Krakow is a perfect and a very affordable European destination. Even though it is the second largest city in Poland, many will still find it a quite small city.
Whether you arrive by train or plane, you will arrive at Kraków Główny, the city´s train station. Even though the town´s biggest mall is right above, we would recommend you leave it at the end when it is darker and you cannot enjoy the sights around the city anymore.
So, from that point on, you can follow the suggested itinerary above to fully explore the city within a few hours. If you decide to visit for 2 days, then you must visit Auschwitz, which is located outside Krakow.
St. Florian´s Gate & The Barbican (30 min)
These two sights are the remaining parts of what used to be a fort. The Barbican used to connect to the city walls, while the St. Florian´s Gate is one of the towers that was standing tall to prevent Turkish attacks and the entrance to Krakow´s Old City. They do not take long to explore and they are worth visiting for a while, as they both are a big part of the city´s history.
Juliusz Slowacki Theatre (Pass by)
After the Barbican, turn back and keep on going towards the castle or towards the city center. There is absolutely no chance that you will miss this grand, beautiful and perfectly preserved theatre. This architectural masterpiece both on the inside and outside will catch your eye for sure.
Franciscan Church (30 mins)
The Basilica of St. Francis is one of the oldest and most famous churches in Krakow. The city has many churches and even if you are into them, this one you should definitely visit. It is a unique church and a monastery, so try to be quiet and respectful to those praying.
When you enter, it might look like a common church, but if you explore it further you will find some breathtaking, handmade and wooden art pieces or musical instruments. From the doors on the left, you can enter a gallery of incredible paintings and find out more about the history of the church. Their famous stained-glass window is a true masterpiece that you do not want to miss.
On your way to the castle, make a stop outside Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, a Baroque style church that is known for being the starting place of funerals of Kraków celebrities.
10 minutes later by foot, you will arrive at the Wavel Castle. This beautiful Gothic castle can either be the beginning or the end of your tour. Visiting the castle and the cathedral is free of charge. In case you want to visit the various exhibits around, you will have to pay a fee. The audio tour of the cathedral is perfect for those interested in the history of the castle and the city. Keep in mind that pictures are not allowed inside the cathedral.
Even if you don´t wish to visit the museum, you can easily explore the surroundings of the castle. Worth seeing is the impressive fire-breathing dragon statue, which is one of the most famous sights in town. However, the dragon is only on display between April and October.
Main Square & Cloth Hall (2-3 hours)
After the Wavel castle, within a 14-minute walking distance, you arrive at the Main Market Square. This is obviously the center of the city, filled with restaurants, bars, and local merchandisers.
In the square, the three sights that will instantly catch your attention are the St. Mary´s Basilica, the Cloth Hall and the statue of Eros Bound. The Cloth Hall is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, as it used to be a major center of international trade. Today you can find local vendors that sell souvenirs, jewelry, traditional Polish clothes, their unique stained-glass shot glasses, etc. Make sure to visit the square both during the day and at night.
The architecture in the heart of Krakow is simply outstanding, leaving you amazed at the view of St. Mary´s Basilica, a brick Gothic church 80 meters tall. On the same square the sculpture of Eros, is the most photographed part of the city with a great backdrop of the City Hall, especially at night.
The restaurants, bars and coffee shops are all around. Anywhere you choose to go, it will definitely be tasty and cheap. Just to be safe, always check the prices before entering, because you may find yourself in one of the more expensive restaurants.
Galeria Krakowska (2-4 hours)
After you are done with sightseeing, it is time to relax, go around, buy souvenirs, have a hot chocolate or go big. And by big I mean go shopping. The Galeria Krakowska is a rather large mall, in which you will find all the stores you are looking for and all types of food.
Poland is known for being an ideal country for shopping. The prices are quite low and you can even find some really nice local products. All of your favorite stores are gathered all together, in a mall that frequents various events.