Krakow is known to be one of the most picturesque cities in Europe so it is little wonder that there are so many things to see and do during your time here. Unlike other Polish cities such as Warsaw, Krakow managed to remain relatively unscathed after the Second World War, meaning that there is a spectacular mix of young and old buildings, statues and monuments to see. Krakow sightseeing is a really great adventure!
The Old Town as a starting point
Sightseeing in Krakow can really be divided into two different areas – the old town, and Kazimierz (the Jewish district). The old town with its impressive market square, which is the biggest in Europe, is a good place to start. Located on this impressive square are such sights as the famous St. Mary’s church with its distinctive bugle call ringing out every hour. The square also plays host to a number of markets, exhibitions, events and concerts throughout the year, so it’s well worth checking what’s on before you visit. In the centre of the square is the cloth hall, Sukiennice in Polish, which is also home to the Krakow underground museum which is well worth visiting while you’re in Krakow. And of course being the centre of the city there are also a number of great bars and restaurants, so it’s the perfect place to spend your evenings as well.
As well as the underground museum there are a number of other museums, galleries and places of interest located just a stone’s throw away from the market square. Slightly away from the main square is the Barbican; a fortified outpost which was once connected to the city walls and now serves purely as a tourist attraction. Surrounding the old town is Planty Park which is a green belt 4km in length which is a great place to go for a stroll in the warmer months.
During Krakow sightseeing, you have to visit Kazimierz!
Next we move on to sightseeing in Kazimierz. Kazimierz is also known as the Jewish district and is located south of the Old Town. If parts of it already look familiar then that may be because many of the scenes from Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List were shot here. Much of it were destroyed during World War II before it went on to become one of Krakow’s ‘dodgiest’ districts during the communism era. That has all changed now though and today it is Krakow’s most exciting district packed with historical sites, charming cafes, trendy bars and art galleries.
Whilst the Old Town has the Market Square, Kazimierz has Plac Nowy which is a good place to start. This square is the centre of Kazimierz and contains some cafes, bars, market stalls as well as being the place to try some traditional zapiekanka. Corpus Christi church is a place you have to see when visiting Kazimierz as well, with this huge 14th century church taking up two blocks in size. Whilst you’re in the Jewish district it’s well worth learning about the Jewish history of Krakow which can be done at the excellent Galicia Jewish Museum. And if you’re looking for a Jewish theme then there are a number of old synagogues which you have to see whilst in this district, namely the High Synagogue and the Isaac Synagogue.