Krakow is a city that is definitely worth visiting during the summer months. The city offers a variety of attractions, from its historic architecture and museums to its lively nightlife and delicious cuisine. If you’re planning a summer getaway to Krakow, here are 10 ways to have an unforgettable vacation in Poland.
Explore Krakow’s Old Town and Main Square
Krakow’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s easy to see why. The area is full of stunning architecture, historic landmarks, and picturesque streets that make it a must-visit destination for anyone visiting the city. One of the highlights of the Old Town is the Main Square (Rynek Główny), which is the largest medieval square in Europe.
The Main Square is surrounded by beautiful buildings, including the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), St. Mary’s Basilica (Kościół Mariacki), and the Town Hall Tower (Wieża ratuszowa). Visitors can take a stroll around the square and take in the sights, or sit down at one of the many outdoor cafes and enjoy a drink or a meal.
Another highlight of the Old Town is the Wawel Castle, which sits atop a hill overlooking the city. The castle has a rich history and is one of the most important landmarks in Poland. Visitors can explore the castle’s many chambers and halls, as well as the adjacent cathedral, which houses the tombs of many Polish kings and queens.
If you’re interested in history, you might also want to visit the Rynek Underground Museum, which is located beneath the Main Square. The museum offers a fascinating look at the history of Krakow, from its earliest days to the present.
Visit Wawel Castle and Cathedral
Wawel Castle is one of the most iconic landmarks in Krakow and an essential stop for anyone visiting the city. Located on a hill overlooking the Vistula River, the castle has a long and fascinating history dating back to the 14th century.
Visitors can explore the castle’s many chambers and halls, including the State Rooms, the Royal Private Apartments, and the Crown Treasury and Armory. The State Rooms are particularly impressive, with their opulent decor and stunning artwork.
Adjacent to the castle is the Wawel Cathedral, another important landmark in Krakow. The cathedral is the coronation site of many Polish kings and queens, and their tombs can be found within the cathedral’s walls. The cathedral is also home to many beautiful works of art, including the famous altarpiece by Veit Stoss.
One of the highlights of a visit to the Wawel Cathedral is the Sigismund Bell, which is the largest bell in Poland and one of the largest in Europe. Visitors can climb to the top of the bell tower for panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside.
Overall, a visit to Wawel Castle and Cathedral is a must-do for anyone interested in history and culture. The stunning architecture and rich history of these landmarks make them essential stops on any trip to Krakow.
Discover the Jewish Quarter of Kazimierz
Krakow’s Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz, is a vibrant and bustling neighborhood that is full of history and culture. For centuries, Kazimierz was a center of Jewish life in Poland, and today it’s home to many important Jewish landmarks and institutions.
One of the highlights of a visit to Kazimierz is the Old Synagogue (Stara Synagoga), which is the oldest surviving synagogue in Poland. The synagogue now houses the Museum of Jewish History and Culture, which offers a fascinating look at the history and culture of Polish Jews.
Another important landmark in Kazimierz is the Remuh Synagogue and Cemetery. The synagogue dates back to the 16th century and is still used for worship today. The cemetery, which is located adjacent to the synagogue, is the final resting place of many prominent members of Krakow’s Jewish community.
In recent years, Kazimierz has also become a center of arts and culture in Krakow. The neighborhood is home to many galleries, cafes, and restaurants, as well as the annual Jewish Culture Festival, which takes place every summer and attracts visitors from around the world.
Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just looking for a fun and vibrant neighborhood to explore, Kazimierz is a must-visit destination in Krakow.
Take a Walk Along the Vistula River
The Vistula River is the longest river in Poland and an important part of Krakow’s landscape. Taking a walk along the river is a great way to experience the city’s natural beauty and see some of its most iconic landmarks.
One of the best places to start your walk is at Wawel Castle, which sits atop a hill overlooking the river. From there, you can walk along the river’s edge and take in the stunning views of the castle, the cathedral, and the city skyline.
