Castles around Krakow and southern Poland
Krakow, widely known as a city of Polish kings is famous for its historical background and architectural gems. While visiting southern Poland it’s almost unavoidable to see some of these precious buildings, churches, cathedrals, beautiful courtyards, and all the medieval, middle ages, and World War II heritage. There are plenty of castles close to Krakow you should not miss. Let’s find out the most interesting attractions and plan your itinerary to Krakow city including day trips to some castle grounds!
Krakow: Wawel Royal Castle
Wawel Royal Castle is the one that does not have to be introduced. As the royal residence for years, it is a place where Polish rulers gave shape to Polish history. The complex was rebuilt and reconstructed as the newer kings and queens appeared there throughout the centuries. It performs many architectural and art styles beginning with Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance style.
The Wawel Hill is located at the left bank of the Vistula River so with the walls and towers performs defensive functions. What is worth seeing there is definitely the arcaded courtyard, the beautiful royal gardens, and exhibitions presenting the collections of the Wawel Royal Castle: “State Rooms”, “Royal Private Apartments”, “Oriental Art”, “Crown Treasury” and “The Lost Wawel”. The part of the Wawel buildings complex is the Wawel Cathedral where the ceremony of crowning kings and queens took place.
The reign of the last member of the Jagiellonian Dynasty, king Sigismund I the Old was an important period in Wawel history. Sigismund was the originator of many changes and made Wawel a piece of European art. Buildings named after him are the Sigismund’s Chapel and the Sigismund Bell Tower.
What is also iconic for this place is the Wawel Dragon monument hidden just below the hill. It is an obligatory tour point especially for children since the dragon surprisingly blows fire out of its maw.
Check out all the details and current info here: https://wawel.krakow.pl/en.
Krakow: Przegorzały Palace
Another palace that is worth visiting in Kraków is the Przegorzały Palace. It lies on the outskirts of the city and is surrounded by forests. The first part of Przegorzały Palace is Villa Baszta was built in the late 1920s. The castle itself was constructed during World War II and was destined for the German authorities. Recently it was a hotel with a SPA resort and now the palace houses a restaurant with a beautiful view over Vistula River, the south-western part of Kraków, and even the Tatra Mountains if the weather conditions are good enough.
Trail of the eagle’s nest
Krakow and southern Poland is a region filled with amazing travel points. Visit-worth castles are to find all over the wide territory.
A tip that can help you organize your itinerary is to follow the eagle’s nest trail. It is a touristic trail that connects two cities: Krakow and Częstochowa. On your way, you can discover numerous castles, palaces, and ruins located in beautiful and natural surroundings. The trail includes as many as 14 places to stop by, for example in Pilica, Rabsztyn, Podzamcze, Bobolice, Mirów, and Smoleń.
Ruins of the castle in Ojców and the castle in Pieskowa Skała are the most popular and closest targets of one-day trips for guests of Krakow. An additional value is provided by limestone structures characteristic for Ojców National Park, for example, the Hercules’s Mace (Maczuga Herkulesa) and gigantic rock Krakow’s Gate. Ojcow National Park is an area where you can take a walk and rest in peaceful surroundings. Both castles let you see the panorama of Prądnik River Valley. Go on the trip with us: https://mrshuttle.com/tour/ojcow-national-park-tour/
Palaces and castles close to Krakow
There are plenty of castles close to Krakow that are not included in the eagle’s nest trail. Let’s start with the closest ones to Krakow city. Not far away from Krakow, there is a fortified cliffside monastery in Tyniec. Tyniec Abbey is home for Benedictines where they live and pray. The Saints Peter & Paul Church itself is impressive and with its rebuilt history represents the gothic, baroque, and modern style.
Wieliczka, a small town neighboring Krakow, is mainly known for the salt mine but it is not the only place connected to mining history. There is a Zupny Castle, which is now a salt museum with a universal salt cellars exhibition. Zupny Castle consists of a few parts, including central, north, and south buildings, a medieval tower, and mining facilities.
Another castle worth visiting is the one in Wisnicz. It is the second biggest castle after Wawel Castle in Malopolska. It is a well-preserved building erected in the XIV century. Castle is open for tourists, where they can see underground routes and medieval instruments of torture. The ground floor may be considered the least interesting part of the castle, but the first and second floors have much more to offer. Also, worth noticing are the beautiful interior and exterior courtyards and a baroque entrance gate.
Small, old towns near Krakow have a calming atmosphere and charming views. You can take a walk in Lanckorona or Dobczyce, rest in the old markets surrounded by the aged huts, hide in the dense forests, and of course visit the castle ruins. Tours like this guarantee a perfectly spent day and leave you amazed and satisfied.
Some distance away
Moving in a northern direction we may spot castle ruins in Ogrodzieniec. The history of this building reaches the 14th century. Throughout the centuries, the castle in this town was burned down and rebuilt many times. The castle is still being modernized and as a result, new sightseeing routes are accessible by the guests.
Some distance away you can find two beautiful and well-preserved castles in Niemodlin and Moszna. Niemodlin castle is dated back to the 13th – 14th century. It has defensive walls, an entrance gate, undergrounds tunnels, and hidden rooms. This castle is a perfect place for a photoshoot session as the charming scenery makes you fall in love with the view. Moszna Castle looks like from a fairy tale. 99 towers and 365 rooms are waiting for guests to be discovered. The interiors are renovated and decorated, some of them are adapted as restaurants, hotel rooms, and conference rooms.
Choose Krakow and southern Poland castles!
Krakow and Warsaw are the most recognizable Polish cities in Europe. There are beautiful kings residences but also other, smaller but equally impressive castles with all the surroundings. Some of them are museums today and are open for visitors. Other ones you can see only from a distance. Nevertheless, it is always worth organizing a tour. Discover all the castles close to Krakow! Check also the offer of our partner Momondo.de.