36 hours in Krakow

A weekend travel guide

36 hours in Krakow

Even though it is the second biggest city in Poland, Krakow is well worth a visit, even if for just 36 hours. 

From the Old Town to historical museums to a hilltop castle, Krakow offers plenty of activities to its visitors.

Where to start

If there is a good place to start in Krakow, it’s Krakow’s Main Market Square (Rynek). This beautiful square, one of the largest of its kind in Europe, offers all sort of things to stimulate your senses. There is music, wine, food, people-watching and much more. The square has been around for almost 8 centuries, meaning the history is there to be absorbed.

After sipping on some mulled wine, you can wander into the Cloth Hall, an immense shopping mall crammed with stands selling woodwork, lace, and much more. Observe, but don’t jump at the chance of buying souvenirs just yet, as you can find them elsewhere for a fraction of the price.

Since you’re only around for 36 hours, the Main Market Square can be a quick stop, because you need to head over to Auschwitz, 50 km west of Krakow. This profoundly moving site is a hard experience for anyone but definitely worth a visit. The concentration camp has been preserved as a museum and memorial for the lives lost under the Nazi regime. Entrance is free but tours are available at different costs. Once you are finished, head back to Krakow because it’s time to indulge in some delicious Polish food. You can make a quick stop at a restaurant near the Main Market Square and try some delicious pierogi, a typical dish from Krakow.

Head back into the Old Town and walk to the beautiful Wawel Castle. Perched at the top of a hill, this castle is a national symbol and a source of pride for Polish nationals. A stroll through the castle will enlighten you with interesting anecdotes from Polish Royal history. You will even get the chance to see the Crown Jewels inside the breathtaking cathedral.

If you are feeling brave, you can visit the Lost Souls Alley , an interactive museum devoted fully to fear. It’s a unique attraction, but beware, lost souls throughout the rooms are out to get you. If you suffer from any heart-related illnesses, epilepsy or are pregnant, we don’t recommend visiting.

At night, take a stroll through the Wisla Boulevards, and of course, stroll into one of the many bars and pubs around the city. Don’t attempt to try all types of vodka, as there are over hundreds of them, but make sure you at least try one or two...you’re in Poland, after all!

Before you leave

Have a good night's rest, because you will still be around for a couple of hours before leaving Krakow and there is still plenty to see. You could go to Plac Nowy, which is a large flea market, or visit the MOCAK (Museum of Contemporary Art of Krakow). Situated where Schindler’s Factory was located, this museum is free to enter only on Tuesdays, but any other day it is still worth a visit.

There are hundreds of things to do in Krakow and 36 hours isn’t anywhere near enough time to enjoy them all, but at least this is a good start.

Further reading

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