17 places to see and things to do in Krakow and Auschwitz in Poland

Krakow Market Square in Poland

Surely you will have planned that the city of Krakow Be a priority destination on your next vacation trip to Poland, or on a getaway to that southern city of the eastern country.

Therefore, at the time of travel to Krakow and its surroundings you should know in advance what are the best places to visit in order to plan your stay.

You should know at the outset Krakow It is considered the city with the greatest tourist attraction of Poland.

Cloth Hall in Krakow Market Square

But I tell you that too in its surroundings you have several places of great interest, especially the memorial and museum of the oldAuschwitz concentration camp, with its extension of the field of Birkenau.

Or also the Wieliczka Salt Mines. Another essential attraction on a trip to this Polish city.

For your trip you have several options to sign up for Spanish tours in Krakow, Auschwitz or the Salt Mines.

But if you prefer to go on your own, here is information about what to see and what to do during your stay, with the best Places to visit in Krakow and its surroundings.

What to see in Krakow

Did you know that this historic city was the residence of Kings of Poland ? And that it also has a long and strong religious tradition as a Catholic city, an example of which was the celebration in 2016 of the World Youth Day?.

St. Mary's Basilica in Krakow in southern Poland

In this article you have various curiosities about the history of the city, as well asTips for visiting Krakow.

Market Square in Krakow

The central axis of the old medieval city of Krakow it's the great marketplace, of enormous dimensions, in which some of the iconic buildings of the same meet, and it is the place where you are going to focus your visit.

Within the largely walled enclosure of themedieval city of Krakow, in the inner zone of the large landscaped ringPlanty garden Ring,all the streets come together in theMarketplace, the largest in Europe by its dimensions, 200 meters in length on each side.

In this great square you will find two of the most important monuments of the city, the Basilica of Santa Maria and the Cloth Exchange, but also at sunset and during the night there is a great atmosphere of cafes, bars and restaurants, as well as other activities.

TheKrakow Market Squarewhose Polish name isRynek Glowny, it was already built in the middle of the 13th century.

Horse carriage in the Market Square in Krakow

In addition to the monuments mentioned above, thestatue ofAdam Mickiewicz, and a small church, that ofSanta Adalbert, also known asVoitek.

When you arrive at the square, apart from seeing its monuments, you will see the great life that is always full of visitors.

In it numerous are concentratedhorse carriages, very decorated, offered to tourists to take a tour of the streets of the ancient medieval city.

You can also opt for smallelectric vehicles, similar to those of golf courses, where you can also make aGuided tour of the city.

Choir of the Basilica of Santa Maria in the Market Square in Krakow

Basilica of Santa Maria in Krakow

The Basilica of Santa Maria It is one of the icon images of the Krakow Market Square,

This great church rises solemnly right in front of theCloth Hall and it is a building of polish gothic style It began to be built in the middle of the 13th century and was completed at the end of the 15th century.

Of her they emphasize exceedingly its two towers of unequal height, aspect that will catch your attention as soon as you see it, not only for its different height, but also for its different configuration.

Towers of the Basilica of Santa Maria

As a curiosity, Do you know why the towers of the Basilica of St. Mary of Krakow have different height?

Altar of the Basilica of Santa Maria in the Market Square in Krakow

This is due to the great competition between the two brothers architects who built it, who bet on who was going to build the tallest tower.

In this competition, one of them decided to kill the other, and after repenting, committed suicide by pulling from one of the towers. In fact, in the neighborCloth HallThe knife that is said was used for murder is saved.

The truth is that when visiting the beautyKrakow Market Square you will find two towers of different height, the highest of 81 meters and with a Gothic-style roof, and the lowest, 65 meters with a Renaissance-style roof.

The highest of the towers is known as theVigia tower, waveCornet Tower, since for 600 years, every hour of the day, from the top of the tower a bugle is played as a warning to citizens.

For its part, inside the basilica stands out thealtarbuilt in the late fifteenth century, as well as the spectacular chorus, with organ included, although to see them you will have to pay a ticket.

Cloth Hall in the Market Square in Krakow

Cloth Hall in Krakow

One of the most visited places by tourists in Krakow is the Cloth Exchange, building located in the center of the Market Square, of Renaissance style, which has become a large market for stores souvenirs.

