The vibrant heart of Poland, Krakow is a city rich in history and blessed with good looks. The previous royal capital of Poland, as well as one of its oldest cities, Krakow has the fairy-tale qualities of places like Bruges and Prague. To narrow down some of the unmissable sights, we’ve put together a list of things to do in Krakow to ensure your trip to the legendary city goes as smoothly as possible.
The previous residence for a number of Polish kings, the castle is now home to the country’s premier artwork. People have lived on the site of the castle for over 50,000 years, so even the area itself has significant historical importance. You can explore the royal castle via the royal chambers, crown treasury and witness the vast collection of Oriental art. Wawel Castle is also famous for being the home to a mythical beast, the Wawel Dragon. Arising from Polish folklore, it was believed that the dragon lived in the cave underneath Wawel Hill which is open to visitors brave enough to venture inside…
Located in the historic centre of Krakow, the Old Town is not to be missed. Start your exploration with the ‘Royal Route,’ a walk that follows the old coronation path of Polish kings. Full of restaurants, monuments and magnificent architecture, Old Town is the perfect place to spend a day just wandering around. Make sure to include a visit to the twin-towered St Mary’s Basilica, the Main Market Square (Rynek Główny) and the Cloth Hall national museum.
This enormous mound – 1,070 feet above sea level to be exact – serves as a memorial to Polish national hero Tadeusz Kościuszko. The serpentine path that leads to the top of the lookout may take a while to traverse, but the panoramic views of Krakow from its peak can’t be beaten. Spend some time visiting the neo-Gothic Chapel of St. Bronislawa and a selection of historical exhibitions when you return from the peak.
Guided tours to the former Auschwitz concentration camps are held daily. This camp was a symbol of terror during the Holocaust. You can learn more about this dark chapter in history by wandering the Holocaust Museum and engaging an Auschwitz Memorial guide.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Attracting over a million visitors each year, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is an important Polish monument. Displaying twelve objects on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List, the mine is a truly fascinating place to explore. The cavernous mine is full of magnificent chapels carved into the salt, hidden chambers and old mine shafts. Discover the wonders of this underground labyrinth via the tourist, miners or pilgrim’s route depending on what you want to see.
From the undiscovered depths of the Wieliczka Salt Mine to the peak of the Kościuszko Mound, there’s an abundance of things to do in Krakow. If you have any great Krakow travel tips of your own, share them by commenting below.