingerbread. 

With its festive atmosphere and central location, it’s no wonder that it is the most popular place to be in Krakow during December.

We can honestly say that the Christmas Market in Krakow is one of the best in Europe, and the combination of mulled wine and pierogi is to die for!


5. Experience A Traditional Milk Bar

milk bar krakow

There are many things to experience when in Krakow, and one of the most memorable things to do is visit a traditional milk bar. 

Milk bars (also known as Bar mleczny) were once a common sight in Poland, however, they are now quite rare. These old-fashioned cafes were originally designed to provide affordable meals for working-class people, and they soon became popular with everyone due to the delicious food on offer.

Today, there are only a handful of milk bars left in Krakow, but they are definitely worth seeking out. It’s a great way to experience a slice of Polish history and will most definitely feel like you’ve taken a step back in time!

So if you’re looking for things to do in Krakow, make sure you include a visit to a traditional milk bar on your list. You won’t be disappointed!

Some of the best milk bars you can visit in Krakow are Milkbar Tomasza, Pod Temidą Milk Bar, and Bar Krakus. 

Duration of Activity: 1 hour


6. Go Street-Art Hunting

street art krakow bozego

Krakow is a city rich in history and culture, and this is reflected in its street art. Walking around the city, you’ll see everything from traditional Polish art, to graffiti and murals. This diverse range of artwork offers something for everyone, and it’s one of the things that makes Krakow such a unique place to visit.

In addition to being visually stunning, street art is also a great way to learn about the local culture and history. By taking the time to explore Krakow’s street art, you can get a better understanding of the city and its people.

So next time you’re in Krakow, be sure to keep your eyes open for some incredible street art.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Judah by Pil Peled – this street art is one of my personal favorites since it represents the struggle of the Jewish community to survive back then. In a place that served as a safe place for this community, visiting installations like this one is a must.
  • Kazimierz Historical Mural by Piotr Janowczyk – this is a series of portraits displaying the notable figures in Krakow’s history. A detailed account of their contributions can be found beside each portrait. 
  • Mural no. 658 (Józef Mehoffer House) by M-City – created by one of Poland’s famous street artists is this mural that aims to portray Krakow as a dystopian fortress.

Duration of Activity: 2-3 hours


7. Try A Thrilling Escape Room

lost souls alley krakow

For those not familiar, escape rooms are a type of interactive game where players are locked in a room and have to solve a series of puzzles to escape. They’re hugely popular all over the world, but Krakow’s escape rooms are in a class of their own.

What sets Krakow’s escape rooms apart from others is the level of immersion. You really feel like you’re part of the story, whether you’re solving puzzles to find your way out of a medieval castle or trying to decode messages from World War II spies. It’s exhilarating stuff, and it’s the perfect way to add some excitement to your trip.

Plus, it’s a great way to meet new people if you’re traveling solo.

If you’re into extreme fear, then Lost Souls Alley might be right up your street! They have varying ‘levels of pain’ you can choose from, including the use of tasers or moderate strangulation if you so wish!

Although this wasn’t what we opted for, we can see the appeal – you definitely won’t find this kind of ‘service’ back home!

So if you’re looking for fun or thrilling things to do in Krakow, make sure you put an escape room at the top of your list!

Duration of Activity: 1 hour


8. Treat Yourself To A Polish Fine Dining Experience

krakow things to do

Polish cuisine is known for its hearty dishes, often featuring meat and potatoes. However, there is also a growing trend of fine dining in Poland, with many restaurants offering creative takes on traditional dishes.

And if you love tasting menus, then there are countless numbers of high-end restaurants at very reasonable prices in and around the square.

Szara Ges was our absolute favorite restaurant in Krakow. It has a classy and inviting atmosphere, and the menu is a complete feast for the eyes (as well as the belly!)

Their famous Foie Gras starter and Grey Goose dessert are some of the most innovative (and delicious) things to be placed down in front of you, and well worth the price tag!

szara ges foie gras
Foie Gras Starter
szara ges grey goose dessert
Grey Goose Dessert

Treating yourself to some affordable fine dining is a truly unforgettable experience and one that should not be missed if you are lucky enough to visit Krakow.