Named in PolishSukiennice, the story of this great and beautiful renaissance style building dates back shortly after the year 1300.

In the place it occupies in the very center of this medieval square, a covered area was set up under which clothing merchants were concentrated.

Some time later, at the end of the 14th century, a first building of Gothic style, 108 meters long and eight meters wide, but after a fire in 1555, the building of theCloth Hall it was rebuilt with the current configuration of Renaissance style.

At present, when you visit it you can contemplate the great architectural beauty of this building that is framed between theBasilica of Santa Maria and the tower of Old Town Hall of Krakow, which was demolished in the 19th century.

Of course, I advance that the interior of the historicCloth Market It has now become a large market for storessouvenirs, so do not expect to arrive and find traditional clothing stores.

Souvenirs in the Cloth Hall of Krakow

On both sides of the long corridor of theSukiennice A lot of small shops are crowded where you can buy all kinds of souvenirs.

The souvenirs Most popular are religious figures or objects, but you will also find wooden or gold handicraft products, and the classic T-shirts and caps.


- Private guided tour of Krakow
- Excursion to Auschwitz-Birkenau
- Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour
- Excursion to Zakokane and Tatra Mountains
- Transfers in Krakow

Wawel Hill

The Wawel Hill it is the enclave of the medieval city of Krakow where historically the political and religious power has been concentrated, which is represented by the presence of Royal Castle and the Cathedral.

Going south from the marketplace byKanonicza street, you will arrive at theWawel Hill, a small promontory on the banks of Vistula river.

The history of that place dates back to the sixth century, when according to medieval legends, a dragon lived in one of its caves, but at the end of the ninth century the fortification of the Royal Castle and the Wawel Hill start acquiring a role likeKrakow political center.

Wawel Hill in Krakow

From then on said castle became the residence of different Polish kings.

In parallel it became the main center of the Christianity in Poland, especially after the construction from the 11th century of the cathedral.

This preeminence of the Wawel Hill in life, not only in the city of Krakow, but throughout Poland, it had a milestone when in 1291 Wenceslas II was crowned king of poland in the Wawel Cathedral.

For later centuries the Wawel Hill It was of great political importance as the headquarters of the Government of Poland, until in the 17th century the city of Warsaw He assumed the capital of the country.

Finally, when in 1918 Poland he regained his independence after the occupation by Austria, theWawel Royal Castle became residence of Head of state.

Royal Castle in Krakow

The original fortification of Royal Castle of Krakow During the 16th century it was rebuilt to become a Renaissance palace.

Royal Castle on Wawel Hill in Krakow

Now on your trip to Krakow you can visit the most important rooms of the Royal Castle, since the State Halls and the Royal chapel, until the Royal Private Apartments, rooms that maintain the Gothic style in its construction.

Here you have more useful information for visit the Royal Castle in Krakow.

Wawel Cathedral in Krakow

The current building of the Krakow Cathedral It dates back to the fourteenth century, although already in the eleventh century there was a first Romanesque church.

When during your visit to the Wawel Hill Go to the cathedral, you will find that the building shows a great mix of architectural styles, from the original Gothic to the Renaissance and Baroque.

Here you have all the information for your visit of Wawel Cathedral in Krakow.

Wawel Cathedral in Krakow

Medieval wall of Krakow

In you Krakow visit you can still see some stretch of the medieval wall that surrounded the city, and one prominent corner is the Florian Gate.

It began to be built in the 13th century and reached three kilometers in length with 47 towers and 8 doors.

It was in 1810 when it was decided to tear down the wall and create in this space the current circular park that you can see how it surrounds the old site of the medieval city.

Florian Gate in Krakow

Now, some section of the old medieval wall of Krakow.

Florian gate of the old medieval wall of Krakow

The most prominent place to see it is the old one Florian Gate, following the Florian street north of the marketplace, where you can see one big tower and the old barbican input, the only one preserved.

St. Andrew's Church in Krakow

Krakow It is one of the cities of Europe where you can see more churches, which have different architectural styles.

