10 reasons to visit Krakow
A visit to one of the most beautiful European cities will leave you speechless. Travel to Poland and discover those restaurants, bars, museums, parks. Listen to the local music and try traditional food. Already interested in planning a tour to this amazing point on a map? See what and how you can explore one of the best cities in Europe. Many attractions are waiting for you! Visit Krakow!
1. Main Market Square – the heart of Krakow
The first reason to travel to Krakow is its market square. It is located in Krakow’s Old Town. The square, which dates back to the 13th century, is the biggest medieval town square in Europe! This area of 3,79 ha is filled with charming historic townhouses and churches.
The major building, which is the Cloth Hall, dominates Krakow’s main square. In the past, the building was used as a point of international trade. In the 15th century, the Cloth Hall – Sukiennice – was where people could buy exotic imports such as spices, leather or silk. On the other hand, Krakow exported textiles, lead, or salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine. In Sukiennice, we can also find a museum with Polish paintings and sculptures from the 19th century. Recently, the museum has undergone technological changes, and now visitors can admire the exhibitions in a new and more engaging way.
On one side of the Cloth Hall, we can notice a bronze monument of Adam Mickiewicz – a Polish national poet. It is a popular meeting spot in Kraków. On the other side, a Town Hall Tower was renovated in 1967 after demolishing Krakow Town Hall in 1820. It is the only part that has remained to this day.
The Old Town is a real heart of culture and history. Just take a walk around the Main Market Square and enjoy the view. If you want to experience Krakow in the best way possible, try out our Krakow Private City Walk and gain the best memories with Mr. Shuttle during your visit to Krakow.
2. St. Mary’s Basilica
Visiting Krakow gives you a great opportunity to admire astonishing architecture inside the city. One of the examples is built in gothic style, the St. Mary’s Basilica. Originally, the building was finished in the 13th century. However, on the 14th, the Basilica needed to be reconstructed due to the Mongol invasion in 1259. Adjacent to the main square, the Basilica perfectly matches the buildings around it.
The construction exterior was made with brick, which is a characteristic feature of Polish Gothic architecture. In the 18th century, vicar Jacek Augustyn Łopacki decided to rebuild the church’s interior in the late Baroque style. He commissioned this work to Francesco Placid.
Every hour a trumpet plays ‘hejnał Mariacki’ from the basilica’s tower. A bugle call played in honour of a famous trumpeter who was killed while warning people of a Mongol invasion.
During your walking tour around the city, seize the opportunity and discover this historical construction from the inside.
3. The Old Town
Back in time, the Old Town of Krakow was a political meeting spot. Many people met there to discuss significant issues and solve high-importance problems. It was also a place of high culture and a meeting point on a map. But what exactly can we see there today?
The Old Town covers an area of 149.65 ha. Besides the attractions mentioned above, there are many other facilities within the border.
The first reason to visit Poland’s former capital is The St. Florian’s Gate. This construction is one of the most famous Polish Gothic towers in the country. It is located on the Royal Road, also known as the Royal Route. The gate is a magical entrance to Floriańska street, which leads further to the architectural pearls of Krakow.
Also, if you want to try other restaurants, buy some souvenirs at local shops and see local artists take a walk along Floriańska street and enjoy the spirit of Krakow.
Nowadays, The Old Town offers many attractions for people all around the world. Foreigners are eager to visit Krakow more often because of the easy access to professional travel agencies that provide high-quality tours and highly skilled tour guides. Poland can surprise anyone who thinks it is a random country with no attractions and a boring culture. Just come and see what an amazing country it is!
4. Royal Pearl – Wawel Castle
A cogent reason to travel to Krakow is definitely Wawel. It is one of the biggest castles in Poland, which covers around 7,040 m2. It was built at the behest of King Casimir III the Great. The construction is an amazing masterpiece built in different European architectural styles. The Castle consists of a beautiful Cathedral, Royal Gardens, Outer Courtyard and is located on the Wawel Hill nearby the Vistula River.
Wawel, along with The Old Town, has received the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a must-see place that cannot be omitted during your travel to this phenomenal city. You cannot miss it during your visit to Krakow.
5. Kazimierz – The Jewish district
Krakow is a city that was particularly involved in the II World War. Kazimierz – the Jewish Quarter – is where many Jews were deported to the ghetto in the Podgórze district. It was a zone where Polish and Jewish cultures mixed, creating a unique region for both groups.
Nowadays, Kazimierz plays an important role in the city’s culture. Over there, we can spot old tenement houses, atmospheric restaurants and narrow paths.
If you are interested in the history of WWII, you have probably heard of the movie Schindler’s List. It tells the story of Polish Jews who were in danger and were helped by Oskar Schindler. Schindler was a German businessman and an owner of factories. He wanted to save innocent people and employed them to avoid deporting them to concentration camps.
In the past, Oskar Schindler’s Factory produced goods for civil and military purposes, mainly made from metal. It was known under the name Enamel, and it was a place where first Poles then Jews worked. Today, the factory is a museum where we can learn the story of innocent people who suffered unfairly daily. Explore the main exhibition named Krakow under Nazi Occupation 1939-1945 and understand what happened to the citizens of Krakow.