As you walk along the river, you’ll pass by many important landmarks, including the famous Dragon’s Den, which is said to be the home of the legendary Wawel Dragon. You’ll also see the modern pedestrian and bicycle bridge, the Father Bernatek Footbridge, which offers a unique vantage point of the river and the city.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a kayak or a boat and explore the river from a different perspective. There are several rental companies along the riverbank, and many offer guided tours of the city’s waterways.
Overall, taking a walk along the Vistula River is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Krakow and see some of its most iconic landmarks. It’s a perfect activity for a sunny day and a must-do for anyone visiting the city.
Enjoy Traditional Polish Cuisine
Krakow is known for its delicious cuisine, which is hearty, flavorful, and often influenced by its Eastern European neighbors. Traditional Polish cuisine is known for its use of simple, hearty ingredients, such as potatoes, cabbage, and various meats.
One of the most famous Polish dishes is pierogi, which are dumplings filled with a variety of fillings, such as potato and cheese, sauerkraut and mushroom, or ground meat. Pierogi can be boiled, fried, or baked, and are often served with sour cream or fried onions.
Another classic Polish dish is bigos, which is a stew made with cabbage, meat, and various other vegetables. Bigos is often served with rye bread and is a perfect dish for a cold winter day.
If you’re looking for something sweet, be sure to try paczki, which are Polish doughnuts that are often filled with jam or cream. Paczki are a popular treat during Carnival season and are sold in bakeries throughout the city.
Krakow is also known for its traditional cafes, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and a slice of cake or pastry. One of the most famous cafes in Krakow is the iconic Cafe Noworolski, which has been serving customers since 1876.
Overall, enjoying traditional Polish cuisine is a must-do for anyone visiting Krakow. Whether you’re looking for a hearty meal or a sweet treat, you’re sure to find something that will satisfy your taste buds.
Try Krakow’s Famous Street Food
In addition to its delicious traditional cuisine, Krakow is also known for its famous street food. Street vendors can be found throughout the city, offering a variety of snacks and dishes that are perfect for a quick and tasty meal.
One of the most famous street foods in Krakow is zapiekanka, which is a type of open-faced sandwich made with a baguette, melted cheese, mushrooms, and a variety of toppings, such as ham, sausage, or vegetables. Zapiekanka is a popular late-night snack and can be found in food trucks and stalls throughout the city.
Another popular street food is obwarzanek, which is a traditional Polish bread that is shaped like a pretzel. Obwarzanek is boiled and then baked, giving it a chewy texture and a slightly sweet flavor. It’s a perfect snack for a stroll through the city or a quick lunch on the go.
If you’re looking for something sweet, be sure to try the famous Polish chimney cake, which is a spiral-shaped cake made by wrapping dough around a special spit and baking it over an open flame. The cake is then coated in sugar and cinnamon and can be filled with a variety of toppings, such as Nutella or fruit.
Overall, trying Krakow’s famous street food is a must-do for anyone visiting the city. It’s a great way to experience the local culture and cuisine and to try something new and delicious.
Learn about Krakow’s History at its Museums
Krakow is a city with a rich and fascinating history, and there are many museums throughout the city where visitors can learn more about its past.
One of the most important museums in Krakow is the Wawel Royal Castle, which houses several exhibitions that explore the history of Poland and its royal family. Visitors can see the castle’s State Rooms, the Crown Treasury and Armory, and the Lost Wawel exhibition, which features artifacts from the castle’s past.
Another important museum is the Main Market Square Underground Museum, which is located beneath the Main Square and offers a fascinating look at the history of Krakow’s Old Town. The museum features interactive displays and multimedia exhibits that explore the city’s past, from its early days as a medieval trading center to its role in World War II.
If you’re interested in art, be sure to visit the National Museum, which is home to a vast collection of Polish art and artifacts. The museum features works from some of Poland’s most famous artists, as well as exhibits that explore the country’s history and culture.
