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Things to do in Krakow

Awe-inspiring history, great landmarks, and impressive landscapes await at Poland’s culture capital.

Our most recommended things to do in Krakow

Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour with Pickup & Lunch Options

1. Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour with Pickup & Lunch Options

Pay your respects at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. Make use of transportation from Krakow, and take a guided tour of the historical landmark. Benefit from pick-up at your accommodation in Krakow, and journey by air-conditioned vehicle to Oświęcim. Enter the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum for a 3.5-hour guided tour of the former Nazi concentration camps.  Hear how 1.3 million Jews, along with prisoners from Poland, France and Italy were murdered there during World War II. See the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" gate and learn the origins of the camp and what life was like for the prisoners. Visit the original barracks and gas chambers, along with platforms and other sites, and take a poignant trip through history via period photos and personal artifacts that bring the past to life.

Krakow: Zakopane and Thermal Springs Tour with Hotel Pickup

2. Krakow: Zakopane and Thermal Springs Tour with Hotel Pickup

Explore Zakopane on a guided tour including round-trip transportation from Krakow. Experience the healing waters of hot thermal springs and in a spa complex, ride a cable car to the top of Gubałówka Mountain, and enjoy a cheese and alcohol tasting. Start with a pickup from your hotel, apartment, or another place of your choice in Krakow. From there the duration of the transport from Krakow to Zakopane is approximately 2 hours. About 20 minutes from Zakopane is the town of Chochołów. Chochołów is famous for its wooden houses that look almost identical. The settlers traditionally wash the wooden walls of the buildings with soap and water, which happens twice a year before Christmas and Easter. Thanks to this cleaning, long-standing buildings look brand new. The village is inscribed on the World Heritage List. Visit the shepherd's hut (cheese factory) where highlanders produce smoked sheep's cheese traditional to the region of Poland. Taste some of the local cheese called Oscypek, and learn about the history of its production. Arrive in Zakopane, the capital of the Polish mountains. Each year, this place attracts many tourists who want to experience the unique style of Górlaskie culture, which is expressed through architecture, food, music, style of speech, and clothing. In the town center lies Krupówki Street. Enjoy time for independent exploration and lunch (not included). This street is the market square of Zakopane, where you can find souvenir shops and many restaurants that serve local food. Zakopane also boasts cable car access. Hop on a cable car and take in views of the Polish Tatra Mountains from the top of Gubałówka Mountain. After exploring Zakopane and the surrounding area, your driver will take you to the Chochołow Thermal Pools. Once there, relax and feel the healing properties of thermal water. After your visit, your driver will take you to your drop-off location in Krakow.

Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour Hotel Pickup & Lunch Options

3. Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour Hotel Pickup & Lunch Options

Visit Auschwitz on a day trip from Krakow. Learn about the history of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps during a guided tour with a certified historian and guide. Auschwitz-Birkenau was founded in 1940 by Nazi Germany and was the largest concentration camp operated by the Nazis. It became the final resting place for millions of people, mostly Jews and Poles, who were murdered in gas chambers. Pass through the gate with the inscription "Arbeit macht frei" to enter Auschwitz I, where your guide will show you around the preserved area and explain the history of the site.  Then, visit the second camp at Birkenau, where mass killings took place as part of the Nazi "Final Solution to the Jewish Question."

Krakow: Wieliczka Salt Mine Guided Tour

4. Krakow: Wieliczka Salt Mine Guided Tour

Discover the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Wieliczka Salt Mine with this entry ticket. Uncover the highlights of this massive salt mining complex on a guided tour. Reach a depth of 135 meters below the surface of the mine.  Choose from a tour with or without transportation from Krakow and have the option to pick a tour with a private transportation service. Breeze past long lines with a skip-the-line ticket to this popular attraction.  Discover the wonders of a salt mine on this guided visit. Starts with a descent down the stairs to a depth of 64 meters. Expereince the micro-climate of the mine which is thought to have a beneficial impact on visitors who suffer from asthma and allergies. Be led through a number of chambers and see underground lakes, shrines, and monuments carved from salt. Pass thorugh through numerous drifts and galleries where evidence of mining activity has been preserved. See examples of sacred art and themed compositions relating to the history of the mine and legends surrounding it. Wieliczka is also home to the world's largest mining heritage museum, with a collection of unique pieces of mining equipment from the Middle Ages. The tour ends at a level that’s 135 meters below the surface. Return to the surface by elevator.

