What to do in krakow?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: June 28, 2024

Explore the Historic Old Town

Krakow's Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an essential starting point for any visitor. Begin your journey in the Rynek Główny (Main Market Square), which dates back to the 13th century. Measuring 200 meters square, it is one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe. Here, you can admire the Gothic St. Mary's Basilica, known for its stunning altarpiece by Veit Stoss and the hourly bugle call from its tallest tower.

The Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), located in the center of the square, was once a major center of international trade. Today, it houses souvenir stalls and the Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art. Nearby, the Town Hall Tower offers panoramic views of the city.

Wander Through Kazimierz

Kazimierz, the historic Jewish quarter, is a district rich in culture and history. Visit the Old Synagogue, which now functions as a museum showcasing the history of Jews in Krakow. The Remuh Synagogue and Cemetery are also significant, with the cemetery dating back to the 16th century.

Kazimierz is also a vibrant area for nightlife and cuisine. The streets are lined with cafés, restaurants, and bars, many of which offer traditional Jewish dishes and live music. Plac Nowy, the central square in Kazimierz, is a great place to sample local street food like zapiekanka, a Polish-style open-faced sandwich.

Tour Wawel Castle

Wawel Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the Vistula River, is a symbol of Polish national pride. The castle complex includes the Royal Castle, which features stately rooms, art collections, and royal regalia. Don't miss the Wawel Cathedral, where Polish kings were crowned and buried. The cathedral's Sigismund Bell, dating from 1520, is one of the largest bells in Poland.

The Dragon's Den, a limestone cave beneath the castle, is tied to the legend of the Wawel Dragon. According to the legend, a dragon terrorized the city until it was slain by a clever shoemaker.

Visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine

Located just outside Krakow, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This underground labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, and chapels, carved entirely out of salt, has been in operation since the 13th century. The highlight is the Chapel of St. Kinga, a large underground church adorned with salt sculptures and chandeliers.

The mine's museum offers insights into the history of salt mining and its significance to the region. Guided tours are available, and they take visitors through some of the most spectacular parts of the mine.

Pay Your Respects at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Auschwitz-Birkenau, located about an hour's drive from Krakow, is the site of the largest Nazi concentration and extermination camp. It is a somber and poignant place to visit, offering a stark reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust. Guided tours are available and recommended to fully understand the historical context and significance.

The Auschwitz I camp houses exhibitions in the former barracks, while Auschwitz II-Birkenau, the larger of the two, contains the remains of the gas chambers and crematoria. Visiting Auschwitz is a deeply moving experience that underscores the importance of remembering history.

Relax in Planty Park

Encircling the Old Town, Planty Park is a green belt created in the early 19th century on the site of the city's medieval walls. It is a perfect place for a leisurely stroll or a picnic. The park is divided into several gardens, each with its own unique character, and it features numerous statues, fountains, and benches.

Planty Park is particularly beautiful in the spring and summer when the trees and flowers are in full bloom. It offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Discover the Schindler's Factory Museum

The Schindler's Factory Museum, housed in the former enamel factory of Oskar Schindler, tells the story of Krakow during World War II. The museum's exhibitions focus on the Nazi occupation, the Plaszow concentration camp, and the efforts of Schindler to save his Jewish workers.

The museum's layout is immersive, with multimedia displays, photographs, and personal testimonies that provide a powerful narrative of the era. It is an essential visit for those interested in Krakow's wartime history.

Unwind at the Vistula Boulevards

The Vistula Boulevards, running along the Vistula River, offer scenic paths for walking, jogging, or cycling. The boulevards are a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, providing stunning views of Wawel Castle and the river.

Along the boulevards, you will find cafés, food trucks, and places to rent bikes or electric scooters. It's an ideal place to relax, enjoy a riverside picnic, or take a leisurely boat cruise along the Vistula.

Experience Krakow's Vibrant Nightlife

Krakow boasts a lively nightlife scene, with something to suit every taste. The Old Town and Kazimierz are packed with bars, clubs, and pubs. For a unique experience, visit one of the city's many cellar bars, known for their cozy and atmospheric settings.

Live music is a big part of Krakow's nightlife. Jazz clubs, in particular, are popular, with venues like Harris Piano Jazz Bar and U Muniaka offering live performances. For a more modern vibe, head to one of the many dance clubs or cocktail bars.

Attend a Cultural Event

Krakow hosts numerous cultural events and festivals throughout the year. The Krakow Film Festival, held in late May and early June, is one of the oldest film festivals in Europe. The Jewish Culture Festival, in late June, celebrates the rich heritage of Kazimierz with concerts, workshops, and street performances.

Other notable events include the Krakow Christmas Market in December, held in the Main Market Square, and the Wianki Festival, a midsummer celebration featuring concerts and fireworks along the Vistula River.

Shop for Local Crafts

Krakow is a great place to shop for unique souvenirs and local crafts. The Cloth Hall in the Main Market Square is a historic shopping venue where you can find a variety of items, from amber jewelry to handmade wooden toys.

For a more contemporary shopping experience, visit the Galeria Krakowska, a modern shopping mall located near the main train station. The mall features a wide range of international brands, as well as Polish designers.

Enjoy Traditional Polish Cuisine

Krakow offers a rich culinary scene with numerous restaurants serving traditional Polish dishes. Be sure to try pierogi (dumplings), bigos (hunter's stew), and obwarzanek (a type of bagel). Milk bars, or "bar mleczny," are budget-friendly eateries that serve hearty Polish meals in a cafeteria-style setting.

For dessert, sample some kremówka (Papal cream cake) or sernik (Polish cheesecake). Many restaurants also offer a selection of local beers and vodkas, perfect for toasting to a memorable trip.

Krakow is a city that seamlessly blends the old with the new, offering a diverse array of experiences that cater to all interests.

Related Questions

Where is krakow?

Krakow is situated in the southern part of Poland, near the border with the Czech Republic. It lies on the Vistula River, which is the longest river in Poland, flowing through the heart of the country from the Carpathian Mountains to the Baltic Sea. The city is nestled within the Lesser Poland (Małopolska) Voivodeship, one of the 16 administrative regions of Poland. Coordinates for Krakow are approximately 50.0647° N latitude and 19.9450° E longitude, placing it in the Central European Time (CET) zone.

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