Seven Reasons to Visit Krakow


If you're searching for a destination that is rich in history, and yet friendly and easy to navigate, then the Polish city of Kraków should be your top choice. There you can relax and blend in, go for a walk and visit historical sights and museums, try tasty local food in one of many restaurants or go on a day trip for some outdoor adventure. Krakow has it all and much more. 

 Seven reasons to visit Krakow

1.        Experience  European Charm

A simple walk around Krakow is an adventure on its own. It is a kind of city to get lost in for a day. And while we are talking about getting lost, Krakow is home to Europe's biggest medieval town square - Rynek Glowny. Right in the center of this huge paved square is a Renaissance-style building called Cloth Hall, which is filled with market stalls selling local clothing and jewelry, and towering above the entire square is St. Mary's Basilica. This gothic church that dates back to the 13th century is spectacular inside and out and worth the small fee to step inside and admire the ornate floor-to-ceiling décor. You could spend an entire day or even two exploring the square: shopping in the market, sitting in a café, taking a carriage ride, climbing the steps of the Clock Tower and people watching from above, or sitting by a fountain.

2.         Learn about Poland's rich history.

Krakow was home to Poland's kings and Wawel Castle is one of Europe's largest royal castles, a huge complex with a mix of styles as it grew over the years – adding a turret here and a golden dome there. You can visit five different museum sections and gardens and the cathedral where Pope John Paul II was archbishop before he became Pope.

Krakow handed over Polish capital to Warsaw in 1596 and was later fought over by the Russian, Prussian and Austrian empires. But it's the period of history around the Second World War that most people know Krakow best for. The city was invaded just five days after the war started, and it became the capital of the German Central Government.

The Nazis took over Wawel Castle and forced the Jewish residents first into a ghetto and later shipped them to concentration camps like nearby Auschwitz. It was a dark period of history for Krakow, but there were a few patches of light, like the story of Oskar Schindler.

Another must-discover is Poland's ancient history. You will find beautiful medieval castles and mesmerizing palaces in Krakow. These extravagant residences once belonged to the aristocracy of Poland. Visit one of the city's main attractions, Wawel Royal Castle, situated on the hill overseeing the Vistula River.

Poland's history is turbulent, fascinating, and disturbing, so take some time to learn about the country's past. Only about 70 km (43.5 miles) from Kraków, you will find one of the most-visited sites in the country, Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial & Museum, infamously known as the largest Nazi Germany's concentration and execution camps in the world.

Today, the former campgrounds and the memorial stand as a sad reminder of the 1.1 million people who died here during the Holocaust.

If you're curious to learn more about Poland's Jewish community, start your exploration by visiting Kazimierz's Jewish district in Kraków. This unique quarter features many synagogues, memorials, and cemeteries. Today, however, Kazimierz is filled with buzzing art-galleries, cafes, and shops. You'll find yourself in the middle of a vibrant neighborhood packed with young people, families, and tourists from all over the world.

3.        The architecture

The city's beautiful architecture is another good reason to visit Krakow. Beyond the city walls, you'll come across patches of Communist-era concrete, but the whole of its old town has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's filled with a mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque churches, towers, archways, and cobbled squares.

And right in the heart of Krakow's old town is the main square of Rynek Glowny. It's Europe's biggest market square, and on a sunny spring day, it was full of flower stalls, bagel-sellers, and people on horse and carriage rides. It was just warm enough to grab a table at one of the cafés around the edge of the square and sit with a beer watching people wandering by.

On one side of the square is St Mary's Basilica, built-in 1397 and famous for its wooden carved Veit Stoss altarpiece and an amazing ceiling painted in dark blue and gold to look like the night sky. If you're passing by on the hour, listen out for the trumpet signal from the top of the tallest tower – it cuts off partway through to commemorate the 13th-century trumpeter who was shot in the throat while he sounded the alarm after the Mongols invaded the city.

There's the Sukiennice cloth hall, with a covered market underneath and a museum above, and the Town Hall Tower on the other side of the square. It's all that's left of Krakow's old town hall, and you can climb to the top and look out over the square from 70 meters up.

4.      Great outdoors

After exciting sightseeing, explore the outdoors and natural beauty of Krakow. If you are a kayaking enthusiast, don't miss the Nowa Huta district and the small river called Dłubnia that runs through it. Or start your kayaking adventure from the Vistula River in the city.

5.      Accessibility 

Krakow's main attractions are easily accessible on foot or by bike.  A great option for getting to know the city is an exploration by bike. Rent a bike on your own or join one of the city's guided bike tours.

6.      Try tasty Polish food

Poland may be a dream gastronomic destination if you are a fan of sauerkraut, meat, and dumplings. Don't miss trying famous Bigos, often considered the country's national dish. Bigos or Polish hunter's stew is the meat stew made with fresh or soured cabbage (sauerkraut). Another Polish dish, pierogi,  is often served for breakfast, making it a great way to start your days in Krakow.

7.      Krakow Guide App 

Never get lost with a downloadable city map; research must-see locations as well as hidden gems, choose top things to do for your schedule and budget, and get lots of useful info and tips. Explore the city at your own pace with an audio-tour or select from a list of recommended guided tour experiences. Krakow Guide App will help you do all that and is available for free at the Apple AppStore and Google Play Market.


Come to Krakow to celebrate its rich history and local culture, architecture, arts, crafts, nightlife, and delicious polish food!