Sightseeing in Krakow
There is so much to see on a city break to Krakow that it is near impossible to fit it in all in one go, so you'll want to go back again and again. The city is packed full of stunning architecture with castles, churches and palaces, all of which are well worth visiting and each one is different.
On Wawel Hill you will find Wawel Royal Castle, a grand and imposing fortress located on the top of the hill. You can take a tour through the castle whose exquisite chambers are filled with priceless art, period furniture and ancient objects. Also on the hill next to the castle is Wawel Cathedral which was built in a Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque style. The site itself has a 1000 year history and the cathedral is the coronation and burial place of Polish monarchs with huge marble tombs.
The Basilica of the Virgin Mary is an imposing 13th century Gothic church. It includes a huge stone crucifix, magnificent wall paintings and priceless art objects including ancient embroidered vestments.
The Baroque style Town Hall Tower is interesting as it leans to one side due to strong winds in the 18th century. If you can brave the height then there are fabulous panoramic views across the city from the top of the tower.
The City Walls are over 700 years old with some grand towers still existing. Within these city walls is the Planty Garden Ring, a green belt of public parks with over 30 different gardens and a great place for a relaxing afternoon after all that sightseeing.
Another of the many religious buildings in Krakow is Shalka, Krakow's oldest shrine. The architecture is beautiful and the decorations are grand, you can even still see the dark marks of St. Stanislav's blood on the stone walls.
The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of Krakow's most popular attractions with its labyrinth of passages, giant caverns, underground lakes, chapels, sculptures and carvings in the crystalline salt. The sparkling underground palace is a must-see and you might even spot a few celebrities visiting.
If you're not already tired after visiting all of these places then there are several other places you must visit including the Grand Square, one of the most beautiful plazas in the world lined with restaurants, cafes and clubs; the national museum, Museum Norodowe; the gold dome of the Sigismund Chapel and the Royal Castle.
Further a field you could take a day trip to Auschwitz, the former Nazi concentration camp of World War II. It is a moving and humbling experience but well worth a visit for the intriguing insight into the suffering of the Jewish people in World War II.
Fun Seekers in Krakow
Sport is very popular in Krakow and there are several opportunities to get active on your city break. The Royal Krakow Golf and Country Club is the closest golf course to the city centre and is very popular, as is football with people flocking to see the local teams such as TS Wisla Krakow. You can also try horse riding, swimming and tennis in the local area.
Shopping in Krakow is also great with the main commercial strips in the Old Town, Rynek Glowny, Florianska Street, Szewska Street, Grodzka Street and Slawkowska Street. Here you will find everything you could possibly want including designer, jewellery, antique and book stores. Also in Rynek Glowny is the Cloth Hall which is a great place for buying souvenirs and Polish handicrafts such as lace, dolls and leather goods.
For a cultural experience you should visit the Filharmonia Concert Hall which hosts many performances by the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra. you could take in plays and drama at the Slowacki Theatre or Krakow's foremost theatre, the Teatr Stary.
The dining experience in Krakow has vastly improved and now you can find restaurants not only serving Polish food but international cuisine. Rynek Glowny is a hub of restaurants with every style to choose from. Rozowy Slon is a salad bar with Polish food at reasonable prices, Pod Aniolami serves contemporary and award winning Polish food and the luxurious Cyrano de Bergerac offers Polish and French cuisine with an excellent wine cellar.
Krakow has a fantastic nightlife with more bars, pubs and clubs per square metre than anywhere else in the world! Casinos are popular and the main ones are found in hotels around the town centre. Jazz is also a Polish favourite and you will find the best live bands in one of the many cellar bars.
If you fancy hitting a bar (or three!) and then heading on to a club, you won't be short of choice in Krakow. The biggest concentration of hotspots is in Rynek Glowny with the second biggest concentration being found in Kazimierz. CK Browar (Podwale 6-7) is a lively pub in a traditional stone walled building or if you want a more conventional drinking location then head to Piwnica Pod Baranami (Rynek Glowny),where the atmosphere is calm and traditional and the beer is cheap!
You will also find some great clubs in Reynek Glowny such as Strefna 22, a multi-level nightclub with busy dance floors and chill out rooms or Club Fusion (Ulica Florianska), a haven for cool dance music.
