Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland, there is so much to see and do in the city and surrounding area. It’s incredible value for money and with cheap return flights from the UK, you could easily spend a week there.
Rynek Glówny and the old town
Krakow’s main square Rynek Glówny is one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe. The magnificent Cloth Hall stands in the centre and is surrounded by churches and townhouses. It looked even prettier when we were there in winter as the Christmas tree was still up.
It’s hard to miss the stunning Wawel Castle on the edge of Krakow’s old town. Built by King Casimir III the Great, it features a mix of medieval and baroque architecture and beautiful Italian courtyard. You can walk there from the main square within 15 minutes.
The former concentration camp provides a sobering reminder of the atrocities committed by the Nazi party during the German occupation of Poland in World War II. You can read more about our visit here.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
378 steps lead you down into this 13th Century salt mine. The miners carved out statues from the rock salt and there are four spectacular underground chapels. Shoot back up to the surface in pitch darkness in an original rickety miners lift!
Try out some authentic Polish food at a traditonal Milk Bar
Bar Mlecznys or Milk Bars were set up in the 1930s as an affordable place to eat, serving mainly dairy foods in a canteen-style setting. They still exist today and serve homemade food at a very cheap price. We visited a couple and tried various dishes such as Pierogi (boiled dumplings) and Kielbasa sausage soup which came in a bowl made of bread.
Vodka has been a Polish staple since the early middle ages and there are plenty of places to try it in Krakow, including the famous Wódka bar which sells many different flavours. Our favourite was Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa, a communist themed bar where we could get a beer and shot of vodka for £1.50. Careful now!
Oskar Schindler’s Factory
The former factory of Oskar Schindler is now a museum dedicated to the experiences of Krakow from before the German invasion in 1939, the Nazi occupation during World War II and the capture of the city by the Soviets. This was one of the most interesting war museums we visited and includes the preserved office of Oskar Schindler himself.
Visit the old Jewish quarter of Kazimierz
Before the war this was the Jewish centre of Krakow, slowly declining during the communist period and becoming a bit of a no-go area. Over the last few years it’s seen a revival and is now a buzzing, bohemian neighbourhood. There are lots of quirky cafes, old style shop fronts, fantastic street art and galleries. We’d definitely consider staying in this area next time.
We only really scratched the surface of Krakow and are sure there are loads more unique and interesting things to do in the city. Do you have any recommendations? Let us know below!