Krakow, sure to satisfy the history buff, is a city with a deeply rooted past, spanning even thousands of years. For the rest of us, Krakow offers a number of activities from art to nature to water sports. Krakow also has a rich food scene. If you’re a foodie, be sure to check out our article on the best places to eat in Krakow.
1. Discover the legendary world of the Wawel Castle Dragon's Den
The legend of the Wawel Castle Dragon was first written down in the 13th century. Some versions hold that the legendary founder of Krakow, King Cracus, was responsible for slaying the dragon, while the most famous interpretation asserts that it was King Cracus’ sons who tricked and killed the dragon. Today, visitors may descend deep into Wawel Hill to see the legendary dragon’s den. Before visiting the cave, visitors should note that making your way to and from the dragon’s den requires walking up and down many stairs, so it might not be the best choice on Wawel Hill for everyone.
Wawel Castle Dragon's Den
Address: Wawel 5, 33-332 Kraków, Poland
Website: Wawel Castle Dragon’s Den
2. Kayak on the Wisla River
For the nature lover or adventure traveler, one of the most popular activities is kayaking on the Wisla River. Walking around Old Town, you’ll see plenty of advertisements for different kayaking tours. Getting out on the river can be a refreshing way to escape the summer heat or work on your tan. In the spring, you’ll be treated to views of the wildflowers that grow around the river.
Kayak on the Wisla River
Website: Krakow Adventure
3. Take a stroll through the Botanical Garden of the Jagiellonian University
From orchids to carnivorous plants, the Botanical Garden hosts a wide array of flora. The Botanical Garden is also a good option for families; the Garden offers discounts for children and families, while there is no need for a ticket for children under 4. The Botanical Garden hosts educational tours; however, you must book a week ahead of time. Tours are not offered during the summer months (July to August).
Botanical Garden of the Jagiellonian University
Address: Mikołaja Kopernika 27, 30-001 Kraków-Śródmieście, Poland
4. Show respect for Krakow's history by visiting the Galicia Jewish Museum
The Galicia Jewish Museum is a great way to pay respect to the past while exploring Krakow’s re-emerging Jewish cultural scene. Located in the Jewish Quarter, the museum is surrounded by Krakow’s best Jewish restaurants. Once you’ve walked through the museum, you’ll enter a bookstore.
Although the museum offers a wide selection of literature about the Holocaust, they also spotlight the best in Jewish fiction and non-fiction. The bookshop is accompanied by a small coffee shop, where you can look over the literature while your process the museum. The Galicia Jewish Museum may not sound like a family friendly attraction; however, the museum frequently hosts events for children like toy building workshops. The museum also hosts blues concerts, walking tours, and similar events for adults.
Galicia Jewish Museum
Address: ul. Dajwór 18, 31-052 Kraków, Poland
Website: Galicia Jewish Museum
5. Head beneath Krakow for the Rynek Underground Museum
The Rynek Underground is an archaeological museum located underneath the market square in Old Town Krakow. Although the museum is modern and provides cutting edge audio and visual experiences, it covers 1,000 years of Krakow history. Once you get underground, you’ll be walking through medieval market stalls with beautiful exposed brick. Tickets begin at about 6 USD and can be purchased online or at the museum.
Rynek Underground Museum
Address: Rynek Główny 1, 33-332 Krakow, Poland
Website: Rynek Underground Museum
6. Appreciate nature and art on the Bernatek Footbridge
The Bernatek Footbridge crosses the Wisla River, ideal for pedestrians to appreciate the beauty of the river and surrounded architecture. The bridge is often hosted to modern art installations as well, granting a great opportunity to appreciate local artists. The Bernatek Footbridge is also beloved by bicyclists. Renting a bike in Krakow begins at about 2 dollars for an hour.
Address: Kładka Ojca Bernatka, 31-061 Kraków, Poland
Address: Szewska 25, 31-009 Kraków, Poland
Website: Lucky Bike
KRK Bike Rental
Address: Świętej Anny 4, 31-008, 31-008 Kraków, Poland
Website: KRK Bike Rental
7. Explore Krakow's foodie scene at the famous Good Lood
With flavors like Polish strawberry, caramelized figs, and peanut butter and jelly, Good Lood is a great way to sample the best fresh ingredients Krakow has to offer. Because of their wide variety of flavors, you can stick with an old classic or try one of their innovative creations. If you’re really in love with the ice cream, you can buy pints to go too. Listed below is their original address; however, there are 7 locations in and around Krakow.
Address: plac Wolnica 11, 33-332 Kraków, Poland
Website: Good Lood
8. Learn about Slavic history at the Archeological Museum of Krakow
If you’re interested in history or religion, the acclaimed Archeological Museum of Krakow offers a beautiful exhibit on the ancient peoples that inhabited Eastern Europe. At 150 years old, the museum itself is a piece of Krakow history. From a medieval mansion to a convent to a prison, the building itself, originally a 14th-century fortress, has lived many lives.
The museum is especially important to the study of Slavic history because it hosts the only representation of a Slavic god ever found. The museum hosts two permanent exhibits: one about the gods of ancient Egypt and another that traces Eastern European history across 75,000 years from Neanderthals to the medieval period. Check out their website to see what temporary exhibits they’re hosting.
Archeological Museum of Krakow
Address: Senacka 3, 31-002 Kraków, Poland
Website: Archeological Museum of Krakow
9. Seek thrills at the Lost Souls Alley
Lost Souls Alley is part maze, part haunted house, and part museum, inspired by horror films and designed to trigger intense fear. You must participate in the experience as a part of a group. Groups must be a minimum of two people and a maximum of six. Children under 14 are not permitted. Once in the museum, you will lead yourself through the dark halls with nothing but a torch, while actors and audio/visual projections try to rouse your fear.
Lost Souls Alley
Address: Floriańska 6, 31-021 Kraków, Poland
Website: Lost Souls Alley
10. Wawel Cathedral
Wawel Cathedral is an icon representation of Gothic art and architecture, but for the Polish people, it is much more symbolic than that. Catholicism is deeply ingrained in Polish history and culture. To Poles, Wawel Cathedral symbolizes this history.
Unfortunately, if you’re interested in participating in a Catholic Mass, the Cathedral only offers services in Latin and Polish; however, there are plenty of churches and cathedrals in Krakow that offer English language Mass. To learn about royal history in Poland, the Cathedral is also the burial place of early Polish nobility. Entry to the Cathedral is free, but if you’re interested in a tour, they begin at roughly 3 USD.
Address: Wawel 3, 31-001 Kraków, Poland
Website: Wawel Cathedral
A little bit of everything
Although rich in history, some of which requires that proper respect is paid, Krakow is a vibrant modern city that’s easy to navigate and explore new things. There’s no shortage of things to do in Krakow. No matter how many of these activities you’re able to do when in Krakow, you’re sure to leave promising that you’ll come back.
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