20 Unique Things To Do Krakow, Poland (And Where to Eat)

Krakow is a beautiful city located in southern Poland. It is known for its amazing architecture, stunning scenery, and lively nightlife. There are plenty of things to do in Krakow, making it the perfect destination for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation.

Some of the top things to do in Krakow include visiting Wawel Castle, exploring the Old Town, and taking a stroll through Kazimierz, the former Jewish quarter.

For those interested in history, there are also several museums worth checking out, including the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum and the Schindler Factory Museum.

And of course, no trip to Krakow would be complete without sampling some of the local cuisine, which includes dishes such as pierogi and Polish sausage!

Whether you’re flying in for a quick weekend break or staying for a couple of weeks, here are my essential top tips on the best things to do in Krakow, Poland.

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How Many Days To Spend In Krakow, Poland

Krakow is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Poland. The city has a lot to offer visitors, from its rich history and culture to its lively nightlife. So how many days should you spend in Krakow?

Well, that depends on what you want to do and see while you’re in the city. If you’re mainly interested in sightseeing, then 2 or 3 days should be enough to cover the main attractions.

But if you also want to experience Krakow’s nightlife and enjoy some of the city’s more relaxed atmosphere, then I’d recommend 4 to 5 days, as this would give you enough time to soak in all the sights at a slower pace, enjoy all the good food, as well as maybe even rub elbows with some locals!

Of course, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding how long to stay in Krakow. It all depends on your own preferences and interests.

Top Tours In Krakow, Poland

Day Trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine – Combine two of Krakow’s most important historic sites on this full-day tour from Krakow, including hotel pickup and lunch.

Wieliczka Salt Mine Guided Tour from Krakow – bestselling half-day guided tour of the amazing Wieliczka salt mines. Learn about the history of the salt mines from your guide and marvel at the many complex and beautiful salt sculptures.

Krakow Jewish Quarter Guided Walking Tour – Explore the resilient history and local culture of Krakow’s old Jewish district on a 3-hour walking tour of Kazimierz.

20 Unique Things To Do in Krakow, Poland

Old Town

First stop– the heart of Old Town Krakow. You can’t go wrong with a leisurely stroll through the bustling historic center of the city.

Krakow’s Old Town is simply beautiful, composed of cobbled streets and lively cafes dotting the perimeter of the expansive square.

The Rynek Glowny (Main Square), a whopping 10-acres squared, is officially Europe’s biggest market square and a fine place to spend the day people-watching.

main square krakow - www.travelswithelle.com

Market Hall Unitarg

Hit up the lively Unitarg on the weekends to experience what a Polish flea market feels like! This market has been around for many years and sells a variety of goods, from produce to clothes.

Walk through tons of stalls filled with random treasures—they’ve got everything from leather bags to Soviet trinkets, and age-stained pins to vintage cameras. Haggle for everything and be sure to get in early for the best deals!

The market is open every day from early morning until late at night. It is located in the heart of Krakow, so it is easy to get to. There are many stalls to choose from, so you can find whatever you need.

krakow flea market - www.travelswithelle.com

Florianska Street

Albeit a bit touristy, you’re sure to pass through Florianska Street at some point.

Florianska Street is a wild assortment of things— there’s a McDonalds and Starbucks, various clubs and bars, as well as souvenir emporiums, street vendors, and vodka tasting joints. No matter the day or time, it’s sure to be bursting with visitors during the high season.

It’s a decent place to just take some time and soak in the atmosphere and energy of the city.

krakow flea market - www.travelswithelle.com

Wawel Castle

Don’t miss out on the majestic Wawel castle and cathedral. Located on a picturesque hill and overlooking the Vistula River, this complex is the best place to learn about Polish history. The castle is visible from almost everywhere in the city, so you definitely won’t miss it!

The castle was built in the 14th century and has been a royal residence, a fortress, and a stately home. Today, the castle is a museum that houses Polish art and artifacts. Visitors to the castle can also explore the grounds, which include a garden and a cathedral.

