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140 Things to do in Krakow
Krakow, or as the British like to call it Cracow, is an amazing city, and there is so much to do here. I’ve taken a lot of time to compile a list of almost everything you can do! Coming soon is a printable checklist for your next trip. But for now, check out all your options below. You can email me at email@example.com if you have any questions regarding this list. Visit our Vine or YouTube Channels for lots of videos about Krakow as well!
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1. Grab a cat-uccino at the Krakow Cat Cafe and snuggle up with some kitties.
With a full cafe menu, and lots of cats roaming about, its a great place to take a break or get some work done. Although the employees are paid now (not volunteers) the proceeds from the cafe still go to a local animal shelter, and to help take care of the cats and kitties that live in the cafe. There are some rules, so don’t expect to be able to go and just pick up the cats and carry them around like at Kennedy Park in Peru- but if you’re lucky a cat will come right over to you to cuddle!
2. Go on a “Free” Walking Tour.
3. Pretend you’re in Paris and visit Charlotte Chleb i Wino on Plac Szczepanski.
Charlotte Cafe is a favorite among locals and tourists. It’s on almost every 24-hour itinerary we’ve seen, and for good reason. Most known for its homemade jams, preserves, and chocolate spreads, Charlotte has a wide appeal. Stop by for breakfast and enjoy a never-ending jar of chocolate or jam with a personal basket of homemade breads and pastries. Their sandwiches are also artfully crafted; and let’s not forget their outdoor patio in the summer is perfect for enjoying a glass of wine. A large community table in the middle of the dining room is also the perfect workspace in Krakow.
4. Grab a beer at Mleczarnia’s Summer beer garden, and be a part of the Schindler’s List set.
Mleczarnia is usually ranked Krakow’s No. 1 beer garden by all the local travel agencies, it is covered in greenery, has a cute little stand from which to order from, and the typical wooden patio tables of an outdoor beer garden. The beer however is nothing too special, its the surrounding that are the best part. To the right as you approach the tables is a set right out of Schindler’s List, and completely available to the public. Mleczarnia has also got wine and spirits so don’t worry if you don’t like beer! And if you catch them in the winter time they’ve also got a small little cafe across the street, much like the other famed cafes in Kazimierz.
5. Experience the atmosphere of a Kazimierz Cafe at one of many dark, candle-lit, antique-filled bars in the Jewish District, like Alchemia, Singer, Eszeweria…
The bars and cafes of Kazimierz all follow the same format, fill an old rundown building with just as old antique furniture. Offer teas, coffees, and breakfasts in the morning; and then at night turn into a bar. Some, like Alchemia even offer underground basements for concerts and DJ Sets.
6. Dance on a table-top at Singer.
Speaking of Kazimierz cafes and bars, Singer deserves its own spot on the list for one experience worth having only there. While this cafe and bar seems quite tame, especially with all its tables being converted from old Singer sewing machines, after about midnight or so this bar tends to get a little wild. So throw back some shots of vodka and join the others dancing the night away on top of a table!
7. If it’s cold outside, stop by a bar and grab a hot beer.
We agree that lukewarm beer on a hot day is never a good idea, but hot beer on a cold day is an entirely different story. Warmed up with a little flavored syrup added (we recommend raspberry) mulling spices are added for this winter treat. Our favorite place for hot beer is Eszeweria, their foaming mugs are awesome on a cold night. Just be careful, don’t drink it through a straw! And if you’re not in the mood for hot beer, Krakow has plenty of other piping hot beverages to offer, like mead, cider, or wine.
8. Drink a cup of melted chocolate at The Krakow Chocolate Manufacturer.
Forget the Swiss Miss of your childhood. This hot chocolate is nothing like that. White, dark, or milk this cup of goodness is available at many chocolate stores in town, but the to-go cups filled at the Chocolate Manufacturer seems to be the easiest for travelers. While your there feel free to enjoy the cafe, a chocolate making expo, or the chocolate shop.
9. Stuff yourself silly with Pączki, or Polish style donuts.
The infamous Polish donut, traditionally filled with rose-jam, but available in lots of other flavors! Grab a hot one at Gorące Pączki on Szewska Street or a traditional recipe one at Pączki on Starowislna Street. (Careful- if it’s Fat Thursday you may be in line for hours)!
