Krakow is definitely a must on your list of places to visit in Europe! What a charming city full of complicated, sad and recent history that captivates almost anyone. I spent 5 days running around this wonderful place with my mother, discovering different things, so here is a list of 15 things you have to do in 5 days in Krakow:
- Main Square – We were so lucky to be located right by the square, which is the central point of the entire city. From here you can pretty much go anywhere in the surrounding area so it is a good location to be close by, even just as reference point so you don’t get lost.
- Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral – There is so much more to do in this old town area other than just visit the castle and cathedral. With about 9 different tours available, we were only able to do 3 of these and I would highly recommend going there early so you have a choice of tours.
- Auschwitz – Such a horrible but fascinating and informative visit. I would advise you book this in advance, even before you land in Krakow. Most hotels will arrange if for you and it will take up the whole day. When you return in the evening make sure you do something fun as well so you don’t feel too sad and overwhelmed by it.
- Schindler’s Factory – If you are located near the city centre, I would advise you to get a taxi to the factory and then walk back. Through your walk I would also visit the last fragment of the Ghetto Wall and the walk will take you straight to the city. In terms of booking your ticket, if you go first thing in the morning you will get your ticket quite easily and you can do a combined ticket for other museums in the city and nearby too.
- The Jewish Ghetto – When you return from the factory you will go across the ghetto where you will still see ruins of buildings that were victims of the atrocities committed there during WWII.
- The Ghetto Wall – You should definitely stop by the last fragment of the Ghetto Wall. It gives you some perspective as to the impossibility of trying to escape the designated area they were given.
- The Gestapo Houses – Again another horrible but phenomenal experience. I found it deeply moving to see the cells and all the markings of things that people wrote in the walls. If you read my previous post about the cells (click here) you will be able to see one of the markings. Again really easy to find, it is just North East of the Ring Gardens.
- St Mary’s Basilica – Just beautiful and located in the main square, you can’t really go wrong! Just make sure you don’t visit during mass time, as you won’t be allowed to take any photos.
- Krakow Cloth Hall – An amazing building but also incredible place for souvenir shopping.
- Wieliczka Salt Mine – Again I would advise you to book your tickets for this early, as like Auschwitz it is the most popular place to visit. You can also get disabled tours and these usually run at 8 AM which is fine as the mines will be practically empty and it is great to get around. The tours are led in several languages.
- Old Synagogue – If you haven’t ever seen a Synagogue before this is the perfct one to visit. It is located just outside the Jewish Ghetto and you will see several of these around but start with this one for a traditional building.
- Saint Peter and Paul Church – It is on the way to the Wawel Castle from the Main Square and it is just a stunning building to go spend some time in or even see for a concert.
- Church of St Francis of Assisi – This building is located in the intersection between the Main Square and the road that leads you to the Saint Peter and Paul Church. Its brick exterior should not fool you, the interior is very beautiful. If you doubt my words, go visit.
- Planty Park – These are the ring gardens I keep talking about. The Planty Park surrounds the whole centre of town and you can pretty much get anywhere simply by walking it. It was a favourite place of mine in my five day visit, as we got lost looking for alternative routes, admiring the trees and nature and enjoying the fresh breeze and scent that wafted into the city from this huge park.
- High Synagogue – Again this one is located near the Jewish Ghetto, and it is in reconstruction at the moment, but it is a beautiful and very peaceful building to visit. You will be asked to keep your modesty, so girls with bear legs will be given a scarf to wrap around their waist.
So here you are: 15 things for you to do in 5 days in Krakow! I hope you book a visit there soon and enjoy it.