Duration of Activity: 2 hours


9. St. Mary’s Basilica

st marys basilica krakow

When in Krakow, be sure to add St. Mary’s Basilica to your list of things to see. The basilica is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, and it offers a glimpse into the history and culture of Krakow.

The interior of the basilica is decorated with beautiful stained glass windows and magnificent works of art, and the ground floor is home to a museum that houses a collection of religious artifacts. In addition, the basilica is situated in the heart of the Old Town, making it an ideal starting point for exploring the city. 

Whether you’re interested in history or simply looking for a beautiful place to visit, St. Mary’s Basilica is definitely worth a trip and can be completed in less than an hour.

Duration of Activity: 1 hour


10. Oskar Schindler’s Factory

oskar schindlers factory krakow

Oskar Schindler’s Factory is a must-see for anyone visiting Krakow. Not only does it provide a fascinating glimpse into the city’s history, but it also serves as a powerful reminder of the human capacity for both good and evil.

The factory was built in 1939, at the outset of World War II, and served as a key producer of arms and ammunition for the Nazi war effort. In 1944, Schindler was able to use his influence to protect his Jewish workers from being sent to concentration camps. As a result, the factory became a symbol of hope for those who were persecuted by the Nazis.

Today, visitors can tour the restored factory and learn more about Schindler’s heroic efforts. The factory is just one of many things to see in Krakow, but it is undoubtedly an important part of the city’s story.

Duration of Activity: 2 hours


11. Kazimierz (Jewish Quarter)

kazimierz jewish quarter krakow

Kazimierz is one of the most popular areas to visit in Krakow. Once a separate city, it was incorporated into Krakow in the 14th century. The area has a rich history, and it was once home to a large Jewish population.

Today, Kazimierz is known for its eclectic mix of architecture, its lively nightlife, and its vibrant arts scene. Visitors can explore the old synagogues, stroll through the markets, and sample the local cuisine at a leisurely pace.

It is also home to some of Krakow’s best museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Oskar Schindler Factory Museum. Spending a day in Kazimierz is a great way to get to know the city and its people.

Duration of Activity: You choose!


12. Krakow Food Tour

street food tour krakow

From traditional Polish dishes to international cuisine, Krakow has something to offer everyone. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to sample the best of what the city has to offer without spending a fortune.

Food tours provide an opportunity to try a variety of different dishes in a short amount of time, and they typically take place in some of the city’s most popular restaurants.

Best of all, food tours are relatively inexpensive, making them a great option for budget-minded travelers. So if you’re looking for things to do in Krakow, be sure to add a food tour to your list – this one was (by far) our favorite!

Duration of Activity: 3 hours


13. Pierogi Cooking Class

pierogi cooking class krakow

One thing we really miss about Krakow is the delicious Pierogi on tap. Honestly, we’ve been on the hunt for traditional Pierogi since we got back home, and seriously wish we had taken this Cooking Class when we were in Krakow!

Pierogi is a staple of Polish cuisine, and learning how to make them is a great way to experience the country’s food culture. Classes typically take place in a traditional Polish kitchen, and participants will learn about the history of pierogi as well as how to make them from scratch.

At the end of the class, you will get to enjoy your own pierogi creation. So if you’re looking for fun (and practical) things to do in Krakow, consider taking a pierogi cooking class!

Duration of Activity: 2 hours


14. Walk Around Wawel Castle

wawel castle krakow

You might think we forgot to mention Wawel Castle! It wasn’t at the top of our list of things to do in Krakow, but it is a must-see for anyone interested in Polish culture or history.

It provides a stunning location overlooking the Vistula River, a beautiful architecture that spans multiple styles and periods, and a rich history. 

The castle complex has served as the seat of Polish royalty for centuries, and it now houses several museums that tell the story of the country’s past. Visitors can also enjoy stunning views of the city from the castle’s observation deck.

You can walk around the compound free of charge (which is what we did), or you’ll need tickets to enter the museums.

Duration of Activity: 2 hours


15. Sight-See on a Segway

segway hire krakow

If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to explore Krakow, then renting a segway for a couple of hours is a great option.

Segways are easy to use and maneuver, so even if you’ve never used one before, you’ll be able to pick it up quickly. Plus, it’s a great way to see some of the city’s most popular sights, and you can cover a lot of ground quickly and easily.

