It doesn’t matter who you are and what you like – when visiting Krakow, there are just some things everyone should see. Especially having much more time to explore them!

All of those places you will easly find in any of the guidebooks – but we want to give you a bit more “inside” details and reccomendation concerning them.

1.Wawel Castle and Cathedral

Wawel Castle is the most recognizable construction in Poland, this extraordinary sanctuary determines the Poles’ identity, is their national and cultural symbol. This glorious castle used to be the seat of Polish rulers, their necropolis and the place where Polish history took shape.

Along with Wieliczka Salt Mine, Yellowstone Park in the US and Galapagos Islands was listed as one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1978!

What to visit? Where to go?

You can choose between multiple permanent exhibitions, for every single one you need an individual ticket. Which one to choose? Well, it depends on your interests. If you’re really into the military, the Armoury one will be perfect for you. I’ve visited all of the exhibitions, for me, the best were: Royal Apartments and Lost Wawel. What’s important, the ticket comes with a guide and you can choose between Polish and English!

  • State Rooms
  • Royal Private Apartments
  • Crown Treasury and Armoury
  • Art of the Orient. Ottoman Turkish Tents
  • The Lost Wawel
  • Wawel Recovered
  • Cathedral, Sigismund Bell, Royal Tombs, Cathedral Museum
Wawel Castle, Cracow, Poland. The tiered arcades of renaissance courtyard.

Please note: Entrance to the Cathedral, Wawel Hill and Courtyard is for FREE! You don’t have to buy any ticket to see the glorious renaissance courtyard with arcades, check the stunning views of Krakow or energize yourself with one of the 7th’s Earth chakra stone. Yes, you read it correctly. According to the legends, underneath the Wawel, in the ruins of the Church of Saint Gereon is located one of the Earth Chakras. In the summer time, you can take the seasonal route “Gardens, Courtyards, and the Church of Saint Gereon” and explore it a bit more. In fact, locals go there and sit next to the doors, located in the corner of the courtyard to take in that energy. Whenever you belive it or not, the route is beautiful and worth to take!

What’s worth mentioning, every monday 9:30-12:30 you can visit Wawel for free (yes, all of the exhibitions!), you need to go to the ticket office in the morning and take a free entrance.

2. St Mary’s Basilica

This Gothic church of brick is one of the most picturesque landmarks of Krakow. It is composed of two sky-high towers of 69 and 82 metres and the latter one is where the traditional melody of Hejnal Mariacki is played by a bugler once per hour, as perfectly heard in all the corners of the Old Town.

What to visit? Where to go?

  • The Altar of Wit Stoss, a late Gothic work, one of the largest altars of this type in the world.
  • Jan Matejko’s polychrome, a church filled with colours, angels, and even a few devils will be found 😉
  • The St. Mary’s Tower
Krakow, Poland. Vertical panorama of interior of St. Mary’s Basilica (Church of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven). The church was founded in the 13th century and consecrated around 1320.

During visiting hours, the church is divided into two parts. One for tourists and one for those who came to pray. There are also two separate entrances. To visit the presbytery and come close to the altar, you need to buy a ticket at the ticket office – the entrance is from the side of St. Mary’s Square. If you’re not very into art and you don’t need to come closer to the altar, we advise you to go to the pray section of the church which is free, be silent and respectful and just admire the church from that point.

Totally you must go to the Tower! The views are stunning, you can see the city from above – try to count the churches! You will see why Krakow is sometimes called “The City of the Churches”.

View from the Tower after sunset

Visiting the St. Mary’s Tower is possible from April to October, you have to climb almost 300 steps (how many exactly? Count yourself!). Entrance to the tower is from Florianska street.

3. Main Square

The largest urban space of Medieval Europe with such iconic buildings as the 10th-century Church of St. Adalbert, Gothic St. Mary’s Basilica or the Renaissance jewel of Sukiennice Cloth Hall, is a place that defines Krakow best. You will probably make your way through it several times, stopping or hurrying. I won’t be writing that you have to go and admire the Clothhalls shops/galleries of folklore art (you have to definitely), make a picture with the Head sculpture or feed the pigeons.

What to visit? Where to go?

