Krakow, Poland’s cultural gem, has an abundance of history, stunning architecture, and captivating tales waiting for you to explore. Over the course of four days, you will be fully immersed in the alluring charms of this vibrant city. From the bustling Old Town to the historic districts, prepare for an enchanting adventure filled with unforgettable experiences.
You’ll begin your journey through Krakow’s Old Town, marvelling at the beautiful squares, noteworthy churches, and impressive Wawel Castle.
As the days progress, you’ll delve into the poignant history of World War II, honouring the memory of those who suffered and offering a humbling perspective on the city’s past.
Your itinerary may also take you beyond Krakow’s borders, allowing you to experience places such as Auschwitz-Birkenau or the awe-inspiring Wieliczka Salt mines.
With various options for art and culture enthusiasts, food lovers, and history buffs, this four-day Krakow itinerary guarantees a stimulating and enriching visit.
Rest assured, by the end of your stay, you will have a deeper understanding and appreciation of this magnificent city and the heritage it holds.
Table of Contents:
Day One: Arrival and Explore Old Town
Krakow Glowny Train Station
Welcome to Krakow, Poland! Your adventure begins as you step off the train at Krakow Glowny Train Station.
From here, a world of history, culture, and stunning architecture awaits in the heart of the city’s Old Town.
Main Market Square and Cloth Hall
Begin your exploration at the Main Market Square, the largest medieval square in Europe, where you’ll find the iconic Cloth Hall.
This historic building has been the trading centre for numerous goods since the 14th century.
Take some time to browse the stalls and pick up unique souvenirs to remind you of your journey.
St. Mary’s Basilica
Just a stone’s throw from the Cloth Hall, you’ll encounter St. Mary’s Basilica.
This Gothic church will leave you awestruck with its beautiful twin towers and intricately carved exterior.
Be sure to go inside and marvel at the stunning Veit Stoss’ altarpiece.
Florian’s Gate and Barbican
Continue your tour with a walk towards Florian’s Gate, one of the oldest and best-preserved medieval gates in Krakow.
This UNESCO World Heritage site was once part of the city’s defence walls. Next, visit the Barbican, a circular fortress which once protected the city from invaders.
After immersing yourself in the rich history of the Old Town, take a leisurely stroll through Planty Park, a lush green space surrounding the historic centre.
Admire the colourful flowers, fountains, and sculptures as you take a moment to relax and recharge.
Wawel Hill and Castle
Finish your day by heading to Wawel Hill, where you’ll be greeted by the magnificent Wawel Castle.
The former residence of Polish royalty is now home to museums and a stunning cathedral. Explore the various exhibitions, marvel at the grand architecture, and soak in the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from atop the hill.
With this unforgettable experience, your first day in Krakow will truly be one for the books!
Day Two: Kazimierz and Nowa Huta
Historical Jewish Quarter
Embark on a journey through history as you explore Kazimierz, the historical Jewish quarter of Krakow.
Stroll through its narrow streets, adorned with colourful murals and charming shops. You’ll get a sense of the rich Jewish history that is an integral part of the city’s past.
Make sure to visit the synagogues, such as the Old Synagogue and the Remuh Synagogue, and sample some traditional Jewish food at a local restaurant.
Schindler’s Factory and MOCAK
Next, take the opportunity to visit Schindler’s Factory, an emotional and moving site dedicated to the story of Oskar Schindler and the Jewish workers he saved during WWII.
After that, immerse yourself in contemporary art at the neighbouring Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow (MOCAK), which showcases works by some of today’s most talented artists.
Ghetto Heroes Square and WWII History
Discover Ghetto Heroes Square, a poignant memorial commemorating the victims of the Krakow Ghetto.
Walking around this square, you’ll feel as though you’re stepping back in time to the events of World War II.
Learn more about the tragic history and pay your respects at the multiple memorial plaques and installations found throughout the area.
Nowa Huta: Communism and Eastern Europe
Finally, explore Nowa Huta, a district with a unique history of its own. Built as a utopian socialist city by the Soviet Union, this fascinating neighbourhood is now a testament to the city’s complicated past.
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Wander through the wide avenues and admire the stark architecture, which was designed to promote unity among the residents.
Delve deeper into the complex story of communism in Eastern Europe by visiting one of the few remaining authentic Polish milk bars, where you can indulge in simple but delicious traditional dishes.
Day Three: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine
Auschwitz-Birkenau Guided Tour
On your third day in Krakow, embark on an emotional journey to the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex. This UNESCO World Heritage site bears witness to the horrors of the Holocaust and serves as a profound reminder of history.
