Krakow

Travel Guide
Wawel Castle showing a castle, heritage architecture and a city

Poland’s former capital is known for its architectural splendor, exciting contemporary art and fascinating history, with castles, ruins and museums around the city.

Krakow is known for its turbulent history as one of the oldest cities in Poland. Its museums, housed in former castles and decadent Renaissance palaces, are filled with royal treasures and Holocaust reminders. But Krakow lives as much in the present as it does in the past, with a thriving contemporary arts scene, weekend markets and a lively nightlife.

The city is more than 750 years old; for five centuries it was Poland’s capital. Successive generations of monarchs constructed castles and cathedrals and instilled a regal air that’s still evident today.

Getting around is easy thanks to a reliable network of trams and buses. Many of the major attractions are located within the compact and easily walkable Old Town (Stare Miasto) district. Visit the decorative St. Mary’s Basilica, which houses one of the most spectacular altarpieces in Europe. Take a walk around the Planty gardens that lie where the old town walls once stood. The old town gate, the Barbikan, is one of the most impressive sights in the park.

Towering above the city is Wawel Castle. This castle has protected Krakow from invaders since the 16th century, and today houses stately rooms, displays of opulent jewels and collections of armor. While here visit the monumental Wawel Cathedral and the Dragon’s Den, a limestone cave where legend says a dragon once lived.

Krakow’s history is intertwined with its Jewish community. Learn about this history at Oskar Schindler’s Factory, which found fame as the subject of the Steven Spielberg movie, Schindler’s List. The former factory has been turned into a comprehensive museum with haunting displays about the Holocaust. Head to the Galicia Jewish Museum, where photographs tell the story of what it means to be Jewish in modern-day Krakow.

In summer Krakow’s city parks come to life with open-air concerts and festivals. Picnic in Jordan Park or take a cruise on the Vistula River that cuts through the city. In winter, see Krakow covered in a layer of snow, giving the buildings of the Old Town a romantic air.

Where to stay in Krakow

Hilton Garden Inn Krakow Airport
Hilton Garden Inn Krakow Airport
4 out of 5
3 Medweckiego Street, Balice, Zabierzow, 32-083
The price is $83 per night from Jun 10 to Jun 11
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in Zabierzow. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and room service. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the comfy rooms ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (975 reviews)
"All good."

Reviewed on May 3, 2022

Hilton Garden Inn Krakow Airport
Hotel Unicus Palace
Hotel Unicus Palace
5 out of 5
ul. Florianska 28, Krakow, Lesser Poland, 31-020
The price is $140 per night from May 30 to May 31
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Krakow. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 restaurants, and breakfast. Our guests praise the breakfast and the pool in our reviews. Popular ...
4.8/5 Exceptional! (613 reviews)
"Super professional, clean, and so helpful my entire weekend here!"

Reviewed on May 9, 2022

Hotel Unicus Palace
Sheraton Grand Krakow
Sheraton Grand Krakow
5 out of 5
Ul. Powisle 7, Krakow, Lesser Poland, 31-101
The price is $125 per night from May 30 to May 31
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Krakow. Enjoy free WiFi, a rooftop terrace, and breakfast. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in our reviews. ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (986 reviews)
"Nice hotel and amazing breakfast"

Reviewed on Apr 27, 2022

Sheraton Grand Krakow
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Venetian House Market Square Aparthotel
Venetian House Market Square Aparthotel
4 out of 5
Rynek Glowny 11, Krakow, Lesser Poland, 31-042
The price is $58 per night from May 22 to May 23
Stay at this 4-star apartment in Krakow. Enjoy free WiFi, an airport shuttle, and a flat-screen TV. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the bathrooms in ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (1,022 reviews)
"Beautiful apartment with main square view. Breath taking. Staff were so nice and I was made aware that they didn’t manage the desk 24/7 but they provided me with a phone number and whenever I messaged them to ask anything they messaged back within 10 minutes maximum which was great. Sometimes you ..."

Reviewed on Feb 19, 2022

Venetian House Market Square Aparthotel
Apartamenty Bracka 6
Apartamenty Bracka 6
4 out of 5
Bracka 6/6, Krakow, Lesser Poland, 31-005
The price is $84 per night from May 24 to May 25
Stay at this 4-star family-friendly aparthotel in Krakow. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and room service. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the comfy rooms ...
4.9/5 Exceptional! (452 reviews)
"Staff very helpful and location excellent"

Reviewed on Apr 9, 2022

Apartamenty Bracka 6
Aparthotel Stare Miasto
Aparthotel Stare Miasto
4 out of 5
Ul. Golebia 2, Krakow, Lesser Poland, 31-007
The price is $73 per night from May 30 to May 31
Stay at this 4-star boutique aparthotel in Krakow. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and onsite parking. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the property condition ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (957 reviews)
"They helped me out with a unique situation. Very nice room and perfect location."

Reviewed on Apr 8, 2022

Aparthotel Stare Miasto
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Krakow

The historic core of Krakow is easy to walk around, and going on foot will give you the best experience of the city’s beautiful old buildings and pretty streets. Be careful of ice if you’re walking around in the winter, though. To get further afield, board one of the city’s trolleys or buses, or use the bike rental system; you can pick up and return bikes at hundreds of stations across the city. Visit the Municipal Infrastructure and Transport Board website.Browse Krakow rental cars.

Best time to visit

Visit Krakow in the summer and you’ll find very pleasant weather, with average highs in the mid 70s F (mid 20s C), perfect for sightseeing and relaxing in the city’s parks. This is also the busiest and priciest time of year to visit. In spring and fall prices are cheaper, but the weather is still pleasant. If you love getting into the festive spirit, visit in December to warm up at the cozy Christmas markets.

Popular places to visit in Krakow

Top things to do in Krakow

Cities near Krakow