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Top 10 things to do in Krakow

12 August 2016

From top attractions to museums and tours. Here are our top 10 things to do on a visit to Krakow.

Krakow market square
Grab a horse and cart from the Market Square to take a sight-seeing trip round the city

A trip to Krakow reveals a picturesque landscape of cobbled squares, Gothic architecture and medieval streets infused with a bohemian heart and an artistic soul. But where do you start when exploring this captivating city?

1. Experience Main Market Square

Visit the square to admire the asymmetrical towers of the Church of St. Mary; visit the Cloth Hall with its exceptional museums and market stalls; and people-watch the day away from the pavement seating of a bar or restaurant overlooking the square.

2. Visit the Wawel Castle and Cathedral

Give yourself at least a day to visit the majestic Wawel Castle and the Royal Cathedral with its crypts, bell tower and museum. Purchase the ticket which offers entry to all the attractions - it's worth it.

3. Take a trip back in time at Schindler's factory

This interactive museum is housed in the former enamel factory of Oskar Schindler, the Nazi who famously saved the lives of his Jewish workforce during the years of the Holocaust. The museum tells the moving tale of Krakow under Nazi occupation.

4. Explore the Polish Aviation Museum

A collection of airplanes, helicopters and gliders that chart the history of world aviation can be found on one of the oldest military airfields in Europe. Not only are the exhibits suitably impressive but there are enough interactive attractions to keep younger family members entertained.

5. Picnic in Planty park

Take a turn around this leafy parkland of greenery, flowers and historical monuments that encircles the city. Pack a picnic and relax on one of the many park benches while you watch the world go by or wander the labyrinthine paths deeper into nature.

6. Get lost in the Jewish District

Explore this unique and quaint quarter of the city with its traditional houses and smattering of synagogues to immerse yourself in Jewish culture. There are many small restaurants which might catch your eye and the peace of the district makes it a good choice for hotels.

7. Admire Krakow's churches

There is an abundance of awe-inspiring churches dotted throughout the city, from the Romanesque splendour of the Basilica of St. Francis to the Gothic beauty of the Church of St. Catherine's. Remember to be respectful to worshippers in prayer.

8. Visit the Jagiellonian University museum

The Collegium Maius is the oldest building in Krakow and houses paintings, furniture and medieval scientific instruments along with the lecture hall, common room and professor's quarters. Book a place on the tour and look out for the spectacle of the courtyard clock's chime.

9. Take a sobering trip to Auschwitz

Nothing can prepare you for the emotional experience of exploring the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau. It's a haunting yet important visit that you won't soon forget. You can book your tour in advance online or find a local tour company in the city on arrival.

10. Visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine

A magical expedition into the tunnels below Wieliczka uncovers a world of hidden chambers, statues and chandeliers that form a colossal underground temple, all hand-carved out of salt. Like Auschwitz, tours to this attraction can be readily booked from the city.

If you'd rather go it alone, you can use the public rail to get there for just a fraction of the cost. The attraction uses its own guides to take you round the mine but they speak a variety of languages, so make sure you book yourself in with an English speaking guide when you gain admission.

However you choose to spend your time in Krakow, you'll find the the fantastic fusion of modern entertainment and rich history manages to offer a little something for all manner of tastes.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.