Getting into the city centre from Krakow Airport is quick and efficient - simply take the train from your terminal building. It's just a brief 17 minute journey before you can start to enjoy all that this beautiful city has to offer. Alternatively, you can book a taxi transfer or take a public bus to the station which is located just to the east of the city centre.
Buses are plentiful, and the city boasts an extensive tram network 24 hours a day, offering more than 90 kilometres of track. Cycle hire is also available in the Old Town for a gentler way of seeing the sights. If you want to travel further afield, car hire is readily available. There are city centre hotels to meet a range of budgets, and plenty to explore and enjoy within cycle, bus or walking distance of the centre.
Krakow is one of those popular monuments of Europe. Crammed with interesting nooks and hidden gems there are so many things to do in Krakow that you can easily find yourself exploring the city for weeks and you still won’t see everything.
But alas most of us don’t have weeks of holiday up our sleeve for a visit to this wonderfully ancient city. What if you’ve only booked in for a short weekend city break? Never fear, you can still enjoy the flavour of this city on a short visit to Krakow. To help you get a feel of the best bits of the city here’s a run down of things to do, see, eat and more on a two-day trip to Krakow.
Start your day with good coffee.Everyone’s first day in Krakow should start with coffee. Why? Because this city does it well. Bunkier Cafe is a unique cafe, located in the Krakow Planty. Charming and picturesque the cafe is open year round and transforms into a cosy bar at night in the winter. It’s a great place to enjoy drinks in Krakow, think mulled wine, candle light and a happy hum of patrons.
If you’re looking for something to see in Krakow too then don’t skip stopping in at the “Bunkier Sztuki” gallery as you leave the cafe. They have a wonderful collection of contemporary artworks on display.
Discover Krakow’s Market Square before noonFor those who are interested in exploring the history of the city an interesting and relatively new attraction is the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow, located underground, beneath the Market Square.
Work constructing the underground museum began in mid 2005 and the space now consists of nearly six thousand square metres! The Historical Museum of Krakow presents not only the history of Krakow, but also its relationship to other important cities of medieval Europe. Visitors can admire preserved fragments of old roads, cemeteries of the eleventh century and numerous reconstructions.
Since you will be in the vicinity of the Market Square for lunch it’s time to head to Chimera. As far as places to eat in Krakow go this has to be one of the best. Chimera is a salad bar that enjoys great popularity among both locals and tourists alike. Offering a health kick for lunch their salads, soups, dumplings and stuffed cabbage are all worth sampling. You can then wash this down with a freshly squeezed juice or nettle tea too. Or if you’re looking to indulge your sweet tooth the delicious tarts and pancakes are sure to please.
Continuing on with things to see in Krakow this two-day tour of the city moves to Wawel Royal Castle. Take note it’s really worth booking in a whole afternoon here, this is a unique place where time stops.
When visiting Wawel Castle a lot of the areas are free, however access to some of its most extraordinary offerings do require a fee, plus with the grounds and castle being so expansive it’s best to do a little homework and plan out what you want to see before visiting. Remember also that tickets for individual exhibitions are issued for specific hours so book in early to get the time slot you want. When leaving the hill, do not forget a visit to the Dragon’s Cave too!
Top tip: Every Monday (from April 1 to October 31) between 9:30am to 1pm and on Sundays (from 2 November to 31 March) between 10am to 4pm tourists can gain free access to some parts o the castle. You must pick up your free ticket entry at the ticket office prior to entry. If you’re visiting Krakow on another day of the week look out for the 3 + 1 promotion. When you buy 3 tickets for 3 different exhibitions you can pick up another ticket for only 1 zł.
In the evening Krakow experiences a true metamorphosis. With the city full of tourists Krakow changes into vibrant party like atmosphere. Whether you’re looking to move your voice and hips for a night of partying or wanting to find a space to sit back and relax after a day of sightseeing, Krakow provides a space for everyone to enjoy come nightfall.
If your feet are in the dancing mood and you’re near the Market Square then Pauza is a club happily waiting for you to join in the party. Or if you spend the evening in Kazimierz head to Klub Piękny Pies or club Alchemia.
After an evening experiencing the joys of Krakow’s nightlife it’s highly likely you’ll be in need of a hearty breakfast. Another top place to eat in Krakow is Dynia Resto Bar. With an interesting menu and plenty of breakfast specials that can be enjoyed in the peaceful garden on clear days you can easily while away a good few hours here. But keep in mind that this is a two-day guide of Krakow so don’t linger to long. There’s still more to encounter!
