24-hours in KrakówThe key to enjoying Kraków is not to rush it. If you’re only here for one day, make the most out of it by not trying to cram too much in. The joy of Kraków is really in simply walking around, admiring the sights and enjoying the atmosphere. [If you’re feeling super ambitious, sit down, have a beer and adjust your plans. There ya go…]
Kraków’s nucleus is the market square, and as such, the first thing you should do after dropping off your bags is figure out how to get there (on foot if you’re in the centre, or via krakow.jakdojade.pl if you’re staying somewhere in the outer reaches). Exploring the ‘Royal Route’ and the market square en route to Wawel can take a full day if done correctly with short stops/detours for culture, coffee and comfort food - and it’s exactly what you should do if you’re here with limited time. Plac Szczepański is great spot just off the market square to find some grub: have breakfast in Charlotte or Scandale Royal, and later a hearty Polish lunch in Morskie Oko, or go for more familiar fare in Bunkier or Pino.
Make sure that your time on the market square coincides with the turning of the hour so you can hear the famous hejnał mariacki - the bugle call played from the tower of St. Mary’s Basilica every hour, and visit the interior of the church after 12:00 noon in order to see the magnificent altarpiece. Also take an hour to visit the 19th Century Polish Art Gallery inside the Cloth Hall and stand in awe of some of the largest painted canvases you’ve ever seen in your life.
After lunch start working your way down ulica Grodzka towards Wawel, and make sure that you stop inside St. Francis’ Basilica quickly to see Wyspiański’s colourful interiors and mind-blowing stained glass window. After admiring the apostles outside the Church of Saints Peter & Paul, it’s on to Wawel Castle. If there’s plenty of time consider a trip through the State Rooms, or rent the audioguide for Wawel Cathedral. More likely, you won’t have time, in which case you should content yourself with simply walking around the castle’s courtyards, admiring the architecture (it’s free after all), and strolling along the riverbanks of the Wisła River below the castle.
After dark head back to ul. Kanonicza for a romantic dinner in Pod Nosem or La Campana, or backtrack a bit more to Pod Aniołami or Miód Malina. After dinner return to the heart of the Old Town for jazz in Piec’Art, hot drinks in Święta Krowa, cocktails in Baroque, or Polish microbrews in Multi Qlti. For a late night snack it’s Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa.
Alternatively, this is your chance to check out Kazimierz; if you’re interested in a klezmer concert get to Klezmer Hois by 20:00, or just go straight to Plac Nowy and start drinking in Alchemia. Make sure you try at least a few flavoured vodkas and if they do their magic, head to Singer after midnight to start dancing on tables. For late night hunger pangs, ordering a zapiekanka on Plac Nowy is obligatory.
3 Days in KrakówAfter exploring the Old Town on Day 1, it’s time to investigate Kazimierz more closely. Though you may have ended the night there, Alchemia is a great spot for breakfast, as is Moment. Check out Plac Nowy and ulica Szeroka, seeing how many synagogues you can observe along the way. For a manageable museum about the region’s Jewish past we recommend the Galicia Jewish Museum, and the New Jewish Cemetery is an evocative place for a walk. The Ethnography Museum is also excellent, and makes for a nice change of topic. Have lunch in Sąsiedzi and check out the art galleries on ul. Józefa if you have time. Eventually make your way to the scenic Bernatek Footbridge and have a nice dinner on the other side in Zakładka.
On Day 3 if the weather’s nice visit Kościuszko Mound; if not, Schindler’s Factory, or the National Museum - all three of which take the better part of a day. If you’ve missed your flight, have decided to move here permanently, or are in town longer for some other reason, you can start entertaining ideas about making day-trips to Auschwitz and Wieliczka. Also make sure you spend some time exploring Podgórze, particularly the trek out to Krakus Mound - our favourite place in the city - and do your due diligence by exploring the rest of our guide. Happy trails.