In fact it is known as the City of the 200 churches, and, indeed, if anywhere in its historic center you turn 360 degrees, you will see that you will always see at least one church.

Among them is the St. Andrew's Church, the best sample that persists of Romanesque architecture in the city.

St. Andrew's Church in Krakow

You will find it in the Grodzka street, halfway between the aforementionedMarketplace YWawel Hill, within the precinct of the medieval city.

Located next to the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, it is easy to recognize by its two high Romanesque towers, which are covered by a baroque roof, as well as by the image of robustness given by its brick walls.

Built in the eleventh century, the style ofinterior of the church of San Andrés Is completelybaroque, from the 18th century, which is a new reflection of that contrast that is already reflected in the towers.

Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Krakow

Located next to the aforementioned church of San Andrés, the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul It isBaroque style, and was built in the 17th century byJesuits, and in fact it was the first church of the Jesuits in Krakow.

Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Krakow

The highlight of this church, without a doubt, is its beautiful white baroque facade, built in the image and likeness of the facade of the church of the Gesu of Rome, headquarters of theJesuit Order.

On the facade of the Krakow church you can see twelve stone sculptures with the figures of the twelve apostles, which are copies of the original sculptures that were relocated in the church's interior courtyard in the 18th century.

Jewish Quarter of Krakow

One of the essential visits on your trip to Krakow is the Jewish Quarter known as Kazimierz, corner that currently shows a great cultural environment with numerous cafes and restaurants.

Cited Jewish Quarter It is located outside the historic center and its location dates back to the fourteenth century, when outside the walls began to build a new city where the Jewish community was moved in 1495.

Restaurant in the Jewish Quarter of Krakow

On your trip to the Polish city you will see that it is worth visiting and you will see two historic synagogues, as well as other corners among which the old one stands out Jewish Ghetto and the old Schindler's Factory.

Old Synagogues in Krakow

Of those preserved in Krakow, known as Old Synagogue It is the oldest in Poland and dates back to the second half of the 15th century.

You find it in one of the axes of the Jewish Quarter, the marketplace, and inside you can visit the Museum of the History of the Jews in Krakow.

Remuh Synagogue in Krakow

In the same square you can also visit the Remuh Synagogue founded in 1533, and next to which is located an old Jewish cemetery in which the known as Wailing Wall.

Wailing Wall in Krakow Remuh Synagogue

Jewish Ghetto in Krakow

Another prominent corner near the Jewish Quarter is the oldKrakow Jewish Ghetto, a neighborhood where the Germans concentrated on the Jews during the WWII, and where you can still see some section of its wall.

In the known as Ghetto Heroes Square located at the entrance of said neighborhood is located a memorial in memory of the Jews who were banned to said ghetto.

And also in that area you can visit the old Schindler Factory, whose story was reflected in one of the most famous films ofSteven Spielberg.

What to see around Krakow

Near Krakow there are two places whose visit you should include in your travel agenda, the memorial of the former concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Wielizca Salt Mines.

Former Auschwitz II Birkenau concentration camp


Essential in a trip to Krakow is to do the excursion until memorial of the former Auschwitz concentration camp, where you can also visit its extension of Birkenau.

Located 90 kilometers from Krakow, the concentration camp was created in 1940 and was home to up to 90,000 prisoners.

Auschwitz He earned fame as the largest extermination camp for Jews by the Nazis, who built an extension known as Birkenau, whose remains you can also visit on your trip.

It will be useful to know how to sign up for a Auschwitz Spanish tour from Krakow, and if you prefer to go on your own, how to get to Auschwitz by bus.

And here you have another alternative of Auschwitz tour from Krakow with Spanish guide With a duration of seven hours.

Wieliczka Salt Mines in Krakow

Wieliczka Salt Mines

Another highly recommended visit in Krakow is the Wieliczka Salt Mines, located very close to the city, and which have become one of the most important tourist attractions.

They are located 14 kilometers from the Polish city and declared World Heritage by Unesco, are considered as one of the most famous salt mines in the world.

The most prominent corner you will see on your visit is the Chapel of Santa Kinga.

Video: KRAKOW Travel Guide : 5 Krakow Tourist Attractions (November 2019).