10. Grab a huge plateful of pierogi for less than $3 at Gospada Koko.
There’s no better place for cheap homemade food than Gospado Koko. We often take visitors here for lunch, or stop by for a late-night meal. Open pretty much 24 hours, a plate of pierogi is always calling your name. Now with two locations, the one off the Main Square on Golebia Street has a better atmosphere, plus beer (also really cheap), but the new locale on Jozefa isn’t bad either if you just want food, or especially for takeout.
11. Walk the streets with an obwarzanek, Krakow’s famous pretzel, in hand.
The famous Obwarzanek is a great way to keep full on a budget when in Krakow. A favorite of students, this pretzel or maybe more like a bagel, usually only runs 1.50zl-2.00zl. It’s also protected by the European Union, so the recipe must be done in a certain way and can only be made in Krakow!
12. Take a trip to the mountains to visit Zakopane.
There is so much to do in Zakopane year-round. From hiking to swimming in thermal baths, to drinking, skiing, sledding, and taking in mountain views- you’re day will be filled. Be sure to check out our top 10 favorite things to do in Zakopane– and no matter what make sure you enjoy as much mountain food as possible! Oscypek here we come!
13. And while you’re there, hike to Morskie Oko Lake.
One great thing about Morskie Oko is that the view changes so much depending on the season, each more breathtaking than the last. In winter, the whole lake freezes over and you can actually walk on the surface- in summer the snow melts and you’re left with a serene landscape of blues and greens. The hike is easy, and some even choose to get there by horse and carriage (although we don’t recommend it). If you want a more challenging hike, the Tatra National Park has many, just make the lake of Morskie Oko one of the stops on your trail!
14. Or go to the World Ski Jumping Competition!
Every year Zakopane hosts the world cup of ski jumping. Tickets are cheap, the food and drinks are flowing, and the spirit of sport is alive! Make it a whole weekend if you want and show your pride for Poland! Truly the most amazing sporting event I have ever attended. You get tickets for the stands built into the mountain side and can watch skiers take off! This year (2016) there was even the World’s Largest Ice Maze at the bottom of the mountain that people could explore! The maze deserves its own spot on this list, but for now its melted- so we’ll have to see if it comes back again next year!
15. If you can’t make it to the mountains, at least grab some grilled Oscypek cheese in Krakow.
Another protected food of Poland, Oscypek can only be sold under that name if done in a very specific way, but all the variations are worth trying so even if you can only find mountain cheese get it. It’s on many restaurants menus, and during markets is always sold from a grill. Although you can eat it cold, it tends to squeak against your teeth, so hot is definitely the best option. Krakowski Kredens and all local grocery stores also carry it, so if you’ve got a stovetop, just put it in a pan with a lid and let it melt. The outside of the cheese stays pretty firm so it’s easy to get out of the pan. And when it’s ready eat it with a scoop of cranberry jam. It’s the only way!
16. Visit the Grunwald Monument on Plac Majteki.
This tall-standing monument is surrounded by art supply stores and some great little lunch-spots. It’s just by a few of Krakow’s university so it is a busy student area. A fun fact of the statue is that the butt of the horse faces Warsaw- something done completely on purpose.
17. Stop by a flea market for some unique souvenirs.
Krakow has some awesome flea markets, but no one is better than Hala Targowa on Sunday mornings. Sometimes stretching for blocks this market provides unique souvenirs from the city. Many sellers, and buyers too, show up drunk, so don’t be alarmed by strange behavior. Practice your numbers now, or bring a pen and paper for negotiations, as bargaining is welcomed. If you’re looking more for vintage clothes head over to the Sunday market on Plac Nowy instead, another flea market worth a visit.
18. Visit a Polish market for the freshest of crops.
Poland is known for its agriculture, as they should be. The Polish follow seasons so at the high harvest times of produce prices are low and market baskets are over-flowing. You may even find some fruits and vegetables you’ve never had before! And most of the local farmers markets have more than just food- you can get just about anything at Plac Imbramowski, Stary Kleparz, or Nowy Kleparz. So stop by in the summer for some fresh strawberries, blueberries, huckleberries, currants, gooseberries, apricots, cherries and plums of all kinds, the list goes on….
