Krakow, once the capital of Poland, is now the most popular city in Poland to visit. When planning a trip to discover Krakow, Poland, doing a little research and having an itinerary can make all the difference. It will ensure you make the most of your time while visiting Krakow, Poland.
Our 5-day itinerary will guide you through Krakow’s main attractions, day trips from the city, cultural and historical sites, and local cuisine, and provide practical tips for a memorable stay. You will never be short of things to do in Krakow.
Explore Krakow’s Main Attractions
Upon arrival in Krakow, it’s time to start your adventure by discovering the renowned Old Town. Wander through the charming streets of the historical centre of Krakow, lined with old-world buildings and bustling with vibrant energy.
The Old Town in Krakow is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it perfectly captures the city’s rich history and architectural wonders.
Next, make your way to the iconic Wawel Castle and Cathedral on the edge of the old town of Krakow. Step back to medieval Krakow with a tour around these old city buildings that stand as testaments to Krakow’s royal history and are not to be missed.
A guided tour will provide valuable insights into these historical landmarks’ significance and grandeur.
For a unique and mesmerizing experience, consider exploring the Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow. This UNESCO World Heritage Site takes you deep underground to discover awe-inspiring chambers, chapels, and sculptures carved entirely from salt. It’s an unforgettable journey through centuries of mining history.
Day Trips from Krakow
While Krakow in Southern Poland offers many attractions, taking day trips to its surrounding areas can offer more memorable experiences. Visiting Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains close to Krakow is a must for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The breathtaking landscapes and outdoor activities in this region are truly captivating.
Exploring the historic town of Kazimierz provides a deeper understanding of Krakow’s cultural fabric. Once the centre of Jewish life, this district is a vibrant area with synagogues, museums, and charming cafes. Take the time to immerse yourself in its compelling history and unique atmosphere.
Lastly, a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is a solemn yet essential experience. This impactful site serves as a poignant reminder of the atrocities of the Holocaust and honours the memory of the millions who lost their lives. A guided tour offers invaluable insights and often includes transport to and from Krakow.
Immerse in Krakow’s Cultural and Historical Heritage
Dive deeper into Krakow’s rich heritage by exploring the Jewish Quarter. Kazimierz is a treasure trove of historical sites, including synagogues, the Galicia Jewish Museum, and the poignant Remuh Cemetery. The district’s streets are alive with artistic expression, culinary delights, and a profound sense of history.
For art and history enthusiasts, visiting the National Museum in Krakow is a must. The museum’s diverse collection spans from ancient artifacts to modern artworks, providing a comprehensive insight into the cultural evolution of Poland and beyond. If street art is more your thing, head to the Banksy Museum for a comprehensive and immersive experience.
Stroll through the historic Cloth Hall in Krakow’s Main Square. The hall has been a trade centre in Krakow since the 15th century. A stroll through is perfect for buying local souvenirs, crafts, and traditional Polish delights.
Enjoy Local Cuisine and Entertainment in Krakow City
Sample the diverse and delectable flavours of traditional Polish cuisine during your stay in Krakow. From hearty pierogi to flavorful żurek, the city’s culinary offerings will tantalise your taste buds.
Be sure to seek out authentic dining experiences to eat in Krakow. If you call in at a local milk bar, they make simple traditional Polish food that is tasty and inexpensive. Bar mleczny “Pod Temidą and Starka are in the old town area of Krakow.
Krakow has a vibrant nightlife and entertainment scene. The city boasts an array of lively bars, jazz clubs, and live music venues that cater to every taste. Whether you’re seeking laid-back tavern vibes or stylish cocktail lounges, Krakow’s after-dark offerings will impress.
Maybe you might want to do an evening cruise through the heart of Krakow with a stroll along the banks of the Vistula River.
Day 1: Discovering Krakow’s Old Town
Dive into the city’s rich history at Cloth Hall, buy souvenirs, and explore the Jewish Quarter in Kazimierz.
End your day outside Krakow with a guided tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mine, a unique underground marvel. If you get there early enough, head to the underground cafe at the salt mines for some amazing local food. A guided tour takes around 3 hours. Prepare to be amazed.
Day 2: Wawel Castle and Cultural Exploration
Dedicate your second day to the sites of Wawel Castle in Krakow’s old town. Explore the castle grounds, visit the basilica, the armoury, and the Wawel Dragons cave, and enjoy the panoramic views of the city. Guided tours happen every hour.
Afterwards, stroll along the banks of the Vistula River, appreciating the beauty that earned Krakow its UNESCO World Heritage Site status. You will soon see why many people love Krakow, Poland.
