The city of Krakow is a beautiful mix of old and new, as well as history and culture. If you only have one day to discover this fascinating Polish city, make the most of it with these local tips from our guides, packed full of adventure and local know-how.
Morning and Midday
Start the day early and walk along the Vistula River, taking the views and taking a classic photo at the monument of the Dragon, which is a symbol for the city of Krakow. In the morning there are no people here, making the beautiful view all for you.
Next, climb the Wawel Hill and enter the Cathedral as close to 9am as possible, just as it opens – that way you’ll beat the tourist groups that flood here each day. Stroll around the courtyard of the Royal Castle and go down the hill towards Kazimierz (this is around 15 minutes walking). In the past, this was a separated, medieval part of the city, but now this is a popular district in Krakow with both Catholic and Jewish monuments. See Wolnica Square – once a hectic market in the city, now rather sleepy, but interesting place with an Ethnographic Museum and the gothic Corpus Christi church.
Walk 5 minutes from this spot to 12 Josef Street to see the place when Spielberg filmed some fragments of the famous Schindler’s List. Grab a fresh coffee and something sweet in the same courtyard in Mleczarnia, Satori (25 Jozef Street), or go a little bit further to Plac Nowy, another good square spot. Walk towards Szeroka Street, heart of the old Jewish Quarter, which is full of historical buildings and authentic restaurants. Make sure that while you’re here you visit the Remuh synagogue and cemetery.
Lunch and Afternoon
Take a tram to the city centre, get off at the tram stop called ‘Basztowa LOT’ and head to the Stary Kleparz food market. Take a peek into local life as the residents around you buy their fresh produce, and get your camera ready for great shots of colorful stalls full of fruit and vegetables.
Go through St. Florian’s Gate and have a typical lunch where Polish artists and people of culture used to eat and drink, in the legendary Jama Michalika restaurant (45 Floriańska Street). The design of this place will take you back to the 1920s! If you prefer something quicker, there are some restaurants and bars at Matejko Square, between the Kleparz Market and St. Florian’s Gate.
Finish your lunch before 3pm and head to the Main Square at the exact hour to listen to the trumpeter who plays from the highest tower in St. Mary’s Basilica, a special signal called hejnal to commemorate a legendary victory above the Mongols in the 13th century. This place is always busy, but around 2-3pm there are less people, so enjoy visiting the most important monuments like the Basilica inside and the Cloth Hall, a huge local market where you can buy all the souvenirs you need.
Next, go to the Collegium Maius (15 Jagiellonska Street), the oldest building in Jagiellonian University. Visit the monument dedicated to its most famous student, Nicolas Copernicus, at the Collegium Novum nearby. At this point you could go back to your accommodation for a rest before the evenings’ adventures, sit down in the Planty Park, which surrounds the whole Old Town, or head back to the Main Square to visit the Polish Painting Museum or Rynek Underground Museum, both in the Sukiennice Building situated in the very middle of the Square.
Dinner and Evening
After some rest, have a drink in Bonobo Café (4 Maly Rynek), where all the local bears are available, and after that head out to have a typical Polish dinner at U Babci Maliny (38 Szpitalna Street). For some late night fun, head to the Kazimierz district, known for its nightlife, and spend the rest of the evening roaming the local bars, talking to the people, and dancing. If you feel hungry at some point, don’t miss the excellent smoked sausages and fresh rolls with mustard served right on the street directly out of an old blue communist van at the busy market place Hala Targowa, located between Kazimierz and Old Town.
Want more Krakow? Thought so. Check out our sweet Krakow tours for more fun and adventure is this super cool city.