Here’s a handy list of the must-see sights of any visit to Kraków. There’s also a useful Google map below to help you get your bearings.
To help you make the best use of your time, check out our Two-Day Kraków Itinerary, Three-Day Kraków Itinerary and our Four-Day Kraków Itinerary pages along with our recommendations of Things To Do In Kraków. You also probably want to invest in a KrakowCard to give you cheap access to lots of Kraków attractions.
Town Hall Tower – image © Jason Weaver
Kraków’s Old Town
Kraków’s Old Town (Stare Miaso) is amongst the most impressive medieval locations in Europe and was an obvious choice for UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Packed with beautiful buildings and history, it also have many fantastic restaurants and bars. These are the highlights you won’t want to miss.
- Kraków’s Market Square
Rynek Główny is 40,000 sq ft of cafés, museums, landmarks, and hotels is punctuated with some of the most magnificent architecture the city has to offer. A private walking tour is an ideal way to get the inside story on this astounding square.
- St. Mary’s Basilica
Keeping watch over Europe’s second largest market square for the last seven centuries, the imposing Gothic spires of St. Mary’s Basilica have become a veritable symbol of Kraków itself and a focal point in the stories that make up the city’s mythic and historical past. Advance tickets are available through Get Your Guide.
- Rynek Underground
One of Kraków’s newest museums and certainly one of its most essential, Rynek Underground sits directly beneath the main square. Based around recently excavated foundations, dating back to the city’s beginnings, this is an imaginative and engaging way to discover Kraków’s history. Entry is limited to 300 visitors at a time, so a guided tour will ensure you get in to this excellent museum whilst adding to your enjoyment.
- Cloth Hall
Often claimed to be the world’s oldest shopping mall, the Cloth Hall (or Sukiennice) is a great place to stroll through and pick up souvenirs. The building dominates the main square and has also contains a museum of 19th-century Polish art.
- Town Hall Tower
This gothic tower is all that remains of the 15th-century town hall. The 70m climb offers a view over the Old Town. The KrakowCard is valid here and in all the Main Square attractions listed above. Read more about it on our dedicated KrakowCard page.
View of Wawel from Kanonicza Street – image © Jason Weaver
Kraków’s Royal Route
One of the most enjoyable way to take in Kraków’s Old Town is to trace the historic path of royal coronations from Floriańska Gate to the castle and cathedral on Wawel Hall, where mmost of Poland’s regal ancestors are buried there in the royal crypts.
- Planty Park
Encircling the famous Old Town of Kraków, this pleasant and quiet park is a veritable sea of green in the summer months, awash with flowering beds and towering pines that sway in the breeze. It’s a great place to stop for lunch or even explore by bike.
- The Barbican and Old City Walls
On the north side of Kraków’s Old Town, far away from the Wawel castle hill, stands the remnants of old Krakow’s outer fortifications. A KrakowCard will get you into both of these.
- Florianska Street
All year round, cobbled, historical Floriańska Street is where many of Kraków’s landmarks are to be found. There is more than 700 year’s of history in these buildings, including the house of artist Jan Matejko and the Museum of Pharmacy.
- The Church of Saints Peter and Paul
The baroque church of Saints Peter and Paul sits back from the street, behind a terrific set of railings and late baroque statues of real arcane charm.
- The Wawel Hill and Castle
Wawel Hill is the ancient nucleus of the city, perched on a limestone bluff on the banks of the Vistula, with a magnificent 14th-century castle. One of Kraków’s absolute must-see highlights, you could spend the whole day here. I personally recommend this excellent guide to the Wawel Royal Apartments.
- The Wawel Cathedral
It’s Poland’s Westminster Cathedral, the absolute focal point of the country’s religious history, crowning place of kings and queens and architectural overseer of the famous Cracovian gothic skyline.
A street mural in Kazimierz – image © Jason Weaver
Kazimierz and Beyond
Kazimierz lies just below Kraków’s Old Town, with Podgórze on the other side of the Vistula river. Historically considered the Jewish quarter of the city, Kazimierz has an atmosphere all of its own and is a great place to eat and drink. Podgórze is up and coming, with some of the most exciting new museums and galleries.
South of Kraków’s Old Town, the city’s Jewish quarter is an area with a rich history, and the bohemian charm of quirky cafes and local beer basements. Many Kazimierz tours also include the excellent museums in Podgórze.
- Galicia Jewish Museum
An excellent photographic gallery exploring themes around Jewishness in light of the area’s deep history and the impact of the Holocaust. Don’t be put off if this all sounds too weighty, the pictures are well curated and speak for themselves. See our Two-Day Kraków Itinerary for more information.
- The Old Synagogue
This 15th-century synagogue houses Kraków’s Jewish Museum. The Prayer Hall features a bimah where the Torah is traditionally read and the original kodesh, where the scrolls are kept. There is also a photographic display upstairs. The KrakowCard is valid here – see our dedicated KrakowCard page for more information.
- Schindler’s Factory
One of the best museums in Kraków, parts of Oskar Schindler’s war-time enamel factory has been converted into a vivid and frankly terrifying narrative of the Jewish experience in 20th-century Kraków, which is absolutely recommended. This is also one of the busiest museums in the city, so it’s wise to buy a ticket in advance.
MOCAK with Schindler’s Factory to the right – image © Jason Weaver
Museums and Galleries
Kraków is blessed with dozens of museums and galleries covering different styles and periods of art and many different areas of expertise. In addition to the attractions already listed, I’d recommend the following as must-see for visitors to the city.
- Lady With An Ermine
Eventually to be rehoused in The Czartoryski Museum once renovations are complete, Leonardo da Vinci’s sublime painting is currently on view at main building of The National Museum. Tickets can be reserved in advance. Additionally, you can see the permanent collections of 20th-century Polish painting, decorative art, as well as a handful of excellent temporary shows of an international standard.
- Collegium Maius
Dating from the 14th century, Collegium Maius was the main campus for the one of the oldest universities in the world. The gorgeous courtyard wtih balconies can be visited for free. But entry to the building itself is only possible with a guided tour and places are strictly limited to 20 people at one time. See our Four-Day Kraków Itinerary for more details.
Located in Podgórze, MOCAK is one of Poland’s newest major art galleries and a snapshot of Polish contemporary work. This is a good addition if you’re a fan of Tate Modern, for example, and visiting Schindler’s Factory at the same time.
The KrakowCard includes entry to both the National Museum and MOCAK, as well as 40 other Kraków attractions. See our dedicated KrakowCard page for details.
Arbeit Macht Frei – image © Ayesha Cantrell
Day Trips From Kraków
Two of the biggest reasons to visit Kraków are not actually in the city itself. And less well known to visitors is the stunning variety of surrounding countryside, much of which can be seen within a day.
Over 1M people visit Auschwitz every year, to pay homage and their respects to the millions who were affected by one of history’s greatest crimes. See our photo walkthrough of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau to get a sense of what you will be witnessing and for details of how to book.
- The Wieliczka Salt Mine
The Wieliczka Salt Mine has been the world’s longest active salt mine and perhaps the most startling example of industry meets art. See our comprehensive photo walkthrough of what it’s like in Wieliczka Salt Mines and how to get there.
A 2-hour drive south of Kraków, Poland’s outdoor activity capital is nestled deep below the sharp peaks of the high Tatras.
- Further Afield
The countryside around Kraków includes castles, mountains, lakes, and forests. We recommend a handful of stunning day-trips on our Things To Do In Kraków page, along with suggestions for eating and drinking, shopping, and other unique activities.