Seven Reasons To Visit Krakow

The Lovely Old Town

Krakow is a beautiful city that will charm any fan of medieval architecture. Both the Main Square and the Kazimierz district are filled with buildings so old they still remember the times of the Polish monarchs.

The Cloth Hall, St Mary’s Basilica and Wawel Royal Castle, in particular, are among the most beautiful historical buildings in Europe.

While wandering around the Old Town or Kazimierz, you can also visit one of the numerous restaurant gardens or enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, preferably from a local roaster. And it’s always a good idea to keep your head up and your eyes peeled as you walk around to make sure you spot all of the incredible details and ornaments on the historical tenement houses – some of the reliefs are pure works of art.

The buildings of the Krakow Old Town arranged in a collage – Wawel, Wawel Cathedral, St. Mary’s Church

Night Life

Krakow is the student capital of Poland, with countless bars and pubs tucked away in centuries-old buildings offering entertainment to fun-seeking visitors every night of the week. It doesn’t matter whether your preference is a wild night in a club, elegant cocktails or an evening with a beer in a karaoke bar – everything is right at your fingertips.

An evening at the Forum Przestrzenie club café, Maria Konopnicka 28

Culture And Art

Krakow is known as a city of culture, and for good reason as it’s simply packed with theatres, museums, exhibitions and concerts. It really does have something for everyone – from Renaissance plays to contemporary art pieces. Plus, there are also the chambers of Wawel Castle to admire, as well as the Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MOCAK) and even a pinball museum.  

Lady with an Ermine, the original painting is available at the Princes Czartoryski Museum at św. Jana 19 in Krakow

An Important History Lesson – Auschwitz-Birkenau

A grim memorial place that everyone should visit at least once, Auschwitz is a warning about a cruel truth about human nature – that a man blinded by ideology is capable of unimaginable crimes. The greater the awareness of this fact, the greater the chance that past mistakes will not be repeated. Auschwitz is a dark, depressing and forbidding place, but one that is definitely worth a visit.

Warning plate on the premises of KL Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

This incredible underground town, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, is located around 20 km from Krakow. A top-class attraction of the highest order, it’s a great place to visit for the whole family. 

You can find out how salt was once mined here, and learn about the history of the mine from the Middle Ages through to modern times. There are many underground wonders to admire – not only ones formed by nature but also the stunning chambers carved out of rock and salt by the miners.

One of the underground tunnels in the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine. Underground corridors run along nine levels of the mine, creating a total of 245 kilometers of labyrinth

Polish Delicacies

Krakow boasts some of the best recipes for traditional Polish cuisine – especially for pierogi, borsch and the iconic fast food called zapiekanki. As you wander around Kazimierz, you should definitely try some typical Jewish dishes as well!And don’t forget to try the wines from the local wineries, or the artisan ice cream during the summer. More information about Polish cuisine and the local Krakow specialities can be found here.

Ruthenian dumplings (stuffed with cheese and potatoes) sprinkled with onions, cracklings and chives. One of the traditional Polish dishes

Beautiful Nature Nearby

A few minutes’ drive out of town is the smallest Polish national park – Ojców. It’s a place where you can rest as you wander around the forest, exploring the caves and admiring the unusual limestone rock formations that the Polish Jurassic Highland is famous for. More details about this national park are available here. 

If you’d prefer to go for a longer trip, you can even visit the beautiful Tatra Mountains. It is best to see Zakopane, a town located at the foot of the mountains, but we would highly recommend you take a look at our section on the less demanding Tatra trails as well. 

Pieniny is another mountain range that offers many interesting routes. They are described here.

Alternatively, you could go for a walk in the Beskid Mountains instead. 

If you miss being close to nature, but don’t have the possibility or time for a longer trip, you can always visit the flooded quarry at Zakrzówek and the nearby Twardowski Rocks, or a number of other options such as Wolski Forest and Kryspinów Lake. 

Ojcowski Park Narodowy, widok na słynną formację skalną Rękawica ze szlaku do jaskini Ciemnej