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Wawel Castle

See the coronation sword of Polish kings, opulent royal apartments, Renaissance paintings and an underground cave system at Krakow’s biggest castle. 

Explore the former bedchambers and staterooms in Wawel Castle. See Flemish tapestries and paintings by Rubens. Head to the Treasury to view collections of armor and royal jewelry and explore the castle’s past in an exhibit dedicated to archaeological finds in and around the grounds. Visit a cave where legend says a dragon once lived or relax with a stroll around the Royal Garden.

A castle was first built on the Wawel Hill as far back as the 14th century, but the building you see today is largely the later work of King Sigismind I. In the 16th century he brought the finest sculptors, builders and artisans from Italy and across Europe to create a fashionable, Renaissance-style palace. Perched high above the Vistula River, it remains one of the most prominent sights in Krakow today.

Start your exploration of the castle in the Treasury. Here you will find the sword used to swear in Polish kings, as well as a large collection of armor and royal jewelry. Visit the top floor to find more royal riches in the king’s apartments. See art by Rubens and other Renaissance painters, original furniture and portraits of the rooms’ former inhabitants. Enjoy sweeping views across Krakow from the Hen’s Foot Tower. 

Delve into the castle’s past in the Lost Wawel exhibit, a collection of archaeological finds from as far back as the 10th century. Enter the cathedral and visit the ornate tombs of bygone kings. Descend into the labyrinth known as the Dragon’s Den, a cave system beneath the castle. The entrance is easy to find thanks to the large bronze dragon that breathes fire at regular intervals throughout the day. 

Wawel Castle is a 10-minute walk from the main town square in central Krakow. It is open daily. Check the castle’s official website for opening hours, as these vary. Be aware that daily visitor numbers to the castle are limited, so it’s best to arrive early in the day during summer and on public holidays. All areas of the castle, such as the Dragon’s Den and the Treasury, have separate entrance fees.


Guide to Exploring around Wawel Castle


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Lodging Near Wawel Castle

See all 603 Hotels near Wawel Castle
Hotel Polski Pod Białym Orłem

Hotel Polski Pod Białym Orłem

ul. Pijarska 17, Krakow
4.5
of 5, from 106 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Florianska Street, this hotel is steps from City Arsenal, Florian's Gate, and Czartoryski Museum. Main Market Square and Krakow Barbican are also within 10 minutes.

$67
Venetian House Market Square Aparthotel

Venetian House Market Square Aparthotel

Rynek Glowny 11, Krakow
4.6
of 5, from 125 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Old Town, this apartment is steps from Church of St. Wojciech, Main Market Square, and St. Mary's Basilica. Town Hall Tower and Collegium Maius are also within 5 minutes.

$84
Betmanowska Main Square Residence

Betmanowska Main Square Residence

Ul. Rynek Glowny 44, Krakow
4.8
of 5, from 330 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Old Town, this hotel is steps from Amber Museum, Main Market Square, and St. Mary's Basilica. Cloth Hall and Town Hall Tower are also within 5 minutes.

$72
Wyspianski Hotel

Wyspianski Hotel

Ul Westerplatte 15, Krakow
4.0
of 5, from 543 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Old Town, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bourgeois House, Main Market Square, and St. Mary's Basilica. Florian's Gate and Cloth Hall are also within 10 minutes.

$120
Metropolitan Boutique Hotel

Metropolitan Boutique Hotel

ul. Berka Joselewicza 19, Krakow
4.9
of 5, from 552 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Krakow, this boutique hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Old Synagogue and Galicia Jewish Museum. Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$151
Radisson Blu Hotel, Krakow

Radisson Blu Hotel, Krakow

17, Straszewskiego Street, Krakow
4.6
of 5, from 317 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Situated in the city centre opposite Krakow's Philharmonic Hall, this hotel is 200 metres from Market Square and Wawel Castle, and within 1 km of Planty Park, Archbishop’s palace, and Czartoryski Museum.

$86
Best Western Plus Krakow Old Town

Best Western Plus Krakow Old Town

Sw. Gertrudy Street 6, Krakow
3.9
of 5, from 223 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Old Town, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Holy Trinity Church, Wawel Castle, and Main Market Square. St. Mary's Basilica and Cloth Hall are also within 10 minutes.

$101
Imperial Hotel

Imperial Hotel

ul. Rynek 26 / Wislna 2, Krakow
4.8
of 5, from 28 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Old Town, this hotel is steps from Cellar Under the Rams, Main Market Square, and Collegium Maius. Town Hall Tower and Cloth Hall are also within 5 minutes.