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Things to do in

Krakow

Awe-inspiring history, great landmarks, and impressive landscapes await at Poland’s culture capital.

Our most recommended things to do in Krakow

Krakow: Wawel Hill Audioguide Tour

1. Krakow: Wawel Hill Audioguide Tour

After collecting your audioguide at the local Tourist Information Centre, listen to the commentary as you walk along Kanonicza Street to the Wawel Hill. Wawel has been the monarch’s residency from the 11th century and is also the site where Polish royals were crowned and buried.  Once you've arrived at the Royal Castle, hear about the role of each building, and the stories behind them. You will learn about the history of Main Courtyard, the Arcaded Courtyard, as well as the Crown Treasury and Armory. End the tour at the famous Dragon’s Den.

Krakow: Wawel Castle Guided Tour with Entry Tickets

2. Krakow: Wawel Castle Guided Tour with Entry Tickets

Wawel Castle was the residence of the royal family of Poland till 1795. It is a source of great Polish pride and stands as one of the most spectacular buildings on the top of Wawel Hill. During your tour of the castle, you will get the chance to witness the grandeur of Poland’s past as you pass through the magnificent halls of the castle. Presently, the castle also houses a museum that includes beautiful artefacts preserved from the historic times when kings and queens ruled the country. During your tour, you may also visit the Royal private apartments adorned with exquisite tapestries, paintings and chandeliers. The castle serves as a premier art museum and also includes an Oriental Art section with the largest collection of Ottoman tents on the European continent. This 14th-century castle built by King Casimir II the Great was at the top of its opulence in the 16th century when King Sigismund the Old commissioned the castle to be expanded and built into what it looks like today. Once you are in the castle, you will be transported into the era of kings and queens as your guide shares information about the royals who once lived in the castle and the myths surrounding this beautiful place. You may also get to see the Wawel exhibition, which displays objects uncovered during archaeological excavations around the region. It also includes scale models of buildings and other architectural elements. Wawel Castle is recognized as a Unesco World Heritage site and is known to have immense cultural and historical significance in Poland.

Krakow: Wawel Royal Hill Guided Tour

3. Krakow: Wawel Royal Hill Guided Tour

Join a guided tour of the Wawel Royal Hill, one of the most important hills in Poland. This was where Polish kings and queens reigned over Poland. Your guide will tell you about the secrets of the royals and show you the most important places within Wawel Hill.  After meeting your guide, you will pass by the most expensive hotel in Cracow, which has hosted HRH Prince Charles and President Bush. You are then going to stop by the house of Jan Długosz, the legendary Polish historian, from where you will have a magnificent view over Wawel Hill. Then, start to go uphill, passing through the Arms Gate, and stopping by the monument to Tadeusz Kościuszko, one of the most important Polish heroes. Walk past the entrance to the Wawel Cathedral. Continue in the direction of the center of Wawel hill and the medieval courtyard, and head to the Austrian Hospital, from where you will be able to see a beautiful panorama of Krakow. You are then going to pass by Sandomierska Tower and go downhill through the Bernardyńska Gate, eventually leading to the cave of the Wawel Dragon. 

Krakow: Sightseeing Cruise by Vistula River

4. Krakow: Sightseeing Cruise by Vistula River

Admire the Wawel Royal Castle and see other monuments from the Vistula River, Krakow's historic waterway. Listen to the audio commentary as you sit back and relax, enjoying the comfort of a traditional yet modern vessel. Head to the open deck for panoramic views of Krakow's landmarks. Witness the charms of Krakow’s districts, such as Saltwator and Kazimierz, and see such sights as the Dębnicki Bridge, "Church on the Rock," and Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology.

Kraków: Old Town Guided Segway Tour

5. Kraków: Old Town Guided Segway Tour

Embark on a guided segway tour of Kraków and learn about its golden age. Learn about its role as a major city on the trade path from the far east and its importance as a hub of Polish culture and history as you pass sites such as the Barbican armory, St. Mary’s Church, and Wawel Castle. Use your Segway to see the Barbican armory, the original leftovers of a big defensive wall that used to surround the whole city. Learn about the mysteries of the Main Square and the dungeons beneath it and complete it with immortal legends and stories. Take a minute to admire the 700-year old architecture of St. Mary’s Church and the enormity of the Royal Wawel Castle. Continue along the Wisła riverside to take some great pictures with the legendary, fire-spitting Wawel dragon before ending your fun and informative tour.

