Kraków attractions - what is worth seeing in Kraków?
Kraków is one of the largest and most beautiful Polish cities and at the same time, one of the most visited. No wonder - numerous tourists from Poland and abroad are attracted not only by its over 1000-year history but also by its unique atmosphere and great attractions.
The former capital of the country and the seat of Polish kings captivates with magnificent monuments from the royal times. Beautiful, old, historic walls, a dragon's cave hidden on the Wawel hill, a charming market square with an amazing atmosphere of old tenement houses and St. Mary's Church towering over it - this is only a fragment of this wonderful city. What is worth seeing in Kraków? Below you will find a list and descriptions of the most important attractions of this beautiful Polish city.
- The main square in Kraków - Sukiennice
- Mariacki Church in Kraków
- The Wawel dragon and the dragon's lair - Kraków's Wawel Castle
- Barbakan - attractions of Kraków
- Kraków's Kazimierz - interesting places in Kraków
- Kościuszko Mound and other Kraków mounds
- Vistula Boulevards
- Attractions in Kraków - the biggest attractions of Kraków
- WOMAI Kraków - Science and Senses Center
- The Garden of Experiences Stanisław Lem (Ogród Doświadczeń im. Stanisława Lema)
- Water Park in Kraków
- Polish Aviation Museum in Kraków
- Underground Market Square in Kraków
- Municipal Engineering Museum
- Kraków and its surroundings - attractions near Kraków
- Wieliczka Salt Mine
- Energylandia Amusement Park in Zator
- Why is it worth visiting Kraków?
The main square in Kraków - Sukiennice
Let's start our sightseeing from the Main Square in Kraków - the central place in Kraków, with numerous historic tenement houses and the beautiful hall of the Sukiennice, where souvenirs are still traded. This is one of the most beautiful markets in Poland. Let us remember, however, that this is not the only market in the city! Nearby is the Small Market Square, and then the Market Square in Podgórze and several other smaller markets. However, the Main Square is definitely the main point on the map of every tourist who visits Kraków. Various cultural events, concerts and events are often held here, in which not only residents but also tourists visiting this wonderful city willingly take part.
The market is surrounded by many restaurants and cafes, where you can admire the charms of this place in peace. In one of the colourful tenement houses, there is the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków, and in another, the famous Piwnica Pod Baranami - the seat of the once popular cabaret. The Sukiennice catches the eye. Although originally they looked completely different, their function was somewhat the same. As in the past, today it is a place of trade. Previously, there were stalls with cloth - today, they have been replaced by stalls with Kraków souvenirs and folk products.
Mariacki Church in Kraków
Who does not know Mariacki Church? A beautiful, gothic building with soaring towers attracts the attention and eyes of passers-by from afar. It is located right next to Kraków's market square and is indisputably one of the most beautiful sacral buildings in Poland. It is here, from the tower of Mariacki Church, that the bugle call, which is a true showcase and symbol of Kraków, resounds. Related to this is the story of the trumpeter. who, playing the trumpet, warned the inhabitants of the danger that was approaching the city with a bugle call. Unfortunately, the trumpeter was killed by a Tatar arrow without letting go of his trumpet. The memory of his heroism is known in Kraków to this day, which is why every day at 12:00 noon a bugle call is heard from the Mariacka tower to the four corners of the world.
The altar carved by the famous late-Gothic sculptor - Wit Stwosz is also very impressive. The altar was built 12 years - no wonder because when you look closely at the figures and details placed on the wooden structure, it's hard to believe that it is the work of human hands! It is a real pride and heritage not only of Kraków but on the scale of the whole country. Of course, you can visit Mariacka Basilica inside - the Wit Stwosz altar is open every day, which is definitely worth seeing with your own eyes.
Tourists can visit the presbytery and the front part of the nave of the basilica with the chapels, entering through the entrance from the south. But we also recommend contemplation and prayer in silence - this part of the church can be entered through the main entrance, leading from the Market Square. In the monumental building of the basilica, personal experiences are something magical - it is worth giving yourself a moment of spiritual solace and tranquillity.
The Wawel dragon and the dragon's lair - Kraków's Wawel Castle
Another attraction without which Kraków would not be Kraków is the Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Dragon! It is a Renaissance residence, the place of the reign of Polish kings, today inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is one of the most famous architectural monuments not only in Kraków but also throughout Poland, also because it is the largest Polish castle. But this is not the only "BEST" that Wawel Hill can boast of. Wawel Cathedral is one of the oldest Polish churches. It is also the burial place of Polish rulers and figures important to Polish history, such as Juliusz Słowacki, Adam Mickiewicz, Józef Piłsudski and President Lech Kaczyński.
Within the walls of the castle, tourists will find numerous exhibitions and exhibitions presenting the history of Poland. The youngest can visit the Dragon's Den, where - according to the legend - the Wawel dragon used to live. This place is eagerly photographed by tourists, and the greatest fun is made by a dragon breathing real fire every 10 minutes (already - fortunately - not real). Speaking of Wawel, it is also worth mentioning the famous Zygmunt Bell, which until 1999, boasted the title of the largest Polish bell. According to the legend, the sound of the Zygmunt Bell at Christmas, Easter and Midsummer's Eve wakes up Polish kings, who then gather in one of the halls of Wawel.
