In this time of social distancing and self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, life continues online. As technology plays a larger role than ever before in helping us connect and communicate, we can also use it to travel from the comfort (and safety) of our homes, hotels, apartments, panic rooms or doomsday bunkers. Maybe your trip to Kraków was cancelled or postponed (hopefully the latter), maybe you're planning a future trip (do it!), nostalgic for a past one, or simply curious about what a world-class destination like Kraków has to offer. Maybe you're just sick of looking at the same view out your own window while in lockdown. Whatever the case, all you need to visit Kraków in this day and age is a tool you're already using - the internet.
Virtual tours and online sightseeing are nothing new, in fact until now virtual tours of places like museums, galleries, historical sites and places of natural beauty were considered little more than an additional novelty aspect of the overall visitor experience. After all, nothing beats visiting in person (please come and see us sometime!). However, in these times of nation-wide museum closures and mass self-isolation (thanks, Coronavirus), virtual tours and online sightseeing experiences have become the only option for visiting some of the best sights in Kraków. Below we've compiled the best sites and most relevant links for online tours in Kraków - all of which you can experience immediately, and for free, without even getting dressed.
This could justifiably be the only link you need - wirtualnyspacer.krakow.pl. A project of the City of Kraków with funds from EEA Grants, this virtual portal includes almost everything you could imagine: virtual walks around the main districts of Kraków; virtual tours of Kraków's museums, parks, cemeteries, churches, synagogues, forts and other landmarks; 360 degree panoramas, night-time panoramas, drone views; interior design and spatial architecture. What's more, much of it is narrated with historical info in Polish, English and...Icelandic! You could literally explore this site for days.
MORE VIRTUAL TOURS AROUND KRAKÓWSome of the places we list below can be found on wirtualnyspacer.krakow.pl, but all of these institutions have taken pains to create their own online archives and virtual sightseeing options, which may or may not be more to your liking or better suited for your use.
National Museum in Kraków
• Digital Collection Online
• 'Museum Views' from MNK on Google Arts & Culture
MOCAK e-Museum (Museum of Contemorary Art)
• Virtual Tours from the MOCAK archive
Wawel Royal Castle
• Digital Collection Online
• Krakow Museum TV
• Krzysztofory Palace Virtual Tour
• Rynek Underground Virtual Tour
Polish Aviation Museum
Zdzisław Beksiński Gallery in Nowa Huta Cultural Centre
VIRTUAL TOURS AROUND MAŁOPOLSKAWieliczka Salt Mine
Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp
John Paul II Family Home Museum in Wadowice
Pieskowa Skała Castle in Ojców National Park
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska Pilgrimage Park
The Royal Castle in Niepołomice
The Diocesan Museum in Tarnów
The Castle in Wiśnicz
The Regional Museum in Nowy Sącz (all branches)
Niedzica Castle in Pieniny National Park
Hiking Trails in the mountains of Pieniny National Park
Ogrodzienniec Castle's interactive 'Castle Stories' (Polish only)
LIVE ONLINE TOURS & LECTURES IN KRAKÓW & MAŁOPOLSKAFor those of you that speak Polish, or perhaps you're using this quarantine time to learn or improve your language skills (well done, it ain't easy!), the venues below are hosting online lectures and even museum tours. Most are streamed via Facebook Live and typically in Polish, but check out their FB profiles for the full details of scheduled events.
MOCAK (Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków)
BWA Tarnów (Contemporary Art Gallery)
VIRTUAL TOURS AROUND POLANDIf you're impressed by the range of virtual tours on offer in Kraków and Małopolska, you can probably guess that there's more where that came from. The largest depository of virtual walks, tours and panoramas is www.wirtualnykraj.pl, featuring not just museums, but whole city landscapes with unique 360° views for all of Poland.
If it's mainly museums you're interested in, www.e-muzeum.eu contains a rich list of Polish venues you can pick from their easy to navigate map. Just choose your language option from the menu, zoom in on your city of choice, click on a museum, and begin your virtual museum visit.
If you're more interested in open-air birds-eye tours with full resolution 360-degree imagery, check out Visit Poland's virtual tours. They have northern Poland especially well covered, but Kraków is also in development and already online.