Pro Tip: Wawel Castle is Krakow’s most essential landmark and it’s definitely worth setting aside a few hours to explore its grounds. This highly recommended 2-hour walking tour reveals the castle’s fascinating history and also includes skip-the-line access so you can see and do more with your time.

wawel castle krakow - www.travelswithelle.com

Planty Park

Planty Park is one of the most popular things to do in Krakow, Poland. The park is located in the Old Town district and is a great place to relax or take a walk. Planty Park is also a great place to people watch, as it is always full of locals and tourists alike.

The green belt Planty Park encircles the outer perimeter of Krakow’s historic Old Town. You’ll stroll past art sculptures and ornate water fountains and see locals walking their dogs and meeting up with old friends. It’s filled with life in the summertime and should not be missed.

Pro tip: This is an awesome place to go for a morning or early evening run. There are always people sitting at the benches lining the park, so rest assured your run or stroll will be filled with sights.

planty park krakow - www.travelswithelle.com

Visit The Kazimierz Neighbourhood

The Kazimierz Neighbourhood is such an enchanting neighborhood! You know a neighborhood’s going to be good when the whole thing has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you’re only here for the weekend, then Kazimierz is probably the best neighborhood in Krakow to prioritize. What was once a historic Jewish district is now a bustling, creative hub full of art, cool coffee culture, trendy bars, and restaurants.

It’s vibrant and dynamic, perfect for drinks and/or a romantic meal. Another draw: there are plenty of artisan shops selling unique gifts and intimate cafes to spend time and waste the day away.

Pro Tip: Join the Jewish Krakow Free Walking Tour to learn about the history of Jewish people in Poland, the synagogues and wartime stories, and the backstory of the many historic buildings in this area. It’s a really enriching tour!

Oskar Schindler’s Former Factory

If you don’t already know the story of Oskar Schindler and his contributions during WWII, then first, you’ll need to watch Schindler’s List by Steven Spielberg.

Second, you’ll need to stop by Schindler’s Factory Museum. The factory, still standing, is now home to the Oskar Schindler Museum dedicated to his story as well as Krakow’s role in WWII.

Oskar Schindler’s former factory is now a museum in Krakow, Poland that tells the story of his life and the people he helped during World War II. The museum is a must-see for anyone interested in history or human rights.

In a nutshell, Schindler was a German businessman who owned an enamelware factory in Krakow. He employed Jews at his factory and saved them from concentration camps and certain death.

The museum includes exhibits on Schindler’s life, the Holocaust, and the people he saved. There are also interactive displays that allow visitors to learn more about the history of this period.

The museum is located in the former factory where Schindler worked. It is a short walk from the main square in Krakow and is open all year round.

Pro Tip: Admission is free on the first Monday of each month. If you are looking to go any other day, book your tickets online in advance, as there is a daily cap on the number of visitors.

On a related note: If you’re interested in Jewish history in general, then I would highly recommend this 3- hour Jewish Quarter tour through the Jewish Ghetto and includes a stop at Schindler’s Factory Museum.

St Francis’ Basilica

St Francis’ Basilica is a beautiful Art Nouveau church that your eyes deserve to feed on. The famous stained glass windows are the work of Polish artist Stanisław Wyspiański, and are a site not to be missed.

The basilica is a Catholic church that was built in the 13th century. It is one of the oldest and largest churches in Krakow. The basilica has a large number of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. It is also one of the tallest buildings in Krakow. Visitors can climb to the top of the basilica for a panoramic view of the city.

basilica krakow - www.travelswithelle.com

Rynek Underground Museum

Rynek Underground, which opened in 2010, is a museum that was built to showcase Kraków’s history, mixing artifacts with interactive lasers, smoke machines, and holograms!

The museum is located underground and covers the history of the city from the 13th century to the present day. The museum has two levels, with the first level being devoted to the history of the city, and the second level being devoted to the history of Poland.

There are also a number of interpretive displays, including life-sized model houses and recreated burials, including a ‘vampire’ burial.

Not a bad way to spend a few hours if it’s too cold, too hot, or too rainy outside!