In order to meet our client’s expectations, we have prepared a great trip that includes visiting this thrilling site. Check out our offer and see what you get with Mr. Shuttle!
7. Local Food
Another reason to visit Krakow is its traditional Bagel (Obwarzanek). Why is it so special? The answer is straightforward. You will not try this little snack anywhere else because a geographical indication protects the Cracow’s Bagel. It means that if you want to eat the original tasty Bagel, you need to buy it in a local stall on the street.
Krakow gives you a great opportunity to try out traditional Polish cuisine. In the Old Town, you will find plenty of restaurants that serve local food. Poland is particularly known for its famous pierogi. Pierogi are dumplings filled with different ingredients. The most popular ones are called “Pierogi Ruskie” – the filling consists of mashed potatoes and white cheese. People are in love with these! For example, you can find them in a restaurant on Szewska street called Pierogarnia Krakowiacy. Another place with high reviews is Domowe Przysmaki.
Trips from Krakow
If you are visiting Krakow and wondering what interesting places you can see from the city, here are some ideas for you. There are plenty of reasons why you should come and see not only the former capital of Poland but also awesome spots around it.
8. Wieliczka Salt Mine – a handcrafted trip
The first reason to visit Krakow has located only 15 km from the city centre Wieliczka Salt Mine. This magnificent destination is listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over there, you can admire the breathtaking underground filled with shafts and labyrinthine passageways, four chapels, a lake, rock salt statues and much more. Everybody who visits Wieliczka Salt Mine is thrilled to explore this special site.
9. Auschwitz Birkenau trip
Another reason to visit Krakow is blood-curdling Auschwitz Birkenau. The history of this place dates back to the II World War, when Germany established concentration camps in Europe. One of the most rigorous was precisely Auschwitz Birkenau, where around 1,1 Jewish people were killed. This destination will teach you a little bit more about the cruel history and the fate of innocent people who were sent straight to death. Every person who visits the Museum is touched by the story of low-income families that had to face the reality of Auschwitz.
10. National parks within easy reach
Krakow is located in the Voivodeship called Lesser Poland. The region is known for its captivating landscapes, mountain ranges and fascinating national parks. Once you are in Krakow, we highly recommend choosing one of our perfectly prepared tours. It is an ideal option for those eager for adventures! So, what is particularly worth seeing?
One of the main attractions that offer marvellous views and a great atmosphere is Zakopane. Zakopane is called the winter capital of Poland. The reason for this is the charming huts, local highland inns and folk costumes that we can see on the stalls.
Sightseeing may sometimes be tiring. That is why another splendid opportunity is to spend some time in a Relaxing Thermal Bath in the Tatra mountains. Just imagine taking a rest from everything and enjoying the breathtaking views in hot water. The thermal energy of the mountains is good for both your body and soul!
Are you a person who is looking for extreme experience? Then try out the Dunajec River Rafting Tour! Being in Krakow gives you a great option to travel around and discover exquisite sites located nearby. During the raft trip, you will see many amazing sights, such as the delightful Pieniny Mountains, Trzy Korony – the famous peak, Castle Niedzica, and much more!
If you are a nature lover, you will be pleased to know that there are many charming places in the vicinity of Krakow where you can admire wonderful fauna and flora. In Tatra National Park, you will find around 650 caves! Wielka Sniezna is the longest and the deepest of all. Over there, you will be lucky to see sublime streams and waterfalls such as Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza.
TNP also has many breathtaking lakes. The most popular and most visited one is called Morskie Oko. Its size is around 349,000 m² and its follower, Wielki Staw, is 344,000 m². Every person who visits this extraordinary place remembers its beauty for the rest of their life. It is a place on the map that cannot be missed!
The last reason to visit Krakow is the proximity of the breathtaking Ojcow National Park. Located only 15 km from Krakow, the ONP offers various attractions. It was first established in 1956, and from that time, we can admire fascinating limestone and rock formations, medieval Ojców Castle, gothic Pieskowa Skała Castle and a famous King Łokietek’s Cave. There is much more to see, so check out what we have to offer if you are interested!
If you have any questions, here is some advice from Mr. Shuttle on spending the best time in Krakow.
Is Krakow worth visiting?
Krakow is definitely worth visiting! This is one of the most beautiful cities in the whole of Poland. Many people say that it can be called Europe’s City Break location! Ideal for those who value culture, history, architecture, city walks and a nice atmosphere!
What is the best month to visit Krakow?
Every season in Krakow is unique, and there is something magical about each of them.
Spring in Krakow is a time of bloom. It is nice to take a walk in a botanical garden and enjoy gorgeous views during that time.
Summer offers various attractions, such as paying a visit to fabulous Zakrzówek – an artificial water body. It is a site top-rated among the locals.
In Autumn, you need to stroll around Krakow’s parks and see the wonderful colours of the season. We recommend you taking a cup of hot tea or coffee and enjoying the atmosphere in one of the most beautiful cities in Poland.
Winter is a special season in Krakow. On Main Square, you will feel like you are in a Winter Wonderland! Just travel to Krakow, try mulled wine, listen to Christmas songs, and share positive vibes with other people.
How long do you need to see Krakow?
You need approximately 3 days to see Krakow. If you want to discover the places around the city, you need around 2 or 3 days extra.