You may be wondering what Krakow is? Are you thinking of googling the world map to see what and where Krakow is in the first place? No need. Let us share this little journey of knowledge with you. Bearing the scent of history, Krakow is a city of a medieval core lies to the south of Poland, the well-known central-Europe country. At the heart of it is the old town, surrounded by remnants of its medieval walls. Besides, Krakow is the second-largest city in Poland, meaning that plentiful sites and landmarks await you if you decided to visit it. Following, Pouted online magazine presents you 12 unforgettable things to do in Krakow.
Table of Contents
1 A walking tour in the Old Town
Nothing could help you capture the essence of a place like walking its streets and being among its people. And touring the old town of Krakow is a real joy. Lying at the heart of the city, it is easy to reach and full of life. Moving your feet on the cobblestone streets, you can watch the fascinating medieval architecture and renowned landmarks. Among the places to visit are the Planty Gardens, St. Florian’s Gate, the Main Market Square, St. Mary’s Basilica, and St. Adalbert’s Church. If you want to join a small group in a walking tour in the Old Town of Krakow, try https://discovercracow.com/. This way, you will avoid the noise and distraction of big groups, and have the benefits of accompanying a native guide who knows the city, its history, and stories well.
2 View the city from the Town Hall Tower
Located in the main market square, the tower is the remaining landmark of the old Town Hall of Krakow. The massive stone-and-brick building dates back to the end of the 13th century. It is 70 meters tall, meaning you will enjoy an excellent panoramic view of the city from above. The top floor is open to visitors and has an observation deck. Plus, in the middle of the deck is an old clock which you can view from inside. At the sides of the entrance are two guardian stone lions, and near it is the head of Eros Bendato, meaning Eros bound. They are much more recent, going back to the 19th century and 20th century respectively.
3 The Jewish Quarter
It was a city called Kazimierz, then has become a district of Krakow known as the Jewish Quarter. It is a unique place, bearing a rich history of Polish and Jewish cultures that coexisted side by side for hundreds of centuries. Among the sites to visit, are the synagogues and cemetery; they have a fascinating history and lots of woven legends around them.
4 Sukiennice Museum in the Cloth Hall
Another central spot in the Market Square of the old town is the Cloth Hall. Dating back to the Renaissance, the place was a massive trade center. The 15th century was its golden age when it comprised imports from the east such as spices, wax, leather, and silk along with exports, including textiles, and salt. On the upper floor is the Sukiennice Museum, a division of the National Museum of Krakow in which is a collection of Polish paintings and sculptures from the 19th century.
5 Wieliczka Salt Mine
Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the best landmarks of Krakow. The UNESCO World Heritage site is an underground labyrinth that reaches the depth of 327 meters below the ground, extends to more than 287 kilometers, and has 20 chambers. Taking some deep breathes while you are there is beneficial, for salt has therapeutic power. The opening of the salt mine was in the 13th century.
It takes about two and a half hours by bus or train to reach Zakopane, a southern town. It possesses a rich Goral culture. The Gorals are an ethnographic group that primarily inhabited the south of Poland, Northern Slovakia. Besides taking a tour in the town, one of the best things to do in Zakopane is to spend some time in Chochołów thermal pools. There you will allow your body to relax and benefit from the hot water.
7 Wawel Castle
The renowned castle was the residence of Polish kings when Krakow was the capital of Poland. Constructed on a hill, it is a fantastic site. Wawel is a complex of buildings that surround a massive yard. It has a unique architecture of different styles due to its rebuilding and renovation many times because of wars, fires, and thefts. Wawel Castle is today a museum where you can enjoy incredible collection of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, tapestries, etc.
8 A local food tour
This one is perfect for foodies and those who love touring and spending time in local areas that bears the original essence of the place they visit. In local spots like Kazimierz, you will be surrounded by local citizens; you could watch artists and craftsmen doing their work, and taste delicious native dishes. Many yummy cuisines await you to try and enjoy, including hearty cabbage stews, schnitzel, polish doughnuts, pancakes, and crumpets. And if you want to do some shopping, there are the Jewish market and local artists’ workshops.
9 Attend Chopin Concert
While in Krakow you cannot miss attending a Chopin concert, especially if you are a music lover. Listening to the piano compositions of the renowned, talented Polish musician Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) in his homeland is something that you will indeed always remember. He was a leading composer of his era; he is still loved and his music heard by numerous people all around the world. His masterpieces, filled with traditional melodies, have crossed the borders of Poland and found its way to the hearts of many.
10 Watch a folk show
Nothing could help you truly experiencing a place like exposing yourself to the folk arts of its people. Therefore, attending a live folk show filled with dances and music is among the best things to do in Krakow. You will indeed enjoy the colorful traditional costumes of the performers and their superb performance.
11 Auschwitz Birkenau Museum
The infamous Auschwitz concentration camp was the place where prisoners from the whole of Europe ended up in during the Nazi rule and World War II. Among them were Jews, Hungarians, French, and Poles. Today, Auschwitz is a UNESCO World Heritage site that many tourists visit to know about its history and hear the tragic stories that the place once was loaded with. Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial Museum was founded in 1947. There, you will find documents, gas chambers, pictures, personal belongings, and real places and barracks in which prisoners and jailers lived.
12 Go for a bike tour
What can be better than biking throughout a foreign city and watching whole new scenery? There is no hurry or final destination you are looking up to reach, just you, the bike, and the road. It is a fantastic way to relax and enjoy the beauty of Krakow.
We hope that you enjoy the previously mentioned activities while in exotic Krakow. If you have other ideas on how travellers can spend an enjoyable time in Krakow, tell us about them in the comment section below.