What to do in Krakow? How to visit Krakow in 2, 3 or 4 days? What are the best places where to eat in Krakow? Despite the Second World War, the medieval historic center of Krakow has been preserved. Krakow is one of the prettiest cities in Poland, if not the prettiest. But Krakow is also infamous for its proximity to the Auschwitz concentration camps.
- TOP 10 things to do in Krakow
- Best areas to visit in Krakow
- Nice restaurants
- Visit the Auschwitz camps
- How to get from the airport to the city center of Krakow?
1. TOP 10 things to do and visit in Krakow
If you want to visit Krakow on a 2 or 3 day weekend, or on a 4 day long weekend, it is quite possible. The city of Krakow is not very big, but you will find several interesting tours and activities to do here. Here are the TOP 10 must-sees to do and visit in Krakow.
- Seeing Krakow Main Market Square: the largest medieval square in Europe
- Discovering St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow
- Visiting the Auschwitz concentration camps (prices for the guided tour from Krakow)
- Tasting Polish cuisine (see addresses in this blog post below)
- Visiting Wawel Cathedral and Wawel Castle
- Going into the Wieliczka salt mines, also called “the underground salt cathedral of Poland” (find our more about this guided tour in English, or other language)
- Admiring the stunning view from the ramparts of Krakow
- Visiting Oskar Schindler’s Factory
- Taking a walk in the Planty park
- Taking a boat trip along the Vistula
Good to know! The Auschwitz concentration camps and the Wieliczka salt mines are located outside the city of Krakow. Visiting these places can take several hours, from a minimum of half a day to a full day. If you are short on time and want to visit Krakow in 3 days, it is also possible to visit the Auschwitz camps and the salt mines on the same day.
2. Best areas and hotels to stay while visiting Krakow
Here are the 4 main neighborhoods to visit in Krakow, and to know in order to choose where to stay in Krakow during a weekend.
Good to know! The local currency is the zloty, not the euro. Before departure, find out how in Poland without fees, as well as the addresses where to change euros into zloty in Krakow.
2.1 Krakow’s Old Town
Stare Miasto, or the Old Town of Krakow: this district is perfect for visiting Krakow. The main attractions of Krakow are located in this district. Here, the accommodations therefore have a very good location for visiting Krakow. Here are some addresses of hotels and apartments where to sleep in the Stare Miasto district of Krakow.
Hotel Jan: an excellent location, spacious rooms, a very good breakfast and a view of the city!
Academia Apartments: studios, but also larger apartments tastefully decorated. Ideal if you want to visit Krakow as a couple and have accommodation with a kitchen.
2.2 Kazimierz and Podgorze: cool areas to visit in Krakow
Kazimierz: This district is the center of Jewish culture in Krakow. Here, there are 7 synagogues and kosher restaurants and you can listen to klezmer music concerts. The Golden Tulip Krakow Kazimierz hotel is a very good place to sleep in Krakow in the Kazimierz district.
Podgorze: it is here in this district that the Jewish ghetto of Krakow was created during the Second World War. Here you can still see the remains of the ghetto wall, which are between Lwowska Street and Limanowskiego Street. Bohaterów Square was the main square of the ghetto, it was from this square that people were deported to the concentration camps, including Auschwitz. The Plaza Boutique Hotel is a perfect hotel to sleep in Krakow on the other side of the Vistula river.
Nowa Huta: this district was built after the end of the Second World War, it is not the best district to visit Krakow on a first trip.
Discover other places to sleep in Krakow in this blog post: Where to stay in Krakow?
3. Nice restaurants in Krakow
If you are going to visit Krakow, your visit will be the perfect time to experience Polish cuisine. So, in which restaurants to eat in Krakow to taste good dishes of Polish cuisine?
Czarna Kaczka (Poselska 22, 31-002 Kraków): it feels like home! A very good address to discover in Krakow.
Zalewajka (Wąska 2, 31-057 Kraków): located in the Kazimierz district, this restaurant serves traditional dishes of Polish cuisine.
Szara Gęś w Kuchni (Rynek Główny 17, 31-008 Kraków): in the heart of the historic center of Krakow, this gourmet restaurant is a great place to taste Polish cuisine. The setting is magnificent. The prices are higher than average, but a delicious and refined cuisine is what deserves it.
4. Visit the Auschwitz concentration camps, 70km from Krakow
How to get there? The Auschwitz concentration camps are located 70km from the city center of Krakow. It takes about 1h15-1h30 to get there. It is possible to go there on your own, but it is quite complex. The most practical is to take a complete guided tour directly (transport + visit), or at least a shuttle from Krakow, then a guided tour on site (to be booked a few weeks in advance to be sure of having a place).
On-site visit (more details in this blog post: Visit Auschwitz): Guided tours leave in separate groups according to language (be careful not to miss the departure of the group of their language, etc.). You might think the visit would be long, but time flies extremely quickly, especially since there are two camps to visit: Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II. The explanations of the guide perfectly accompany the visit. Throughout the visit, we see step by step how such a mechanism of horror could be put in place.
Guided tour from Krakow. If you want to visit the Auschwitz concentration camps, you can book a guided tour with a meeting point for round-trip transport.
5. How to get from the airport to the city center of Krakow?
To visit Krakow, you will certainly arrive by plane. John Paul II International Airport (KRK) is located 14km from the city center of Krakow. Here are the three options for getting from the airport to Krakow city center.
By taxi. The most practical solution is to book an airport taxi transfer which will take you from the airport directly to the door of your accommodation. The airport transfer costs around 20 euros: book the airport transfer here.
By bus or train (public transport). Bus lines 208, 252 and 902 connect the airport to downtown Krakow. The bus ride is 40 minutes. On the other hand, the buses do not run often, departures are between 20 and 30 minutes. Allow well over an hour to get from the airport to your accommodation. Find more information in our blog post: How to get from Krakow John Paul II Airport to the city center?
Hotel shuttle. The vast majority of hotels offer a shuttle service from Krakow airport. For example, Hotel M29. You can therefore book the shuttle directly from your hotel. On the other hand, the problem is that not all hotel shuttles are private, so you may have to wait for other travelers before leaving the airport. So check with your hotel.
How many days do you need to visit Krakow? If you are not going outside the city, namely to Auschwitz or the salt mines, the two days can be enough for you to visit Krakow. However, it is best to come here for a long weekend. For example, for 3 or 4 days. Thus, you will see the time to visit everything, because just for the visit of Auschwitz, it takes a good day.
If we had to choose a city to visit in Poland, it would certainly be Krakow. Visiting Krakow is therefore a must to do to begin the discovery of Poland.