KRAKOW.

Krakow, one of the most iconic cities in Poland, captivates tourists from all over the world with a mythical atmosphere and charming architecture. Legends say that the city was founded on the defeat of a dragon. While we don’t know whether or not that is true, one thing is certain – there is magic in the air in Krakow. Wawel Castle, the most famous object in Krakow, is worth the trip alone, but there is more. The picturesque Old Town ensures unforgettable moments, especially if you choose Krakow for a romantic getaway. Every architecture buff will fall in love with the soaring churches, wonderful museums and Rynek Główny, the largest market square in Europe. No less impressive is the Jewish quarter, Kazimierz, with synagogues, museums and other reminders of the tragic history of Jews in the World War II. But there is more to Krakow than the past – it’s a city that’s not afraid to blend history with modernity, as is the case with the whole of Poland. The nightclubs, restaurants and pubs all over Krakow are among the most entertaining in the whole of Europe, which makes this city such a great choice for a wonderful city break.

Money Saving Tips

Money Saving Tips

Best Period to Visit Krakow

Best Period to Visit Krakow

Accomodation Tips for Krakow

Accomodation Tips

Getting Around Krakow

Getting Around Krakow

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Krakow

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Krakow

Other Things to See and Do

Other Things to See and Do

Money Saving Tips

Drink tap water

When visiting Krakow, make sure to drink tap water, as it is perfectly safe to drink and has quite a good taste. While bottled water is relatively cheap in Krakow, and in Poland in general, tap water is always a part of accommodation so you will not have to pay anything extra – you can even refill your bottles with it.

Stay away from city tours

While walking around the city of Krakow, especially the Kazimierz district, you will surely see many golf carts driving around the streets. You should stay away from them, as not only do they have exorbitant prices, but Krakow is small enough to easily explore on your own, with plenty of small alleyways that you would otherwise miss.

Use bike sharing

A good way to get around Krakow is to use one of the many bike rental services around the city. Not only are they really cheap, but you can also get anywhere with them. You can find docking stations all around the city where you can pick up a bike and return it later by using a mobile app or a machine next to it.

Eat street food

Krakow is full of tasty and affordable street food, so make sure to check it out before you go to restaurants. The most popular one, called zapiekanka, is a half of a baguette covered with cheese, mushrooms, and other add-ons, and costs around €2. For the bests ones – visit Plac Nowy on Kazimierz.

Do not buy food at the Main Square

The Main Square of Krakow is a well-renowned tourist spot with plenty of restaurants, big and small, as well as stalls with local produce. You might want to spot here during your trip to grab a bite, but be careful – the restaurants and pubs here often have really high prices, so it’s really better to find food elsewhere.

Cheap accommodation

If you want to keep close to the main locations of the city, located in the centre, look for accommodation in hostels. Most of them are good on a budget and offer a free breakfast. Since Krakow is becoming a more and more tourist-oriented town, many hostels open each season, so you are sure to find something for yourself.

Take a stroll along the Vistula

On both sides of the Vistula, there is a long pathway where you can either walk or ride a bike. Along the pathway, there are many benches where you can sit down and rest, as well as plenty of unique, repurposed barges which nowadays act as restaurants, proving a truly unusual dining experience.

Visit the Maria Church from the prayers side

If you plan on visiting the Maria Church in Krakow, located on the main square, make sure to get in through the prayers entrance. The main entrance is mainly for tourists and has an admission fee, albeit small (€2.50), while the prayers entrance is free of charge and provides a great view of the church.

Visit museums for free

As in many tourism-oriented cities across the world, some museums in Krakow allow free entrance. Take notice of the fact that while some of them are free to enter all the time, some are free only on specific days, so make sure to look it up online before you go, as it may save you quite a bit of money while sightseeing.

Travel by public transport

You should start using public transport immediately after you arrive in Krakow. To get from the airport to the city centre, it takes about thirty minutes by bus, and it costs only €1, while a taxi for the same distance would cost you about €20, but make sure you have exact change for the ticket machine in the bus.

Ask for cheap restaurants in your hostel

While staying in an accommodation supervised by locals, make sure to ask them for the cheapest places to eat and drink in your area. One of those places, located close to the main square, is called Gospoda Koko, where you can eat a full two-course meal (soup and a main dish) for less than €5, which is really cheap.

Best Period to Visit Krakow

Tourism

Krakow is welcoming throughout the year, but the best times to visit are from March to May and between September and November. Both these periods offer moderate amounts of tourists and reasonable prices.

Weather

For a warm experience in Krakow, visit it between May and early September, when the temperatures average around 20°C, with 25°C highs around July. Winter brings around -5°C lows in January, but compensates them with a charming atmosphere and substantial discounts on mostly everything.

Money

If one wanted to save some money while visiting Krakow, he should choose winter or late fall as his period to visit the city. From May to early September, Krakow is rather crowded, and prices reflect the surge of tourists.

