Tourist attractions in Krakow
Krakow, first of all , is one of the most popular cities in Poland, the city that doesn’t sleep. But how to plan a few-day stay to see interesting places, the most important tourist attractions and museums?
Old Town, Main Market Square
The Main Market Square centre of beautiful, historic Krakow. The first thing we will see are two tall towers of the mediaeval St. Mary’s Basilica, with the famous altar made in the 15th century by the sculptor Wit Stwosz who came from Nuremberg. In front of the church, there’s a cloth hall, where you can go for example to buy souvenirs. Near the cloth hall there is another, not so impressive, but one of the oldest in Poland – the Church of St. Wojciech.
The Main Market Square is surrounded by beautiful old tenement houses, restaurants and pubs. Around Christmas and Easter, a Christmas market is held in this place. While walking around the Market Square, you will find one of the first attraction which is the Wax Museum. Perfect entertainment for adults as much as for children. You can see actors, celebrities, singers, as well as characters from movies and fairy tales. There is another attraction, a few metres below: the Market Underground – Historical Museum of the City of Krakow. It is a real treasury of knowledge about Krakow, so that is the place we have to visit. In addition most of the streets around the Market Square have their own history, and their names often have interesting legends and tales.
Near the Royal Route, there is Franciszkańska Street, where once you could see the Pope John Paul II Window, unfortunately, it was replaced with a mosaic. On the opposite side, there is another interesting place – Basilica St. Francis of Assisi, a real treat for art lovers. Inside, you can admire stained glass designed by Stanisław Wyspiański. Not far from the western exit of the monastery, there is a bench with a sign with the inscription „The Holy Father John Paul II prayed here”. It was the favourite place of a priest, bishop, archbishop and finally Cardinal Karol Wojtyła.
Wawel Royal Castle
A unique place that you must visit in Krakow. A beautiful, magnificent building is located several minutes from the Main Square. The Wawel Castle was the place, where polish kings reigned and their final resting place. Of course, you can find professional guides there. The price for visiting depends on what we want to see.
Places open to visitors: the Crown Treasury and the Armoury, the Royal Gardens and Chambers, the Dragon’s Den and the Sandomierska Tower. After visiting the castle, you can go for a walk along the Vistula River. There are several barges with restaurants moored at the river bank. For those who are still hungry for experience, you can take advantage of the offer of cruises on the Vistula. Cruise around Krakow or to Tyniec Benedictine Abbey. You can sail during the day or choose an evening cruise.
Kazimierz (The Jewish Quarter)
Kazimierz, once a separate city, not far from the centre of Krakow. For many centuries, Kazimierz was a place of coexistence of Jewish and Christian cultures. This part of Krakow is different from what we can see in the city centre. There are plenty of restaurants here that specialise in serving Jewish cuisine. After your meal, you can go for a walk. When you feel hungry again, you can go to Plac Nowy. There is the „Okrąglak”, a round building in the middle of the square, where you’ll find the most famous dish – “zapiekanka”.
There are many synagogues in Kazimierz that you can enter – the Tempel Synagogue, the Remu Synagogue and probably the most popular Old Synagogue. Near the Remu Synagogue, there is a Jewish cemetery. Every year, the Jewish Culture Festival takes place on Szeroka Street. It is worth visiting the Galicia Jewish Museum. From time to time, the museum organises meetings with people who survived the Holocaust and share their stories in the museum building.
Oscar Schindler's Factory "Enamel"
Most people know his character from the Steven Spielberg movie „Schindler’s List”. Schindler’s factory was located in Kraków, and thanks to the activities he carried out there, he employed hundreds of Jews, which allowed him to save them from certain death.
The main topic of the exhibitions is Krakow and inhabitants before and during the Second World War. Of course, we will also learn a lot about Schindler himself. We can visit the museum with a professional guide in different languages. It is a very popular place so better to book your tickets in advance.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Probably everyone has heard about the Salt Mine in Wieliczka. Being in Krakow, you absolutely must go there. The mine has been on the first UNESCO World Heritage List since 1978. City Wieliczka is about 15 km from Krakow. Tickets are available online and on site at the Salt Mine. However, considering the fact that this place is very popular, it is better to buy online or use a local tour operator. You can enter the mine only under the supervision of a professional guide. You can visit in several languages. Wieliczka offers two routes to choose from but the most popular is the Tourist Route and it takes about 3 hours. Usually, the route starts in the Daniłowicz shaft and at the beginning a lot of stairs – about 800 in total.
The guided tour takes about 2 hours, after which you can go to the museum (the price includes a visit to the museum). After the tour, if someone gets hungry, there is a restaurant in the mine. There are also souvenir places. For those who are scared by the number of steps, good news: you’ll take the elevators on your way to the surface.
As you can see, there are many attractions and it is difficult to indicate the „most important” places that must be seen. It is also worth to go somewhere outside the city, because there you can find even more interesting and beautiful places.