Activities in Krakow
Top Tours in Krakow:
Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour
Visit the legendary salt mines of Wieliczka near Krakow and admire the beautiful salt sculptures...
Auschwitz - Birkenau Tour
Tour the Auschwitz Nazi Concentration Camp where nearly 1.5 million people died during Holocaust...
Krakow Medieval Castle Tour - Ojcow National Park
Explore Krakow's splendid medieval castles at the Ojcow National Park...
Częstochowa Monastery Tour
Visit the Jasna Góra Monastery in Czestochowa - the world's 3rd largest Catholic pilgrimage site...
Krakow Kazimierz Tour of 'Schindler's List' Filming Locations
Visit Kazimierz where scenes for the film 'Schindler's List' were shot in Poland's Jewish Quarter...
Family Fun in Krakow
Most of the main attractions in Krakow centre around beautiful architecture and historic buildings. Some are more interesting to children than others such as the grand Wawel Royal Castle where they can play "Kings and Queens" and the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
However there are plenty of activities to keep children occupied if sightseeing isn't for them. The Groteska Theatre is the only theatre in Krakow that caters specially for children with magical plays every Sunday as well as year round productions.
The Oceanarium is a large aquarium with everything from sharks to starfish on display. If you fancy creatures of the furry variety then head to Krakow Zoo which has a large variety of animals, a petting zoo, biking trail and café. The zoo is also surrounded by a pretty forest which is great for exploring on an afternoon walk.
For even more fun for the whole family visit the Fantasy Park, one of the most modern bowling alleys in Europe. It also includes pool tables, air hockey, arcade games and a bar for the adults. Park Wodney is Krakow's only water park with several fun chutes and slides so you can all make a splash.
A particular favourite with Polish children is Lokietek's Cave. This mysterious cave is shrouded in legend and your children will love learning about the story of when King Wenceslas hid here. The countryside surrounding the cave is also particularly beautiful and that, paired with the castle Pieskowa Skala, makes for a great family day out.
Romantic Breaks in Krakow
The best way to enjoy a romantic break in Krakow is on foot. You could easily stroll through your entire holiday as there is so much to see, especially in the Old Town where every street and square has its own character. You can explore the fantastic scenery and attractions including some beautiful and impressive architecture. Take a break throughout the day at one of the many quaint cafes and people watch in Rynek Glowny.
In the winter there is an open ice rink which is the perfect opportunity to hold hands with your partner as you skate surrounded by beautiful buildings. Hope that it snows to put a finishing touch on your romantic winter break.
There are a vast number of restaurants to choose from, particularly in the Old Town, where you can spend the evening with some fine European cuisine and some good wine. Cyrano de Bergerac is one of the very best restaurants in Krakow for a taste of luxury with delicious French and Polish food as well as a delectable wine menu.
Top Tips for Krakow
An ancient Chakra energy stone is believed to be buried in Wawel Castle attracting thousands of visitors to feel the vibe.
You can stock up on fresh produce at the Stary Kleparz vegetable market, one of the oldest markets in Poland dating back to the 14th century.
Bring warm clothes when visiting Poland as the weather can be bitterly cold even in late spring.
Public toilet signs in Krakow are different than the male and female figures we see usually - remember the circle is for women and the triangle is for men.
For a first class night out remember to pace yourself as Krakow has more drinking holes per square metre than anywhere else in the world so you can easily keep going until the early hours of the morning!
- Hello - Witam
- Goodbye - Do widzenia
- Yes - Tak
- No - Nie
- Please - Prosze
- Thank you – Dziekuje
- Excuse me - Przepraszam
- Do you speak English? - Czy mówi Pan / Pani po angielsku?
- I don't understand - Nie rozumiem
- Where is the ... - Gdzie jest ...
- Train Station - Dworzec PKP
- Tram/Bus stop - Przystanek tramwajowy/autobusowy
- Bank - Bank
- Tourist Office - Informacja Turystyczna
- What time does the train leave? - O której odjezdza pociag?
- I'd like a single/return ticket - Poprosze bilet w jedna strone / powrotny
- Do you have any rooms available? - Czy macie wolne pokoje?
- How much is it? - Ile to kosztuje?
- I need a doctor - Potrzebuje lekarza
- What time is it? - Która jest godzina?
- Call the police/an ambulance – Prosze zadzwonic na policje / pogotowie
Cost of a pint of beer: £1.20