Events

Shanties Festival (February)
Misteria Paschalia (April)
Tolerance Festival (April)
Krakow Photomonth (May-June)
Jewish Culture Festival (June-July)
Summer Jazz Festival (June-July)
Krakow Live Festival (August)
Sacrum Profanum Festival (September-October)
Unsound Krakow (October)
Krakow Christmas Market (November-December)

Accomodation Tips

Apartments

Krakow offers a wide choice when it comes to apartments for rent. These are a great option for groups of friends or large families, as they offer a higher degree of privacy. Renting fees vary depending on location and standard of the apartment.

Budget (1-2 star) hotels

Cheap hotels in Krakow offer low prices as well as conditions that will satisfy the less demanding guests. Especially students and backpackers will find these budget hotels a convenient option for accommodation, as they allow you to spend more money on exploration and entertainment.

Standard (3-4 star) hotels

Standard hotels in Krakow are usually located close to the popular tourist attractions and clubs of the city. These 3- and 4-star hotels in Krakow are comfortable, and the quality of service leaves nothing to be desired. Nightly fees for standard hotels in Krakow start around €55 per person.

Luxury hotels in Krakow

Luxury hotels in Krakow offer top-notch service and quality of stay. These hotels are located right in the thick of things, providing their guests with instant access to the most popular spots and attractions around the city. Nightly rates for luxury hotels in Krakow start around €200.

Getting Around Krakow

Bicycle

Krakow's infrastructure is being developed every year to facilitate access to bicycles. There are cyclist routes on both sides of the Vistula, allowing you to reach most spots in the city. While some new routes are being constructed, you will mostly have to stay to parks and sidewalks, but you can also ride along the streets.
The bike rental service provided by the city of Krakow is really cheap. The first twenty minutes are free, after which the next forty minutes cost you €0.50. The second hour of using a bike costs €0.75, and every hour after that €1 with a maximum rental period of twelve hours.

Car and Motorcycle

Take notice that most of the Old Town is closed off to tourists and you need to have a sticker which states that you are a resident of the area. The parking is also quite limited, and traffic jams are not rare. While free parking is hard to find in Krakow, you can always park along the streets for a small fee, which requires a ticket bought from a machine. The tickets cost under €1 for the first hour, and the rates rise on each consecutive hour.

Public transport

The most efficient and affordable way of travelling around Krakow is definitely its public transport. With a well-developed net of buses and trams, it is easy and cheap to get from one point to the other. Two types of tickets are available – a short-term ticket, which costs approximately €0.50, valid for twenty minutes, and a longer, forty minute one, which costs just under €1. There are also one-, two- and three-day tickets, which cost respectively around €4, €7.50, and €9. Tickets can be bought both from machines at most stops, where you can use a credit card, or inside of the trams and buses, where exact change must be provided.

Taxi

Make sure to order a taxi by phone rather than hailing one on the street, as there are plenty of taxi drivers who go rogue and are not associated with a reliable company. Still, in honest cabs, the meter starts at €2 and rises by €0.50 with each kilometre, making it quite cheap when compared with other major European cities.

Walking

Since Krakow is a relatively small town and most tourist attractions are located in the Old Town or near the main square, walking is a good way of getting around the town. A walk from the Kazimierz district to the main square takes about fifteen minutes, and you can admire the architecture as well as green parks along the way.

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Krakow

Day Trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine

This day trip allows you to skip the requirement of booking individual tickets and transportation, and gets you to the sights located around the city of Krakow. The first stop is a famous concentration camp located in the city of Auschwitz, and the second stop is an old salt mine, and a guide will tell you the history of both of those places.

Krakow Evening Food Walking Tour

Taking two and a half hour of your time, this tour will showcase you the street food of Krakow as you visit the local bars and restaurants to taste some of the traditional Polish cuisines. The tour includes dishes such as traditional Polish soups, goat cheese, authentic pierogi, and even a taste of local beer and vodka.

Kazimierz Food Tour

Stroll along with a local guide who will share his knowledge of the food and history of the Kazimierz district in Krakow. The guide will help you avoid places which are known for exploiting tourists and will show you where you can get good food instead, along with a tasting of both the cuisine and the local craft beer.

Polish Home Cooking Class in Krakow

If you are interested in learning a thing or two about Polish cuisine so you can reproduce it back home, this cooking class will teach you that. A guide will first take you on a shopping trip for ingredients at the local market, and afterwards, he will show you how to prepare such famous dishes as pierogi or placki.

Lost Souls Alley

If you’re in for a spine-chilling experience, make sure to visit the famous horror house of Krakow – the Lost Souls Alley. You will be taken on a trip through professionally arranged rooms with skilled actors trying to scare you and puzzles to solve. If you decide to choose a harder difficulty level than the easiest – make sure you are really up to the task.