Because Krakow is a city rich in history your second day should be spent getting to know a little of the city’s backstory, allowing you to encounter a completely different side of Krakow. Start with taking a walk to Krakow’s Kazimierz district. Kazimierz, which was once a separate town from Krakow, dates back to the nineteenth century and is an integral part of Krakow today. Over the years the Christian and the Jewish community have coexisted here and today the district is one of the major attractions on people’s list of things to see in Krakow. This includes the annual Festival of Jewish Culture, a highlight in the calendar of things to do in Krakow.
While walking around Kazimierz do not miss a visit to one of the branches of the Historical Museum of Krakow, the Stara Synagoga (the old synagogue) . In the synagogue’s interior you will find an exhibition devoted to Jewish celebrations. The main attraction here is the Torah, the central reference of the religious Judaic tradition, but you can also see elements of the costumes and handcrafted items of the religion on display.
After dinner be sure to head for a tour of Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory. During World War II the factory was a place of work and shelter for many people of Jewish origin, as presented in the famous 1993 Steven Spielberg film ‘Schindler’s List’. The building has now been transformed into a museum and attracts great interest with its exhibition “Krakow – Nazi Occupation 1939-1945”, which provides a harrowing insight into this time in history.
Top tip : Head to the museum on Mondays for free. You should also know that a daily limit on the number of visitors to the museum has been introduced so it is best to pre-book a ticket with the Historical Museum of Krakow.
For your last evening in Krakow a top recommendation is spending the evening on the Vistula River in the Foothills district. Stop in at the Drukarnia Jazz Club where you can enjoy concerts, film screenings and the most stunning of outdoor areas that overlooks the river.
During your stay be sure to try the local bagels and specially street style Zapiekanki. Zapiekanka is a long baguette sliced in half and topped with cheese, mushrooms and more.
With a noble history dating back to the fourth century, Krakow has endured a long, and often difficult, history. But throughout the story of settlement and destruction, this enchanted city has evolved along the might Vistula River with the stunning magnificence of the Carpathian Mountains as its backdrop. If legend is to be believed, it was founded by the defeat of a dragon - many visitors today still feel something mythical in the air of its medieval streets and market squares. From medieval tradition and Gothic splendour, the magnificent architecture of Krakow alone makes for a rewarding visit.
Start your walking tour of Kraków in the city's historic Jewish quarter, Kazimierz. Simply wander the narrow, shady streets and visit one of its many synagogues, such as the Temple Synagogue with its over 40 stained glass windows. If you would like a break from walking, head over to Meiselsa Street and the Center for Jewish Culture, which has a rooftop cafe with a glorious view. After that, walk down the same street to the river and continue along towards the Wawel citadel, comprising of a castle and cathedral. The gardens overlook the Vistula river and provide a great spot for soaking up some sun. Next, you can take the Royal Way, via Grodzka Street to the main square Rynek Główny, where you can visit the city's ancient market halls. Locals and experts recommend a visit to the medieval cellars under the square, especially on hot summer days. If you are interested in art, the Princes Czartoryski Museum houses famous works like The Lady with an Ermine, by Leonardo da Vinci. You can find this museum in the northeast corner of the Old Town, on Świętego Jana Street.
The city of Krakow is known for its hearty cuisine that heavily features bread and sausages. Food is an important part of the identity of the people of Krakow and traditional recipes are handed down through generations in each family. The national dish of Poland is pierogi which consists of small dumplings that are filled with a variety of fillings, including sauerkraut, mushrooms or sweet jams. Pierogi can be found in most restaurants in Krakow, and they are also a popular street food at the city's markets. The obwarzanek has become a food symbol of Krakow and these chewy bagels can be found on every street corner. Try a salt sprinkled obwarzanek for the perfect snack, while exploring the city. An authentic Krakow food experience can be had at Stylowa, which is located in the eastern section of the Old Town. Here, diners can enjoy traditional dishes of the region such as veal escalops with buckwheat. Those looking for a more luxurious dining experience should try Restauracja Wentzl in the middle of the Old Town. The restaurant serves local Polish ingredients cooked using classic French techniques. Vegetarians will find that most restaurants serve dishes that will suit their dietary requirements.