Best Museums and Galleries to Visit in Krakow

A Guide to Krakow's Best Museums and Galleries

Krakow, Poland’s former royal capital, offers a captivating blend of history, art, and culture. With its stunning architecture, vibrant streets, and rich heritage, this city is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also home to some of the finest museums and galleries in the region. Whether you’re eager to explore the intricate details of Polish art or delve into the city’s storied past, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to satisfy your curiosity in Krakow.

Best Museums and Galleries to Visit in Krakow

The city boasts a diverse range of museums and galleries that cater to the interests of tourists, history enthusiasts, and art lovers alike.

From the medieval allure of Rynek Underground Museum to the cutting-edge contemporary works at the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art, there is no shortage of fascinating destinations for you to explore.

You’ll also find moving, poignant commemorations of World War II and the region’s Jewish history, offering important historical context and reflection.

As you immerse yourself in Krakow’s vibrant cultural scene, be prepared to make unforgettable memories while uncovering the hidden gems of this charming city.

No matter your interests or background, you’ll leave Krakow with a newfound appreciation for the city’s resilience, history, and artistic prowess.

Krakow Museums and Galleries to Visit

Key Takeaways

  • Krakow is a must-visit destination for art, history, and culture enthusiasts
  • The city’s museums and galleries cover a wide range of topics, from contemporary art to Jewish history
  • Visiting these institutions will leave you with memorable experiences and a deeper understanding of Krakow’s unique identity

Krakow’s Top Museums and Galleries

National Museum in Kraków

Excited to explore Krakow’s cultural scene? Your first stop should be the National Museum in Kraków. This museum boasts an extensive collection of Polish art and historical artefacts.

National Museum in Kraków

As you wander through the galleries, you’ll find everything from medieval carvings to modern masterpieces by renowned artists like Matejko.

Don’t forget to visit the famous Panorama of the Battle of Racławice, a 360-degree cycloramic painting!

MOCAK: Museum of Contemporary Art

Ready for a dose of cutting-edge creativity? Head to MOCAK: Museum of Contemporary Art.

Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow MOCAK

This impressive museum presents the best of contemporary art and design from Poland and beyond.

Engage with thought-provoking exhibitions that showcase the role of art in today’s society while also enjoying the stunning architecture of the museum itself.

Oskar Schindler’s Factory Museum

Dive into the history of Krakow during the Nazi occupation at Oskar Schindler’s Factory Museum.

Fabrika Oskara Schindlera

This poignant museum details the story of Oskar Schindler, who saved over 1,000 Jews from the

Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware factory. Explore the exhibits to learn about the lives of those who lived and worked there during this dark period in history.

Galicia Jewish Museum

For a fascinating insight into Krakow’s Jewish heritage, visit the Galicia Jewish Museum. This unique museum showcases the rich history and culture of the Polish Jews in Galicia.

Galicia Jewish Museum

Discover the stories of ordinary people through moving photography exhibitions, and attend engaging events to deepen your understanding of Jewish life in the region.

Polish Aviation Museum

Aviation enthusiasts, this one’s for you! At the Polish Aviation Museum, you can explore a vast collection of aircraft, engines, and aviation memorabilia.

Museum of Polish Aviation in Krakow

From historic planes to supersonic jets, this museum offers a fantastic experience for all ages. Check also Polish Museum of Aviation Ticket

Stained Glass Museum

Marvel at vibrant stained glass masterpieces at the Stained Glass Museum.

Stained Glass Museum

This intimate museum offers a comprehensive look into the history and craftsmanship of stained glass art, featuring both antique and contemporary pieces.

Additionally, you can even observe artisans at work in the on-site workshop!

Czartoryski Museum

Don’t miss the chance to visit the iconic Czartoryski Museum, an exquisite gallery displaying an impressive array of European and Polish art.

Czartoryski Museum in Krakow

Here, you can view iconic works such as Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Lady with an Ermine’ while learning about the rich history of the noble Czartoryski family. Read also Lady with an Ermine: Surprising Facts You Never Knew About

Ethnographic Museum in Krakow

Experience the diverse culture and customs of Poland at the Ethnographic Museum in Krakow.

Ethnographic Museum in Kazimierz

This fascinating museum showcases traditional folk costumes, crafts, and rituals from various regions of Poland, providing an insightful look into the country’s vibrant heritage.

Krakow Pinball Museum

Fancy a bit of retro fun? Head to the quirky Krakow Pinball Museum.

Krakow Pinball Museum

This interactive museum lets you play on over 60 vintage pinball machines, transporting you back to the glory days of arcade gaming.

Pharmacy Museum

Discover the history of medicine and pharmacy at the intriguing Pharmacy Museum.

Eagle Pharmacy Museum of Krakow

Housed in the former pharmacy of Tadeusz Pankiewicz, who aided Jews in the Krakow Ghetto during WWII, this museum presents a fascinating collection of ancient pharmaceutical equipment, manuscripts, and even poison containers!

Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art in the Sukiennice

Explore the magnificent Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art in the Sukiennice, where you’ll find a stunning collection of Polish art from the Romantic period to the Modern era.

Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art in the Sukiennice

Admire masterpieces by renowned artists, and take in the grandeur of the historic Sukiennice building itself.

Museum of Municipal Engineering in Krakow

Delve into the history of technology and transportation at the Museum of Municipal Engineering.

Museum of Municipal Engineering in Kraków

This interactive museum offers an engaging insight into the development of public transport, featuring old trams, buses, and more.

Pomorska Street Gestapo Prison

Take a sombre visit to the Pomorska Street Gestapo Prison.

Pomorska Street Gestapo Prison

This former Gestapo headquarters now serves as a memorial to the prisoners who suffered under the Nazi regime, showcasing chilling artefacts and remains of the original cells.

The Town Hall Tower

For a mixture of history and panoramic views, climb the Town Hall Tower.

Town Hall Tower in Krakow

Take in the breath-taking panorama of Krakow while learning about the history of this majestic medieval tower.

Lost Souls Alley in Krakow

Looking for a thrilling experience? Dare to enter the Lost Souls Alley, an immersive, horror-themed attraction in the heart of Krakow.

Lost Souls Alley in Krakow

Navigate through the dark, eerie corridors, solving puzzles and facing your fears along the way.

Home Army Museum in Krakow

Last but not least, visit the Home Army Museum to learn about Poland’s resistance movement during WWII.

Home Army Museum in Krakow

Explore the exhibits dedicated to the soldiers and civilians who fought against Nazi occupation, and pay your respects at the moving memorial.

So go ahead and immerse yourself in Krakow’s incredible museums and galleries, where you’ll find art, history, and culture awaiting at every turn!

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Historic Sites and Educational Institutions

Rynek Underground Museum

Get ready to explore the fascinating Rynek Underground Museum beneath Krakow’s Main Market Square.

Underground Museum in Centre Krakow

As you venture into this subterranean world, you’ll uncover remarkable archaeological finds that shed light on the city’s history.

Rynek Underground museum in Krakow

Imagine yourself conducting trade in the Middle Ages as you wander through the multimedia exhibitions that bring the past to life.

Museum of Kraków

Unleash your curiosity at the Museum of Krakow, which showcases the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Discover the stories behind some of the most famous personalities, events, and innovations tied to Kraków. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of how the city has evolved over the centuries.

Collegium Maius

Feel the academic atmosphere as you step into Collegium Maius, the oldest building on the campus of the prestigious 14th-century Jagiellonian University.

Krakow Collegium Maius

Admire the stunning Gothic architecture as you tour the grand Aula, where scholars once debated important issues of their time.

Don’t miss the university museum, which houses the oldest surviving globe to depict America!

Jagiellonian University Museum

Prepare to be amazed by the wealth of artefacts and historic interests at the Jagiellonian University Museum.

Krakow Jagiellonian University

This versatile institution offers an insight into the history of academia in Kraków and honours the renowned scientists and scholars who have contributed to its development. You can’t help but be inspired by their legacies.

Archaeological Museum

Dive into the mysterious world of the Archaeological Museum, where you can learn about intriguing excavations and historical discoveries.

Archaeological Museum

Unearth the unique story of vampire prevention burials in Poland and unravel the enigma behind ancient artefacts from various epochs. The breadth of information will keep you engrossed, making your visit an unforgettable experience.

Gardens of the Archaeological Museum are one of the largest and most beautiful gardens in the very centre of the city.

Gardens of the Archaeological Museum

It belongs to the compound known as the complex of St Michael, named after the Church of St Michael and St Joseph that used to stand here. Since 1967, the premises of the former monastery have been home to the Archaeological Museum.

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Impact of World War II and Jewish History

You’ll find an incredible array of museums and galleries in Krakow, showcasing the city’s rich history. One period that had a massive impact on Krakow and its Jewish community was World War II.

Holocaust in Kraków

During the Nazi occupation, Krakow’s Jewish population suffered immensely. A visit to the Galicia Jewish Museum will give you an insight into the rich Jewish heritage in the area before and during the Holocaust.

The museum uses photography and engaging exhibitions to explore this dark chapter in history.

Another significant site to visit is Schindler’s Factory Museum.

Schindler Factory Tour Museum

Located in the former factory of Oskar Schindler, it tells the stories of Kraków during the Nazi occupation from 1939 to 1945, with a focus on Schindler’s life-saving efforts.

Krakow Ghetto

The Nazis established the Krakow Ghetto in 1941, confining around 15,000 Jews in an overcrowded area.

Krakow Ghetto Walls

Many were forced to live in appalling conditions. To truly understand the horrors faced by the Jewish community, a visit to the original ghetto site is essential.

