In Poland, as elsewhere, the number of Coronavirus cases is increasing daily (12,877 as of May 1) and the government has imposed profound restrictions on public life that are being felt by everyone. On March 13 Polish authorities declared a 'State of Epidemic Threat' which denies foreigners entry into the country beginning at midnight on March 14/15. International flights and trains have been suspended, gatherings of over 50 people (including churches) have been banned, schools have been closed, and all restaurants and bars are now closed until at least the end of March. Previously, on March 11th, the Polish Prime Minister announced the closure of all cultural venues and institutions, including museums, theatres and cinemas, across all of Poland. With that announcement, Kraków's tourism industry, services and attractions essentially shut down for the foreseeable future. That includes all Kraków museums, exhibitions, Auschwitz, Wieliczka Salt Mine, etc.
Read our article on the Coronavirus in Kraków: Latest Travel Info & Updates.
I'm in Kraków during the Coronavirus Crisis. What Can I Still Do?First of all, please take the situation seriously and do everything possible to protect yourself from the virus and prevent its spread to others. The best advice, and we are not kidding, is to isolate yourself by staying at home or in your hotel. Isolation is the only vaccine at the moment.
COMMON SENSE TIPS FOR AVOIDING CORONAVIRUS:
[Please follow these rules when following any of our other advice.]
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 30 seconds.
• Avoid crowds and keep a safe distance from other people.
• Avoid touching doorhandles, handrails, etc.
• Avoid cash, use your bank card.
• Keep your face covered or avoid touching it.
With that said - and we are continuing here in the hope that readers will truly think carefully about the activities they engage in during this time - though most attractions have been closed, for tourists unfortunate enough to have travelled to Kraków at this inopportune time there are still some traditional sightseeing options that can be booked, including walking tours, bike tours and more. Visit our partner Get Your Guide and enter the date to see which offers are still available in Kraków. Get Your Guide has been updating their offers daily as availability changes and will fully refund your money if something is cancelled.
From our perspective, however, it's a better strategy to organise your own time, and while many sights are shuttered or off-limits, you can still check out some of Kraków's less visited places and open spaces. For stir-crazy locals and bored/disappointed visitors, below are our suggestions of interesting and safe places to explore in Kraków on your own during the Coronavirus crisis.
Top Things You Can Still Do in Kraków During the Coronavirus Pandemic
1) Stay HomeDid we say that? It's worth saying again.
castle complex - with its spacious interior courtyards and gardens - is still accessible and can be visited for free. One of Poland's architectural wonders, a stroll around Wawel is essential for anyone visiting Kraków, so let's hope they keep those gates open.
Given the (non-Corona-related) cancellation of Kraków's city bike programme at the end of last year, it might not be super easy to get some wheels under you, but bicycle is perhaps your best mode of travel right now. Kraków's Wisła River Boulevards are well-surfaced, well-lit, and you can see quite a bit by cruising back and forth along them right in the centre, including Wawel Castle, Skałka, Cricoteka and the Norbertine Monastery.
4) Cruise the River Boulevards by Bike & See Tyniec Abbey
If you fancy a longer ride, beautiful Tyniec Abbey - an 11th century fortified monastery built on a cliff directly over the river - is only 10km outside of Kraków. Granted, the usually friendly and welcoming monks probably won't let you inside due to the supervirus, but it's still a sight to behold. About 40mins by bike, the ride is flat and easy and follows the river the entire way for a pleasant and easy trip. Simply cross over the Wisła River via the Dębnicki or Grunwaldzki bridges to the side opposite Wawel and follow the paths along the river west (away from Podgórze).
Find our links for bike hire here, and if that fails, try the hotels, many of which rent bikes as well. Tyniec, and all of the above-mentioned sights, are from the water. A river cruise is a relaxing way to see Kraków and not worry about contracting Coronavirus. To that end, you should consider contacting one of the companies we list to arrange a private cruise. At the moment, there aren't many river operators running regular cruises, but Aqua Fun is open for business, with departures from beneath Wawel Castle approximately every 30mins until dark.
An incredibly evocative, yet peaceful and beautiful site, today Liban lies in overgrown abandon and is basically a nature sanctuary punctuated with rusting refinery equipment, fence posts, gravestones and even some tangles of barbed wire (be careful!) amongst the brush. Enter the quarry at your own risk by following a trail from behind Krakus Mound toward Podgórze Cemetery, along the rim of and then down into the quarry. Kraków actually has a concentration camp in its own backyard. Just beyond Liban lies the former site of ‘Konzentrationslager Plaszow bei Krakau’ - the Nazi German concentration camp in Płaszów, today a wild, uneven expanse of dirt, grass, weeds and stone. It was here that many of the real-life events Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster film Schindler’s List took place. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 150,000 prisoners were interred in this 80 hectare prison camp, and the number who perished here is actually impossible to know, but it is certainly in the tens of thousands. Largely still in the same state it was left by the Nazis when they abandoned it at the end of WWII, those intrepid enough to make the journey to Płaszów will still find a few war-era buildings, several memorials and some scattered Jewish tombstones. An outdoor exhibit of archival photographs with brief historical information also offers visitors some clues about the camp’s layout. More of a pilgrimage than a destination, Płaszów rewards those who walk its obscure paths with the opportunity to engage the past without any pressure or pretence. This is the most horrific place in Kraków; and the most peaceful. To learn about Płaszów’s history, what to see and how to get there, read our exhaustive online feature.