Barbakan - attractions of Kraków
Another monument that is associated with Kraków and which you can and even must visit while in this city is the Barbakan, also called Rondel by the locals. The Barbakan is part of the city fortifications of Kraków in Planty Park. You will recognize it by its characteristic round shape and seven turrets. But the interior of the building is also impressive, although visiting it is not always possible (open only in the summer season). However, if the barbican is open to visitors, it is worth going inside to realize how strong it was for the city. Currently, one of the branches of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków operates inside - exhibitions, sports competitions and contemporary fights modelled on knights' tournaments, and even fencing championships are organized. Interestingly - the barbican along with the entire Old Town, has also been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Let this fact speak for itself!
Kraków's Kazimierz - interesting places in Kraków
However, let's go beyond the strict Old Town and go to Kazimierz. For many, it is one of the most beautiful districts of Kraków. Kazimierz is a place where Jewish and Christian culture meet. Jews appeared here almost 700 years ago and until the beginning of the 19th century, they created their "city within the city", which included today's streets: Bożego Ciała, Józefa, Wąska, Wawrzyńca and Miodowa Street. Here, due to the unique atmosphere and the presence of numerous pubs and restaurants, Kraków's evening life is vibrant. Also, in Kazimierz, we will find numerous art studios and galleries - here you can truly feel the spirit of Kraków's bohemia! Or maybe you will be tempted to visit the so-called. Okrąglak at ul. Esther? It is there that there are numerous stalls and gastronomic stands with the already iconic casseroles from Kazimierz.
Kościuszko Mound and other Kraków mounds
Since we have already left the very center of the city, then ... let's go even further! The Kościuszko Mound is one of the five mounds in Kraków. It is dedicated to Tadeusz Kościuszko. Next to the mound itself, there are several points referring to the history of Poland. This is Bastion V - an exhibition dedicated to Tadeusz Kościuszko, Kaponiera Południe, where there are two exhibitions: the Gallery of Wax Figures "Poles Roads to Freedom" and "Fortress and the City of Kraków - 1846-1918" and Curtain I-V South - a place of temporary exhibitions, an interactive exhibition organized together with the Cracow University of Technology under the title "Living Constructions" and an exhibition at the Museum of the National Army.
As you can see, the Mound itself and its immediate vicinity are a centre of patriotism and a place where you can delve into the secrets of Polish history, which we strongly encourage you to do! In addition to a valuable history lesson, tourists can also enjoy wonderful views of the city and the surrounding area. The mound is over 34 meters high, so the scenery is great! Kościuszko Mound can be easily reached from the center of Kraków by bus.
The other mounds are the Mound of Krakus and Wanda, the Mound of Józef and the Mound of John Paul II. These mounds are less popular but no less attractive - perhaps visiting Kraków along the trail of mounds will be your new idea? If you are looking for beautiful panoramas and light climbing on occasion (movement is welcome!), then a hike to Kraków's mounds should satisfy you.
It's no secret that the river in the city gives +100 points to its attractiveness. This is also the case in Kraków. The boulevards along the Vistula river are the favourite resting and meeting place not only for tourists but also for the city's inhabitants. A walk by the river is not only relaxation but also another sightseeing curiosity. For example, on the Kurland Boulevard, leading to Kazimierz, there is a statue of Dżok the Dog, with a touching story associated with it. The recreational Vistula Cycling Route also runs through the boulevards. There are water tram stops at Rodła, Czerwieński, Inflacki and Wołyński boulevards.
And since we're on the topic of water - a completely new and exciting experience will be a cruise on the Vistula River. Visiting Kraków from the river level will reveal a completely different perspective and sightseeing experience. Cruises take place not only in the city but also, for example, to Tyniec near Kraków, where the famous Benedictine abbey is located. The building from the 11th century, suspended on a rock, is the oldest existing monastery in Poland!
Attractions in Kraków - the biggest attractions of Kraków
Being in Kraków with children, there is no chance that you will be bored. The youngest will love the Obwarzanek Living Museum - a place where, according to an original recipe, you can brew, bake and finally taste a homemade obwarzanek. It is true that in Kraków you can find people selling this delicacy on every corner, but a pretzel made by yourself will not only be tastier but above all, more satisfying. And by the way, you will learn the history of this baking and answer the question: why exactly in Kraków does everyone love obwarzanki so much?
WOMAI Kraków - Science and Senses Center
Another place that children will love is WOMAI - Center for Science and Senses. This is an exhibition that shows how extraordinary human senses are. There are two exhibitions in the Center: “Towards the Light” and “Towards the Darkness”. On the first one you will learn riddles about light - optical illusions, magic mirrors, mysterious luminescent paints or playing laser instruments are waiting for you. The second exhibition “Towards Darkness” is a walk in complete darkness. Blind people are guided around the exhibition. During a walk, we can experience for a moment how the world is perceived by people who cannot see at all. This is a valuable lesson not only for children!