Oskar Schindler’s Factory Tour

This two-hour-long guided tour will allow you to travel back in time to the Second World War Krakow and get a glimpse at its history. Oskar Schindler was famous for helping to save over a thousand Jewish employees from concentration camps, and this museum will show you what he has accomplished.

Wawel Castle Guided Tour

A one-and-a-half-hour visit to the Wawel Castle which will take you along the chambers and corridors of the home of the Polish kings. Take a look at the apartments of the kings and queens by yourself, as well as at the coronation rooms and the extensive art collection at the castle’s gallery.

Krakow Private Walking Tour

With a strictly limited group size, this private walking tour will allow you to get the most personalised experience possible. A guide will answer all of your questions as he tells you the history of the town and its monuments, following sights such as Kazimierz district, the Jewish ghetto, the Wawel Castle and many more.

Traces of Jewish Culture from Krakow

This four-hour tour will showcase you some of the Jewish history and heritage in and around Krakow. Beginning in Kazimierz, the historic Jewish district of the city, you will be able to visit its traditional kosher restaurants, synagogues, and monuments, as well as the famous Jewish cemetery.

Chopin Piano Concert

Taking place at Chopin Gallery in Krakow, this concert will allow you to enjoy the music of Frederic Chopin, performed by skilled, award-winning local musicians. The ticket grants you a comfortable seat in front of the scene, allowing you to comfortably enjoy the one-hour concert of the music of this Polish composer.

Other Things to See and Do

Old Town

The Old Town is a place where you are sure to spot most of the city's attractions, including churches, the largest market square in Europe, monuments and many more. While you're at it, you can also marvel at the local artisan shops and the small-time restaurants, where you can afterwards eat a traditional meal.

St Florian’s Gate

Located to the north of the Royal Route, which is a road leading to the Old Town, this gate is among the best-known ones in Poland. It’s made in a Gothic style with gorgeous towers and used to be the main entryway to the Old Town. It is the only still remaining gate of the original eight, built in the middle ages.

St Florian’s Street

Being one of the most famous streets in the city of Krakow, St Florian’s Street has become one of the most crowded tourist attractions of the main square. Not only do many shops and restaurants adorn the sides of the street, but there is also a number of gorgeous historic townhouses, painted in pastel colours.

Main Square

While visiting the Old Town, you absolutely have to visit the main square of Krakow. Not only is it the largest city square of Europe with more than forty thousand square meters, but there are plenty of additional attractions placed around the square, with a flea market open during the weekends.

Cloth Hall

Once a major centre of trade in Krakow, showcasing exotic imports, the Sukiennice cloth hall nowadays is a commerce centre for local stalls. There is also an exhibition of Polish paintings and sculptures on the upper floor of the cloth hall, the admission to which is free on every Sunday of the month.

Town Hall Tower

Also located in the main square is the famous town hall tower of Krakow, built at the end of the 13th century. While this is the only remaining part of the old Town Hall, it is still worth visiting. The tours of the inside of the tower are on payment (although they are really cheap), but you can still marvel at the tower from the outside.

Adam Mickiewicz Monument

Built to commemorate the famous poetry of Adam Mickiewicz, one of the greatest Polish romantic poets of the 19th century, the monument is made out of bronze and adorns the centre of the main square. It is one of the most famous statues in Poland, so make sure to take a picture in front of it.

St Mary’s Basilica

Famous for its five-note anthem which is played every hour by a trumpeter, which used to be a member of the town guard, but is now done by active members of the fire department, the St Mary’s Basilica is an iconic gothic church located in the main square, famous for its gorgeous altar carved by Wit Stwosz.

Wawel Hill

When you’re finished sightseeing the main square of Krakow, make sure to travel in the direction of the Wawel Hill. Not only is it a great place for a tranquil walk, with lush gardens around it and the river Vistula flowing nearby, but there is also a number of monuments and attractions for you to see.

Wawel Cathedral

Famous for being the coronation place of Polish kings, the Wawel Cathedral is free to visit and discover for yourself. It is also known for its underground crypts, which hold the remains of many Polish kings, as well as artists. There are also the supposedly real bones of the Wawel Dragon, which are in truth fossilised bones of a whale.

Wawel Castle

You do not need a specialised guided tour to visit the Wawel Castle for yourself, as it is open to tourists for free. While it used to be the residence of Polish kings and their families, nowadays it acts as a heritage site where you can wander around its hallways and chambers, admiring the architecture.

Wawel Dragon’s Den

Legend has it that a dragon lived under the Wawel Hill. This dragon was killed by a regular shoemaker, who used a fake sheep stuffed with sulphur to kill the dragon. Nowadays, the den acts as a tourist attraction with an entrance fee of less than one euro, and you can see a bronze sculpture of the dragon which breathes real fire.

