20 Must-Visit Attractions in Krakow

Igor Mitorajs huge hollow statue of Eross head rests in Krakows Market Square
Igor Mitoraj's huge hollow statue of Eros's head rests in Krakow's Market Square | © Egil Korsnes / Alamy Stock Photo
Joseph Francis

Krakow, the second largest city in Poland, delivers fairytale views, with the towering Wawel Castle, as well as people-watching meccas such as Florianska Street and the Market Square. Dark times in the city’s recent history are evident in the Jewish ghetto memorial and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and green spaces such as Planty Park offer plenty of headspace. Get some inspiration with our guide to things to do in Krakow before planning a trip with Culture Trip to these amazing destinations.

Did you know you can now travel with Culture Trip? Book now and join one of our specially curated small-group tours to adventurous destinations around the world.

Market Square


Krakow, Poland : People walks towards the Cloth hall building and old Town Hall Tower at the center of the main market square in the Krakow Old Town (
© Luis Dafos / Alamy Stock Photo
The buzzing heart of the Unesco-attested Krakow Old Town, the Market Square, is where all the action has played out since the Middle Ages. Come here for bars packed into the cellars of Medieval buildings, on-street cafes and restaurants, and landmarks including the central renaissance Sukiennice, or Cloth Hall, and Town Hall Tower (the hall itself was demolished in 1820).

Wawel Castle


Krakow - Wawel castle at day
© TTstudio / Alamy Stock Photo
You can’t visit Krakow without exploring the medley of gothic, renaissance, rococo and romanesque architecture that is the great Wawel Castle. The muddle of buildings is on a high point in the city, giving it an imposing presence. It was the home of the Polish kings and queens until the 1600s, and has also been used as a barracks, a military hospital and the official residence of the state governor following World War I.

Planty Park


Summer morning in Planty Park, Krakow, Poland.
© Slawek Staszczuk / Alamy Stock Photo
The green belt Planty Park rings the whole area of Krakow’s historic Old Town. Pathways weave this way and that past sculptures, babbling fountains and brick towers, while locals walk their dogs and cafes spill on to the surrounding streets. It’s filled with life in the summer and a veritable winter wonderland during the colder months.


Building, Museum

The Barbican in Krakow is the largest extant Barbican in Europe, built from 1498 to 1499, Lesser Poland, Poland, Europe
© Gunter Kirsch / Alamy Stock Photo
The Barbican is the only remaining gatehouse of the Medieval fortifications that once encircled the whole city. Its redbrick bulwarks and formidable turrets helped to fend off the Mongol hordes during the 13th century and its circular design was on the cutting edge of engineering at the time. Today, occasional theatre productions and other art shows are hosted inside.

St Florian's Gate


Florian Gate Brama Florianska ul. Florianska street Cracow Krakow Stare Miasto Old Town Poland tourism travel
© Slawek Koziol / Alamy Stock Photo
Looking wonderful in its Polish gothic shell, St Florian’s Gate marks the start of the so-called Royal Route. Pass through and listen to buskers play everything from highlander folk to Dylan-esque country in the echoing tunnel, before heading into the Old Town in the footsteps of the erstwhile Polish kings.

Kościuszko Mound


Kosciuszko Mound (Kopiec Kosciuszki). Krakow landmark, Poland. Erected in 1823 to commemorate Tadedeusz Kosciuszko, and the chapel of St. Bronislawa.
© Krzysztof Nahlik / Alamy Stock Photo
Built in the image of the prehistoric mounds of Krakus and Wanda, the soaring hill of Kościuszko was raised in 1823 to honour its namesake national hero, Tadeusz Kościuszko, who fought for Poland against the Russians and the Prussians in the 18th century. From the top, travellers enjoy sweeping panoramas of the city, while clear days even reveal the Tatra Mountains to the south.

Florianska Street

Architectural Landmark

Krakow, Poland - July 29th 2018: Tourists walking down Florianska street in the old town of Krakow, Poland, near St.Florians Gate
© SnapTPhotography / Alamy Stock Photo

Cutting through the very heart of the northern half of the Old Town district, the bustling drag that is Florianska Street hosts craft beer bars, souvenir emporiums and vodka tasting joints. You’ll need to be in the mood for ambling and taking in the atmosphere during the high season, as it’s often packed with tourists making their way from St Florian’s gate to the Market Square.

The Sukiennice


Sukiennice aka The Cloth Hall or Drapers Hall in the main Market Square of Krakow, Poland, Europe
© Sergio Azenha / Alamy Stock Photo
Hailed as the world’s oldest shopping centre, the Sukiennice, or Cloth Hall, has stood in the middle of Krakow Market Square for centuries. It was once full of international traders, selling silk, spices, leather and wax during its heyday in the 15th century – not just cloth. Even if rummaging through souvenir and food stands is not on your list of what to do in Krakow, pause outside to wonder at the handsome renaissance architecture.

St Mary's Basilica


A part of Adam Mickiewicz Monument and Church, St. Marys Church, Krakow (Cracow), Poland, Europe (UNESCO)
© Mark Delete / Alamy Stock Photo
The redbrick facade and great twin spires of St Mary’s Basilica have become symbols of the city. The Basilica was founded in the 13th century, but was destroyed during a Mongol invasion, and its various replacements have been through a lot, including an earthquake, which hit the presbytery in the 1400s. It still hosts the hourly bugle call – the Hejnał Mariacki.