Here, you’ll find the iconic Ghetto Heroes Square with its poignant memorial, symbolising the empty chairs left by the Jewish community taken from their homes.

Ghetto Heroes Square in Kazimierz

Righteous Among the Nations

Amidst the horrors of World War II, there were acts of heroism and bravery. In Krakow, many individuals risked their lives to save the Jews from the Holocaust.

These people are honoured as the Righteous Among the Nations. Oskar Schindler, who saved over a thousand Jews by employing them in his factory, is probably the most well-known of these heroes.

Don’t miss your chance to learn about Schindler and other unsung heroes at Schindler’s Factory Museum.

Oskar Schindler Factory Entrance

As you explore these significant historical sites and museums in Krakow, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of the lasting impact of World War II on the city and its Jewish community.

Recommended activities and tours in Krakow:

Exploring Polish Art and History

Eager to dive into the rich world of Polish art and history? Kraków is the perfect place for you, and a visit to the National Museum will certainly enchant you with a vast collection of masterpieces and artefacts.

Polish Artists Hosted at the National Museum

Matejko, Malczewski, and Chełmoński—these renowned names come to life as you explore the various galleries in the Kraków National Museum.

The Museum proudly showcases an impressive collection of 19th-century Polish art, featuring works by famous artists such as:

  • Jan Matejko, known for his iconic historical paintings
  • Jacek Malczewski, who combined symbolism with Polish folklore
  • Józef Chełmoński, famous for his powerful depictions of nature and rural life

As you experience the depth and beauty of these Polish masterpieces, you begin to understand the richness of Poland’s artistic heritage.

Polish History in Various Museums

For an even more immersive journey exploring Polish history, a visit to Kraków’s museums is an absolute must.

Here are some remarkable museums that will enrich your understanding of Poland’s past:

  • State Rooms: Showcasing an assortment of historical artefacts, the Kraków National Museum’s State Rooms offer visitors a colourful experience, delving into Poland’s political, cultural, and general history.
  • Temporary Exhibits: Be sure not to miss the temporary exhibits hosted by the National Museum in Kraków! These exhibits often display intriguing and relevant topics related to Polish history, culture, and art, providing a unique opportunity to stay up-to-date with the current cultural scene.
  • More Museum Options: Kraków is teeming with museums and galleries, so don’t hesitate to explore beyond the National Museum for a complete appreciation of Polish history. A useful tip would be to keep an eye out for any special exhibitions or events that might be on offer during your visit.

Remember, you’re in the heart of Poland’s cultural capital, so take advantage of this opportunity to immerse yourself in the fascinating history and breathtaking art that Kraków has to offer!

The best museums in Krakow

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top must-see museums in Krakow?

You’re in for a real treat! Krakow offers a variety of captivating museums to explore. Some highlights include the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art, the Polish Aviation Museum, and the 19th Century Polish Art Gallery. Each of these museums features unique exhibits and collections that promise to leave you fascinated.

Which museums are located in Krakow’s Old Town?

The heart of Krakow’s Old Town is home to several mesmerising museums. Some notable ones include the 19th Century Polish Art Gallery inside the Cloth Hall and the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow.

As you stroll through the picturesque streets, you’ll be delighted to discover even more cultural attractions worth a visit.

Are there any free-entry museums in Krakow?

Yes, indeed! Krakow does offer some museums with free admission. While these may vary, it’s worth checking online or inquiring at specific museums about any free entry days or events.

Keep in mind that even if a museum charges for entry, the experience and knowledge gained are often well worth the price.

What are the best art galleries to visit in Krakow?

Art lovers rejoice! Krakow is brimming with unforgettable art galleries. Don’t miss the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art, known for its modern art exhibits, and the 19th Century Polish Art Gallery, which transports you back in time through a stunning collection.

Keep an eye out for smaller galleries throughout the city as well, as you never know what gems you might uncover.

Which historical museums should I visit in Krakow?

To delve into Krakow’s rich history, you’ll want to visit the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow, where you can learn about the city’s past.

The Polish Aviation Museum is another must-visit, offering insights into Eastern Europe’s aviation history with its impressive collection of aircraft, helicopters, and gliders.

Where can I purchase tickets for Krakow’s museums?

Tickets can typically be purchased directly at each museum’s entrance or via their official websites.

Don’t forget to take advantage of any available discounts, such as those for students or senior citizens. In some cases, you can also find multi-museum passes or city cards that grant access to several attractions. Happy exploring!


We are a team of travel lovers passionate about Krakow. We've explored every part of it and learned its history, traditions, and local secrets. We're eager to share our best tips with you. We know hidden gems and local favorites. We're more than writers; we're your personal guides. In our articles, you'll find everything what you need to know about Krakow. team – Your Krakow Experts

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