Menu
Poland

Sights in Krakow - My 11 favourites

Krakow is Poland's second largest city and the most visited tourist city in the country. You don't go here to queue for hours at world-famous sights and hyped restaurants. There are no such must-haves in Krakow at all. Instead, Krakow invites you to a visit to a beautiful and proud medieval city, with lots of everyday life, charming neighborhoods, fantastic cafes and affordable restaurants.

How much time do you need to see all the sights? We were here for a long weekend (Thurs-Sun) during the fall, which gave us time to see most of what the city had to offer without stress. Do you also want to visit Auschwitz and the salt mine in Wieliczka, which is outside Krakow? Expect a full-day excursion each for these.

1. Market Square (Rynek Glówny)

The heart of the old town in Krakow is Europe's largest square and Krakow's biggest attraction - The market square. The square is lined with restaurants, cafes and outdoor seating and it's pure pleasure to stroll around here and watch people in the sunshine. Stroll a few laps around the old town hall tower, admire the many statues and finish with a coffee with pralines at the chocolate maker Wedel's cafe. And you - don't forget to dodge the pigeons - they can be incredibly close.

Main market
31 000-Kraków

Map

Krakow - Main Market Square
Great market square
Krakow - Market Square
Great market square

2. Wawel Castle and Cathedral

One of Poland's most important historical sites is Wawel hill with Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral. During the hundreds of years when Krakow was the capital of Poland, this was the royal residence and the imposing castle watched over the city from its hill. Even after the capital was moved to Warsaw, this continued to be the site of all royal coronations and funerals. In Wawel Cathedral's crypt, today not only royalty lie in their sarcophagi, but also President Lech Kaczyński, who died in a tragic plane crash in 2010. Don't miss a visit inside the castle! Although the old furniture is no longer there, the halls are still magnificent.

Wow 5
31 001-Kraków

Map

Krakow - Wawel Castle
Krakow - Wawel Castle
Wawel Castle Yard

3. The park Planty (Planty krakowskie)

Around the entire old town is the well-kept park Planty. Very popular among both tourists and Krakow residents and a nice oasis in the big city. Feel free to have a lunch Bunkier cafe, which is like a cool little oasis on the road around the wall.

Map

Krakow - Planty park
Krakow - Planty park
Planty Park

4. Skansen (Barbican Krakowski )

Just north of the old town is a round redoubt (Barbican) from the end of the 15th century. The building is practically a round castle with pinnacles and towers, but the three-meter-thick walls hint at its original military protection function.

Bastowa
30 547-Kraków

Map

5. St. Florian's city gate and Florianska Street

"The royal road" was the road that royalty rode into the city to attend coronations or funerals. The road went through the old city gate St. Florian and along the street Florian, today one of the finest shopping streets in Krakow. During the 13th century there were eight city gates and a long ring wall with a moat around the entire old city, but the wall fell into disrepair and in the 19th century it was therefore decided to demolish it. Here at St. Florian's city gate, however, part of the wall has been preserved.

Map

Krakow - Florian street
St. Florian's city gate and Florianska
Krakow - City Wall
Part of the preserved ring wall

6. Sukiennice – The Fabric Hall

In the middle of Marknadstorget stands the old textile hall Hall and spreads an aura of renaissance, flair and perhaps even a sense of Venice. Along the outer walls are restaurants and craft shops, and in an open passage through the house you will find a cozy market with everything from amber products and icons to hand-painted chess sets and bags.

Main Market 1 / 3
31 042-Kraków

Map

Krakow
Krakow - Sukiennice
The market in Sukiennice

7. Mary's Cathedral (Bazylika Mariacka)

The Gothic St. Mary's Cathedral (St Mary's Cathedral) from the 13th century is located at Marknadstorget in the middle of the old town. The cathedral has a rather unique appearance, with two large church towers of completely different designs. Although the church looks quite ordinary on the outside in its brown brick, the inside is a real gem. Who doesn't like a starry ceiling painted in cobalt blue and church walls with colorful flowers, angels and frills? If you want to visit the church, you need to make sure not to visit during services (especially on weekends), then no tourists are allowed inside.