19. Travel back to communist times at Pijalnia Wodki i Piwa.
At Pijalnia, you’ll find the beer and shots are cheaper than a dollar, and the food is all a couple of bucks. Communist style bar-snacks like beef tartare, pickled herring, and farmers cheese (gzik) with potatoes are just some of your options. In my opinion this is the best beef tartare you can get in Krakow- its simple, classic, and made exactly how it should be! Watch our how-to video above.
20. Take a Mad Dog shot!
Vodka, Raspberry Syrup, and Tobasco are layered in the spicy, but sweet interesting shot combination! Again, our favorite place to grab one is Pijalnia, but most bars will have them. Said to never cause a hanogver (we beg to differ) Mag Dog shots are often enjoyed at parties in Poland!
21. Stop by a local’s house for dinner with Eataway!
A fairly new concept in Poland, Eataway provides a dining experience unlike any other. Book your spots through their website and make your way to an actual local’s home for dinner. While we opted for an Indian feast, there are many Polish options available for travelers as well!
22. Stop by the Jewish Community Center in Kazimierz.
23. Dine outside on Food Truck Square.
Skwer Judah, home to one of my favorite pieces of Krakow’s street art, as well as the permanent square for food trucks to park, is gaining new vendors all the time. Open all year-round with new winter time accommodations with heat- there’s something for everyone including a huge red bus turned restaurant, chimney cakes (trdelnik), Polish street food, burgers, Belgian fries and more!
24. Explore Krakow’s Street Art.
Take some time to explore Krakow’s street art- from Skewer Judah on Food Truck Square (see no. 23) to Lookarna’s storefront piece (see shopping on Jozefa Street below) to the small piece above. The city is filled with unique street art. For a map go here and be sure to stop by everyone favorite’s Singing in the Rain piece in Kazimierz!
25. Take a walk or bike ride along the Vistula River.
The Vistula, or Wisla River, runs throughout the city, going past the breathtaking Wawel Castle and continuing on with bike and walking paths for miles.
26. Follow the bike path away from Wawel to Tyniec Abbey.
A Benedictine Abbey and Monastery that sits beautifully on top a cliff. Be sure to head to their website to check and see if it is a day of the week that women are allowed to tour the grounds.
THIS POST IS CURRENTLY BEING EDITED- WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE CHANGING IN FORMAT BELOW, BUT CHECK BACK AS NEW INFO IS COMING!
27. Head to the Bagry to take a dip or get a tan.
Zalew Bagry, or Bagry Lake, is just one of the many swimming spots within the city, but probably the easiest and safest to get to. During the day there are life guards for the designated swimming area, which also comes with a dock you can jump off of. The water is regulated and clean, and there is a small beach area for relaxing in the sand. This is all surrounded by a pretty large park with lots of areas for biking, laying about, picnicking, walking, etc… The lagoon also has areas where you can rent boats, small and large, including paddle boats. And at the entrance is even a Wake-Boarding park!
28. Take a day trip to Lake Sosina…
Lake Sosina is not in Krakow, so I consider this a day-trip from the city. It takes a little over an hour to drive there, and you’ll definitely need a car. Similar in some ways to Kryspinow, but unique in its camping accommodations- Sosina Lake has a lot to offer. From boat rentals, to a very large beach, grilling areas, food trucks, a concert stage, and the aforementioned campground makes Sosina a great place to spend an afternoon. Want to spend it like a Pole? Stop by a local grocery store and buy a pound of kielbasa and a one-time use grill, several packs of beer, and grill on the beach!
29. Wake Board or Swim about at Kryspinow Lake!
Kryspinow is reachable by public transport buses in the summer, is the largest beach area in the city you can visit, but tends to be pretty crowded; however, it provides some beautiful sunset views and also has a wake-boarding program like The Bagry. Parking and Entrance fees make this a more organized beach than the Bagry, and the swimming area is much larger.
30. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, hike around Zakrzowek, an abandoned limestome quarry turned swimming spot.