Krakow: Nowa Huta Guided Tour in Vintage Car

6. Krakow: Nowa Huta Guided Tour in Vintage Car

Get an interesting lesson about the history of Nowa Huta and see typical examples of Socialist Realist architecture aboard a Communist-era car. Learn where the large statue of Lenin stood on Aleja Róż (Avenue of Roses), and marvel at the grandeur of Plac Centralny (Central Square). Get familiar with the history of Polish communism by taking a ride in a classic Polish car of that era and visiting bomb shelters that were built around a city in the case of World War III. Take a stroll through the Central Square and Roses Avenue, where Poland's biggest statue of Lenin once stood. See the remains of Socialist Realism architecture and learn more about the urban layout of the city. Discover the city’s huge steelworks initiative, which was the reason for its foundation. Travel through time in either a Polish Fiat 126 model “Maluch,” Lada 2101, classic Nysa, Żuk, or even a soviet army van model UAZ 452. Upgrade your tour to the extended 3.5-hour option and include a visit to either a Cold War bomb shelter or a communist director's offices of steelworks.

Krakow: Private Airport Transfer

7. Krakow: Private Airport Transfer

Skip the lines for taxis on arrival at Krakow Airport, and enjoy the safest, most economical, and convenient way of traveling to the city center. The offer gives you a fixed price for a top quality service to every place within Krakow city limits. Avoid excessive transfer fees with a service that provides the best deal in terms of service, quality, and price. You will be given a clear indication of the cost on booking, and can expect no nasty surcharges at a later date. Once you have made your booking, you’ll receive full assistance, and can rest assured that your trip will begin and end as smoothly and comfortably as possible. Vehicle types are available for different group sizes, ranging from taxis and minibuses for smaller groups, to a 65-seat coach for larger groups. Transfer are also available from your hotel in Krakow city center to the airport in time for your departure flight.

From Krakow: Polish Folk Show with All-You-Can-Eat Dinner

8. From Krakow: Polish Folk Show with All-You-Can-Eat Dinner

Enjoy a special evening featuring a folk show. During the event, you will hear dynamic and lively Polish folk music and see traditional Polish dances from Kraków and other part of Poland. You will be invited to interact with the dancers and musicians, if you wish to participate. This event is great fun and entertaining for everybody, especially for guests who want to learn about Polish culture and food. Celebrate with your family, partner or friends during this experience. The restaurant is situated just outside of Krakow and overlooks beautiful Lake Kryspinów. You will be taken by double decker bus through the picturesque parts of Krakow. The folk show dinner includes a glass of cherry vodka upon welcome, a 3-course dinner, a regional cold buffet, and a regional warm buffet. You will also have unlimited drinks - including beer and wine. The pickup departure time is 6:45 PM; please arrive 5-15 minutes beforehand to the meeting point. The folk show finishes at 9:30 PM

Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Guided Tour with Pickup and Lunch

9. Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Guided Tour with Pickup and Lunch

Travel about an hour and a half in an air-conditioned bus departing Krakow for a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp complex, a historic site that leaves an unforgettable experience for all visitors and is an important Holocaust memorial. Explore the museum in the outskirts of Oświęcim, approximately 60 kilometers west of Krakow. Upon arrival, meet a professional local educator who will show you around the site and tell you about its inhuman history. You will be provided with a meal box to take a break during the tour. Learn the tragic history of the largest Holocaust concentration camp, founded by the Nazis in 1940, Auschwitz-Birkenau has become both a symbol of human suffering and a witness to physical and emotional exhaustion. You will learn how it became the final resting place of millions of people, mostly Jews, sentenced to death in hideous gas chambers. Walk through the gate marked "Arbeit Macht Frei" (work frees) to enter Auschwitz 1, where your guide will show you around the preserved area and introduce the history of the place. In the second part, you will spend approximately an hour in Birkenau, where the mass killings as part of the Nazi "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" took place. After the visit, our staff will take you back to Krakow.

Krakow: Folk Show & 3-Course Dinner at Jama Michalika Café

10. Krakow: Folk Show & 3-Course Dinner at Jama Michalika Café

Immerse yourself in Polish culture with this Folk music and dancing show in Krakow. Have the opportunity to dance along with the music. Feast on a mouth-watering dinner of authentic Polish food.  Begin your evening at Jama Michalika Café in the heart of Krakow. Soak up the atmosphere in this space that was once a bustling hub for the city’s bohemian crowd. Sit among paintings and caricatures of Krakow's artists, writers, and journalists. Relax as the concert and dancing performance starts. Learn about Polish traditions and folklore as you watch performers dressed in regional costumes tell their stories through dance and folk music. Be invited to join in with the dancing during the concert. Afterward, savor a 3-course dinner of traditional Polish fare amid the lively atmosphere. With appetites sated, your dinner show will conclude after your meal. 

Frequently asked questions about Krakow

What are the best day trips and excursions from Krakow?

The best day trips and excursions from Krakow are:

Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau

What are the best deals and discounts on activities and attractions in Krakow?

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Krakow

Hi! My name is Sam and I’m the blogger behind Check Out Sam. Krakow is one of my favorite places in Europe, because it’s so incredibly diverse and different to most other cities of this continent. To help you plan your trip to Krakow, I’ve listed some valuable tips to get the most out of your city break.

