top of page

KRAKOW IN 3 DAYS

Crafting the perfect itinerary for your three-day journey through the enchanting city of Krakow involves endless possibilities, tailored to individual interests, budget, physical capacities, and personal preferences. Our selection provides key highlights, offering a snapshot of the city's rich tapestry, yet the beauty of Krakow lies in its flexibility. Feel free to modify, explore, and create your own unique adventure, visit Krakow at your own pace. Use our Top Lists to adjust the plan to your needs and preferences. The city awaits, ready to unveil its wonders and secrets to those eager to discover. We suggest dedicating the third day of your journey to visiting must-see places near Krakow: the Wieliczka Salt Mine and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

Image by Lucas Albuquerque

DAY 1: KRAKOW OLD TOWN EXPLORATION

Starting your Krakow adventure from the Old Town serves as a strategic beginning, as numerous iconic attractions are nestled right in the heart of this historic district. While the Old Town is brimming with monuments and museums, it's essential to acknowledge that time constraints make it impossible to explore everything fully. A thoughtful selection and a well-crafted plan ensure that every moment of your first day in Krakow is filled with enriching experiences and memorable discoveries.

DAY 1 MORNING

1. Main Market Square Underground Museum (9:00 AM - 11:00 AM): After a hearty breakfast, put on your most comfortable shoes, grab your camera, and start your day exploring the fascinating history beneath the Main Market Square. You will need approx. 2 hours to complete the visit. You can book a guided tour in advance through Get Your Guide for an insightful experience.​

 

2. St Mary’s Basilica (11:00 AM - 12:00 AM): Visit the iconic St Mary’s Basilica, known for its stunning architecture and the hourly trumpet call. Kościół Mariacki, or St. Mary's Church, in Krakow, stands as a captivating Gothic masterpiece situated on the Main Square. You will admire the Altarpiece by Veit Stoss, also St. Mary's Altar, is a large Gothic altarpiece and a national treasure of Poland. The altarpiece was carved between 1477 and 1489 Celebrated for its two distinctive towers, it proudly hosts the renowned Hejnał Mariacki, a traditional bugle call played from the taller tower every hour. Ascending the narrow staircase of St. Mary's Church is a worthwhile experience, offering a breathtaking view of Krakow.  

3. Cloth Hall - Souvenirs Shopping & Lunch or Coffee Break (12:00 AM - 1:00 PM): Take some time to explore the Cloth Hall for souvenirs and enjoy a leisurely coffee with a view of the bustling Market Square. The Cloth Hall in Krakow dates back to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognisable icons. It serves as the central feature of the main market square in the Krakow Old Town, the historic centre of Krakow, which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978. Nowadays, within the Cloth Hall, you'll find stands offering souvenirs (bearing in mind that, being a tourist destination, the prices may be inflated). On the upper floor of the Cloth Hall, you will find the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum. It hosts the largest permanent exhibit of 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture. Additionally, there is a café with a view over the Main Market Square. The Sukiennice Restaurant is located on the ground floor (refer to our Polish Restaurants recommendations), along with the entrance to the Underground Museum (1st arcade, facing St. Mary's Basilica).

​DAY 1 AFTERNOON

1. Town Hall View Point (1:00 PM - 2:00 PM): Head to the Town Hall for a panoramic view of Krakow. Reaching a height of around 70 meters, the Town Hall Tower is located in the Main Market Square, right next to the Cloth Hall. Seeing the city from a different perspective will help you grasp the size of the city and the location of its main attractions. Viewing Krakow from a bird's-eye perspective will make it easier for you to navigate through its districts. You can select any other view point from our Top 5 View Points list.​

2. Church of Saint Wojciech (2:00 PM - 3:00 PM): The Church of St. Wojciech in Krakow, also known as St. Adalbert's Church, is one of the oldest stone churches in Poland, dating back to the 11th century. It's a small church located at the Main Market Square, its Romanesque architecture and historic significance make it a notable landmark. The Church of St. Wojciech in Krakow not only boasts centuries of history but also holds an intriguing architectural quirk - the ground level inside the church is actually lower than the surrounding area.

