A. Strengths and Weaknesses of Krakow
Explore the charming small streets of Krakow's Historic Centre and visit the famous Main Market Square (Rynek Glowny), one of the largest and most beautiful town squares in the world.
Krakow’s historic centre contains two main sections – the Old Town and Kazimierz (the former Jewish Quarter), with Wawel Castle situated between them.
Krakow with a population of more than 750'000 is the only large city in Poland that remained intact during World War II.
Once you explored the remarkable array of sights in the city itself there are also excellent half-day excursions from the city like the unique Wieliczka Salt Mine with its famous underground cathedral or the deeply moving former concentration and extermination campsite of Auschwitz Birkenau, now a museum.
Scoring very high in sights and very solid in all the other criteria Krakow finishes just outside the top 20 of our list. In addition, Krakow is one of the most affordable cities ranking that high.
Krakow has no obvious weakness.
5.5/10 [0.760 Mio.]
B. Best Things to Do in Krakow (Detailed List with Photos and Information)
These sights and attractions contribute to a sights score of 7.45/10.
MAIN MARKET SQUARE (RYNEK GLOWNY) 8
With 200 square metres (9.4 acres) Rynek Glowny is one of the largest and certainly most beautiful medieval marketplaces in the world, representing the very heart of Krakow's lively Old Town.
The large Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) in the centre is surrounded by the Adam Mickiewicz Monument, the 70 metre Town Hall Tower, numerous historic townhouses, and most notably the marvellous Gothic St Mary’s Church with its iconic towers of different height.
OLD TOWN 8
Surrounded by a green belt known as Planty Park, the fairytale-like medieval old town of Krakow was among of the first places ever designated as a World Heritage Site.
The mainly pedestrianized district is lively throughout the year and includes Europe's largest market square and numerous historical houses and churches with their magnificent interiors.
Historic Area (World Heritage Site since 1978)
CHURCH OF VIRGIN MARY (KOSCIOL MARIACKI) 7
Built in the 14th century, this outstanding brick church adjacent to the Main Market Square is particularly famous for its its iconic twin-towers of different styles and heights and the spectacular wooden altarpiece carved by German artist Veit Stoss at the end of the 15th-century.
Visitors can climb the taller (80 m [262 ft]) of the towers from April to October for a spectacular view over the city. Also from this tower on every hour, a trumpet signal —called the Hejnał mariacki—is played.
Church (World Heritage Site since 1978)
WAWEL CATHEDRAL 7
Located right next to Wawel Castle on Wawel Hill, this striking mainly Gothic cathedral with its iconic three towers (Sigismund Tower, Clock Tower, and Silver Bell Tower) and a Renaissance chapel with a roof made entirely of gold was the coronation site and burial place of almost all of Poland's monarchs and rulers.
Ascend the Sigismund Tower accessible through the sacristy to see the Sigismund Bell and enjoy fine views over Krakow.
Cathedral (World Heritage Site since 1978)
WAWEL ROYAL CASTLE 7
Perched atop on top of Wawel Hill, Krakow's striking former Royal Castle from around the 14th century onwards with its beautiful Italian-styled main courtyard is now home to a remarkable museum.
The museum contains five separate sections: Crown Treasury & Armoury; State Rooms; Royal Private Apartments; Lost Wawel; and the Exhibition of Oriental Art.
Castle (World Heritage Site since 1978)