Famed for its salt mines and its academic and artistic heritage, Poland’s second most important city is a perfect destination for a last minute getaway.
Here’s 7 reasons why you need to visit Krakow:
Wieliczka Salt Mine (3+ hours)
Opened in the 13th century, Wieliczka Salt Mine was a working mine until 2007.
The mine features on the UNESCO’s World Cultural and Natural Heritage List.
What can you expect from your visit?
- Impressive chambers chiselled out in rock salt
- Incredible underground saline lakes
- Massive timber constructions and unique statues
With over 3km of meandering corridors and 800 steps, it is no surprise that the mine has been visited by 41,500,000 people from around the world.
Prices (incl. guide fee):
Regular: 55 PLN/1 person
Discount: 39 PLN/1 person
Family: 149 PLN/4 persons
Regular: 84 PLN/1 person
Discount: 64 PLN/1 person
Family: 232 PLN/4 persons
Wawel Castle and Cathedral (Basilica of St Stanisław and St Wacław) (3+ hours)
Secondly, as the most historic and culturally significant site in the country, the Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Hill are landmarks you can’t afford to miss.
For architecture enthusiasts, you’ve got medieval, renaissance and baroque styles and culture buffs can also take solace in the fact that in 1978 the site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What you will see on the Wawel Hill:
- Permanent exhibitions in the Wawel Royal Castle include: the state rooms, royal private apartments, crown treasury and armoury, the lost Wawel, and oriental art. Seasonal exhibitions are also available.
Ojców National Park (3+ hours)
Located approximately 10 miles from Krakow, the national park is Poland’s smallest.
If you don’t have a car, catch a bus from the private Unibus rank on ul. Ogrodowa just across from Galeria Krakowska. Tickets (5zł) can be purchased from the driver, and it drops you off at the parking area near Kazimierz Castle (which is also an incredible landmark to visit!).
Main Square (2+ hours)
The Project for Public Spaces (PPS) lists the square as the best public space in Europe due to its lively street life, restaurants, bars and pubs and it was a major factor in the inclusion of Kraków as one of the top off-the-beaten-path destinations in the world in 2016.
The main square is dominated by the Cloth Hall which lies at its center. On one side of the cloth hall is the Town Hall Tower and on the other the 10th century Church of St. Adalbert and 1898 Adam Mickiewicz Monument.
Towering over the main square is the Gothic towers of St. Mary’s Basilica (more on that later).
Kraków Cloth Hall (1+ hours)
The Krakow Cloth Hall dates to the Renaissance and is one of the country’s most recognisable landmarks.
As the central feature of Krakow’s main square in the Old Town, it is now a hive of activity with traders selling a range of gifts, including: amber jewellery, lacework, cloth handicrafts, wood carvings, sheepskin rugs and all sorts of Polish souvenirs at remarkable prices.
You should check out the upper floor of the hall which is now the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Krakow. The museum holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period.
St. Mary’s Basilica (1+ hours)
The church is available for worship without paying an entry fee via the main entrance. Tourists are asked to use a side entrance, however, and not visit during services;
Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory (2+ hours)
A must-visit, Schindler’s Factory is one of the most fascinating museums you’ll visit. the entire country.
Tickets can be bought online three or more days in advance.