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20 Must-Visit Attractions in Krakow

Sukiennice town market square in Krakow | © Pawel Pacholec/Flickr
Sukiennice town market square in Krakow | © Pawel Pacholec/Flickr
Whether it’s legendary castles with their Gothic tops or leafy parks that flit from snow-dusted wonderlands, to people-watching meccas with the seasons, this list of the top 20 attractions in Krakow is sure to have something for every type of traveller.

Wawel Castle

Building
Wawel Royal Castle, Krakow, Poland
Wawel Royal Castle, Krakow, Poland | © Brandon Atkinson/Flickr
The medley of Gothic, Renaissance, Rococo and Romanesque architecture that is the great Wawel Castle can be seen towering over the whole city. It was once the home of the Polish kings and queens, and still has great museums and court rooms as a testimony to its former glory. There are also top views from the bulwarks!
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Tue:
9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Wed:
9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Thu:
9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Fri:
9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Planty Park

Park
bench in green park
bench in green park | © Pawel Pacholec/Flickr
The green belt Planty Park rings the whole area of Krakow’s historic Old Town. Pathways weave this way and that past sculptures and babbling fountains, while locals walk their dogs and cafes spill onto the sidewalks. It’s filled with life in the summer and a veritable winter wonderland during the colder months.
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St Florian's Gate

Building
St. Florian Gate, Krakow
St. Florian Gate, Krakow | © Jorge Láscar/Flickr
Looking wonderful in its Polish Gothic shell, St Florian’s Gate marks the start of the so-called Royal Route. Pass through and note the buskers that 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.
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Mon:
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue:
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed:
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu:
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri:
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat:
8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Florianska Street

Cutting through the very heart of the northern half of the Old Town district, the bustling drag that is Florianska Street hosts everything from craft beer bars to souvenir emporiums to vodka tasting joints. It’s one of the beating nerves of Krakow, and fills to bursting with visitors during the high season.

The Jewish Quarter

Set within walking distance of the Old Town, the historic Jewish Quarter of Krakow was once a separate city in its own right. Today, it’s totally subsumed into the fabric of the town, but still retains a unique culture and vibe with its crumbling tenement blocks, great synagogues and oodles of cool bohemian beer joints.

Krakow Jewish Quarter © LiveKrakow.com

The Dragon's Den

Natural Feature
After hearing all the enthralling, swashbuckling tales of beasts and princes that surround the founding of Poland’s southern city, be sure to head to the base of the Wawel Hill, where a deep cave is said to have once been the lair of the formidable Smok Wawelski dragon himself! And just to prove it, a statue outside even breathes fire!
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Vistula Boulevards

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 aplenty. Perfect for a stroll, people watching, jogging and cycling, these are known as the Vistula Boulevards.

Vistula River seen from Wawel Hill © Jennifer Boyer/Flickr

Wieliczka Salt Mines

Natural Feature
Wieliczka Salt Mines, Krakow
Wieliczka Salt Mines, Krakow | © Dennis Jarvis / Flickr
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 to the town continues, albeit in the form of carved artistry in the subterranean passages, and even the breathtaking wonder of St Kinga’s Chapel – an underground cathedral made totally of salt!
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Sun:
7:30 am - 7:30 pm
Mon:
7:30 am - 7:30 pm
Tue:
7:30 am - 7:30 pm
Wed:
7:30 am - 7:30 pm
Thu:
7:30 am - 7:30 pm
Fri:
7:30 am - 7:30 pm
Sat:
7:30 am - 7:30 pm

Auschwitz-Birkenau

Memorial, Museum
Auschwitz-Birkenau Railroad
Auschwitz-Birkenau Railroad | © Milan Boers/Flickr
Dark, emotional, moving, and sobering in the extreme, there’s really nowhere in Europe quite like Auschwitz-Birkenau. It remains one of the top activities to do in Krakow, offering an informative and sensitive insight into the horrors of the Holocaust and the destruction wrought by the Nazis on the Jews and minorities of the continent. The memorial and museum are around an hour from the city centre.
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Sun:
7:30 am - 7:00 pm
Mon:
7:30 am - 7:00 pm
Tue:
7:30 am - 7:00 pm
Wed:
7:30 am - 7:00 pm
Thu:
7:30 am - 7:00 pm
Fri:
7:30 am - 7:00 pm
Sat:
7:30 am - 7:00 pm

Wawel Cathedral

Cathedral, Church
The Wawel Cathedral
The Wawel Cathedral | © Michela Simoncini/Flickr
Hidden behind the old walls of the Wawel Castle, arguably the most important church in all of Poland can be found looming high with its Baroque and Gothic frontispieces. Attractions are both high and low, going from the soaring lookouts of the Belfry to the national crypts under the main basilica.
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Sun:
12:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Mon:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Tue:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Wed:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Thu:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Fri:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sat:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Rakowicki Cemetery

Cemetery
Grobowiec architekta Tomasza Prylińskiego na krakowskich Rakowicach
Grobowiec architekta Tomasza Prylińskiego na krakowskich Rakowicach | © Mach240390/Wikimedia Commons
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 like Krakow’s answer to Paris’ Père Lachaise. Head down on All Saints Day on November 1st to see thousands of twinkling candles in honour of the dead.
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Mon:
9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Tue:
9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Wed:
9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Thu:
9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Fri:
9:00 am - 2:00 pm

Ojców National Park

Forest, Park, Ruins
Ojców National Park, Poland
Ojców National Park, Poland | © Laura Suarez/Flickr
The bulbous stone peaks and forest-clad valleys of the Ojców National Park can be found just 20 minutes by car outside of Krakow. Crisscrossed by walking trails and peppered with deep caves, they also boast some beautiful haunted castle ruins and traditional country taverns. It’s a great choice for a day away from the city.
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Plac Bohaterów Getta

Building
Plac Bohaterów Getta, Krakow
Plac Bohaterów Getta, Krakow | © Graham C99/Flickr
Cut-through by rattling tram lines and fringed with shops and cafes, this central square of Podgorze 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 once crossed these very streets.
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Market Hall Unitarg

Market, Polish
Hit the lively Unitarg on the weekends to experience a bona fide Polish flea market. Ramshackle stalls overladen with everything from Soviet trinkets to band patches, to age-stained metal tankards are what awaits. Haggle for everything, of course, and be sure to get in early for the best deals.
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Sun:
6:00 am - 2:30 pm
Mon:
6:00 am - 10:00 pm
Tue:
6:00 am - 10:00 pm
Wed:
6:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thu:
6:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri:
6:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sat:
6:00 am - 10:00 pm
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