Kraków: Auschwitz-Birkenau & Wieliczka Salt Mine with Pickup

5. Kraków: Auschwitz-Birkenau & Wieliczka Salt Mine with Pickup

You will start in the early morning around 08:00 a.m. (in the winter season the pick up might be slightly earlier). The tour begins in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum: first part lasts about 1,5 hours, you will visit Auschwitz I Museum with certified live guide provided by the museum. You will learn the tragic history of the largest concentration camp in Europe. After short break you will be driven to the Birkenau Museum when you will spend around 1 hour with the same guide. During the second half of your full-day program, you will travel to the Salt Mine in Wieliczka, which is one of the oldest working salt mines in the world. Before entering the Salt Mine you will have 1 hour lunch break. The English-speaking tour of the Mine will begin at 16:00 or 17:00 (depending on road conditions). Head 140 meters underground on a 2.5-hour journey along more than 2.5 kilometers of tourist routes and see chambers with amazing carvings and statues, with everything made of salt. You should arrive around 19:30 p.m. to Kraków.

Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau & Salt Mine Guided Tour in 1 Day!

6. Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau & Salt Mine Guided Tour in 1 Day!

Take an inclusive tour from Krakow which includes visits to the solemn memorial sites at Auschwitz and Birkenau. The tour then continues with a visit to the salt mines. This 11-hour tour begins with pickup at your hotel in Krakow. A professional guide will be waiting for you at Auschwitz to show you around and tell you about the history of the memorial sites. After a short break, you will also visit Birkenau. Then, visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine after a 1-hour lunch break. You’ll be accompanied by a local guide who will tell you about the history of the mine. You’ll see some incredible chambers, original sculptures, and authentic miner workplaces. Following the tour you’ll return to your hotel, arriving at around 8:00 PM.

Krakow: Auschwitz Guided Tour with Optional Lunch and Pickup

7. Krakow: Auschwitz Guided Tour with Optional Lunch and Pickup

Learn about the history and gain a deeper understanding of the Holocaust and the Nazi concentration camps on a tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau from Krakow. An English-speaking driver will pick you up from a pre-arranged meeting point in Krakow and transfer you in a comfortable vehicle. Upon arrival at the Auschwitz Museum, a local guide or a booklet in your chosen language will be provided, depending on the option booked. Visit both Auschwitz and Birkenau and acquire a sense of the symbolically important place of the Holocaust and Nazi crimes. You will visit the remaining prison blocks, gas chambers, and crematoria buildings, as well as seeing the remains of the railway ramp in Birkenau. The guided tour of Auschwitz will take between 1 hour and 20 minutes and 1 hour and 45 minutes. There will be a 10-minute break for lunch after which you will be transported to Birkenau, for a visiting time of approximately 1 hour.

Krakow: Auschwitz Guided Tour with Hotel Pickup

8. Krakow: Auschwitz Guided Tour with Hotel Pickup

Depart Krakow and journey to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum to explore the largest concentration camp in Poland built by the Nazis. Benefit from the services of a professional guide as you take a poignant tour of both the Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II labor camps. Get a short break for lunch on arrival, and then get shown around Auschwitz I to see the infamous Arbeit Macht Frei sign and some of the administration buildings where the horrors were planned. Look inside the gas chamber where the Nazis committed their hideous genocide, and see personal artifacts belonging to inmates at exhibitions dedicated to their memory. Benefit from a short 15-minute break before going to the Birkenau camp for a 1-hour guided tour. Discover where the prisoners entered the camp and the wooden barracks where they were forced to live. Return to Krakow with your thoughts and get dropped off at a place of your choice in the Old Town or Old Jewish Quarter.

Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour with Optional Hotel Pickup

9. Krakow: Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour with Optional Hotel Pickup

Step into history with a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Learn about the tragic history of the largest Holocaust concentration camp from your guide. Be picked up from the comfort of your accommodation in Krakow and board a comfortable bus for the 1.5-hour trip to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp complex, a historic site that serves as an important Holocaust memorial.  Explore the museum in the outskirts of Oświęcim, approximately 60 kilometers west of Krakow. Upon arrival, meet a local guide who will show you around the site and tell you about its inhuman history. Find out how Auschwitz-Birkenau has become both a symbol of human suffering and a witness to physical and emotional exhaustion. Hear about how it became the final resting place of millions of people, mostly Jews, that were sentenced to death in hideous gas chambers.  Walk through the gate marked "Arbeit Macht Frei" (work frees) to enter Auschwitz 1, where your guide will show you around the preserved area and introduce the history of the place. Spend approximately an hour in Birkenau, where the mass killings as part of the Nazi "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" took place. After the visit, you can reflect on the experience during the ride back to Krakow. 

Krakow: Oskar Schindler Factory Guided Tour

10. Krakow: Oskar Schindler Factory Guided Tour

Journey back to the dark days of World War II and learn the inspiring story of Oskar Schindler at Oskar Schindler's Factory Museum. Enter a modern museum devoted to the wartime experiences of the 5-year Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II. Located in the former enamel factory of the industrialist who famously saved the lives of over 1,000 people during the Holocaust, the site and story were brought into the limelight by Steven Spielberg's 1993 Oscar-winning movie "Schindler's List." Still on the site of the original administrative building of the factory on Lipowa Street, the museum tells the individual histories of Kraków's wartime inhabitants, the fate of the Jews and the city’s underground resistance to the Nazi occupation. See archival documents and photographs of the time, and listen to radio and film recordings that bring the story to life. Admire period artifacts and marvel at the dynamic multimedia installations in the museum.

Available activities

  • Auschwitz & the Holocaust
  • Thermal baths, nature, & more
  • Medieval Old Town
  • Polish customs & culture
  • Wieliczka Salt Mine
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Frequently asked questions about Krakow

What top attractions are a must-see in Krakow?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Krakow?

The best day trips and excursions from Krakow are:

Auschwitz

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Krakow

Hi! My name is Sam and I’m the blogger behind Check Out Sam. Krakow is one of my favorite places in Europe, because it’s so incredibly diverse and different to most other cities of this continent. To help you plan your trip to Krakow, I’ve listed some valuable tips to get the most out of your city break.

What should I do on my first trip to Krakow?

Go marvel at some of the most beautiful sights of this city straight away by walking to Rynek Główny. This huge square is surrounded by picturesque buildings such as the famous Sukiennice and the stunning St. Mary's Basilica (make sure to go inside too!). There are plenty of great restaurants in this area as well. People watching is yet another thing you should do here!

What are some hidden gems to see in Krakow?

A little bit out of the city center you can find the Kościuszko Mound. If it wasn't surrounded by a ramparts-like wall, you would perhaps think it's just a (very random) hill dominating the landscape, but of course that's not the case! This monument was built by the Polish people to honor Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Polish nationalist who was very much against foreign powers taking over his beloved country. People from all over Poland started adding dirt from their towns, villages and cities and added it to the ever growing mound. Nowadays, tourists can climb this unique attraction and get stunning views over the city. On sunny days you can even see the Tatra mountains!

How much time should I spend in Krakow?