Zakrzowek offers breathtaking views of the city any time of year, but its Mediterranean-esque oasis in the summer is the height of its advantages. Its rumored that the city will be taking over the property, which may change what parts are and are not open to the public. Full disclosure, a lot of Poles visit Zakrzowek to party and jump off the cliffs, which is illegal. But there is a small swimming spot that is completely legal. It has a lock and you can buy a key for the entire season for 100zl- you can also just hope there is someone there that will let you in, or if you’re like me you can just climb the fence. If you don’t feel like swimming, you can hike on the trails around the quarry, and if you follow the paths up to the highest point you can look over the entire city. Part of Zakzrowek is actually a national park and you can sometimes catch people rock-climbing the cliffs on the outside of the quarry. Interesting fact, the limestone quarry was used at one point as a Nazi Labour Camp, one that Karol Wojtyla, who would later become the Pope, was forced to work at.
31. Grab the best grilled sausage in town out of an old communist van at Hala Targowa.
Every night (except Sundays) from 8pm-3am head over to the parking area of Hala Targowa (the same location as the Sunday flea market) and find a blue van. This old communist style van has a family that are experts at grilling sausages! Watch the kielbasa sizzle over an open flame, and wait in line for the best sausage in town. Eat it with a little ketchup and mustard and a roll.
32. Take a stroll along the Planty.
Considered Krakow’s Central Park, the Planty surrounds the entire old town with a pathway lined with greenery. With lots of monuments and statues, plus some pretty important historical landmarks the Planty is a great place to spend an afternoon. Beautiful after a fresh snowfall, as the leaves begin to change, or in the summer when the trees are lush and green; this is a great place to ride a bicycle or sit on a park bench and watch local life happen. Or….
33. Stop by Bunkier Cafe for a fresh Tyskie beer.
If you’re on the Planty you have to stop by Bunkier. Great food, beer, and coffee drinks- Bunkier is the only bar and restaurant that sits directly on the Planty. Serving the freshest Tyskie beer, served from a special tank its very refreshing on a hot summer day. The food isn’t bad either! Learn more about their Tyskie tank beer here!
34. Grab some candy from Ciuciu, the world’s smallest candy manufacturer in the world!
Ciuciu may not be the smallest candy manufacturer much longer as they are growing quickly in popularity and expanding to stores in more than just Krakow. Tucked away on Grodzka street, the small little storefront features a candy factory in the back of the shop where you can watch them forming the candies live. Stop in for a free sample, and pick up a bag of sweets to take home. What I like most about these candies, besides their amazing taste, is that each little candy has a design in it that tells you its flavor!
35. Grab a mezze platter from Hamsa in the Jewish District.
One of my favorite spots in the city, Hamsa offers a beautiful Mezze Platter in a hand-painted Hamsa shaped plate from Israel, a great dish to share with friends with some zesty cocktails. This is also a great break from the heavy Polish food, and a great way to enjoy Israeli cuisine when in the Jewish Quarter.
36. Stop by Bania Luka for some more cheap food and drinks!
Following in suit with my favorite bar Pijalnia Wodki, Bania Luka also offers shots, beers, wine, and sodas for 4zl, while food is 8zl. Their food is not based on communist times, so you’ll find some heartier dishes here like pierogi and bigos, which I will admit is usually better than pickled herring when you’re feeling you need a bit of substance to balance out all the vodka. With a few locations, comfy booths, bar tables, and a bar as well Bania Luka is a comfy place to settle in for the night, but its also a favorite among students so don’t expect it to ever be quiet and serene.
37. Join the tourists on Grodzka Street…
Grodzka street is part of the Royal Route to Wawel Castle and is filled with tourist restaurants and shops. Although I recommend stopping by Ciuciu for candy, the rest of Grodzka is over-priced in my opinion, but the street itself is magical. [Note: I definitely suggest taking a right onto Kanonicza Street from Grodzka to get to Wawel.]
38. …and follow them to Wawel Castle.
Wawel Castle is the most popular site in Krakow. Providing an immense amount of history and architecture, the castle is filled with different rooms for touring, museums, a courtyard, and more. Personally the courtyard is where I had my wedding photos taken, and it provides a beautiful backdrop, plus is home to one of the World’s seven chakras. There is so much to do at the castle including…
39. Walk around the grounds of the Castle…
40. Visit the cathedral and grab a ticket to…
41. …climb the tower to Sigismund’s Bell and touch it for good luck! Then head to the window…
42. ….for beautiful views of the Old Town, the best at sunset.