The Garden of Experiences Stanisław Lem (Ogród Doświadczeń im. Stanisława Lema)
Another attraction worth visiting with your child is the Experience Garden. Stanisława Lem - a place that will appeal to little engineers. Labyrinths, experiments, explosions, physical, hydrostatic, mechanical, acoustic and sensory experiences allow you to combine learning and fun. The Garden also has a gyroscope, i.e. a flight simulator used during the training of aircraft pilots, soldiers and cosmonauts, a toboggan run and a planetarium with a spherical cinema. We are sure that every child will be delighted!
Water Park in Kraków
If your child loves splashing around in the water, a trip to the Kraków Water Park will be a great idea. Several slides - pontoon ones for everyone and extremely fast for the brave ones, a rapid river, climbing walls, a rainbow path, a colourful paddling pool with the Pirate Island, splashing animals, a pirate ship with water cannons, three small slides and a Magic Mushroom for children and all the rest of the attractions for sure it will allow your child to relax while providing him with great fun.
Polish Aviation Museum in Kraków
Hop hop! We also have something for little plane lovers. The Kraków Museum of Polish Aviation collects over 200 aircraft, making it one of the leading museums of this type in the world. Some of the exhibits can be viewed inside the building, but most are located outside (so sunny weather, or at least no rain, will be useful during the visit). Some aircraft models are the only surviving examples in the world! Among the showcases, you can find the one with pilots' uniforms - there is also the one belonging to the Polish cosmonaut Mirosław Hermaszewski. There are also examples of planes that participated in World War I and II. Some of them can even be visited from the inside! Such an opportunity will encourage every young explorer.
Underground Market Square in Kraków
The last of Kraków's attractions, which you may not have known about because ... it is hidden underground ;), is the Underground Market. It is an attraction for both adults and children, and it is also perfect for a family trip. You enter the underground through the Sukiennice. So we return to one of the historical parts of Kraków. It will be no different when it comes to underground corridors - a real historical treasure is hidden at a depth of several meters. The level of the market square in Kraków has been rising for hundreds of years - the result was the creation of the underground, dating back to the times before the location of the city, from the 13th century. In the underground, you will find, for example, the brick walls of old buildings, original everyday objects of old inhabitants of Kraków obtained as a result of excavations, uncovered foundations of cottages from up to nine centuries ago, or reconstructions of medieval craftsmen's workshops. It is worth visiting the Underground Market Square to immerse yourself even more in the history of this extraordinary city - literally and figuratively.
Municipal Engineering Museum
This is a unique place on the map of Kraków's attractions. The Museum of Municipal Engineering has gathered unique collections from the history of industry, crafts and engineering. The rich collection includes over 3,000 objects. Here you will find unique specimens of cars and motorcycles, e.g. Polish Fiat 508 or CWS M111 Sokół from 1935. It is worth knowing that the Museum has two branches. The first is the Experience Garden Stanisław Lem - this is a perfect place for lovers of optics, acoustics or mechanics. The second branch is Hangar Czyżny. The main seat of the museum is the depot complex at Św. Wawrzyniec Street.
Kraków and its surroundings - attractions near Kraków
When you have visited all the attractions of Kraków - although it will certainly take you a few days, it is worth getting to know the attractions that await you near the city. You will have the opportunity to go underground and also soar high in the clouds! There is a lot to choose from, check it out!
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Famous throughout Poland and abroad, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is a TOP attraction on a European scale. The "Wieliczka" Salt Mine is an extraordinary place - hidden from the world, full of secrets and legends. By going on an underground journey along the Tourist Route, you will admire landscapes unseen on the surface: saline lakes and beautiful underground chambers, including the unique Chapel of St. Kinga. You will learn about old mining tools and machines as well as the methods of salt extraction and transport used in the past.
Energylandia Amusement Park in Zator
You will find dozens of attractions here, which are located on an area of 35 hectares, intended for all age groups, both children, teenagers and adults.
The park has been divided into several thematic zones: Bajkolandia - a land of children's desires, a family zone with attractions for the whole family, an extreme zone - a place for people who love adrenaline, Water Park - a real tropical island with a large number of water attractions and many others.
Why is it worth visiting Kraków?
And these are all the places we wanted to recommend to you this time. Remember however, that this is only a small part of all the attractions that Kraków can boast of. Thinking about Kraków, we primarily imagine its beautiful historic buildings - Sukiennice, the Old Town, the Wawel Castle or Mariacki Church. Walking through Kraków's Old Town, you can discover a real treasury of works of art and architecture.
Kraków has a rich history and it is almost entirely one great monument, which is surrounded by the largest river in Poland - the Vistula. But monuments are only part of Kraków's attractions. Numerous parks, green spaces, natural attractions, boulevards, bridges, attractions for children, as well as a huge number of restaurants, pubs, cafes, bars and places to stay make Kraków a lot of tourists every year, both from Poland and actually from the whole world.
That is why we hope that after reading you will visit this beautiful and rich city. One day will definitely not be enough - to visit Kraków diligently, you need to book at least a few days.
We wish you a pleasant stay in Kraków!