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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 696 Hotels near Wawel Castle
Hotel Legend $89
Hotel Legend

Hotel Legend

ul. Sw. Gertrudy 12, Krakow
     
    4.7
    of 5, from 673 reviews
    3.5 out of 5.0

    Located in Old Town, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Holy Trinity Church, Wawel Castle, and St. Mary's Basilica. Main Market Square and Cloth Hall are also within 15 minutes.

    Metropolitan Boutique Hotel $113
    Metropolitan Boutique Hotel

    Metropolitan Boutique Hotel

    ul. Berka Joselewicza 19, Krakow
       
      4.8
      of 5, from 1,118 reviews
      4.0 out of 5.0

      Located in Stare Miasto, this boutique hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Old Synagogue and Galicia Jewish Museum. Wawel Castle and Main Market Square are also within 1 mi (2 km).

      Hotel Europejski $71
      Hotel Europejski

      Hotel Europejski

      Lubicz 5, Krakow
         
        4.4
        of 5, from 965 reviews
        3.0 out of 5.0

        Located in Stare Miasto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of City Arsenal, Krakow Barbican, and Florian's Gate. Main Market Square and Czartoryski Museum are also within 15 minutes.

        Betmanowska Main Square Residence $94
        Betmanowska Main Square Residence

        Betmanowska Main Square Residence

        Ul. Rynek Glowny 44, Krakow
           
          4.9
          of 5, from 975 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.

          Antique Apartments Old Town $57
          Antique Apartments Old Town

          Antique Apartments Old Town

          Plac Szczepanski 2/9, Krakow
             
            4.1
            of 5, from 175 reviews
            3.0 out of 5.0

            Located in Old Town, this apartment building is within a 5-minute walk of Palace of Fine Arts, Main Market Square, and Cloth Hall. Town Hall Tower and Collegium Maius are also within 5 minutes.

            Hotel Polski Pod Białym Orłem $106
            Hotel Polski Pod Białym Orłem

            Hotel Polski Pod Białym Orłem

            ul. Pijarska 17, Krakow
               
              4.6
              of 5, from 368 reviews
              4.0 out of 5.0

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

              Sheraton Grand Krakow $121
              Sheraton Grand Krakow

              Sheraton Grand Krakow

              Ul. Powisle 7, Krakow
                 
                4.7
                of 5, from 1,389 reviews
                5.0 out of 5.0

                Sheraton Grand Krakow is located on the bank of Wisla River near famous Wawel Castle with stunning views to both. The Old Town and the famous Kazimierz district is just a 10-minute walk away.

                Hotel Santi $118
                Hotel Santi

                Hotel Santi

                Ul. Dominikanska 1, Krakow
                   
                  4.4
                  of 5, from 599 reviews
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  Located in Old Town, this boutique hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Holy Trinity Church and St. Mary's Basilica. Main Market Square and Wawel Castle are also within 10 minutes.