St Peter and Paul Churches

Being the oldest baroque buildings in Poland, both of the churches have free audio guides which will tell you the history of the sites. Moreover, on Thursdays an event takes place which demonstrates the longest Foucault pendulum in Poland, proving the rotation of the earth. There are also frequent concerts taking place in the churches.

St Andrew’s Church

Located at Grodzka Street, this church is not only a rare survivor of early Middle Ages architecture but it was also once used as a fortress. During attacks, the local citizens of Krakow would flee into the church to find a shelter. Moreover, the church holds remarkably well-preserved pieces of Romanesque architecture.

Corpus Christi Basilica

If you are taking a walk through the Jewish quarter of Krakow, make sure not to skip this beautiful church. While it may not look like much from the outside, the inside presents an impressive combination of Polish Gothic and Polish Baroque styles and is often regarded as the most picturesque Baroque churches in Europe.

Botanic Garden of the Jagiellonian University

A great place to take an afternoon stroll is the botanic garden located on the premises of the Jagiellonian University in the Old Town. Not only does the botanic garden has over five thousand species of plants, placed along three different greenhouses, but it also showcases different climates in each one.

Planty

The place where the most locals go for their afternoon walk or a bicycle ride is Planty, which is a huge park surrounding the entire Old Town. The park features a lot of lush greenery and benches to relax and spreads over an area of more than five acres with thirty smaller gardens with monuments and fountains.

Kladka Bernatka

If you are on a trip with your loved one, make sure to visit the Kladka Bernatka, which is a place every couple visits on their trip to Krakow. Kladka Bernatka is a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists, made to commemorate a monk who contributed to the building of a hospital in Krakow. Notice the thousands of padlocks that couples left on the railway!

The New Square

Lying in the heart of the old Jewish District, Kazimierz, the New Square holds the widest collection of street food in Krakow. Many pubs and restaurants are placed around the square, while in the middle there is a round structure which holds zapiekanka bars, along with many other small-time local spots.

Krakus Mound

You do not need to climb a tower or ride an elevator to a terrace to get a nice view of the city. Situated in the Podgórze district, this hill is one of the two man-made mounds, the purpose of which is a mystery to this day, much like Stonehenge. Nevertheless, the mound provides a gorgeous view of the city and its surroundings.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the best hotels for Krakow city break?

    Our list of the best hotels in Krakow are: Metropolitan Boutique Hotel, PURO Krakow Stare Miasto, Vienna House Andel's Cracow, Sheraton Grand Krakow and Radisson Blu Hotel Krakow. Discover the full list of best hotels in Krakow.

  • What are the luxury hotels in Krakow?

    The finest examples of luxury hotels in Krakow include Hilton Garden Inn Krakow, Qubus Hotel Krakow, Queen Boutique Hotel, Novotel Krakow Centrum, Antique Apartments Plac Szczepanski, Aparthotel Stare Miasto and Hotel Galaxy Krakow. Discover the full list of luxury hotels in Krakow.

  • What are the cheap hotels in Krakow?

    Those trying to visit Krakow on a tight budget will find everything they need in hotels such as Hotel Wyspianski, Matejko Hotel, Atlantis Hostel Krakow, Premium Hostel, Hotel Polski Pod Bialym Orlem, Hotel Columbus Krakow and Hotel Pod Wawelem. Discover the full list of Cheap hotels in Krakow.

  • What is the best period to visit Krakow for a city break?

    Taking factors such as weather, crowds and prices, the best months to visit Krakow for a city break are March, April, September and October.

  • What are top 5 things to see and do in Krakow?

    Krakow offers plenty of exciting attractions and things to do. Must-sees in Krakow include: Day Trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine, Krakow Evening Food Walking Tour, Kazimierz Food Tour, Polish Home Cooking Class in Krakow and Lost Souls Alley.

  • How much does an Krakow city pass cost?

    A city pass in Krakow costs around €29.

  • How much does public transport in Krakow cost?

    24-hour ticket for public transport in Krakow costs around €4.

  • What are the best night clubs in Krakow?

    The best night clubs in Krakow include: Frantic Club, Taawa Music Club, Baccarat Music Club, Singer and Cocon.

  • What are the best bars in Krakow?

    Judging on the reviews and customer opinions, the best bars in Krakow are: Ursa Maior, Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa, Forum Przestrzenie, Alchemia and House of Beer.

  • What are the best places to eat in Krakow?

    Your choice of the best restaurants in Krakow may vary depending on your taste, however, Rzeznia, Edo Fusion Asian Cuisine, Meat & Go and 27 Porcji Family Slow Food are some of the most popular choices.

  • What are the top 5 best restaurants in Krakow?

    Top 5 restaurants in Krakow include: Starka, Stylowa, Pod Aniolami, Pod Wawelem-Kompania Kuflow and Cyrano de Bergerac.