Finally, the Schindler Factory Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in World War II and the Holocaust. The museum is located in the former factory of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who saved the lives of more than 1,000 Jewish workers during the war. The museum features exhibits that explore the history of the factory and the lives of its workers.
Overall, there are many museums in Krakow that offer a fascinating look at the city’s history and culture. Whether you’re interested in art, history, or just looking to learn something new, there’s something for everyone in Krakow’s museums.
Take a Day Trip to the Wieliczka Salt Mine
Located just outside of Krakow, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most popular day trip destinations for visitors to the city. The mine has been in operation since the 13th century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visitors to the Wieliczka Salt Mine can take a guided tour of the underground tunnels, chambers, and chapels, which were all carved out of salt. The mine features a variety of attractions, including a salt lake, a chapel dedicated to St. Kinga, and an underground museum that explores the history of the mine.
One of the most impressive features of the Wieliczka Salt Mine is the Chapel of St. Kinga, which is a stunning underground cathedral that was built entirely out of salt. The chapel features intricate carvings and sculptures, as well as an altar made of salt.
Another highlight of the mine is the salt lake, which is located 135 meters underground. Visitors can take a boat ride on the lake and admire the crystal-clear water and the natural formations that have been carved out of the salt over the centuries.
Overall, a day trip to the Wieliczka Salt Mine is a must-do for anyone visiting Krakow. The mine is a fascinating look at Poland’s history and culture, and its underground chambers and chapels are truly breathtaking.
Experience Krakow’s Nightlife
Krakow is known for its vibrant nightlife, with a variety of bars, clubs, and restaurants that cater to a diverse crowd of locals and tourists.
One of the most popular areas for nightlife in Krakow is the Kazimierz district, which is home to many bars and clubs that stay open late into the night. Whether you’re looking for a trendy cocktail bar, a live music venue, or a place to dance the night away, you’re sure to find something that fits your style in Kazimierz.
Another popular area for nightlife is the Old Town, where you’ll find many traditional Polish pubs and restaurants that offer a lively atmosphere and a chance to sample some of the local cuisine. The Main Market Square is a popular spot for outdoor drinking and dining, with many cafes and bars offering outdoor seating and views of the historic architecture.
If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, be sure to check out some of Krakow’s rooftop bars, which offer stunning views of the city and a sophisticated atmosphere. Many of these bars are located in the city’s luxury hotels and are a perfect spot for a romantic date or a night out with friends.
Overall, experiencing Krakow’s nightlife is a must-do for anyone visiting the city. With its diverse range of bars, clubs, and restaurants, there’s something for everyone in Krakow’s lively and exciting nightlife scene.
Attend a Summer Festival or Event
Krakow is a city that loves to celebrate, and there are many festivals and events throughout the summer that offer a chance to experience the local culture and traditions.
One of the most famous events in Krakow is the Jewish Culture Festival, which takes place every summer in the Kazimierz district. The festival celebrates the rich history and culture of Krakow’s Jewish community and features a variety of events, including concerts, exhibitions, and traditional Jewish food.
Another popular event is the Krakow Summer Jazz Festival, which attracts jazz enthusiasts from around the world. The festival features a variety of performances by some of the biggest names in jazz, as well as up-and-coming musicians and local acts.
If you’re looking for something a little more offbeat, be sure to check out the International Festival of Street Theatres, which takes place every summer in the Old Town. The festival features performances by street performers and artists from around the world, with everything from acrobats and jugglers to fire-eaters and stilt-walkers.
Finally, the Night of Museums is a popular event that takes place every summer, where museums and galleries throughout the city stay open late into the night and offer free admission to visitors. It’s a great way to experience the city’s cultural offerings and explore its rich history and art.
Overall, attending a summer festival or event is a must-do for anyone visiting Krakow. With so many diverse and exciting events throughout the summer, there’s always something new and exciting to discover in this vibrant and dynamic city.