Krakow - Rynek

3. Czartoryski Museum (3:00 PM - 5:00 PM): ​The Princes Czartoryski Museum, often abbreviated to the Czartoryski Museum, is a historic institution and one of the country's oldest museums. Its origins date back to 1796 when Princess Izabela Czartoryska established the initial collection in Puławy. It houses masterpieces such as Leonardo da Vinci's "Lady with an Ermine" portrait, supposedly painted by the Italian Renaissance artist between 1489 and 1491. To ensure entry, it's advisable to book your tickets in advance via the official website. Consider purchasing a Krakow Card before your arrival, offering access to 40 museums over 1, 2, or 3 days, allowing you to explore the city at your leisure. Guided tours can also be booked through Get Your Guide. For a curated selection of the city's top museums, we recommend reading our Top 5 Museums article. Keep in mind that two interesting monuments, St. Florian's Gate and Barbican, are located right around the corner (see the map below).

DAY 1 EVENING

Dinner in the Old Town: After a day filled with attractions and walking, it's time to relax and enjoy the evening. Since it's your first day in Krakow, you might be curious about exploring the local cuisine. The Old Town offers a diverse array of Polish restaurants. You may find our article on restaurant recommendations useful. It's worth considering an organised Guided Food Tour

 

As an alternative to a typical dinner in a restaurant, you may prefer to attend a Folk Show at Jama Michalika Cafe. The show offers an authentic encounter with local people and culture, including dinner composed of three traditional dishes as an integral part of the experience. For more details about the show, refer to our article on the Folk Show at Jama Michalika Cafe.

The array of nightlife attractions in Krakow will not disappoint anyone: options include Krakow Nightlife, Pub Crawls, and Night Cruises. If you have unlimited energy, you may continue exploring Krakow's nightlife, meeting people, and enjoying the party scene. However, bear in mind that another busy day awaits you tomorrow, so assess your strengths accurately.

Krakow

DAY 2: WAWEL CASTLE AND KAZIMIERZ

On the second day of your Krakow adventure, boredom is not on the agenda! Explore the historical wonders of Wawel Castle and immerse yourself in the cultural tapestry of Kazimierz - the Jewish Quarter. For those with limited time, a free walking tour led by an experienced local guide is highly recommended. This ensures a seamless journey through Krakow's intricate streets, preventing you from getting lost while treating you to captivating tales about the city's rich history and heritage.

MORNING

1. Wawel Royal Castle (9:00 AM - 11:00 AM): Stroll through Grodzka and Kanonicza streets to reach the historical courtyard and Cathedral of Wawel Royal Castle.​ The walk along Grodzka and Kanonicza streets towards Wawel Castle is already filled with attractions. Do not miss the Church of St. Andrew, situated on Grodzka Street, which is a historical Romanesque church constructed between 1079 and 1098. It is a rare surviving example of a European fortress church used for defensive purposes. Kanonicza Street is renowned as one of the oldest and most picturesque streets in the city. The street was originally home to the canons of Wawel Cathedral, hence its name "Kanonicza," meaning "Canon's Street." The street is lined with beautifully preserved medieval, Renaissance and Baroque townhouses, showcasing various architectural styles across the centuries. Many facades with decorative portals have survived to this day.

Entry to the Wawel courtyard is free of charge and offers an overview of one of the most historically and culturally significant sites in Poland, serving as the residence of the kings of Poland for centuries and symbolising Polish statehood. Make note of the Sigismund's Chapel which is a royal chapel constructed in the early 16th century by Italian architect Bartolomeo Berrecci. This Renaissance monument is renowned for its golden dome, which embellishes the chapel's structure. You can purchase tickets on the official website and explore the interiors of the castle or book a guided tour. There are numerous options available (The Wawel Cathedral, Royal Private Apartments, Crown Treasury etc.), and depending on your preferences, the tour may be either short or extended. For example, the duration of the tour suggested below is 2 hours and includes: a professional guide, entry ticket to one permanent exhibition (State Rooms, Royal Private Apartments, or Crown Treasury, subject to availability), and a ticket to the Wawel Cathedral.

2. Kazimierz Exploration (11:30 AM - 1:00 PM): Dive into the rich history of the Jewish Quarter. Consider a Guided or Free Walking Tour to uncover hidden gems and stories. Kazimierz is one of those places that should be explored with an experienced local guide. The area is brimming with anecdotes and stories that make it unique. It's not the most renovated district of Krakow, and visiting it allows you to immerse yourself in its historical atmosphere. Only a thorough exploration will enable you to truly understand what Kazimierz is all about.

