Spending time looking around Krakow means having to decide which of many possibilities interests you most. No other city in Poland has as much to see and do as Krakow does. Beautiful churches, monasteries and palaces, amazing museum collections, charms walks – it’s all here in and around this incredible city. So where do you start? Which places should at the top your list?
Krakow Tours – The “must-see” list
Let’s start with the most deservedly famous sites in Krakow, the places that you have to go no matter how short your visit might be.
First of all, no Krakow sightseeing is complete without walking up the hill to Wawel Castle, where the history of the city starts. The first permanent settlement here dates from the 9th century! The Royal Wawel Cathedral has played a central role in the history of the country and today visitors can see breathtaking works of art and architecture along with the tombs of many of the greatest leaders and heroes of the nation.
Read more about: Things to do in Krakow – A few ideas for thematic trips.
The entire Cathedral has exceptional historical significance and symbolism, a history lesson you can see and touch. Every corner holds breathtakingly beautiful artistic creations and every surface is decorated with the work of gifted hands. And don’t forget to make the trip up the steps of the tower to see Sigismund’s Bell!
The Royal Castle on Wawel Hill is a stunning residence with world-class museum exhibits. They are grouped together in a few different themed routes that visitors can take – the State Rooms, the Royal Apartments, the Crown Treasury and Armory, Oriental Art and Lost Wawel. Don’t forget to ask your Krakow guide all about Wawel during a stroll in the Royal Gardens and a trip into the dragon’s lair! As an added bonus, Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady With Ermine is temporarily on display at Wawel during renovations to the paintings permanent home at the Czartoryski Museum.
Krakow sightseeing – spending time with obligatory stops.
There are more obligatory stops in Krakow’s Old Town and Main Square. Heading away from Wawel in the direction of the one of the biggest squares from medieval Europe, you’ll start down Kanonicza street, up Grodzka street and through All Saints Square. Along the way you’ll pass of the very oldest buildings in the city, beautiful churches like the Romanesque Church of St. Andrew, early Baroque Church St. Peter and St. Paul and two basillicas situated opposite one another, the Dominican Church (the oldest Gothic holy site in Krakow) and the Franciscan Church (with its stunning interior and stained glass). The Main Square is the site of the Town Hall Clock Tower, the Cloth Hall and of course St. Mary’s Church, where visitors will find one of the most famous works of Gothic art ever created, the amazing altarpiece by the Nuremberg master Wit Stwosz.
The Old Town is full of fascinating sites and attractions. During Krakow tours You can visit the second oldest university in Eastern Europe and the Collegium Maius, the oldest existing building from the former Krakow Academy, as well as the ornate Baroque Church of St. Anne. Leave the square behind you and walk up Florianska street towards the 14th century Florianska Gate and Barbican fortification.
Don’t even think about skipping the old Jewish Quarter of Kazimierz. Just ask Krakow Guide about it. This district was created as a separate city from Krakow in the 15th century and existed as its own city until the second half of the 18th century. But it’s the fact that this was the Jewish Quarter of Krakow for more than four hundred years is what brings tourists from all over the world here today. Today there are seven synagogues in Kazimierz and three of them are located around Szeroka street, the very heart of Jewish Kazimierz. You have to see it for yourself to understand what’s so special about the atmosphere in Kazimierz. Also, remember that there is also a Christian part of Kazimierz, with is impressive St. Catherine’s Church, Corpus Christi church and Sanctuary of the Martryrdom of St. Stanislaw church, known locally as “Skalka”.