Plac Mariacki 5
31 042-Kraków

Map

Krakow - St. Mary's Church
Interior of St. Mary's Cathedral
Krakow - St. Mary's Cathedral
St. Mary's Cathedral with its two towers

8. Jewish Quarter (Kazimierz)

South of the old town and bounded by the river Vistula, lies the old Jewish quarter Kazimierz. Once a well-kept neighborhood with a prosperous Jewish population, but which was completely abandoned during the Second World War when the city's Jews were forcibly deported to certain death in ghettos and concentration camps. After the terrible tragedy, the district has been left abandoned and in disrepair. It wasn't until the 1990s that the neighborhood slowly began to be restored again, and today there are plenty of trendy cafes, restaurants and art galleries here. Don't miss the old synagogue that was destroyed by the Nazis during the war, but has been carefully rebuilt on the same site as the original synagogue.

Map

Krakow - Kazimierz
Food truck neighborhood in Kazimierz
Krakow - Old Synagogue
Old Synagogue in Kazimierz

9. Oskar Schindler's Factory

If you don't have time to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp just outside Krakow, a visit is another Oskar Schindler's enamel factory (Fabryka Emalia Oskara Schindlera) a must. Here in the factory, the German Oskar Schindler employed Jews as labor during the Second World War, in order to save them from the concentration camps. The museum not only tells the story of Schindler's factory, but also about how the Polish people were treated under the Nazis. Although this museum is nowhere near as unpleasant as Auschwitz, there are many images in the museum that may be found scary by children, so I would not recommend the museum for children under 10.

Lipowa 4
30 702-Kraków

Map

Krakow - Schindler's Factory

10. Rynek Underground (Podziemia Rynku)

Under the textile hall in the middle of Marknadstorget, is the museum Rynek Underground. A relatively new museum, with very interactive exhibits and nice lighting. Here in the museum, you are transported back in time, to the medieval Krakow that was unearthed when the square was renovated in the early 2000s. Although it is a modern museum, there are of course also classic museum objects such as old coins, clothes and skulls.

Rynek Główny 1
31 042-Kraków

Map

Krakow - Rynek underground

11. Krakow's street art

Krakow's streets are filled with cracked facades and broken windows, but where you least expect it, interesting street art appears. I found most of the delicious works of art in Kazimierz, but there are interesting paintings in every quarter. One of the most famous paintings in Krakow is the picture of Gene Kelly singing "Singing in the rain" on Bozego Ciala, but also the lovely painting on Ulica Nowa became one of my favorites.

Krakow - Kazimierz
Street art at Bozego Ciala
Krakow - Street art
Street art on Ulica Nowa

Do you want to read more about Krakow?

Look into my Krakow page, here you will find, among other things my five favorite cafes, five restaurant tipss and tips on accommodation.

Krakow
Krakow
Krakow - Poland
The fabric hall
Krakow
Krakow
Krakow
Kazimierz
Krakow
The market square
Krakow
Krakow - Wawel Castle
Wawel Castle
Krakow
The fabric hall
Krakow
Wawel Castle

Want to read more of my travel tips? do not forget to like Rucksack on Facebook!

Do you want to read more from Poland?
About the blogger

Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 55 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel blog Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.

4 Comments

  • The nomads
    12 October, 2019 at 1: 10

    Great post with lots of great tips! We were in krakow this summer and really liked the city, especially the part near the jewish quarter! 🙂

    Reply
    • Eva Gyllenberg
      14 December, 2019 at 20: 40

      Glad you liked it! Krakow is a really lovely city, will probably soon become more Poland for me I feel!

  • Matta Persson
    28 January, 2020 at 21: 06

    There are a few of us who are going there at the end of April. We will stay at Shalom Kazimierz in the Jewish quarter. A small hotel with only 14 rooms. It will be really fun to get there after reading your tips.

    Reply
    • Eva Gyllenberg
      4 February, 2020 at 21: 36

      So nice to have some spring sun at an outdoor restaurant in Krakow! Sounds like a really nice hotel, hope you have a lovely trip!

write a comment