Craving a city break but not sure where to go? Krakow in Poland is a great choice. Krakow has plenty to offer, from its beautiful sight-seeing attractions and tours to a variety of popular restaurants and bars. Accommodation in Krakow is really good, whether you’re looking to stay in a more relaxed environment or opt for a luxurious city break stay, there’s plenty of hotels to choose from.
I visited Krakow on a solo travel adventure for three nights, and during my trip, I visited the major attractions which included; The Main Market, St. Mary’s Basilica, Wawel Cathedral and Castle, Kazimierz – former Jewish district, Auschwitz, Salt Mine and more.
The great thing about this city, is that the majority of popular attractions and those that I wanted to visit, were all within walking distance – resulting in not having to use public transport or Taxis.
In this article, I’ll be covering the top places you should visit if you decide to book a trip to Krakow, Poland.
Discover Krakow – Top 8 Things to Do
1 – The Main Market
Krakow’s main market square (Rynek) has plenty to offer. There are beautiful surroundings and buildings that will make you want to explore more of the local areas and find the hidden gems of Krakow.
The Main Market in Krakow, is stunning both in the day and at night, with all the lights lit up and restaurants with outside seating with fires on. No better way to enjoy Krakow at night dining at the 200 metre square.
Fact: Did you know, Rynek is one of the largest medieval squares in Europe and is surrounded by townhouses with unique names with interesting history behind them.
2 – St. Mary’s Basilica
When you visit Old Town, St Mary’s Basilica is beautifully situated at The Main Market. The church has stunning architecture both on the inside and outside. If you’re into gothic style buildings, you’ll love this. To enter the church, you’ll need a ticket. The cost of tickets is 10/8/5zł (kids under 8 go free). Tickets can be purchased in a separate building across from the tourist entrance.
Fact: St. Mary’s Basilica was rebuilt in Gothic style after Tartar raids in the 13th century which ended up leaving the original church in heaps of ruins.
3 – Cloth Hall
The Cloth Hall is at the centre of Krakow’s Main Market Square. Inside the small shopping mall, you’ll find various handicrafts and local products. It’s worth visiting as the prices are quite reasonable!
Fact: Back in the old days, the merchant stalls in Cloth Hall sold wax, spices, leather and silk. They also sold lead and salt from the nearby mines such as Wieliczka.
4 – Wawel Cathedral and Castle
If you visit Poland, Wawel Cathedral is a must. It’s by far one of the most important buildings. Situated on the hill is Wawel’s Cathedral and Castle. A step inside is definitely recommended to get the full experience.
There are also various other buildings close by, which are worth a visit after taking a short break at the cafe located right near the Cathedral.
5 – Wawel Dragon
Located right near the Wista riverbank below Wawel Castle is The Wawel Dragon, a sculpture by artist Bronisław Chromy. The Wawel Dragon is believed to be a Polish traditional legend.
If you’re visiting Wawel Castle then a visit to the Dragon is a must, especially since it’s just below the castle near the riverbank. If you visit at the right time or wait a short while, you’ll catch the Wawel Dragon breath fire.
6 – Kazimierz – former Jewish district
History lover? You’ll enjoy a visit to the Kazimierz – former Jewish district. There’s lots of history behind this place and it’s quite interesting. Whether you read up about it or take a tour, it should definitely be on your list to visit whilst staying in Krakow.
Kazimierz is also known for its cafe culture and the nightlife. If you visit, I’d recommend grabbing a Zapiekanka there. They are very tasty!
7 – Auschwitz
Whilst very touching, it’s a must if you visit Krakow. You’ll really understand what it was like, and learn more in person than watching documentaries. I visited on a Tuesday and the weather wasn’t great at all, which made the experience more dramatic and touching.
It’s very busy, even during the week. If you decide to go, I would highly recommend booking a tour or purchasing a ticket in advance. My tour guide was very knowledgeable and gave a lot of details about the concentration camp and the horrendous things that went on during the devastating times.
8 – Salt Mine
The Salt Mine was a good experience, even after walking down 800 steps…don’t worry – there’s a lift to bring you back up to the surface.
Located in Wieliczka, The Salt Mine is famous for its pits, chambers and everything else within its depths. The sculptures inside the mine have all been carved by hand from salt blocks. – They are very cool!
There is a lot of walking involved in this tour, and they usually last two hours, sometimes three, so make sure to wear comfortable clothing!
For the best experience, I would recommend booking in advance to ensure you get enough time to visit the whole mine as it gets quite busy at times and visitors are always guided in groups.