43. Head over to Wawel’s courtyard and visit one of the seven chakras of the world.
A few things about the courtyard- first it can provide a beautiful backdrop for a photo, I had my wedding photos done here. It’s completely free to enter and roam through. It’s also near the bathrooms at Wawel. And in one corner, where all the trashcans and bulletins boards is one of the chakras of the world. Because Poland is extremely Catholic they are not happy to have a part of their country be one of the seven chakras- so what do they do with this honor? They cover it with bulletin boards and surround it with trashcans, while also forbidding city licensed tour guides from even mentioning it. You can almost always find someone meditating in this little spot, and can also see the dark points where so many hands have touched the wall to gain the chakras energy. Go see for yourself!
44. Take time to contemplate Jewish life in Krakow at one of the many synagogues…
The JCC can help you figure out the schedules of all the synagogues if you are interested in attending a service, but for the most part you can make a small donation to enter and explore each one. Many will have temporary exhibits set up for visitors showcasing the former Jewish life in Kazimierz, and the emerging Jewish life that is currently growing rapidly in the city.
45. …or Jewish cemeteries in Kazimierz.
There are a few visitable Jewish cemeteries in Kazimierz that can give a history lesson on Polish Jews and how their lives were destroyed, including their family’s gravestones.
46. Visit the memorial at the New Jewish Cemetery in Kazimierz.
As a moving memorial to the destroyed Jewish cemeteries of the Holocaust, the memorial at the New Jewish Cemetery pieces together many of those broken gravestones to create monument in honor of those who lost their lives due to the events of World War II.
57. Be immersed in colors at the Church of St. Francis.
The Church of St. Francis has the most impressive stained glass in the city, as well as the most brightly colored walls. Hard to photograph due to the low amount of light in the church, the painted walls are best seen in person. With magical designs and patterns of color and prints, St. Francis showcases a whimsical feeling not found very often in Krakow. The church is still active, and services are held in Polish multiple times a week.
58. Skip town for the day and go miles underground to the salt mines in Wieliczka.
Head over 1000 feet under the earth and explore some of the 178 mile long pathways at the Wieliczka Salt Mines. Salt miners for years have sculpted statues and three-dimensional paintings, even a cathedral with chandeliers from the natural mineral found in these caves. Literally everything from the floors to the ceilings to the walls is salt, go ahead and lick a wall!
59. Grab some fresh air biking or running through the countryside of Poland in Zielonki or Bibice.
If you want a break from the city, head out to the suburbs and see the beautiful agriculture of Poland (and some of the nicer houses). With bike trails all throughout the countryside you can cycle in and around fields full of local crops. Expect to ride by berries, rhubarb, radishes, full fields of Dill, tomatoes, and anything you might find at a farmers market. Or stick to the streets and you can discover the hidden mansions of Krakow as well.
60. Stroll down Kanonicza Street, Krakow’s most beautiful ulica and also where Pope John Paul II, as Karol Wojtyła, lived…
Back in the city, Kanonicza Street, off of Grodzka as I mentioned before, is the most picturesque walkway of the city. It is also one of the many homes of the Pope before he was the Pope! You can find a couple of museums dedicated to John Paul II and even see some of his old rooms. This is also the headquarters for World Youth Day 2016 (WYD 16).
61. While you’re there- stop at Bona Books and Coffee.
This is our favorite little bookstore in town; sure there’s Massolit and a few other English bookstores, but this little cafe has a wide selection of books in different languages and a full selection of treats and coffees. But what we buy here the most are our notebooks we plan and brainstorm everything in! Check out the carved outside of the store, just another reason Kanonicza is my favorite street.
62. Relax in one of Krakow’s many green spaces; like the lake in Nowa Huta.
Nowa Huta has a certain reputation, do yourself a favor and ignore that. It deserves a visit on its own, and we have it listed further down for that. but lets focus on the Lake in Nowa Huta first. It is home to one of the city center’s only outdoor pools, but it also has some light-hearted water sports, like inflatable balls you can hop in and run across the lake! People also come here to fish, feed the swans, or just relax in general. Unlike the other lakes we’ve listed Zalew Nowa Huta is much calmer, and greener. It isn’t meant for swimming, and the entire lake is surrounded by a beautiful park.