Krakow

3. Lunch in Kazimierz (1:00 PM - 2:00 PM): After a busy morning, it's time to take a break. Enjoy a delightful lunch at one of the local eateries in Kazimierz and take things easy. Savour Polish specialties and have a coffee in one of the unique cafes of Kazimierz. Check out Alchemia, Singer, Mleczarnia, Eszewaria, or Hevre, which embody the bohemian vibe that makes Kazimierz unique.

AFTERNOON

Old Synagogue & Jewish Culture Museum (2:00 PM - 5:00 PM): Visit the Old Synagogue, housing a museum of Krakow's Jewish culture and history. Gain insights into the city's diverse heritage. The rich Jewish heritage is evident on every corner of Kazimierz. By visiting landmarks such as the Tempel or Old Synagogue, Remah Synagogue, and the Old Jewish Cemetery, you can gain insight into the turbulent history. As nobody will share more stories than an experienced city guide, this time we would recommend considering a guided Kazimierz and Jewish Ghetto Tour with Synagogues. Alternatively Explore Kazimierz on your own, take a leisurely walk through Kazimierz, exploring its charming streets, vibrant murals, and unique atmosphere. There is a nice hidden viewpoint located at the rooftop of the Rubinstein Hotel. The hotel is situated on Szeroka 12 Street and offers a perfect view of the neighbourhood and Wawel Castle.

EVENING

Once overlooked and even considered somewhat perilous, Kazimierz - the Jewish Quarter in Krakow - has undergone a remarkable transformation. Today, Kazimierz is known for its trendy bars, cosy cafes, food trucks, and enticing restaurants. The district exudes a unique and lively atmosphere. You can either choose one of the Polish restaurants recommended in our article about Polish Restaurants or, if you have already tried Polish food, opt for any of the international options available on each of the charming streets. 

Kazimierz is also renowned for offering Zapiekanka, a famous Polish fast food. Despite its simplicity, it makes for a great snack between pub crawls during a night out on the town. Plac Nowy, also known as New Square, along with Okraglak, the famous round building at its centre, is the place where you can follow the locals and savour the most delicious Zapiekanka.

To experience the atmosphere of the district, take a tour through the charming cafes of Kazimierz. Take a look at our article about Nightlife in Krakow, where we recommend places in Kazimierz with a typical but distinctive atmosphere: Alchemia, Singer, Mleczarnia, Eszewaria, or Hevre represent the bohemian vibe that makes Kazimierz special.

DAY 3: WIELICZKA SALT MINE AND AUSCHWITZ BIRKENAU

As you have already visited Krakow's Old Town and Jewish District and experienced the most important cultural elements, it's up to you whether you want to stay for one more day in Krakow to continue your exploration through its museums, nightlife, or cultural events, or if you would prefer to expand your experience to include must-see places beyond Krakow: the Wieliczka Salt Mine and the Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau. Both places are unique and offer a comprehensive understanding of history that will stay with you always. The Wieliczka Salt Mine, beyond its historical significance, mesmerises with its architectural marvels. The Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau serves as a poignant reminder of the consequences of hatred, intolerance, and the collective responsibility to ensure that the darkest historical events are never repeated. 

 

You can either take it easy and choose one site that seems more interesting to you or visit both sites and make the most of your visit to Krakow.​ If you decide to visit both the Wieliczka Salt Mine and The Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, you need to be prepared for an intense day and organize it well in advance. The two sites are located within a reasonable distance from Krakow (Auschwitz - approximately 70 kilometers west of Krakow, Wieliczka - approximately 13 kilometers southeast of Krakow), making it possible to visit both sites on the same day. However, remember to start the day early in the morning, have a hearty breakfast, and wear comfortable shoes. It's important to be aware that Auschwitz is a deeply somber and emotionally impactful site that may leave lasting images etched in memory. Visitors are advised to emotionally prepare themselves before venturing into this historically significant place. Visits to the Museum by children under the age of 14 are not recommended. Last but not least, consider booking a Guided Tour with transfers, which combine visits to both sites within a one-day trip. The responsibility for successful logistic and trip management will rely on the tour organizers.

DAY 3 MORNING

1. ​The Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau (7:00 AM - 2:00 PM): As mentioned above, a hearty breakfast, comfortable shoes, clothes adjusted to weather conditions and emotional readiness are crucial for successfully completing the trip according to the schedule. You will need approximately seven hours to complete the visit hence the need to start the day very early, especially if you want to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine in the afternoon. 

The Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, a former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, is a site synonymous with the gravest atrocities of the 20th century. Throughout the world, Auschwitz has become a symbol of terror, genocide, and the Holocaust. While we acknowledge that the visit may be emotionally impactful, it also serves as the most profound history lesson that everyone should learn from to prevent such atrocities in the future.

The Museum is open all year long, seven days a week, except January 1, December 25, and Easter Sunday. You can check the opening hours on the official website of the museum. Admission to the grounds of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial is free of charge. The entry cards should be reserved in advance on the official website. For better understanding the history of Auschwitz we suggest a visit with a guide-educator. Given limited time and an intense schedule for the day, either private transport or guided tours with transfers will make it possible. If you prefer to rent a car for added independence and flexibility, you can save up to 70% with DiscoverCars. Alternatively, if you don't mind being guided by a local expert, book a Guided Tour through the Get Your Guide website. You can find more information about the one-day trip to Auschwitz in our article dedicated to this site.

DAY 3 AFTERNOON

2. The Wieliczka Salt Mine (3 PM - 7 PM): This UNESCO World Heritage site, established in the 13th century, offers a rich tapestry of stories and a subterranean spectacle that captivates visitors from around the globe. It's certainly a unique place that you may not find in any other destination you've visited. The Wieliczka Salt Mine has been a key player in Poland's salt production for over 700 years. The mine's tunnels and chambers, carved from rock salt, showcase the incredible craftsmanship of those who toiled here throughout the centuries. The most renowned of these, the Chapel of St. Kinga, is a masterpiece of underground artistry that never fails to awe visitors. You can find more information about the one-day trip to Wieliczka Salt Mine in our article dedicated to this site or at the official website

The tour always takes place under the supervision of a guide. The assembly point is the Daniłowicz Shaft, which the tourists then use to go down into the salt underground. Tours with Polish-speaking guides, as well as with guides speaking languages other than Polish take place at designated times, subject to the availability of tickets on-line. The route includes approx. 800 stairs, 380 of which are at the start. Please wear comfortable shoes and clothing according to the conditions on the route. The temperature underground falls within the range of 17–18ºC. 

Bear in mind that the opening hours vary depending on the season and day of the week. As on weekends the route is open from 09:30 am to 03:00 pm, the schedule of your third day in Krakow will need to be readjusted. For your convenience, we sincerely recommend a guided tour, which will ensure that you are on time at each site. You can opt for each tour separately (checking the timing carefully) or book a combined guided tour to both sites.

Given limited time, it's advisable to plan your itineraries in advance. Remember to book your tickets and consider scheduling Guided Tours. This would resolve any dilemmas related to transportation options and logistical uncertainties. As the third day of your trip looks intense, you can make your life easier by booking a Guided Tour with transfers, which combine visits to both sites within a one-day trip. The responsibility for successful logistics and trip management will rely on the tour organizers. Below, you can find two examples of such trips recommended by the Get Your Guide platform.

DAY 3 EVENING

As the third day of your Krakow experience draws to a close, we hope you have enjoyed every part of it and that it has proceeded smoothly. The final evening presents the perfect opportunity to return to your favourite spot or restaurant and savour it, ensuring its taste is never forgotten. Take a moment to reflect on the wonderful experiences you've had during your time in Krakow and celebrate the journey you've embarked upon. 

KRAKOW CARD

We recommend considering the purchase of a Krakow Card before your arrival in Krakow. With a 1-, 2-, or 3-day card, you can easily access 40 museums and explore the city at your own pace. You have the option to choose between a City Card with or without public transportation. It's important to note that the Krakow City Pass - Museums and Transport (1, 2, or 3 days) allows you unlimited use of public transport, (including buses and trams), throughout the day and night. This ensures that with the Krakow Card, you can take a bus to Wieliczka or travel to the airport. Access all the necessary information here and determine whether any of the options suit your needs.

Krakow Card

LUGGAGE STORAGE

Exploring one of the most adorable cities in Europe with bags, suitcases, or a backpack on your shoulders can be fairly troublesome. Luggage storage is the safest solution you've been looking for. Whether you're exploring the legendary Wawel Castle or the charming streets of Krakow, luggage storage has got you covered. Find a luggage storage facility in Krakow and enjoy an exclusive 5% discount by booking through us using this link or by clicking on the photo below.

Image by Marissa Grootes
bottom of page