I grew up in Poland, near the beautiful city of Kraków, and came to the United States when I was 10 years old. I often visit Poland now as I still have family and friends there and one of my favorite cities in the world is Kraków! It is so beautiful and there are so many things to do and see. In this post, I wanted to share the BEST things to do in Kraków! You can explore this city in a day or over a long weekend, but if you have more time, I highly encourage you to stay here for a few days. It is such a hidden gem in the heart of Europe!
Main Market Square (Rynek Glówny)
One of the main must visit attractions in Kraków is the Main Market Square. It is absolutely gorgeous and I love strolling around this area of the city! It is the largest medieval market square in all of Europe and filled with cute cafes, restaurants, vendors and tourists! You will most likely also encounter pigeons in the Main Square! They are accustomed to people and love to be fed! I remember going to Kraków as a little girl and feeding the pigenous my bagel pretzels.
You must try the traditional bagel pretzels, known as obwarzanki, when you are in Kraków. Obwarzanki are braided ring-shaped bread pretzels that are sprinkled with salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, etc., before being baked. They are so delicious and I always get them whenever I go back to Kraków. In fact, I crave them as soon as land and get off the plane in Poland and the obwarzanki are one of my first purchases at the Balice Airport!
The most iconic place at the Main Market Square is St. Mary’s Basilica which was built in the 13th century! Its characteristic feature are two towers that have different height and different styles. The Basilica is exquisite and I highly encourage you to visit inside!
My Favorite Cafe at the Main Market Square
My favorite cafe at the Main Market Square in Kraków is the Pijalnie Czekolady E.Wedel (E. Wedel Chocolate Lounge). The hot chocolate here is out of this world! I’ve had the hot chocolate and coffee drinks and both were so delicious! I highly recommend visiting if you have a chance!
Florianska Street (Ulica Floriańska)
Florianska Street is one of Kraków’s most famous streets filled with cafes, shops, cute boutiques and restaurants. It’s so fun to stroll around and leads to the Floriańska Gate which was the main entrance to Kraków in medieval times!
Wawel Royal Castle
The Wawel Royal Castle is located in central Kraków and a must visit when you are in the city! If you are short on time, you can stroll the Wawel Castle grounds for free. The castle grounds are beautiful! You can walk around and admire the historic buildings and gardens.
Be careful while you stroll the castle grounds though as you may encounter the Wawel Dragon! Haha! In reality, it is metal statue of a dragon that breathes real fire! Growing up in Poland, I learned the legend of the Wawel Dragon (Smok Wawelski) as a little girl. The dragon was a mystical beast which supposedly ate the sheep of the local community and terrified children. According to legend, the dragon was killed by Krakus, a Polish prince, who allegedly founded the city of Kraków! Today, the legend is read by millions of kids in Polish schools and by tourists who visit Wawel.
If you have more time and you’re looking to learn more about Kraków and its history, I highly encourage you to take a tour of the Castle’s interior which are also beautiful! I can only imagine what it was like to live in such a beautiful mansion surrounded by the finest furniture and art!
Planty Park is a beautiful city park in the heart of Kraków. The park is a circular shape and runs around the outside of the old town. There are many places to sit, enjoy the surrounding nature and sip a cup of coffee. It is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon or morning!
One of my favorite things about Kraków is its stunning architecture and beautiful buildings. There are over six thousand historic sites in the city of Kraków which are all a work of art. I love strolling around the city and admiring all of the architecture which includes a historic variety of styles including Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic buildings.
Summary of the Best Things to Do in Kraków
By the looks of these pictures, you can probably tell that I love being a tourist in my own hometown! Kraków is a gorgeous city that I enjoy visiting regularly when I go back to Poland. My favorite thing to do in Kraków is to stroll around the city, admiring its beautiful architecture and city parks. One of my favorite places in the city is the Main Square. It is so beautiful and I love relaxing at the local cafes and sipping hot chocolate or coffee while people watching the thousands of tourists that visit the square. It is so enjoyable and I can’t wait to go back!
Let me know if you have any questions about visiting Krakow! I would love to answer them! If you enjoyed this post, please share it on your social media and with friends and family. Thanks for your support!