63. Play like a kid at Park Jodana and…
Ask any kid in Krakow what their favorite park is and they will immediately yell “Park Jordana!!” It’s got everything a kid could ever need and more. To name a few amenities there’s a skate park, volleyball, jungle gyms, a small lake with remote control boats, rock climbing walls, basketball, plus other sports-oriented fields/courts, and pathways for walking and biking. Its also filled with historical monuments and statues of famous Poles, but my favorite is of Wojtek the Bear….
64. Visit Wojtek the Bear at Park Jordan.
There was once a small little bear cub that the Iranian army sold to the Polish army during World War II. The little bear grew up among the soldiers, and learned many of their habits. He would carry artillery, but most notably became accustomed to drinking beers and smoking cigarettes. His name was Wojtek.
65. Go for a run around the Blonia, or attend an event on the field.
Krakow is filled with green spaces and parks. While the Planty is the easiest to access from the city center (since it surrounds the entire thing) if you’re looking for a huge green field, with biking, roller-blading, and walking/running paths the Blonia is the best option. It’s literally just a huge open field, in fact its the one that the Pope gave mass to __ million people on. It is also the home of the Krakow Live Festival, among other events, and provides a beautiful view of Kosciusko Mound in one direction and Wawel Castle in the other direction.
67. Follow the Royal Way through the Old Town stopping at all the main historic sites, including….
68. The Barbican…
The Barbican was once connected to the city walls that surrounded the entire Old Town and acted as a thick layer of protection. Now it is home to often-changing exhibits, and marks an entryway into the tourist town leading you straight to…
69. St. Florian’s Gate…
Brama Florianska is a well-known Polish gothic tower. This is the official start of the Royal Way, where coronations and other parades would begin, traveling down into the Main Square and then to the left, ending at Wawel Castle. The tower itself is beautiful, but so are the pieces of artwork that you can buy along the wall as well…
70. Gaze at the wall of paintings along St. Florian’s Gate…
Depending on the time of year, you may find all sorts of people selling artwork from the wall… When school is in session you may find some younger art school students from the nearby universities, selling their originals. Other times there may be portraits and landscapes, of which you may not know who the artist is at all. When you’re done gazing at the artwork, turn around, and check out…
71. The magnificent view down Florianska Street…
Again this is the first leg of the official Royal Route, so take some time to reflect on the beauty of this street, but try to imagine it before the McDonald’s and other chains moved in.
72. Enter The Main Market Square. [Don’t miss the list of events that happen here at the end of the list!]
One of Europe’s Largest Market Squares, there is always something going on in Krakow’s Main Square or Rynek Glowny. For a full tour of the entire area check out this post. Each day there are street performers, artists, a flower market, and the occasional holiday market or festival. Surrounded by restaurants and cafes, and filled with historical buildings, sculptures, and structures- each one deserving a spot on this list.
73. Go Shopping at The Cloth Hall (where you should buy all your souvenirs).
The Sukiennice or Cloth Hall was once home to, well you guessed it, textile and cloth merchants. See, at one point in Krakow’s history, the Main Market Square was actually a Main Market. Each quadrant was reserved for a specific type of good, with the sukiennice being for cloths. Today you can still find some traditionally printed cloths in the form of scarfs, napkins, and table-cloths. But you can also find every souvenir imaginable. The prices are actually quite competitive and reasonable. Walk around the hall once browsing before starting to commit to what you want. I always suggest buying a scarf, a little dragon, some Polish pottery, a painted egg, and perhaps something for your kitchen. (I also still suggest a trip to Bukowski for an adorable souvenir too).
74. Check out the Town Tower…
Once housing an underground torture chamber, this is the only remaining piece of the Old Krakow Town Hall that was knocked down in 1820 when the city wanted to open up the square more. It houses a permanent exhibit of artwork relating to the Main Market Square and its former appearance.
Okay you don’t have to hop around on one foot, but if you want to get a good grade on your final exams you better… Legend has it that on prom night, all the young high-schoolers go to the statue, and hop around it on one foot. How many times you ask? Well, it depends on what grade they want to get on those finals. If they want an A, they’re going to have to hop around it 5 times! Don’t know who Adam Mickiewicz is? Brush up on the history of one of Poland’s most famous poet and essayist here.
