Things to do in Krakow
While it bustles with modern life on a daily basis, visually, Krakow is a historic city. On the UNESCO World Heritage list, the city is practically a museum of historic styles of architecture with everything from Renaissance to Gothic and Baroque buildings. The best examples of the city’s incredible breadth of structures can be found in the Old Town, Wawel and Kazimiers districts. In the Old Town, there is an amazing selection of over 20 museums, the most popular being the National Museum of Krakow that holds collections of classical archaeology, modern art and, most interestingly, Polish-style paintings.
Take a break from the museums and sightseeing and grab a coffee in the Rynek Główny while you listen out for the live solo trumpeter at St Mary Church who plays a set tune every hour. During summer, boats dock outside Wawel Castle and take visitors for a peaceful trip along the nearby river Vistula offering an unique view of the cityscape.
One of the biggest Jewish festivals in the world takes place in Krakow annually in late June or early July. Lasting 9 days, the Jewish Culture Festival celebrates Jewish history, food and, of course, the faith itself. Exhibitions, plays and organised tours occur throughout the event offering a fantastic glimpse of Jewish traditions and culture in Krakow. In late August, don’t miss the internationally acclaimed Coke Live Music Festival that has seen headline performances from Kanye West to Jay-Z, Rihanna, Faithless, Biffy Clyro and many more.
For our fave things to see and do in Krakow, read on.
Up until 2007, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Wieliczka Salt Mine was one of the oldest in operation having opened a phenomenal 800 years ago. Below the ground, a sizable cathedral awaits as well as a miner’s bar and carvings created over the centuries.
Dominating the left bank of Vistula River, the fortified Wawel Complex stands tall looking over the city. The many buildings that make up the complex date back in parts to 970 AD, the most prominent and popular of which are the Royal Castle and Cathedral.
Krakow’s Main Square hums with commerce and always has some sort of event occurring, whether it’s the regular weekend market or an extra -pecial festive gathering. The largest medieval square in Europe, Krakow’s community stronghold dates back to the 13th century.
Just an hour’s drive from Krakow, Auschwitz Concentration Camp tells one of the darkest and most disturbing stories from the world’s history books. A tour typically consists of looking around the ruined gas chambers, residential barracks, crematoria and permanent onsite museum unveiling stories of utter heroism and despair.