As part of a guided tour, you’ll explore the twin concentration camps and gain a deeper understanding of the events that transpired here.
Your day trip begins with a comfortable coach ride to the complex, where you’ll be greeted by a knowledgeable guide who will lead you through the historic site.
As you explore the preserved barracks, gas chambers, and original artefacts, your guide will recount the harrowing stories of those who perished and endured the atrocities of the Nazi regime.
In Auschwitz, don’t forget to see:
Wieliczka Salt Mine
After your sobering visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, head to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, another UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-see attraction in the Krakow area. Another UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Krakow you can find in this article.
Here, you’ll marvel at the underground wonderland sculpted entirely out of salt, featuring intricate chapels, statues, and even a dazzling chandelier.
Your guided tour will lead you through the winding passageways and vast chambers of the mine, providing insights into the history, techniques, and importance of salt mining in Poland.
One of the most unique things to see there is the underground lake, which is one of the largest in the world. The lake was formed from an underground chamber that was flooded with water over time.
The lake is so clear that visitors can see all the way to the bottom, where they can see salt formations and other geological features.
More information about Wieliczka can be found in these articles:
Time spent at both landmarks
|Auschwitz-Birkenau||Wieliczka Salt Mine|
|3-4 hours + 3 hours travelling there and back||2-3 hours|
Throughout the day, you’ll walk miles in the footsteps of history, often in sombre reflection and sometimes in awe of human craftsmanship.
Day three of your Krakow itinerary is an incredible experience that will leave a lasting impression on your European adventure.
Day Four: Highlights and Departure
Wawel Cathedral and Royal Apartments
On your final day in Kraków, make sure you start by visiting the magnificent Wawel Cathedral, located within the Wawel Royal Castle grounds on Wawel Hill.
This stunning cathedral is a must-see, with its beautiful architecture and rich history. Within the cathedral, you can explore the Royal Apartments where Polish kings and queens once resided.
Don’t forget to marvel at the ornate details and exquisite artwork throughout the rooms.
Collegium Maius and Grodzka Street
After your visit to the Wawel Cathedral, head towards the Collegium Maius, the oldest building of Jagiellonian University.
As you stroll down the historic Grodzka Street, take in the beautiful architecture and feel the vibrant energy of Kraków’s past.
At the Collegium Maius, you’ll find a stunning courtyard, an intriguing collection of historical artefacts, and fascinating exhibits showcasing the university’s rich history.
Vistula River and Wawel Dragon
Lastly, before you say goodbye to Kraków, take a leisurely walk along the picturesque Vistula River.
The river offers splendid views of both Wawel Hill and the historic buildings that line its banks. Your walk along the Vistula River wouldn’t be complete without paying a visit to the legendary Wawel Dragon.
Located near the foot of Wawel Hill, the Wawel Dragon statue symbolises the mythical creature of Kraków.
With these final highlights, your four-day itinerary in Kraków comes to a close. You’ve explored the best that this charming city has to offer, from its historic market square and bustling main square to its majestic Wawel Hill and picturesque Vistula River.
As you leave, cherish your memories and experiences, knowing that you’ve truly captured the spirit and essence of Kraków.
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Accommodation and Nightlife in Krakow
Choosing Where to Stay
Krakow offers a variety of accommodation options, so you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect place to stay during your four day itinerary.
Whether you prefer to be in the heart of the city or in a quieter area, some of the best neighbourhoods to consider are the Old Town, Kazimierz, and Podgórze.
There’s a wide range of options, from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels, making it easy to find something that suits your style and budget.
To find the best deals on accommodation in Krakow, we recommend checking websites like Booking.com.
Make sure to book in advance, especially during the peak season, to secure your desired location and the best prices.
Vibrant Bars and Delicious Food
After a full day of exploring, you’ll undoubtedly want to unwind and enjoy the city’s vibrant atmosphere.
Head to Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter, for a fantastic selection of bars, pubs, and restaurants offering both local and international cuisine.
Some noteworthy places to try include:
- Singer: A hip bar, known for its unique atmosphere and vintage sewing machines on each table.
- Alchemia: A popular spot with an intimate, candle-lit setting, offering delicious cocktails and a vast selection of beers.
- Plac Nowy: A bustling square lined with food stalls and bars, where you can try the Krakow speciality, “zapiekanka” – a delicious open-faced sandwich.
For a more immersive experience, consider joining a walking tour of Krakow’s best bars and pubs.
