Krakow, a city that draws millions of tourists and travellers every year, a city that is on many travellers there Eurotrip itinerary, and after visiting we knew why. Filled with the most beautiful buildings, from churches to a castle overlooking the city, and delicious food, this city could easily keep you entertained for days. But sadly many of us only get to spend a weekend or a couple of days to explore this city, so it is hard to pick what should be on your Krakow itinerary and what shouldn’t. To help you out we have created an unforgettable 2 day itinerary, filled with our favourite and the most interesting sights in Krakow. Because not only does Krakow have beautiful architecture and delicious food, it’s also a city has a turbulent history as Krakow was occupied by the Nazi’s during World War II. So this itinerary combines a bit of both: the beauty of the city, and the dark past of Krakow. So keep on reading to find out which sights should be on your Krakow itinerary…
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Day 1 in Krakow: The Old Town & Wawel Castle
The old town of Krakow must be one of the most beautiful sights to see, a stunning square and the most stunning maze like streets that will take you to a new destination every time you turn the corner. A visit to Krakow would not be complete without visiting the old town, the perfect place to start your 2 days in Krakow. Keep on reading to find out what there is to do and to see in the Old Town of Krakow….
Wawel Castle & Cathedral
Start your day by making your way to Wawel Castle, which can be easily spotted at is located up the hill on the Southwest side of the city. Not only does this location offer a beautiful view over Krakow and the Vistula river, the architecture alone makes Wawel Castle worth the visit. Wander around the castle and the courtyard and be sure to have a look at the beautiful Wawel Cathedral, located on the same hill. Parts of Wawel Castle and the Cathedral date back all the way till the 11th century, and currently is one of the most famous sights of Krakow! You can buy tickets to enter the cathedral and the castle, or simply wander around the grounds for free like we did. Sadly they were working on the castle during our visit, but the view over the courtyard, the cathedral and parts of the castle were still incredible. Don’t feel like standing in line for your ticket, check out Get Your Guide here to see if this ticket with audioguide would be something for you!
Rynek Glówny – Krakow’s Main Square
From Wawel Castle make your way to Rynek Glówny, Krakow’s main square. Here is where you will find most of Krakow’s most famous (and most touristic) sights. This square is the perfect place to get some breakfast as there are many cafes and restaurants located on the sides of the square offering a perfect view over the square. However, if you are traveling on a budget, you might want to head to one of the side streets instead, as prices here tend to be e bit lower. Krakow’s Main Square is a place you will find yourself keep on coming back to, as most of the streets will lead back to the square, so don’t worry about spending too much time on the square itself, you will undoubtedly be back here later in the day! Keep on reading to find out which sights are worth seeing at Krakow’s Main Square…
Town Hall Tower & Cloth Hall
In the middle of the main square of Krakow you will find the Town Hall Tower and the Cloth Hall, quite easy to spot, as the Town Hall Tower stands tall in the middle of the square. The Cloth Hall is Krakow’s oldest commercial centre, dating all the way back to the 13th century. However, a fire destroyed the old Cloth Hall in the 16th century and was rebuilt in the renaissance style we can still awe at today. Nowadays, while perhaps not the centre of trade of Krakow, it is home to shops filled with souvenirs, the perfect place to go shopping to bring something home from Krakow.
After admiring the cloth hall, make your way to the Town Hall Tower. The Town Hall Tower was originally part of well… the town hall, but with a plan to open up the square the town hall was destroyed, with the tower being the only remaining part. If you are a viewpoint lover you might want to consider climbing to the top of the tower for a panoramic view over the city. While on our itinerary, we sadly had to skip this viewpoint as Rob had sprained his ankle the week before, so climbing all these steps did not seem like the best idea. If you end up climbing the tower, be sure to send us a photo of the view!
St. Mary’s Basilica
If you have made it to the top of the Town Hall Tower you probably already spotted the St. Mary’s Basilica, a gothic church that dates back to the 14th century. You can easily recognise the basilica by the two uneven towers that stand tall over the rest of Krakow. You can admire the basilica from the inside and from up top. The inside of the church is absolutely spectacular, just be sure to use the visitors entrance as part of the basilivc is reserved for those who come to pray. If the interior of the basilica does not interest you much, you might want to consider to climbing the tower of the St. Mary’s Basilica instead.
Price: a ticket to enter the church costs 10 pln and a ticket to the top of the tower is 15 pln.
Not to keen on climbing up steps for a great view, don’t worry, head over to METRUM Restobistro for a lunch with a view. While quite a task to find, the view is absolutely worth it, and the cafe offers great food with budget prices. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast consisting of eggs and some coffee here, adding up to a rough €4 per person, and all of that while admiring a spectacular view over the city, we were surprised it wasn’t busier! Intrigued? Hungry? You can find METRUM Restobistro right here. It is located on the 6th floor of the Krakow Music Academy, and the best thing, you can just take the elevator, no need for taking the stairs!
After you’ve rested up, enjoyed the view and had some delicious coffee it is time to explore a bit more of Krakow’s old town. While Krakow’s main square might be the highlight of the old town, it is the beautiful streets that made us fall in love with the city: one of our personal favourites: Florianska Street. All around the main square you will find the most cozy, scenic and cafe filled streets, the perfect place to spend your afternoons. Go shopping, have a wodka tasting at one of the bars, enjoy some ice cream or find yourself at one of the restaurants eating some delicious pierogies.
