21 October 2022

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Krakow, Poland.

When it comes to travel, I take the more organised approach, making lists and plans to ensure I tick off everything I want to see and do. However, my recent trip to Krakow at the beginning of October was quite the opposite for me. After looking for hours for a last minute holiday and finding nothing at a decent price, we stumbled upon a £15 Ryanair flight to Krakow. And that was our minds pretty much made up.

As this was a last minute trip, we decided not to take the ultra planned approach, and just go in blind and see what Krakow had to offer. We only pre booked one sight, which I'll speak about in a moment. But other than that, we just explored the city for 5 days and stumbled upon things to see and do. 

As always, I made sure to get plenty of content whilst in Poland, which will be posted on here and over on my Instagram, and Tiktok. So let's get started with my Ultimate Travel Guide to Krakow - keep reading fore recommendations on Sights, Food, Travel & Accommodation!

Terri standing in front of St Mary's Basilica in Krakow Old Town Square

Sights & Attractions

Krakow Old Town // Main Square
Krakow is a beautiful city with so much to offer! It's the kind of city where you'll find lots of hidden gems just by wandering around and exploring. For example, the Main Square in Krakow's Old Town is where the hustle and bustle is. Surrounded by lots of cafes, restaurants, shops and museums, you can spend a lot of your time here. We actually found ourselves getting a bit overwhelmed as there were so many museums to choose from it was hard to narrow it down. Ultimately if you're not visiting for very long I would only pick a couple that really interest you and visit the others if you have some spare time. I would highly recommend the Rynek Underground Museum for an interesting history of Krakow's Old Town and their underground streets. It's right in the heart of the square, and is a tourist favourite! Here's a quick list of some of the most popular museums in the Old Town:

- Rynek Underground Museum
- Oskar Schindler's Enamel Factory
- Amber Museum
- Historical Museum of Krakow
- Sukiennice 19th Century Polish Art Gallery
- Krakow Pinball Museum

Cloth Hall at night in Krakow Old Town Square

As well as all of those, in and around the Main Square there is other attractions such as 'Lost Souls' which is a horror themed escape room attraction which is very popular. You can also head into the St.Mary's Basilica which is a 14th Century Gothic Church which has some stunning architecture inside. And right in the centre of the Main Square, you can grab yourself some souvenirs in the Cloth Hall Market.

Horse and Cart Rides in Krakow Old Town Square

Wieliczka Salt Mine
The attraction we were recommended the most by friends and family was the Wieliczka Salt Mine which is a historic monument and heritage site that produced table salt until 2007, making it one of the oldest operating salt mines in the world. The mines reach a depth of 327 metres so be prepared to walk down a looooot of stairs (800 to be precise) - don't worry though, you can take the lift back to the top! Down in the mines, you'll be able to see four chapels surrounded by dozens of sculptures carved out of rock salt. 

Wawel Royal Castle // River Vistula
Probably one of my favourite sights we stumbled across was Wawel Royal Castle purely because of it's gorgeous Italian style courtyard. The Wawel Royal Castle is one of the largest castles in Poland, and is the resting place of Polish Kings between the 16th-17th century. The castle is located by the side of the Vistula River, which in itself makes a lovely wintery stroll. By the riverside you can see Avenue of Stars which is Krakow's own answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You'll also find the mythological Wawel Dragon - a sculpture showcasing the Polish legend who plagued the city. And the best part? The statue of the Wawel Dragon even breathes fire! 

The gardens of Wawel Royal Castle Krakow

Auschwitz - Birkenau
As I previously mentioned, there was only one thing I pre booked for this trip and that was a trip to Auschwitz - Birkenau. Now this a strange one, because I don't want to say this is a 'must see' as it has such a horrific history behind it. But, as soon as my Krakow flights were booked, I knew that this is something I would regret if I didn't make the effort to go. The site is free to visit for individuals between certain times, but we opted to pay for a guided tour to really learn all the history behind the camps. I would recommend pre booking your spot whether you're opting for a tour guide or not as the spaces fill up quick due to people travelling from all around the world to visit.

Entrance and train tracks of Auschwitz Birkenau Krakow Poland

Book your Krakow attractions here:

Where to Stay & Eat

I'm going to make this brief as I'll be doing a full hotel review in a separate blog post, but we stayed at the Hotel M29 which was perfect! Our hotel was located in the Jewish Quarter, and was a perfect spot for exploring as it was surrounding by cafes and restaurants, and even had a shot bar next door! It was also just a short walk to the Main Square in the Old Town and was really easy to navigate to and from. 

Lobby of Hotel M29 Krakow

In terms of food, Krakow gives you plenty of choice. Around the more busier areas such as the Main Square, you'll be spoilt for choice as there is various cafes, restaurants and bars surrounding the square. Most of the restaurants have outdoor seating too, so makes for a very romantic setting in the evening when the Square is lit up so magically! Krakow is known for some of the best street food, and cheap drinks - and it didn't disappoint. You can find plenty of stalls and vendors spread out through the city which will serve local delicacies such as Zapiekanka, and Giant Polish Pretzels! Honestly, Krakow is one of the best places I've been in terms of food with somewhere to eat/drink on every corner, and serving such a variety of cuisines that you can try something different every day.

Travel & Expenses

Finally let's talk about the expenses. Poland is a fantastic place to visit on a budget as everything is so affordable. As I previously mentioned, our flight out to Krakow only cost £15!

The currency used in Poland is the Polish Zloty. Everything was so affordable we actually ended up coming home with some of our spending money, as we just couldn't get rid of it! Here's a quick breakdown of the average prices (in GBP) in Krakow:

- Museums between £3-£10
- St Mary's Basilica £1.80
- Auschwitz £8
- Coffee £1.50
- Street Food £1-£3
- Midrange Evening Meal £8
- Beer £2
- Tram Ride 20mins £0.50

Have you ever visited Krakow?
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