Krakow is not a big city, so you can easily see it in one full day. However, I would advice to at least take two days to fully experience it. If you also want to visit the Auschwitz concentration camps, I would add at least half a day. The same goes for the Wieliczka Salt Mines. There are plenty of tours available who combine these two sights near Krakow, so if you don't want to stress about getting to either of these places this might be something for you.

What food is Krakow known for?

From all the cities that I have visited, Krakow had some of the best food that I've ever had. It's cheap, delicious and at the end you always get offered a shot of Polish vodka. Make sure to try Pierogi (dumplings) filled with anything from fruits to meat. If you like meats, there's also plenty of options for your taste buds!

What is the best way to get around Krakow?

Walk or rent a bike if you are short in time. If you want to visit Auschwitz or Wieliczka, you can do so with public transportation (bus) or with the help of a guided tour.

What are the best months to visit Krakow?

During summer, it can get quite warm in Krakow but almost never too hot. The city feels a bit more crowded because of the nice temperatures, but it never gets out of hand. Also worth mentioning: in Augusts there's a pierogi festival! I personally really liked autumn in Krakow too. The temperatures can get quite cold, but most crowds stay away and the colorful trees make this fairytale like city even more stunning.

What is neighborhood Miasto known for?

Stay in Kazimierz for food, nightlife and (jewish) history. If you want to be located centrally I would suggest Stare Miasto. Here you'll find a bit of everything. It's close to most attractions and also has great nightlife and plenty of great restaurants nearby.

What are the best neighborhoods for food? 

You can find great food all over the city, but I would recommend the Kazimierz neighborhood for the best food. Especially if you want to try out the local cuisine. Not that fond of the heavy Polish dishes? No worries! There are enough other options too (steakhouse, Italian, Lebanese, Thai, ...)

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping? 

Krakow is not really a shopping destination, but you do have some streets and shopping centers which every shopaholic will love. Near the Rynek Glówny (main square) you can find Florianska. This is where you'll find a nice mix of boutiques and souvenir stores. If you're only looking for the latter, I would recommend to head to the Cloth Hall situated on the main square itself.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Krakow?

I would suggest to stay in the picturesque old center of Krakow. That way you're close to all the action and never far away from a good restaurant or a cosy bar. Stick to the areas that I've already mentioned before: Kazimierz and Stare Miasto. They are -in my humble opinion- the absolute best to fully enjoy your stay.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Krakow?

The Wieliczka mines are a fun activity for both younger and older people. Descend into these old salt mines near Krakow and discover the interesting history and stunning sights so deep down. There's even a cathedral completely made out of salt crystals that you'll visit here during a guided tour!

What is the best thing to do in Krakow for solo travelers?

Book a (combined) tour to Auschwitz and the Wieliczka Salt Mines. It's a great way to learn more about the surroundings of Krakow and its history, but also a good way to meet like-minded people. Especially during or after your visit to Auschwitz, it can be nice to talk to someone (guide or other visitors) and let out your thoughts and feelings.

What are the best areas for outdoor activities around Krakow? 

If you don't mind being en route for a couple of hours (one to three), head to the Tatra Mountains or make a stop in beautiful Zakopane. There is plenty of stunning scenery and lots of (challenging) hikes that you can do here.

Other Sightseeing Options in Krakow

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What people are saying about Krakow

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 96,633 reviews

Brilliant tour and brilliant tour guide (Mike). We went to Zakopane on NYE and it was wonderful, Mike provided great recommendations for us to do in our spare time and everything was very well organised. Would defo recommend to anyone!

The tour was amazing from the beginning to the end, we thoroughly enjoyed the day. It was very well organised and the tour guide chris’ knowledge was exceptional. Thank you so much it, made our trip!!

Excellent bike tour , it little difficult to find the starting address but got there in the end Very enjoyable and informative and fun

Convenient transportation; Polite and experienced guide; Organized on an excellent level

Mateusz was an amazing driver. We enjoy the the trip.