Before you end your day of sightseeing in Krakow, and switch to having dinner and perhaps a couple of drinks, be sure to stop and have a walk through Planty Park. Planty Park encircles the old town, so at any of your points leaving the city, you might have actually crossed it already. The peacefulness and quietness of the park are so refreshing compared to the busy touristic centre of the old town. Take a stroll or sit on a park bench and relax, this park is one of the must sees of Krakow! And that is the end of day one, from the beautiful Wawel Castle to sightseeing around Krakow’s Main Square, day one is just the beginning of all that Krakow has to offer. Keep on reading to find out what sights should be on day 2 of your 48 hours in Krakow itinerary…
Day 2 in Krakow: Kazimierz
While the Old Town of Krakow might be the most beautiful part of Krakow, this city actually has so much more to offer, and lucky for everyone, it only requires a short walk. South of the Old Town you can find Kazimierz, Krakow’s historic Jewish Quarter. Head over this way to learn more about Krakow’s history and for some of the most tasty treats Krakow has to offer…
Anyone who has seen the movie of Schindler’s List will be familiar with Schindler’s Factory standing in Krakow. The factory, nowadays, has been turned into a museum that hosts a permanent exhibition called Krakow under Nazi Occupation 1939-1945. So for those who are interested in learning more about Krakow’s history during World War II, and the horror the citizens of Krakow had to endure, this is a must see. But this museum isn’t just a room filled with pictures, this museum tells a story, showcasing different locations within Krakow, perhaps one of the best museums I have ever visited during my travels. However, the stories that are told, needless to say, are not stories of joy and the official museum website does not recommend children under 14 visiting the museum.
Price: entry to the museum is free on Mondays (when we visited), but show up early because there is only a limited amount of tickets available. We showed up around 8.30am and had roughly 40 people standing in line in front of us, and upon entry at 9 around 70 people behind us. On any other day the ticket costs 24 pln.
Ghetto Heroes Square
From Schindler’s Factory make your way to Ghetto Heroes Square where you will find 33 empty chairs, a memorial to the victims of the Krakow Ghetto during World War II. On the Northern Part of the square you can find a former German Guardhouse, and while this guardhouse was originally converted to be used for people lighting a candle and reflection, the place actually looked abandoned. Sights like these are just another reminded of all the horror that has taken place during Nazi occupation in Krakow.
If you decided to visit Schindler’s Factory, you will have read about the wall that was built to close the ghetto off. Estimations say there were roughly 16000 Jews living in the ghetto once the wall was built, a place that formerly had been home to only ±3500 residents. From this ghetto the Jewish residents were later deported to the concentration camps. While almost all of the wall was removed, a couple of sections of the mall remain, and if you don’t play close attention you might easily walk by them. But once you see it, it can’t be missed, the wall that is shaped like tombstones. You can find a fragment of the ghetto wall here in Krakow.
St. Joseph Church
From the fragment of the Ghetto Wall, make your way to the beautiful St. Joseph Church, located at Podgorski square. And while on your way, you might want to stop by at these colourful rainbow stairs hidden in the streets behind a church. We sadly did not enter the St. Joseph Church as a Sunday mass was going on, but the architecture of the church itself earns it a spot on this list. Simply sit back and admire and take a break from all the walking you have been doing this morning! Don’t worry, coffee and delicious snacks will follow soon.
Father Bernatek Bridge
After the St.Joseph Church it is time to leave the former Ghetto and to head to Kazimierz, the historic Jewish Quarter. While many bridges cross the river, it is the Father Bernatek bridge that is one of the most popular and beautiful bridges, so add this to your route. The Father Bernatek bridge is filled with love locks and between the two paths 9 gravity defying sculptures who balance on the construction of the bridge. A beautiful view over the river, and the city of Krakow. From here make your way further North into Kazimierz to the next stop.
Walk through the streets of Kazimierz and head over to Plac Nowy to have a delicious zapiekanka. A zapiekanka is a half open sliced baguette topped with mushrooms, onion and cheese or many other toppings such as bacon or other vegetables. We bought a delicious zapiekanka that had mushrooms and cheese, and was topped with fried onions and garlic sauce, a tasty treat after all that walking! You will find many shops on Plac Nowy selling the zapiekanka’s, when we got there on a Sunday only one shop was open sadly. This delicious street food is an absolute bargain as it costs only 7 – 10 pln which is roughly €1.60 – €2.30, depending on the toppings that you pick! Have a couple and share them with your partner or friends to find out which zapiekanka you like the most!
Walk around the streets of Kazimierz
And last, but definitely not least on this 48 hour Krakow itinerary is roaming the streets of Kazimierz looking for the best coffee and the most delicious food. Kazimierz is filled with cafes and cute restaurants, a perfect place to end your weekend and to simply sit back and relax with a beer, or perhaps some more local delicacies. We stayed in the Kazimierz district and could have not considered it a better choice as it is centrally located to all the sights, with plenty of delicious food around in the evenings. And there you have it, everything you need for an unforgettable 48 hours in Krakow.
Where to stay in Krakow
With Krakow being one of Poland’s most touristic destination you will find plenty of accommodation that suits you, however, the questions might be where to actually begin. We personally stayed in an Airbnb in the Kazimierz area, right in the middle between the different kinds of sights and loads of restaurants around us. Our apartment had a bed, small table with kitchen (including amenities) and a washroom including washing machine, if this is something you are looking for you can check it out here! And to make it even better, if you have never used Airbnb before and sign up through this link you will get a $30 coupon to be used on a future booking!
Where to go after Krakow
While Krakow is often considered one of Poland’s most beautiful and most touristic cities, this beautiful country has so much more to offer. Discover the mountains in Zakopane, explore the capital of Poland Warsaw or perhaps the beautiful city of Wroclaw. After Krakow we decided to head to Ukraine, our first stop: the city of Lviv! If you are planning on discovering other cities in the area we highly recommend checking your transport options on Omio, as they often compare bus, train and plane prices to get you the best deal. Oh, and don’t forget to pin it for later!