Whether you want to check out the Wawel Castle or take a stroll through the Kazimierz Jewish district, hiring a segway is a great way to make the most of your time in Krakow.

And segway tours are incredibly cheap in Krakow, so you can easily find one that fits your budget and needs.

 Duration of Activity: 2 hours


16. Unwind in a Jazz Bar

things to do krakow

There’s no better way to end a day of sightseeing in Krakow than enjoying some live jazz in one of the city’s many great bars. 

The vibrant atmosphere and relaxed vibes of a jazz bar are the perfect antidotes to a busy day of exploring. And with so many things to see and do in Krakow, you’re bound to have worked up quite an appetite by the end of the day. Luckily, most jazz bars also serve up some great food, so you can refuel whilst enjoying some top-notch live music.

So if you’re looking for a fun and unique way to end your day in Krakow, be sure to check out one of the city’s great jazz bars.

We were recommended The Piano Rogue by some other travelers and it was one of the best nights out in a long time!

Duration of Activity: 3 hours


How To Get To Krakow

Krakow is served by John Paul II International Airport, which is located about 10 miles west of the city center, and there are a few different options for getting into Krakow from the airport.

Train

Train services operate between the airport and Krakow, and can be booked in advance or at the airport, typically taking around 20 minutes to reach the city center. 10 PLN / $2 per person.

Bus

There is also a public bus that runs between the airport and Krakow. The journey takes around 50 minutes, and tickets can be purchased at the airport. 5 PLN / $1 per person.

Private Taxi

The most convenient option is to take a taxi, which can be arranged at the airport. Prices are around 125 PLN / $30 (one way)

Rental Car

A rental car gives you the most flexibility but can also be the most expensive, not to mention inconvenient in terms of parking (dependant on your accommodation). You can search for the best car rental prices in Krakow here.

Getting Around Krakow

Walking

Walking is a great way to see everything at your own pace and really take in your surroundings. You’ll be able to discover hidden gems that you would never find if you were on public transport or in a car. So put on your comfy shoes and enjoy exploring this wonderful city on foot!

Segway

Segways are a great option for getting around Krakow. Not only are they environmentally friendly, but they also allow you to see more of the city than you would on foot. And, since Krakow City Center is relatively flat, it’s easy to navigate the streets on a Segway.

Plus, there’s no need to worry about getting lost – Segway tours are a great way to see the sights and get oriented in the city. 

Taxi

While it’s possible to walk or cycle in the city center, getting outside of the city can be difficult without a car. Taxis are readily available and relatively affordable, making them a convenient option for travelers. 

Rental Cars

When driving in Krakow, it is important to be aware of the city’s unique layout. The Old Town is located within a horseshoe-shaped bend in the Vistula River, and as a result, there are only a handful of bridges that lead in and out of the district.

This can make driving around the Old Town quite challenging, as narrow streets and one-way systems are common. By keeping these practicalities in mind, Hiring a Car in Krakow can be an easy and stress-free way to explore Krakow if you are prepared to do a little planning ahead of time.

Best Time To Go To Krakow

There is no best time to go to Krakow, as the city has something to offer visitors year-round. However, there are certain benefits to visiting at different times of the year. For example, the summer months are ideal for exploring Krakow’s many historical and cultural attractions, as the weather is warm and sunny.

Alternatively, the winter months are a great time to enjoy the city’s festive atmosphere and take advantage of its world-famous Christmas Market. Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference and what you hope to get out of your trip to Krakow.

Where To Stay In Krakow

The best place to stay in Krakow is in the Old Town district. This area is full of medieval architecture and is home to the main market square. You’ll also be within walking distance of Wawel Castle, St. Mary’s Basilica, and the Jewish quarter.

Another great option is Kazimierz, which is just south of the Old Town. Kazimierz used to be a separate city before it was absorbed into Krakow. Today, it’s known for its large Jewish population and its many art galleries and cafes. It’s also just a short walk from the Old Town. 

Wrapping Up The Best Things To Do In Krakow

Whether you’re looking for a little bit of history, some art and culture, or some good old-fashioned fun, Krakow has something for everyone.

Planning an exact itinerary can be tough, but hopefully, this list has given you some ideas of the best things to do in Krakow.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to one of Europe’s most underrated cities today! Have you been to Krakow? What were your favorite activities? Let us know in the comments below.

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