Soak in the street art

Head towards the graffiti-covered streets of Józefa Street or Plac Bawół, if you want to stroll and admire the work of various street artists.

If you’d like to know more about the artists and the interpretation of each work, there are walking tours, maps and even a free app for this.

Some of the most impressive murals to check out are Ding Dong Dumb (Piwna 3a), Judah (Św Wawrzyńca 16), and Bawol Square (Plac Bawół 3).

Go on a countryside bike ride

Nothing beats reserving a day to take a break from walking. Instead, hop right onto a bike and get into the countryside.

Krakow has long stretches of easily accessible biking trails right on the outskirts of town. With views like this, how can you pass it up?

Pro Tip: Take a page out of my book. Rent a bike yourself, punch “Tyniec Abbey” into Google Maps, and ride along the Vistula River through the tranquil Wolski Forest to visit Poland’s oldest functioning monastery. This is an extra-scenic, relatively flat ride. A must-do if you have an extra day in Krakow!

things to do krakow poland - www.travelswithelle.com

Coffee Stop: Bunkier Sztuki

If you love unusual and thought-provoking contemporary art, then you’ll love Bunkier Sztuki.

Bunkier Cafe is one of a kind – with a garden in the middle of the Planty Gardens and transparent walls which are open in warm weather and lowered when it’s cooler.

Make sure to visit on a Tuesday, when it’s totally free to enter. Housed in a quirky greenhouse with vintage vibes, you’ll find excellent coffee, refreshing beer and delicious food –what better way to rest your feet after hours of exploring?

Kościuszko Mound

If you find yourself in Krakow, Poland and are looking for something outdoorsy to do, be sure to check out Kościuszko Mound. A serpentine path leads to the top, approximately 1,070 feet above sea level, with a panoramic view of the Vistula River and the city below. It is also a great place to get some exercise, as there are plenty of hiking trails to explore.

Kościuszko Mound was built in 1820, originally intended to be a part of an abandoned fortress project. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Krakow. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people visit the mound to take in the views and enjoy the fresh air.

From the top, enjoy sweeping panoramas of the city— you deserve it for making it up there. On clear days, you can even see the Tatra peaks to the south. You can definitely get some great photos of Krakow from above.

Trust me, you won’t be disappointed with the views!

Forum Przestrzenie

This is one of the city’s most original and hip hang out / party spots. Speckled with dozens of beach chairs, bean bags, graffiti art, and vintage neon signs, Forum Przestrzenie definitely has a bit of an alternative, chill vibe to the place.

This public square is full of history and culture, and there is always something going on. Spend an afternoon people-watching, grab a bite to eat at one of the many cafes, or do some shopping at the nearby market.

During summer days, hang out at the rocky beach among the lounging locals and order a good sandwich/pizza and a beer. During the night, check out their DJ parties and other nightlife events.

This public square is full of history and culture, and there is always something going on. Spend an afternoon people-watching, grab a bite to eat at one of the many cafes, or do some shopping at the nearby market.

This venue is so versatile and needless to say, it’s an amazing spot for enjoying a full view of the Wawel Castle.

Best Day Trips from Krakow


This is hands down one of the most picturesque places in Krakow. A true gem a little ways out of the city center! Just look at it!

The best part is, only locals know about it so you can enjoy it without having to fight for a view. The crystal waters are surrounded by trees, rocks, and amazing views. You’d never expect something like this so close to the city.

It’s an amazing place to appreciate nature, have a picnic, sunbathe, and meet friendly locals.

zakrozowek krakow - www.travelswithelle.com

The Tatra Mountains

Being a mountain girl at heart, this was hands down my favorite part of my trip to Poland. Also known as the ‘Polish Alps’, the Tatra Mountains lie south of Krakow and make for a great day trip or even a multi-day if you need to get away from the city life.

Take one of the many buses from Krakow to the quirky mountain town of Zakopane, which lies at the foot of the mountains. You can easily spend one whole day shopping and eating in Zakopane, and the next day hiking in the mountains. If you love the outdoors, this really can’t be missed!