  • Rynek Underground Museum
  • Drink a coffee on the Sukiennice rooftop cafe.
  • Set up a meeting with friends next to the sculpture of Adam Mickiewicz, as locals do! Yes, we do set up our meetings with friends “Pod Adasiem’
  • Florianska Gate + Barbican, erected in 1307, this Gothic gateway tower and its adjacent towers (plus the Barbican) are almost all that remains of the city’s ancient defences which once circled the medieval Old Town. During summertime on the walls, you can admire the artwork and paintings of local artists.
  • Royal Tract (Florianska+ Grodzka street) – Along the Royal Route there are the most important monuments of old Krakow.
  • Kanonicza street – going parallel to Grodzka st, is also one of the oldest and one of the most picturesque streets in the old town.

While the Main Square is totally picturesque and wonderful itself, let’s go underneath it for a moment. Yes, I’m talking about the Underground Museum. Located 4 meters underground, the museum presents over 1000 years of Krakow’s history – from the first Vistula stronghold to the present day. It is worth noting that it is equipped with the latest technology: 27 multimedia projectors, 98 speakers and 37 touch monitors. The group of Polish kings is displayed on plasma screens. You go inside through a steam curtain, which allows you to feel at least in a medieval city. You will learn a lot of Krakow’s history in a very fun and entertaining way. It’s free on Tuesdays (you can book the tickets earlier online!).

Not many people spot, that there is a running cafe located on the Sukiennice! Besides the bill for your drink of choice, you need to pay the entrance fee of 2PLN down the stairs. This is a very unique spot with a lovely view of the St’s Mary Basilic and the Main Square.

4. Kazimierz – The Jewish district

Kazimierz was as the centre of Jewish life in Kraków for over 500 years, before it was systematically destroyed during World War II. Nowdays is a bustling, bohemian neighbourhood packed with historical sites, atmospheric cafes and art galleries. It’s also a place where locals do meet.

“Long long time ago in Krakow” – Szeroka 1

What to visit? Where to go?

  • The Old and the Remuh Synagogues – two of the city’s most important synagogues. If you’re into synagogues, you must also see Temple and Kupa’s
  • Jewish Galicia Museum – Exhibition of 140 extremely moving and thought-provoking photographs of the tradition and lives of Polish Jews.
  • Streets of Kazimierz Jewish Quarter, with special attention to Szeroka street.
  • New Jewish Cemetery
  • Eat breakfast in “Hevre” restaurant and admire the frescoes of XIX century Jewish Pray House.

Kazimierz is a very diverse district, on the one side, you will find rich and tragical Jewish culture legacy, on the other modern fragrant city with cafes and most popular restaurants in the city among locals. What we do recommend first is to visit the Galicia Jewish Museum – it’s really touching to see how people lived there for over 500 years! Then to go to Szeroka street, seat in one of the restaurants, eat traditional Jewish dish and hear the klezmer live music. You will feel a bit teleported into the XIX century! Then go to “Mleczarnia pub” on Meiselsa street to drink the best beer in Krakow in one of the most beautiful pub’s gardens! It’s open from April till the end of September, it’s a favourite student’s spot in the city! You have to also visit the “Okraglak” – a round building located on Plac Nowy with plenty of junk-food stations to take-away along with delicious Zapiekanka (or the best ice creams at “Goodlood”)!

Mleczarnia pub’s garden

5. Kościuszko Mound

A memorial site dedicated to the fighter for the independence of Poland and the United States, a popular destination for walks and an excellent vantage point. In good weather, you can see the Tatra Mountains, located 100 km away from Krakow!

What to visit? Where to go?

  • Kościuszko Mound
  • Pilsudski Mound
  • Kościuszko Interactive Museum
  • Krakow’s ZOO

What we recommend is to take an all-day trip to that side of Krakow and visit also Krakow’s ZOO park and Wolski Forrest (Lasek Wolski). On a sunny day that will be a perfect spot for a chill-out, since those places are beautiful and really calm! Lasek Wolski it is part of the Bielany-Tyniecki Landscape Park. Oaks, beeches and birches predominate among the trees. Roe deer, badgers, hares, foxes, martens, squirrels, many species of birds, reptiles and amphibians live here. There are 8 routes for walkers with a total length of 35 km. There are also bike, horse and ski trails.

Lasek Wolski

Check also : 5 places in Krakow to discover for a walk