Known for its fairytale vistas, including the towering Wawel Castle, Krakow is also a people-watching hotspot, with Florianska Street and the Market Square being among the most popular places to stop and people-watch. The Jewish Ghetto Memorial and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, as well as green places such as Planty Park, serve as reminders of the city’s recent history of tragedy and oppression. Our list of things to do in Krakow will help you find some ideas.
For more than a thousand years, the Market Square has been the hub of the world-famous Krakow Old Town, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Come here for the taverns crammed into the basements of Medieval houses, on-street cafés and restaurants, and attractions like as the central Renaissance Sukiennice, or Cloth Hall, and the Town Hall Tower, which are also worth a visit (the hall itself was demolished in 1820).
Historic Old Town
The Medieval area, which is included on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, is surrounded by a large Planty Park, which has grown where the medieval moat used to perform its defensive functions. In the Barbican you will learn more about the fortifications that remain from this ancient capital of Poland, which are still visible today.
The historic Old Town of Krakow, with the Main Square at its very heart, offers visitors a variety of equally attractive views – an impressive play of light on the facades of aristocratic buildings, the architectural details of Slowacki theatre, the blissful charm of Little Market Square, the coziness of traditional artisan shops run in its medieval cellars, or long shadows cast by the tower of the Town Hall or imposing statues of this history-ridden district. Walking down the Royal Route, which leads directly to Wawel Castle, is a wonderful way to start your day!
You can’t visit Krakow without taking in the magnificent Wawel Castle, which is a kaleidoscope of gothic, Renaissance, rococo, and Romanesque architecture. The UNESCO-listed Wawel Castle, perched high above the Old Town on a rocky outcrop above the city, is a national treasure of enormous significance.
The castle, which features architecture in every style from Romanesque to Baroque, served as the residence of the King of Poland from the 13th century until the 17th century. After the capital was transferred to Warsaw and the castle was devastated during the Swedish invasion in the 1650s, the country entered a period of dormancy.
Virgin Mary Church
This brick Gothic church is one of Krakow’s most stunning sights, and it dates back to the 13th century. In all, it consists of two sky-high towers, the tallest of which is 69 metres and the other of which is 82 metres, and it is from the latter that the traditional song of Hejnal Mariacki is played by a bugler once an hour, which can be heard clearly from all parts of the Old Town.
On the way up the wooden steps of St. Mary’s Basilica, you may take in a panoramic view of Krakow and pick up a few of Krakow tales, or you can wonder at the biggest wooden Altarpiece in the world, which was carved by the master carver Veit Stoss between 1477 and 1484. Please don’t miss this opportunity to hear some accounts on what various aspects of the artwork imply or mock despite its sacred significance.
St Mary’s Basilica
Originally constructed on the foundations of an older church that had been destroyed by the Mongols, this Brick Gothic marvel dates from the beginning of the 14th century and would undergo extensive renovations over the following several decades.
The Trumpet Call of St. Mary’s is played from the top of the taller of the two towers on the hour, every hour, on the half-hour, and on the hour. This is in honor of the 13th-century city trumpeter who sounded the alert in preparation for the Mongol onslaught on the city.
He was shot in the throat in the middle of the conversation, which is why the music cuts off suddenly at that point. The stained glass windows and gold stars on a blue backdrop in the vaults are really breathtaking on the inside.
However, the main attraction is the biggest Gothic altarpiece in the world, which is the center of attention. Construction on the structure began in 1484 and was completed in 1484 after seven years of work by German artist Veit Stoss, who carved lime-wood sculptures up to 2.7 metres high.
Polish Aviation Museum
Even those who do not consider themselves to be aviation aficionados will be pleasantly surprised by the Polish Aviation Museum, which is just a few kilometers distant from Krakow’s city core and simply a little detour off the main path.
There are over 140 aircrafts on exhibit in the open zone of a former airport, and you will learn a great deal about the wonderful art of flying over the decades, thanks to the diversity of models on display and the informative background information you will get.
Because Poland has a long history of accomplishments in the area of aeronautics, Krakow is an ideal location for what is apparently the world’s greatest collection of aircrafts, which is available to the public on weekends and holidays. This top-rated Krakow attraction is absolutely worth checking out!