76. Take a break from sight-seeing by sitting by this little Louvre-like fountain or…
77. Head below the fountain (entrance at the end of the Cloth Hall) to the brand new Underground Museum
Photo courtesy of VisitKrakow.net. Want to know more about what the Old Town and Market Square looked like years ago? Head underground to the Rynek Underground and take a step back into history. A hidden, yet awesome, location for one of the city’s many public museums.
78. Stop by the Church of St. Adalbert that is over 1000 years old.
This church is one of the oldest in Poland, so like really really old. You can stop in to pray, visit the exhibits housed here, or just stand in awe of the age of the structure.
79. Poke your head out of Igor Mitoraj’s Eros Bendato– a strange statue that was gifted to the city by the artist.
The statue was offered to the city by the artist for free. Of course the city accepted it. What they didn’t know was that the artist would legally require it be displayed on the Main Square. Needless to say, many locals are annoyed by the contemporary piece of art; but children don’t seem to mind the artistic playground many of them climb through on every visit to the square.
80. Discover the legends of St. Mary’s Church, where you should go inside to…
81….visit Veit Stoss’ carved alter and….
82…. Listen to the Hejnal play his trumpet for the city at the top of each hour.
83. Indulge in a Polish cake, or five, at Ciastkarnia Vanilla Bakery in Kazimierz.
In my opinion its hard to find a good sweets place in Krakow. When I travel to Lviv I have Veronika, in Budapest I have Ruszwurm and Asztalka, but for some reason I just haven’t been able to find equivalents in Poland. Vanilla Bakery comes the closest. While there isn’t one thing that you absolutely have to get there, all their cakes, truffles, pies, tarts, and breads are equally delicious so I suggest a variety. The location is great, just off Plac Nowy in Kazimierz, but the interior is quite small. So think about taking your goods to go, and either having a little picnic or indulging late-night in your hotel room.
Grab potato pancakes from the fresh-frying bar on Grodzka Street.
Take a day trip to Czestochowa, visit the Jasna Gora monostary and infamous Black Madonna painting.
Stop by the Small Square, and cross your fingers that there will be a food festival!
Visit the former Jewish Ghetto, Podgorze, and reflect on the lives displaced at the Ghetto Hero’s Square monument.
While you’re there stop by the Modern Art Museum (MOCAK) or…
…the Schindler Factory museum; both housed in the actual factory of Oskar Schindler.
Visit the former communist district of Nowa Huta, for interesting architecture, and a look into the past. The community here is said to be the happiest and most satisfied in the city.
Rent a car and drive through the painted village of Zalipie.
Take a walk across the Bernatka Footbridge and adorn it with a padlock if your heat desires.
Learn the history of the mounds of Krakow, and visit at least one! Krakus is our favorite, and perfect for a picnic…
…but Kosciusko is pretty great too- even if its a little more touristy.
Take a day to reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust by heading to the town of Oswieciem and touring the German concentration camp of Auschwitz and Birkenau.
Go underground to C.K. Browar, one of the city’s coolest breweries.
Take a break from Polish food and enjoy some authentic Mexican at Alberiche…
…Dim Sum at Kanton Dim Sum House
…awesome Porchetta sandwhiches at Meat and Go, a much needed break from Zapiekanka on Kazimierz’s Plac Nowy
…Or head to Dwa Smaki on Czapskich Street for Korean bibimbap.
Explore Plac Nowy, the heart of Kazimierz. Enjoy food and drinks almost anywhere!
And make sure to grab a zapiekanka from one of the gazebo stalls there! This is a famous open faced sandwich- a must try.
Catch a movie on the Main Square at Kino Pod Baranami.
Shop along Jozefa Street and pick up some awesome handcrafted gifts or pieces of artwork, like from Lookarna’s Shop!
Pick up a furry friend at Galeria Bukowski!
Stop by and see if the dragon of Krakow will breathe fire on you! If you’ve got time, even visit its den.
Hike through Las Wolski, the woods of Krakow- great just for some fresh air, but also is home to the city’s zoo and one of the four mounds.
Leave the city limits and visit the Ojcow National Park.
No matter the weather, fly down the slides of Krakow’s indoor waterpark.