Not only will you get the opportunity to sample various local drinks, but you’ll also learn about the city’s thriving nightlife culture from a knowledgeable guide.
Don’t forget to indulge in some of the delicious food Krakow has to offer! Whether it’s sampling traditional Polish treats like pierogis and kielbasa, or trying out the diverse international cuisines available throughout the city, there’s something for everyone.
Now that you have an idea of where to stay and how to enjoy Krakow’s exciting nightlife, you’re well on your way to making the most of your four day itinerary.
Remember to have fun, explore, and soak in this magnificent city!
Getting to and Around Krakow
Flights and Airport
Exciting news! You’ve just made a brilliant decision to embark on an unforgettable adventure in Krakow, a city rich in culture and history.
Firstly, if you’re travelling internationally, you can find the best flight deals using sites like Skyscanner.
Once you’ve arrived at Krakow Airport, you’re just a short distance away from the city centre and all the amazing attractions that await you.
Public Transport Options
One of the triumphs of Krakow’s transportation system is its integration. You can easily get around the city using buses and trams, making your way to iconic UNESCO sites like the Old Town, Wawel Castle, and St. Mary’s Cathedral.
For first-time visitors, we highly recommend:
- Buses: Head to the bus stop just to the left of the airport terminal exit and hop on any bus; they all head to the city centre, equipped with real-time maps on board to help guide your journey.
- Trams: Krakow’s trams are particularly user-friendly, with various lines connecting key attractions such as Rynek Główny, Town Hall Tower, and Rynek Underground. We suggest using the Krakow Glowny station as your start and endpoint.
Money and Currency
Be prepared to explore Krakow’s glorious Main Market Square, bustling with activity, and stunning galleries like the National Museum without having to worry about currency exchange rates.
Familiarise yourself with the local currency, which is the Polish złoty (PLN), and don’t forget to keep cash handy for small transactions at businesses or cafeś that may not accept card payments.
Banks and currency exchange offices are readily available throughout the city, ensuring you can focus on immersing yourself in art, culture, and history.
Helpful Tips and Tours
- Guided Tours: Enhance your Krakow experience by joining guided tours, from walking tours of the Old Town to in-depth explorations of Nowa Huta, Podgórze, and Kazimierz districts. This way, you get to learn about the city firsthand from knowledgeable guides.
- Visit multiple attractions: With just four days in Krakow, you can cover Old Town, Wawel Hill, Auschwitz-Birkenau or the Wieliczka Salt Mines, and even indulge in a spot of shopping at the Old Town Market Square.
Additional Information for Your Krakow Trip
Polish Cuisine and Vegan Options
During your 4-day Krakow itinerary, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in delicious Polish cuisine!
Be sure to taste pierogi (dumplings with various fillings), placki ziemniaczane (potato pancakes), and barszcz (beetroot soup). For dessert, try pączki (Polish doughnuts) and sernik (cheesecake).
Worry not, vegans! Krakow is known for its diverse vegan options as well.
Many restaurants and cafes offer plant-based versions of traditional dishes, ensuring you won’t miss out on the flavours of Poland.
Art Nouveau Architecture and Monuments
As you stroll through the streets of Krakow, especially around Florianska Street, you’ll be mesmerized by the stunning Art Nouveau architecture that adorns the city.
Buildings with intricate details and facades will transport you to a different era. Take the time to visit monuments like the fire-breathing dragon, which adds a touch of whimsy to the historical atmosphere.
During your visit to Wawel Hill, explore the Royal Apartments and State Rooms to dive deeper into the architectural splendour of Krakow.
Marvel at the intricate design of grand interiors that once housed the country’s noble rulers.
If you don’t have 4 days to visit Krakow, there are several other options available:
Nature and Outdoor Activities
For nature lovers, Krakow offers an array of outdoor activities to escape the crowds and enjoy the natural beauty of the region.
From picnics in lush parks to leisurely walks along the Vistula River, there’s no shortage of opportunities to immerse yourself in nature.
- Parks: Visit Planty Park, encircling the Old Town, or the picturesque Bednarski Park in the Podgórze neighbourhood.
- Vistula River: Stroll or cycle along the riverbanks, or opt for a scenic boat trip to take in Krakow’s landscape from the water.
- Outdoor activities: For the more adventurous, rent a bike, go on a hike, or partake in water sports at nearby Zakrzówek Lake.
During your 4-day Krakow trip, explore the city’s dynamic mix of culture, history, and nature.
Whether you’re indulging in delicious cuisine, admiring Art Nouveau masterpieces, or seeking outdoor adventures, your journey is guaranteed to be memorable!