Kraków is Poland's most popular destination city, with a beautiful old center that captures the city's history in castles, churches, and squares. Wander through the old town with your camera or take a guided tour so as not to miss anything. Your introduction to Kraków begins with these must-see sights!
The Cloth Hall
The Cloth Hall is an enormous structure that bisects Kraków's Main Market Square. Once a place for merchants selling practical wares, it is now a souvenir market where traditional crafts, amber jewelry, and trinkets can be purchased. Find amber gifts, textiles, ceramic, jewelry, and other handmade souvenirs to remind you of your visit to Kraków.
Around the square are plenty of eateries and shops, and this central space is the venue for the Kraków Christmas market as well as a Polish Easter market--both unique opportunities to purchase gifts and seasonal decorations.You'll also get an idea how these holidays are celebrated in Poland.
St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Church, with its tall bell tower and red brick facade, is a major feature of Main Market Square. Listen for the bugler who trumpets a strangled tune to recall a similar player who was shot in the throat by an invader.
Kraków's Town Hall
Kraków's Town Hall Tower was once part of a larger structure, and a model of the original building has been placed nearby for curious visitors to examine. Climb the tower for views of Main Market Square and the old town, or take advantage of its shade to have a drink or a snack in one of the nearby restaurants.
Polish history has been made time and time again in Wawel Castle, where Polish kings were crowned, married, and buried.The grounds of Wawel Castle contain a cathedral, archeological remnants of past structures, palaces, and a lookout over the Vistula River. The castle grounds can be visited for free, though you'll have to buy a ticket to enter the castle's structures. Don't forget to find Wawel Castle's dragon, who guards it against waterside attacks.
Grodzka Street connects Main Market Square with Wawel Castle. Besides the many shops and eateries you'll find on Grodzka Street, note-worthy sights can also be viewed. St. Peter and Paul Church, with its figures of the twelve apostles, is unmissable, and next door is the Romanesque St. Andrew's Church. Stop at a major crossroads on Grodzka, and you'll see the Franciscan church to one side and a Dominican church to the other - the streets are named for their respective churches.
Kraków's Kazimierz district, found south of Wawel Castle, is as historic as it is trendy. The Jewish Quarter of Kraków, it is home to synagogues and churches alike. This rejuvenated neighborhood also enjoys a lively nightlife and is the center of cultural and food festivals that make up an important part of Kraków's calendar of events.
This gate was once an entrance to the city. Dating from the 14th century, it is connected to all that remains of Kraków's former city walls. Here, you'll find artists' depictions of Kraków that you can purchase as a souvenir of your visit to the city.
The Barbican was once a defensive structure (to which its 3-meter-thick walls attest), but it now stands as a monument to times past amidst the greenery of a park. It's possible to enter the Barbican from May until October.