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    Main Square, Krakow

    Main Square, Krakow

    Dating back to the 13th century, Krakow’s Main Square is one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe. Its lively streets and fascinating historic buildings make it one of Europe’s greatest town squares.

    Wawel Royal Castle

    Wawel Royal Castle

    Built at the behest of King Casimir III the Great, Wawel was once at the very heart of Poland’s political and cultural scenes. Today, it’s a symbol of national identity and houses a museum which explains Poland’s complex history.

    Flights to Krakow, Poland

    This historic city of Krakow is situated on the Vistula River at the foot of Wawel Hill in the Lesser Poland region. It has been the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship since 1999. Before that, it was the capital of the Kraków Voivodeship from the 14th century.

    Krakow has traditionally been one of the country’s leading scientific, cultural and artistic centres, the former residence of the Polish kings and a national capital, considered by many to remain the spiritual heart of Poland due to its history dating back more than a thousand years. Krakow is also a major centre of local and international tourism, attracting seven million visitors a year.

    When in Krakow, take a walk in the historic centre and admire its rich Renaissance architecture with some interesting examples of Baroque and Gothic styles. Among the most important historic buildings are: the Royal Castle and Cathedral, the medieval Old Town with its beautiful square, old churches and museums, just to name a few attractions.

    Krakow’s also hosts many annual cultural events, some of which are internationally renowned.

    Things to do in Krakow

    1. The market square: Right in the middle of the square, you can’t help noticing a magnificent medieval building, Sukiennice Cloth Hall. It embodies Krakow’s historical past as a hub of trade and commerce. It is surrounded by many restaurants, cafés, souvenir shops, bars and hotels. In addition to being a place to relax, this market square has a host of attractions, such as the Basilica’s red tower, the quaint Church of St. Adalbert and many Baroque architectural style buildings.
    2. Wawel is a wonderful royal castle complex dominating the city from its vantage point on the top of a hill. Crown Treasury and Armoury, State Rooms, Royal Private Apartments, Lost Wawel and the Exhibition of Oriental Art. And let’s not forget the Cathedral. You will discover an interesting combination of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture dating from the 14th century.
    3. Planty Park, called “the lung of the city”, is divided into 8 separate gardens that merge to encircle the Old Town of Krakow. The park was built in the early 20th century and used to be the city’s moat and wall fortification.
    4. The Barbican, built at the end of the 15th century, is a medieval defence masterpiece. This Gothic style architectural monument is one of the most well-preserved in Europe and is now a famous tourist attraction. It hosts feasts, jousting tournaments and allows people to enact “great battles” in front of a crowd.
    5. Kościuszko Mound, a tribute to Tadeusz Kościuszko (a military hero), offers you the most stunning panorama of Krakow. Admire St. Mary’s Basilica, Wawel and more…
    6. Florianska Street dating from the 13th century is an intriguing mix of different architecture where the logos of multinationals rub shoulders with authentic old cafés and buildings such as a gate or tower.
    7. Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter is one of the most beautiful parts of the city. You will learn about the history of this quarter that survived WW2 by visiting its old Synagogue, Galicia Museum or the Ghetto Heroes Square. Then what better than relax and have a drink in a bar and enjoy the Kazimierz nightlife.

    Practical information for your trip to Krakow

    • Brussels Airlines flies to and from Krakow John Paul II International Airport, which is 11 km from the city centre. The easiest way to get from the airport to the city is via the train station, it takes 30 min and costs around 9 PLN (2 euros). Taxis and buses are also available.
    • Current local time in Krakow:  
    • Currency: Polish złoty (PLN). Cash machines are widely available throughout the city and most hotels and restaurants accept credit cards. You can also make use of the many exchange offices (kantors), if you need them.
    • Telephone calls and Wi-Fi: +48. There are also a number of free Wi-Fi spots around the city.
    • Electric sockets: type C and F plugs (two round pins), suitable for 230 V – 50 Hz appliances.
    • Travel information: Poland is part of the Schengen Area, meaning that under normal circumstances, EU citizens can travel without a passport. Non-EU citizens must have a valid passport. Citizens of the following countries can enter Poland without a visa: countries of the European Union, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Citizens from other countries require a visa. For all information on visas and travel documents, visit
    • Vaccination: No vaccinations are required. More health information is available on the website

    Dos and don’ts in Krakow

    • Greetings: a common habit for Polish people everywhere you go. When you meet someone, always greet them by saying a friendly dzień dobry (good day). When you leave a café or shop, do so with a sincere do widzenia (goodbye).
    • Religion: avoid talking about religion, as the people in Poland take their religion very seriously. When visiting churches and monasteries, try to treat them with respect and follow the rules.
    • Eating & drinking: the Polish people have some standard habits when eating and drinking. Before you start drinking, always raise your glass and say na zdrowie (cheers), when you start eating say smacznego (bon appétit), and last but not least, always end the meal by saying dziękuję (thank you).
    • When people invite you to dinner or a party, it’s important to bring taxi money, because you probably won’t be in any shape to drive when they’re through with you.
    • Tipping is not compulsory, but it’s also not forbidden. Feel free to leave about a 10% tip in restaurants.

    Essential vocabulary:

    Below you can find tips for how to pronounce all these difficult words, because you also want them to understand you a bit.

    • dzień dobry: jyen do·bri
    • do widzenia: do vee·dze·nya
    • na zdrowie: nah zdroh·vee·ya
    • smacznego: smach·neh·go
    • dziękuję: jyen·koo·ye

    Cultural events in Krakow

    • Plac Targowy Flea Market is an outdoor Sunday market located at “Hala Targowa”. You can find everything you need there and hang out in the sun on fine days.
    • Glass Blowing Demonstrations: skilled artisans create wonderful glass objects in front of you and show you step by step how to make it. It lasts about 20 minutes and they are located on Lipowa Street.
    • International Festival of Jewish Culture: this is probably the main event in Krakow (around June-July) where you can visit an exhibition to learn more about Jewish culture, listen to music and dance.
    • Krakow Film Music Festival: this is considered as one of the most recognized Polish cultural exports through the world. You can experience unique concerts and films reputed for their top-class direction and cinematography.

    When to go to Krakow?

    Krakow has a humid continental climate, with hot summers and cold, snowy winters. The city has a long tourist season between June and August. However, if you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy some milder weather, visit Krakow in the colder season.

    What to and drink in Krakow?

    Pierogi – filled dumplings
    These dumplings are stuffed with a filling such as cottage cheese, seasonal fruit, or potato, usually served with onions or sour cream, and come highly recommended. They’re one of the most classic and well-known Polish dishes.

    These Polish doughnuts are absolutely worth a try. The delicious buns come filled with a wide range of possible flavours. One of the most popular flavours is rose, but there are many variations including custard, chocolate, and strawberry jam.

    This national dish of Poland is truly a must eat for tourists. Bigos is a hotpot of real country flavours. Cabbage is the main ingredient, combined with pork shoulder, bacon bits, juniper berries, onions and bay leaves.

    Golabki - a typical Polish dish - are cabbage rolls made from soft-boiled cabbage leaves wrapped around minced meat, chopped onions and rice. These rolls are mostly served with tomato sauce to complete the dish.

    The main ingredient of this national Polish soup is beetroot, which explains the strong red colour of the dish. The soup can be served hot or cold and can include meat or just vegetables.

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