The Jewish Quarter

Architectural Landmark

Kazimierz Jewish Quarter Krakow,Poland, Europe.
© jozef mikietyn / Alamy Stock Photo

Set within walking distance of the Old Town, the historic Jewish Quarter of Krakow was once a separate city in its own right, founded in the 15th century, and considered a model Jewish community. Jews were forcibly moved to a ghetto shut off from the rest of the city in 1941. Today, it retains a unique vibe with its crumbling tenement blocks, great synagogues and cool bohemian beer joints.

The Dragon's Den

Natural Feature

Dragons Den (Smocza Jama) - a limestone cave in the Wawel Hill where the legendary dragon resided, Krakow, Poland
© Nathaniel Noir / Alamy Stock Photo
Touring a dragon’s den is one of the quirkier activities in Krakow. Legend has it that the Smok Wawelski dragon used to live beneath the mound of Wawel Castle and terrorise the city’s residents, before coming to a grizzly end thanks to a shoemaker and a sheep stuffed with sulphur. There is also a statue of the dragon that breathes real fire.

Vistulan Boulevards

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark

Cracow. Krakow. Poland. Vistula River waterfront boulevard. Barge restaurant
© Grzegorz Kozakiewicz / Alamy Stock Photo

As the winding courses of the Vistula River snake through the heart of Krakow, its banks host wide spaces of greenery, ad hoc summertime markets, beer bars and bobbing boat cafes. Hire a bike or go jogging, stop and watch passing boats on the river, or stroll along as you decide what to see in Krakow next.

Slowacki Chamber, Wieliczka Salt Mines

Natural Feature

Wieliczka Salt Mine, The Chapel of St. Kinga, Cracow, Poland UNESCO. Image shot 2016. Exact date unknown.
© Jan Wlodarczyk / Alamy Stock Photo
For hundreds of years, the miners of the Wieliczka tunnels fuelled Krakow’s growth, pulling tonnes of valuable rock salt from the earth below the city. Today, their gift continues in the form of sculptures carved in subterranean passages and St Kinga’s Chapel – an underground cathedral made of salt.


Memorial, Museum

The railway track and main SS guard house at the former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz Birkenau.. Image shot 06/2007. Exact date unknown.
© Maurice Savage / Alamy Stock Photo
Dark, emotional, moving and sobering in the extreme, there’s really nowhere in Europe quite like Auschwitz-Birkenau. It remains one of the most important things to see in and near Krakow, offering an informative and sensitive insight into the horrors of the Holocaust and the destruction wrought by the Nazis on the Jews and other minority groups. The memorial and museum are around an hour from the city centre.

Wawel Cathedral

Cathedral, Church

Wawel Cathedral, the part of Wawel Castle complex in Krakow, Poland
© Olena Buyskykh / Alamy Stock Photo
Hidden behind the old walls of Wawel Castle, arguably the most important church in Poland can be found looming high with its baroque and gothic frontispieces. There is so much to see, from the soaring lookouts of the belfry to the national crypts under the main basilica.

Cmentarz Rakowicki


Rakowicki Cemetery (Polish: Cmentarz Rakowicki) in Krakow, Poland
© Endless Travel / Alamy Stock Photo
Packed to bursting with the graves and grand sepulchres of Polish artists, politicians, poets, film actors, generals and more, the sprawling grounds of the Rakowicki Cemetery are Krakow’s answer to Paris’s Père Lachaise. Head down on All Saints’ Day, November 1, to see thousands of twinkling candles in honour of the dead.

Ojców National Park

Forest, Park, Ruins

© Mark Delete / Alamy Stock Photo
The bulbous stone peaks and forest-clad valleys of the Ojców National Park can be found just 20 minutes by car outside of Krakow. Criss-crossed by walking trails and peppered with deep caves, they also boast allegedly haunted castle ruins and traditional country taverns. If you’re visiting Krakow for more than a long weekend, the park is a great choice for a day away from the city.



Krakow, Poland. 10th Oct, 2018. A woman seen roller skating between Autumnal trees at Blonia Park. Credit: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News
© ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo
The great wedge of a green space that is the Błonia meadow sits on the western haunch of the city. It’s not much to look at in the winter, when it becomes caked in ice and snow, but summertime brings runners, dog walkers, roller-skaters, cyclists and open-air music festivals.

Plac Bohaterów Getta


Mahnmal, Platz der Ghettohelden, Krakau, Polen, Memorial, place of the ghetto heroes, Cracow, Poland
© Bildagentur-online/Schoening / Alamy Stock Photo
Cut through by rattling tram lines and fringed with shops and cafes, this central square of the Podgórze district is home to one of the most sobering memorials in the city. A series of large and small chairs have been placed in a grid across the cobbles, designed as a memorial to the people of the Jewish ghetto in Krakow, which was once located here. There is also a plaque marking the meeting place of the Jewish Combat Organization, a resistance unit that staged acts of sabotage against the Nazis.

Market Hall Unitarg

Market, Polish

Krakow, Poland - September 21, 2018: Polish looking for Cheap second hand Books at Krakows Unitarg plac targowy flea market
© Thiago Figueredo Lopes / Alamy Stock Photo
Hit the lively Unitarg on the weekends to experience a bona fide Polish flea market. Ramshackle stalls overladen with everything from band patches to age-stained metal tankards await. Haggle for everything, of course, and be sure to get in early for the best deals.

Fancy a short city break full of culture? Join one of our curated Mini Trip and explore more destinations like Krakow.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.


Keen to explore the world?

Our passionately curated premium small-group trips are an invitation to connect with like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.