Pro Tip: Hiking the trails of the Tatras is really easy (despite the confusing trail names), as the trails are marked by color— just keep an eye out for the colored paint on the trees and rocks.

tatra national park - www.travelswithelle.com
tatra national park poland - www.travelswithelle.com
tatra national park poland - www.travelswithelle.com
Typical jaw-dropping views while hiking in the Tatras

Visit Auschwitz

It sounds odd to say this is one of the best things to do in Krakow, but it really is. Everyone I’ve spoken to (including myself) who’s visited Auschwitz notes how enriching, moving, and unforgettable the experience was.

A visit to this site may leave you a bit uneasy and shocked afterwards, but it’s extremely worthwhile, and you will appreciate the deeper knowledge you receive regarding the atrocities that took place during WWII.

Pro Tip: Auschwitz is located quite a ways away from Krakow and can be a challenge to get to on your own. I highly recommend taking this full tour of the Auschwitz Museum and Birkenau Camp. It includes a fully-guided tour of the concentration camp, gas chambers and prison blocks as well as transportation to and from your accommodation in the city.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Located just outside of Krakow, the Wieliczka Salt Mine offers an unforgettable sight of underground salt art and architectural design.

Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this former salt mine has to be seen to be believed.

The mine, which began operations in the 13th century, has been turned into a museum that includes a tour of the tunnels and chambers. Visitors can also see salt sculptures and learn about the history of salt mining in Poland.

This place is unbelievable. First of all, it’s hundreds of meters below ground; second of all, this salt cave is decorated with ornate statues and chandeliers. Not to mention, there’s even an underground lake.

Interested in both Auschwitz and the Wieliczka Salt Mine? Check out this combo tour.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine (Polish: Kopalnia soli Wieliczka) - www.travelswithelle.com

Where To Eat in Krakow

First, let’s start with a list of traditional foods to try…

  • Pierogi: A dumpling stuffed with meat, spices and vegetables.
  • Kotlet schabowy: A tenderized pork shnitzel dipped in egg and flour and coated in breadcrumbs. Served with dill and creamy mashed potato.
  • Barszcz:  Beetroot soup thickened with sour cream and served with hunks of bread
  • Kielbasa: Hefty sausages served with fried onions and dill
  • Placki ziemniaczane: Potato pancakes served with a rich beef goulash (goulash is to die for!)

U Babci Maliny

If you are looking to try Traditional Polish Cuisine – look no more! I’m telling you, this super cute and cozy joint is not to be missed.

The food here is about as authentic as it gets – not to mention how cheap it is! You will have one of your top meals here, as they serve some of the best Polish dishes in Krakow.

It’s totally hidden away in an old library building. You’ll think you’re lost once you follow the wooden sign, but keep going through the corridors until you see the little sign and steps down to the restaurant.


A really simple, down-to-earth canteen in the Jewish Quarter, where you can get authentic Polish cuisine at unbeatable prices.

Morskie Oko

Offering steaming platters of traditional pierogi dumplings, sausages, and sheep cheese sourced from the pastures of the Tatra Mountains, Morskie Oko is the place to go for your fix of Polish regional cuisine.

Milkbar Tomasza

For an experience of the new breed of modern Polish milk bars, be sure to hit up Milkbar Tomasza at some point during your trip. Cheap and delicious, the menu boasts some hearty items to start the day off.

Drink Vodka

If you’re particularly interested in tasting and learning more about Polish vodka then you’ll love this fun vodka tasting tour, which includes a guided visit to 4 different vodka bars.

If you’re not used to drinking straight shots of vodka during such a short time period, then you may prefer this vodka, food and culture tour, which includes traditional food pairings to help keep things lighter.

Polish Folk Show and Traditional Dinner

Don’t have dinner plans yet? Why not dinner and a show?

This 3-in-1 event mixes Polish cuisine, music, dance all in one night! Encounter Polish folklore through music and get a taste of the tradition and culture of the country.

Additional Guidebooks For Krakow


Got any other favorite things to do in Krakow? I’d love to hear about your favorites in this wonderful city!

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