Day 3: Main Square and Beyond
Spend your third day in Krakow’s Main Square, the city’s heart. Admire the Cloth Hall, explore the nearby museums, such as the Schlinders Factory and the Polish Aviation Museum, and indulge in the local cuisine.
Make sure you try some pierogi and Polish vodka. Don’t miss a visit to Schindler’s Factory for a poignant look into Krakow’s wartime history. Wander the Royal Way and visit the nearby Barbican.
Day 4: Day Trip to Zakopane
Experience the unique culture, enjoy the breathtaking landscapes, and perhaps visit one of the many-day spas. It’s a perfect way to recharge before your final day in Krakow.
Day 5: Time to Explore and Reflect
On your last day, take a bit of time for self-reflection. Visit the Auschwitz Memorial, a sobering experience that provides insight into Poland’s history.
Spend the afternoon exploring the National Museum in Krakow, and cap off your trip with a relaxing evening on the banks of the Vistula River. Auschwitz from Krakow is best done via a guided tour that includes transport that picks up around Krakow.
Practical Tips for a Memorable Stay in Krakow
Choosing the best time to visit Krakow can significantly enhance your experience. The city’s temperate climate makes travelling to Krakow enjoyable to explore year-round, though the spring and summer months are particularly delightful for outdoor activities and sightseeing.
When exploring the city, remember essential travel tips and safety precautions. While Krakow is generally a safe and welcoming city, staying vigilant and respecting local customs will contribute to a smooth and enjoyable journey. With a bit of time and effort, you can navigate Krakow with ease and confidence.
If you want to withdraw money from an ATM, avoid the Euronet ATMs at all costs. Their exchange rates are terrible, and the fees are high. Always use an established bank in Krakow.
Planning your transportation and accommodation is advisable, as Krakow is a popular tourist destination. Whether you opt for a charming boutique hotel in the city centre or a cosy guesthouse near Krakow’s historic sites, ensure your stay aligns with your itinerary and preferences.
Where to stay in Krakow
Most of the Krakow accommodation is in the streets leading out of the city’s old town area. We have stayed at hotels and apartments that are all a short walk to restaurants, attractions, and public transport options.
- Sheraton Grand Krakow:
- Location: Located on the banks of the Wisła River, offering scenic views and proximity to popular attractions.
- Amenities: On-site restaurant, fitness centre, indoor pool, spa services.
- Website: Sheraton Grand Krakow
- Hotel Stary:
- Location: Situated in the heart of the Old Town, close to the Main Market Square and other landmarks.
- Amenities: Award-winning restaurant, wellness centre with a swimming pool, spa, and sauna.
- Website: Hotel Stary
- Radisson Blu Hotel, Krakow:
- Location: Centrally located, within walking distance to the Old Town and Wawel Castle.
- Amenities: On-site dining options, fitness centre, indoor pool, spa, and sauna.
- Website: Radisson Blu Hotel, Krakow
How do I get to Krakow
Krakow Airport is well-connected to many cities across Europe and beyond, with several airlines offering direct flights to the city’s airport, Kraków John Paul II International Airport. Some airlines that fly directly to Krakow Airport include Ryanair, Lufthansa, and British Airways.
If you’re travelling from within Europe, you can also consider flying to nearby airports such as Katowice, about an hour away from Krakow, by bus or train.
Krakow’s main train station receives trains from many European cities. The train is perfect for those wanting to spend three days in Krakow. Companies like Flixbus can also get you to your city break in Krakow.
Once you’ve arrived at the airport, you can get to your hotel in Krakow by private transfer, taxi, bus, or train. Taxis are readily available outside the airport terminal but can be expensive. Alternatively, you can take the train or bus, a more affordable option, to start your Krakow itinerary.
The train station is just a few minutes walk from the airport terminal, and trains run every half hour. The bus station is also located near the airport, and buses run frequently.
By following this 5-day itinerary, you will have the opportunity to experience the best of Krakow, from its captivating history and cultural allure to its culinary delights and nearby attractions. Krakow remains a city that invites tourists from far and wide to experience its captivating heritage.
Spending a few days in one of the cities to visit in Europe will allow you to see all the Krakow attractions and the best Krakow has to offer. There are so many things to see that you want to return to Krakow soon.
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Author Bio: Mark Wyld
Mark Wyld is a Father, husband, traveller, and writer at Poland Travel Expert and other blogs. I have accumulated a wealth of experience over multiple visits to Poland. Thanks to our friends in Poland, we stay connected to the nation’s pulse, ensuring that our content is up to date with our first-hand experience. The information on this website is backed by genuine expertise.