Krakow is definitely one of the most amazing European cities!
That’s why visit Krakow is a perfect idea, even for a few days.
Anyway, this magical city offers so many attractions, that you may have a problem about which to choose for the first weekend in Krakow.
On the other hand, your travel to Poland can be really spontaneous, so you just won’t have time to study all the Krakow guides.
For such cases we’ve prepared an ultimatum 3 days in Krakow guide, that will save a lot of your time and make your visit unforgettable!
Follow all those steps and you won’t waste even one minute in Krakow or miss even one must-see Krakow site.
Check what is waiting for you!
Table of Contents
- 1 Krakow – the unusual city
- 2 Day 1: “Step back in time”
- 3 Day 2: “Remembrance and fun”
- 4 Day 3: “Other face of the city”
Krakow – the unusual city
Krakow as an artistic and historical city is one of the Polish gems. It’s the perfect mixture of medieval souvenirs, up-to-date lifestyle, interesting people and tiny, buzzing streets. With its all museums, unique sightseeing, delicious restaurants and amazing views, Krakow is the national pride, that is totally worth your time. It can offer you all the best of Poland and become the symbol of modern Central Europe.
Do you want to know this city a little bit deeper?
Find the ready to use plan about what to see in Krakow in 3 days below!
Day 1: “Step back in time”
The city centre of Krakow is something that you definitely can not skip! It’s created by the network of lovely streets, rich architecture, important monuments of Polish history and crowded cafes that will totally steal your heart! You don’t have to go further to fulfil your first day in Krakow. Just take a look what is waiting for you in Krakow Old Town area:
Krakow Main Square
Krakow Market is the largest square in the city, and one of the largest in Europe at the same time (its edges are 200 meters long!). Almost every tourist can also agree that it is one of the most beautiful Polish places as well. The origins of Krakow Main Square date back to 1257 (the very beginnings of the whole town). You have to know that all colourful tenement houses that are surrounding the square were built between XIV and XIX centuries. In this way, Krakow Old Town was designed for merchants travelling by main trade routes. It was also the centre of the city with performing commercial, administrative and judicial functions.
Krakow Main Square was filled with granary, town hall, pillory, 320 stalls and numerous, residential buildings. Unfortunately, most of these objects disappeared and have been replaced by romantic restaurants and cafes, colourful umbrellas and horse cabs that are the great tourist attraction.
Nowadays Krakow Main Square is the most buzzing place in the city with a unique artistic and folk atmosphere. The market itself is worth a few hours of exploring. We recommend you the interesting history of each building.
How long? It will take 1 to 2 hours of your time.
Don’t you like rush?
Join Krakow small group walking tour or just focus on the most characteristic monuments below.
Cloth Hall and the Underground Museum
Krakow Cloth Hall is the most characteristic object of the city centre. You can find many traditional souvenirs and handicraft inside it. Its architecture is a great example of Renaissance art as it’s decorated with sharp arcades. Not everyone knows that there is a very interesting Museum under it. You will take few steps back in time by entering it.
How is this possible?
The whole exhibition of the Underground Museum based on archaeological finds and the interior reconstructs the medieval times of Krakow. Be ready for an amazing time travel.
Tip: If you are a kind of the vigorous tourist, buy Museum Tickets Package and enjoy the Krzysztofory Palace and the view from the Town Hall as well!
St. Mary’s Basilica
St. Mary’s Basilica is the largest and most important (after the Wawel Cathedral) church of Krakow. You will find the largest Gothic wooden altar created by Nuremberg artist Veit Stoss inside. The interior of the basilica is richly decorated with beautiful pictures and scenes that impress everyone so if you want to skip the line buy the entrance tickets here.
Now it’s time for a little break! You can not spend it in another way than trying traditional Polish food! Choose one of the restaurants with national cuisine and order pierogi ruskie (Polish dumplings), golonka (pork knee) or żurek (kind of traditional soup). You will love it!
Are you a real food lover? Consider a local food crawl tour then and become an expert of Polish cuisine!
Going for a walk is probably the best idea after a big meal. The romantic Planty Park is waiting for you just right there! Its long paths surround the Old Town and offer many beautiful views. You can meet friendly locals, young students and smiling tourists on every step there. Buy a fresh, traditional snack called “obwarzanek” and sit on the bench to enjoy the trees and birds around. See the magic that appears there after sunset as well!
If you are not enough of historical monuments, the gothic-style Barbican will satisfy you. Its admirable walls were the part of city’s fortifications as the whole building was the main entrance of Krakow (together with the Florian’s Gate).
Now go get some sleep and prepare yourself for the second day of your weekend in Krakow!
Day 2: “Remembrance and fun”
Pack your bag and prepare yourself for another intensive day!
Krakow offers a lot not only in the city centre area but also around it. In this way, it’s good to seize the opportunity and see Auschwitz Concentration Camp when visiting Krakow.
