7 Reasons Why You Should Visit Kraków

Visit Kraków

If you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer European adventure you should definitely have one thing on your itinerary and that’s to visit Kraków.

If you believe the folklore, legend has it that Kraków was founded from a defeat of a dragon, and while you may or may not believe this, when walking around the medieval old town you can easily become submerged into the history and start to think the whole dragon tale could be true!

From the gothic Wawel castle towering over the old town to the impressively vast Rynek Główny market square (the largest in Europe)  you can see why Kraków is quickly becoming a must-visit European city. However, there’s more to Kraków than just the castle and market square. If you visit Kraków you will be immersing yourself into a city full of history, stunning architecture and a thriving nightlife.

Visit Kraków for these great reasons…

visit kraków

One of the best ways to explore Kraków

Budget Friendly

Even though prices have risen in the last few years, compared to western Europe, Poland is still very cheap. With its budget-friendly accommodation, alcohol and food it’s become a popular destination for long-term travellers and affordable weekend getaways.

There are many great budget friendly hostels in central locations of the city, just read up where you are booking because some are party hostels which attracts stag and hen do’s. If that’s not your cup of tea, stay clear! We recommend Chilli Hostel with its relaxed atmosphere and central location. If staying in a hostel is not your thing, there are plenty of hotels in Kraków old town covering all types of budgets.

Some other tips to keep you in budget is to make use of the free entry to many of Kraków’s museums and to catch the public bus to and from the airport. If you catch a taxi, expect to pay around €20 and if you take the public bus you pay only €2, a great saving to be had in our opinion.

 

visit kraków

Delicious! Potato Salad and Bockwurst

Amazing Food & Drink

Kraków is home to some amazing restaurants and bars. From local cuisine to international chain restaurants you can almost find any type of food for any budget and taste. But if (like us) when you visit a new country you want to try the local traditional dishes, Poland has some great ones. Bigos, Kotlet Schabowy, Gołabki and of course Pierogi are the most famous and best-tasting dishes. Pierogi is our favourite, a type of dumpling which can be served with a sweet or savoury filling and can be found in almost every cafe and restaurant. We also loved Kielbasa, a polish hot dog which can be bought from food vendors for about €2.

Top tip: Like most places, if you eat around the touristy areas you will pay more for the food, head down the side streets away from the main square and you will get more and usually better food for your money.

visit kraków

Rynek Główny market square

The Biggest Market Square in Europe!

Rynek Glówny dates back to the 13th century and it’s thought to be the largest medieval square in Europe. Surrounded by historic townhouses and gothic towers of St. Mary’s Basilica the centre of the square is dominated by the Cloth Hall. The Cloth Hall is split in two with the ground floor arcades housing stalls and shops mainly selling souvenirs and upstairs being home to the Kraków National Museum.

There are many shops, cafes and restaurants surround the square which makes it a very touristy place, but it’s still a great place to hang out. With street entertainment in every direction, you look and horse drawn carriages lined up ready to take you on a tour there is plenty going on, you can spend hours sat down at one of the local cafes enjoying a drink and just watch what’s going on around you.

visit kraków

The view over Kraków old town

Easy to get around

One of the most appealing things, when you visit Kraków, is that it’s so easy to get around on foot. With a lot of the main attractions all located in a close proximity, it’s easy to explore in a short space of time and one of the best ways. If you’ve had enough of walking or want to explore a bit further out from the centre, Kraków’s public transport system is very easy to use and cheap. While you can catch taxis to your destination we recommend hopping on a tram, running between 05;00 to 23:00 it’s an easy and great way to get around the city.

Another great option is to use the KMK bike scheme (think London’s Boris bikes) with 13 docking stations across the city and expanding, it’s a great way to rent a bike for a few hours and explore parts of the city you wouldn’t walk to.

visit Kraków

Schindler’s Factory

A city steeped in a Diverse History

Visit Kraków and you will immerse yourself in a city steeped in history. Every corner you turn and street you walk down will have history attached to it and a story behind it. While a lot of people who visit Kraków take the Auschwitz-Birkenau tour which is definitely a must, it’s actually an hour west of the city and will take most of the day to visit. If you don’t have time to fit it into your itinerary, don’t worry there’s still plenty to see within the city of Kraków.