Grab a meal at one of the city’s many Milk bars- don’t worry it’s not about milk! This is your chance to make sure you’ve tried all the best Polish food, including…
Rosół: A chicken broth soup with noodles, sometimes vegetables, and parsley. Always eaten on Sundays as a first course.
Barszcz: Red-Beetroot soup. Famously Polish, served with white beans or stuffed dumplings.
Gołąbki: Barley or rice mixed with vegetables and/or meat, wrapped in steamed cabbage, and topped with a tomato cream sauce.
Enjoy some local beers at any of Krakow’s craft breweries or bars- topping our list, Ursa Maior, a cool spot on Plac Wolnica.
Learn about aircraft at the Polish Aviation Museum, formerly where the Kraków-Rakowice-Czyżyny Airport operated.
Take a tour or just admire the campus grounds of the Jagellonian University- the alma mater of Copernicus!
Get some culture and visit the main branch of the National Museum of Krakow- or any of its other branches.
Visit one of the most sacred spots of the city, Skałka, the city’s oldest sanctum, where you can still see the blood of St. Stanislav, a bishop put to death by a Polish king.
Learn the story of Dzok, the most loyal dog, at the monument to his memory.
Visit Wojtek the bear at Park Jordan, well his monument at least. This bear fought with Polish troops in WWII! Watch a cute video about the bear cub here.
Visit the dead at the Rakowicki Cemetery- a must if you’re in Krakow on November 1st.
Attend a show at the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre, or just admire the architecture from the outside.
Admire the sculptures greeting you at the front of St. Peter and Paul church, or go inside and attend a classical concert.
Go to the Botanical Gardens of the Jagellonian University. Photo from Wanderer Diaries.
Interact with exhibits at the Pharmacy Museum.
Take some time to visit the lesser-kown concentration camp, Plaszow…
or take an eagle-eye view of the abandoned Liban Quarry, a former nazi-labor camp, from atop the Krakus Mound.
Learn about traditional Polish folk clothes at the Ethnographic Museum.
Attend a concert or sporting event at the Tauron Arena- or even take a tour!
Walk in Pope John Paul II’s Footsteps and visit the Lord’s Arc church he built in Nowa Huta, for a full list of sites about JPII go here.
Discover the trams and buses of times gone by at the Engineering Museum.
Stand in awe of the church of St. Joseph in Podgorze.
Add St. Florian’s to your list of visitable churches, another place of importance to the Pope’s journey.
Splash in the fountain on Plac Szczepanski.
Make a stop at Plac Wolnica, and check out some cool bars and restaurants, or if you’re lucky this is also the space for Krakow’s Honey, Bread, and other food-related festivals!
Pick up some cool posters at the Polish Poster Art Gallery.
Learn about Tadeusz Kantor, a celebrated artist and performer, at the Cricoteka Museum.
Eat surrounded by history at Dawno Temu na Kazimierzu, once four small shops, the walls were torn down and the shops left the same, a perfect setting for dinner.
Grab a 1L beer and a huge plate of meat at Pod Wawelem.
Eat dinner in Krakow’s Oldest Restaurant, Wierzynek.
Scare yourself silly at Lost Soul’s Alley, an interactive and horrifying haunted house.
Visit the Galicia Jewish Museum that both looks back on victims of the Holocaust, and celebrates Jewish culture.
View Leonardo DaVinci’s Lady with an Ermine painting, currently moved into the museum at Wawel.
Stop for a Turkish coffee at Cheder in Kazimierz, a cafe that regularly holds event to promote Jewish culture, while also being a cafe and bookstore.
Attend a local English-theater play with the Krakow King’s Players.
Snap a picture on Ulica Szeroka in Kazimierz, and often photographed spot.
Ride a tram! The best way to get around Krakow.
Take a stroll along The Planty and…
…visit monuments like the piano keys of Chopin.
Grab a new book at Massolit Cafe, one of the best English bookstores in the city.
Be one with the hipsters at Forum Przestrzenie, a cool bar, restaurant, design space, art gallery, event space, and abandoned hotel.
And if you’re lucky enough to be in Krakow during a holiday, like Christmas, Easter, Fat Thursday, or Herring Night- join in the festivities! See more about holidays and festivals here!