What should I do on my first trip to Krakow?

Go marvel at some of the most beautiful sights of this city straight away by walking to Rynek Główny. This huge square is surrounded by picturesque buildings such as the famous Sukiennice and the stunning St. Mary's Basilica (make sure to go inside too!). There are plenty of great restaurants in this area as well. People watching is yet another thing you should do here!

What are some hidden gems to see in Krakow?

A little bit out of the city center you can find the Kościuszko Mound. If it wasn't surrounded by a ramparts-like wall, you would perhaps think it's just a (very random) hill dominating the landscape, but of course that's not the case! This monument was built by the Polish people to honor Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Polish nationalist who was very much against foreign powers taking over his beloved country. People from all over Poland started adding dirt from their towns, villages and cities and added it to the ever growing mound. Nowadays, tourists can climb this unique attraction and get stunning views over the city. On sunny days you can even see the Tatra mountains!

How much time should I spend in Krakow?

Krakow is not a big city, so you can easily see it in one full day. However, I would advice to at least take two days to fully experience it. If you also want to visit the Auschwitz concentration camps, I would add at least half a day. The same goes for the Wieliczka Salt Mines. There are plenty of tours available who combine these two sights near Krakow, so if you don't want to stress about getting to either of these places this might be something for you.

What food is Krakow known for?

From all the cities that I have visited, Krakow had some of the best food that I've ever had. It's cheap, delicious and at the end you always get offered a shot of Polish vodka. Make sure to try Pierogi (dumplings) filled with anything from fruits to meat. If you like meats, there's also plenty of options for your taste buds!

What is the best way to get around Krakow?

Walk or rent a bike if you are short in time. If you want to visit Auschwitz or Wieliczka, you can do so with public transportation (bus) or with the help of a guided tour.

What are the best months to visit Krakow?

During summer, it can get quite warm in Krakow but almost never too hot. The city feels a bit more crowded because of the nice temperatures, but it never gets out of hand. Also worth mentioning: in Augusts there's a pierogi festival! I personally really liked autumn in Krakow too. The temperatures can get quite cold, but most crowds stay away and the colorful trees make this fairytale like city even more stunning.

What is neighborhood Miasto known for?

Stay in Kazimierz for food, nightlife and (jewish) history. If you want to be located centrally I would suggest Stare Miasto. Here you'll find a bit of everything. It's close to most attractions and also has great nightlife and plenty of great restaurants nearby.

What are the best neighborhoods for food? 

You can find great food all over the city, but I would recommend the Kazimierz neighborhood for the best food. Especially if you want to try out the local cuisine. Not that fond of the heavy Polish dishes? No worries! There are enough other options too (steakhouse, Italian, Lebanese, Thai, ...)

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping? 

Krakow is not really a shopping destination, but you do have some streets and shopping centers which every shopaholic will love. Near the Rynek Glówny (main square) you can find Florianska. This is where you'll find a nice mix of boutiques and souvenir stores. If you're only looking for the latter, I would recommend to head to the Cloth Hall situated on the main square itself.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Krakow?

I would suggest to stay in the picturesque old center of Krakow. That way you're close to all the action and never far away from a good restaurant or a cosy bar. Stick to the areas that I've already mentioned before: Kazimierz and Stare Miasto. They are -in my humble opinion- the absolute best to fully enjoy your stay.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Krakow?

The Wieliczka mines are a fun activity for both younger and older people. Descend into these old salt mines near Krakow and discover the interesting history and stunning sights so deep down. There's even a cathedral completely made out of salt crystals that you'll visit here during a guided tour!

What is the best thing to do in Krakow for solo travelers?

Book a (combined) tour to Auschwitz and the Wieliczka Salt Mines. It's a great way to learn more about the surroundings of Krakow and its history, but also a good way to meet like-minded people. Especially during or after your visit to Auschwitz, it can be nice to talk to someone (guide or other visitors) and let out your thoughts and feelings.

What are the best areas for outdoor activities around Krakow? 

If you don't mind being en route for a couple of hours (one to three), head to the Tatra Mountains or make a stop in beautiful Zakopane. There is plenty of stunning scenery and lots of (challenging) hikes that you can do here.

Other Sightseeing Options in Krakow

Want to discover all there is to do in Krakow? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Krakow

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 87,603 reviews

I had a wonderful experience in the trip! and the guide was kind and informative. I learned many things and explored different places in Zakopane and Tatra mountain. Totally recommend this trip!

Really enjoyable tour. Guide was very friendly it was the best way to do the tour on a hot day

Really enjoyed the tour around the City on the segway tour. Fantastic morning

Excellent tour - guide was very knowledgeable and her English was excellent.

Brilliant. Tour guide was fantastic both me and my daughter loved it xx