Some of the must visit places are:

The Ghetto Heros Square‘ a cobbled square with 70 large iron chairs in place as a symbol of possessions lost when the Jewish Ghetto was ‘liquidated’.

Schindler’s Factory‘ while Schindler and his factory features in the museum, the main part of the original factory houses the museum of Kraków under German occupation. You can follow the six-year journey of Kraków under German occupation including the Jewish Ghetto’s.

Other highlights are the Jewish district and The Barbican.

visit kraków

Wawel Castle

Wawel Castle & Cathedral

A short walk from the main square, Wawel Castle, and Cathedral dominates the skyline overlooking Kraków old town and the meandering Vistula river. Entry to the Castle and surrounding grounds is free, however, there are 5 exhibitions inside that require a small fee to enter which include the Crown treasury and Armoury and the Royal chambers. Even if you don’t want to pay to enter the exhibitions (we recommend the Armoury if you had to choose one) Wawel Castle is still definitely worth the visit to stroll around the grounds, enjoying the views over the old town and river.

If you do decide to visit the exhibitions we definitely recommend getting a tour or audio guide as there is hardly any historical information on show and sometimes you’re not overly sure what you’re looking at.

Entertainment!

Surrounding the main market square is the largest concentration of pubs per square kilometer in the world. With so many bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes you will not be short on entertainment when you visit Kraków. With an impressive music scene covering a wide range of music genres and a lively club scene, you can see why Kraków has earned a name for its party atmosphere. If that isn’t your cup of tea, surrounding concert halls play host to a wide range of classical music performances.

Kraków is also home to two top Polish football teams Wisła Kraków and KS Cracovia who have a fierce rivalry and some very passionate fans! Definitely worth a visit to watch a game if you like football.

Have you ever visited Kraków? Tell us what your favourite thing about the city is?

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visit Kraków

  • Svetoslav Dimitrov

    I have been to Kraków only for half a day, but managed to visit the square and Wawel Castle. In addition, I also tried the great food there. I wish I could go again and go to the sulfur mines and Auschwitz (Oświęcim) and immerse myself into jewelry and history.

  • Jenny

    I was in Krakow years ago and I really liked it. Now you’re making me want to go back and spend more time there!

  • I loved Krakow – when we visited they had a fabulous night market in the main square with lots of yummy food (and beer!). 2 things I really enjoyed on our trip were visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mine and (albeit a hard day) our day at Auchwitz and Auchwitz-Birkinau – just to add a few more things your history section 🙂

  • Kevin Wagar

    Poland seems like such a wonderful destination! We haven’t been, but I’ll save this for when we do!

  • Budget friendly and great food? Yes, especially the milk bars we found, 1€ a drink and 2€ for a plate of food. Plus the Zapiekankis for a little over 1€ is a brilliant example of simple but tasty street food. Auschwitz of course is a must see even if it is an hour away but plenty of diverse history and culture in various districts of Kraków from the Jewish area of Kazimieriz to Nowa Huta packed full of communist history and stories. So much we didn’t see in the few days we stayed there. I highly recommend people go outside of the Old Town area to get a richer experience of Kraków.

  • Eh, I really regret not visiting Krakow while living in Poland. It is probably one of the best cities in the country.

  • We’ve always wanted to go to Poland, but I had no idea Krakow was so beautiful. Now I’m even more excited. Sounds like a great stop in Europe.

  • Hung Thai

    I’ve had some friends who went to Poland a few years back and couldn’t stop talking about it. They really loved the history, the atmosphere and the food. Definitely a place that I would love to visit at least once.

  • I got close to Poland once…Krakow sounds awesome and I LOVE European sausages so the bockwurst sounds wonderful. I also love the European town squares so was interested to learn that this is the largest one in Europe.

  • PollutedKrakow

    Reason why not to come to Krakow!!
    http://www.krakowskialarmsmogowy.pl/en//

  • Emily Surowka

    actually Krakows public transit is 24/7 on majority of routes 🙂

    • Thank you for lettings us know Emily, we will update the post.

  • Grassroots Nomad

    I’ve always wanted to go to Krakow and even more so after reading this!! It looks incredible 🙂

  • Will be there in July – can’t wait! 😀

  • Hi Guys,

    The wurst and potato salad looks well worth the visit!

    Ryan