Why is it worth to leave the city for that trip?
Auschwitz-Birkenau is probably one of the saddest proof of human cruelty in the world. We recommend you to visit Auschwitz as you may have the most remarkable history lesson in your life.
We all know that “travel broadens the mind’ and Auschwitz is the best testimony of that wisdom. See all the barracks, gas chambers, crematoria and pictures of millions of victims to find out what the war can lead to. Feel the unforgettable atmosphere of that terrifying place that was the cruellest tool of Holocaust.
Nowa Huta District
The kid of socialism in Poland – Nowa Huta District is the total opposition of cosy Krakow that you have met yesterday. You won’t find many tourists there but it’s an absolute must-see if you are the fan of recent Poland’s history and Orwell’s books.
Nowa Huta is completely planned, socialist, realistic “city in the city” that was built as a part of the political plan. It is also the great example of a communal way of designing.
The Museum of PRL
In the former cinema’s building of Nowa Huta, you are going to find the Museum of Poland under the Communist Regime. It’s the best way to see how did everyday life look in Poland between 1944 and 1989. Old furniture, documents, videos and personal things will be at your fingertips!
Krakow pubs and cafes
It’s good to smile and meet some nice people, especially after the reflexive experiences during the whole day.
You have to know that Krakow nightlife is one of the best in Poland!
It doesn’t matter what kind of music do you like: disco, live jazz, karaoke or cabaret songs – Krakow has that all!
During the night you have to try polish vodka and some bread with smalec (the traditional spread made of pork fat and onion). You will be surprised how many nice places and friendly people are there in town and how crazy time it can be!
Don’t you know which pubs are worth a visit? Join Krakow crawl and just let the party begin!
Remember, your party can last even until the sunrise! 😉
Day 3: “Other face of the city”
Did you know that there was Jewish ghetto in Krakow?
Kazimierz (that nowadays is the district of the city) was the place of coexistence and interweaving of Jewish and Christian culture for a very long time. Its numerous monuments have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. You can expect many monumental synagogues, old theatres, museums and tiny shops there, all crossed together with singular pubs and cafes that captivate with their interiors.
It’s completely different space than the Main Square area, as buildings are small and narrow. Anyway, there is still a lot of magic as Kazimierz has become the favourite area for local artists and craftsmen who appreciate its truthfulness and freezing in time.
Walking through Kazimierz you are going to feel like in another city (indeed, before being Krakow ghetto Kazimierz was once a separate city). Prepare your wallet for a little shopping and your ears for live concerts inside the small pubs. On weekends you will find a flea market in Kazimierz as well!
Kazimierz is also well known for zapiekanki from Plac Nowy that are the most popular local fast-food. In fact, zapiekanka is a baguette cut into half and baked with various toppings under the cheese layer. Tastes the best with ketchup or garlic sauce! Try it and you will understand why queues can be so long!
Schindler’s Factory Museum
You can not miss the famous Schindler’s Factory Museum while being in Krakow.
The Oscar Schindler from Spielberg’s movie?
Just the same! The museum is located in the administrative building of the former enamelware factory better known as Deutsche Emailwarenfabrik (DEF) headed by Oskar Schindler.
In 1943 when Krakow ghetto was liquidated and the rest of the Jews were transferred to the Płaszów labour camp, Schindler built a special camp for his Jewish workers at the back of the factory. Several hundred prisoners could live there and work in calm. Then in 1944, when the front was approaching Krakow, Schindler evacuated the production and workers of the factory to Brünnlitz in Moravia that saved their lives.
Nowadays, the forty-five museum halls show Krakow from the time of the Second World War. Thanks to the exhibition you will find out about Krakow as a centre of the General Government, everyday life of the inhabitants of the occupied city, the fate of Krakow Jews and the history of Oskar Schindler.
How long? If you want to visit the museum thoroughly, book two hours of your time. Schindler’s Museum guided tour is the best option to learn as much as possible!
Wawel Royal Castle
Sometimes it’s worth to keep the best for the end!
Wawel Royal Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Entirely, it’s something you have to see during your 3 days in Krakow!
The Castle is charmingly situated in the bend of the Vistula River. It is the most valuable monument of national history and culture in Poland. It is also a treasury of knowledge about Polish history and a symbol of national consciousness at the same time. Did you know that the Wawel hill was inhabited for about 100,000 years, and became a centre of secular and church power? Later on, Wawel has been inscribed on the Unesco world heritage list in 1978 as it’s the biggest gem of Lesser Poland!
Wawel has so many beautiful chambers and rooms that it’s hard not to get lost in their rich resources. That’s why we highly recommend you to join Wawel Royal Castle Guided Tour and enjoy the wealth of Wawel in full concentration and without hurry.
After that trip you will be only one step back to the Main Square – just in case you would like to adore it one more time! 😉