Home to one of the first town (the Old Town) to be declared a World Heritage Site, Krakow is a country full of charming corners and colorful facade architecture that will make you fall in love at first sight. Are you planning to travel there but not sure what to visit? Not to worry! In today’s article, we bring you the best places to see in Krakow. Enjoy!
1. The Market Square
The Market Square (Rynek Glówny), the nerve center of the Old Town, is the most famous place to visit in Krakow and one of the most beautiful squares in the world.
The square is surrounded by colorful palaces and medieval-looking houses. The beauty of St. Mary’s Basilica, the Clothes Exchange (full of souvenir stores), the small St. Adalbert’s Church, the tower of the Old Town Hall and the statue of the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz, located in the center of the square, are all to be admired.
Among the many restaurants and bars with terraces to have a drink and watch the daily hustle and bustle, which surround the square, we recommend you to go up to Café Szal, where you can eat or have a good milkshake with a fantastic view.
To learn more about the history of the city and not miss anything important, you can book this free Krakow tour, considered one of the best free tours in Krakow, or this private tour where you choose the itinerary, both with an English speaking guide.
2. St. Mary’s Basilica
Erected on one side of the Market Square in the 14th century, St. Mary’s Basilica has become one of the most beautiful buildings to see in Krakow.
In addition to visiting its interior, which features a huge medieval wooden altarpiece with 200 carved figures, it is worth climbing the “Hejnalica”, one of its twin towers, to enjoy the best views of the square and the old town. Don’t forget that every hour a trumpeter comes out of the top of this tower to play a popular tune.
To climb to the top of the tower, we recommend that you go before 9:00 a.m. to the ticket office, located on one side of the church, just across from the access to the tower, to get one of the few tickets on sale each day.
3. Tower of the Old City Hall
Another of the best views of the Market Square and Krakow is from the top of the Old Town Hall Tower, the only remaining part of the city’s old town hall.
Although the views are not as good as those from the Hejnalica Tower, it is worth entering this historic 14th century building to observe its beautiful Gothic style and the machinery of the Old Town Hall clock.
4. Wawel Castle
Climbing Wawel Hill, located at one end of the historic center, to visit the imposing castle is one of the best things to do in Krakow.
The Wawel Castle, built in the 14th century in the Renaissance style, has several gems inside such as the John Paul II Cathedral Museum and the Royal Palace, the first residence of the kings of Poland and which has important rooms such as the crown treasure, the armory, the royal apartments and the ceremonial rooms.
To leave the castle, we recommend walking through the Wawel Dragon Cave, a 270 meter long tunnel that ends in front of a large statue that shoots fire from its mouth from time to time.
A good option to learn more about the history of this Wawel Hill and its sights is to book this tour with an English speaking guide.
5. The Cathedral
Dedicated to St. Stanislaus and built more than 1000 years ago, the cathedral is one of the most important religious buildings in Poland and together with the castle it forms one of the icons of Krakow.
When visiting this religious temple, located right next to the castle, do not miss the beautiful chapel and the great bell of Sigismund, the mausoleum of St. Stanislaus, the Chapel of the Holy Cross, the relics of John Paul II from the altar and the crypts, where the remains of illustrious personalities, as well as bishops, monarchs and some of the country’s heroes, rest.
With these must-sees, you can experience a memorable trip in Krakow but if you want to know more places, come back to check the second part of our article.