Useful Travel Tips for Krakow, Poland

Main Market Square in Krakow, Poland at night by Monica Goslin

The travel blog series on Krakow, Poland continues with: Where to Stay, How to Get There, and What to Wear in Krakow


Where to Stay in Krakow

I recommend staying in the historical city center where you can easily get around by foot to all the main sights. The city does have an interesting system of tourist golf cars (not sure of the official name) which you can hire to cart you around the city and includes a historical audio guide. While you can take trams (buy tickets before you board), I found that everything is within easy walking distance.


Getting to Krakow and Airport Information

The John Paul II International airport is only about a 20 to 25 minute taxi ride from the historical city center. You can also take a train from the airport that just goes right to the main train station in Krakow (tickets can be bought on the train and the ride is 18 minutes long. You can get a free shuttle from the airport to the train stop/station or walk as the station is only 200m from the airport – this is to the shuttle train that takes you to the main downtown train station).


What to Wear and Weather in Krakow

I visited Krakow in the summer and it was pretty cool during the day and night. So summer trips to Krakow should definitely include a jacket and scarf. Average temperatures in the summer are mid 70’sF and low 60’sF. Winters are cold and snowy with average temperatures in the 20’sF.


To read more about what to see and do in Krakow, Poland see the previous posts which include information on the main sights, what to see in the Jewish Quarter, visiting Wawel Castle and more!


** Interested in a photo on this travel blog about Krakow? You can purchase a photo of Krakow, Poland on The Monica Store by clicking here.

*** For more photographs about Krakow, Poland click here for stock images of Krakow which are also available as prints.


Main Sights to See in Krakow, Poland

Krakow, Poland by Monica Goslin

What to see and do in Krakow, Poland


 The main sights to see in Krakow are in the old historic part of town.

1 – Main Market Square (Rynek Glowny) – The main square in Krakow is the largest medieval square in Europe and dates back to the 13th century. The Cloth Hall, or Sukiennice, is the building in the center of the square where you will find market stalls mostly selling tourist souvenirs. Use the main square as a base for direction as all the streets going out from the square lead to more main attractions.

-Fun Fact – Every hour, on the hour you will hear a trumpet being played from the tallest tower of St. Mary’s Basilica in the Main Market Square. The trumpet song is abruptly stopped to honor a trumpeter shot and killed over 700 years ago by a Tatar arrow as he sounded the alarm before the Mongols’ attack on the city!


2 – St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow – The basilica sits on one side of Main Market Square and looks like a perfect little red brick building. Originally built in the 13th century, St. Mary’s Basilica was re-built in the 14th century. You can enter the church for free, but the free entrance only gives you access to the back of the church, seeing the altar and choir from afar. I advise that you pay to enter St. Mary’s Basilica so you can see the famous carved wooden altar, and see all of the painted details of the ceiling and the walls, admire the choir, and so much more up close! The wooden altar in St. Mary’s Basilica is said to be the largest Gothic altar in the World! The altar took 12 years to make and was sculpted by Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz).

The inside of St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow is truly astounding in detail; if you love architecture allow for a good amount of time to absorb all the details of St. Mary’s Basilica!

Side note – The churches and basilicas in Krakow are some of the most beautiful I have seen! With elaborate carvings, beautiful stained-glass windows, and detailed painting on the walls and ceilings.


3 – The Adam Mickiewicz Monument in Krakow – The monument is in front of St. Mary’s Basilica on the main square. Adam Mickiewicz was a Polish poet in the 19th century; his statue is on top of the monument with four allegoric groups below representing Science, Courage, Poetry, and the Motherland. The inscription on the Adam Mickiewicz Monument reads “To Adam Mickiewicz, the Nation.” Ironically, Adam Mickiewicz had never been to Krakow and in fact his remains were brought from Paris and buried in the crypt of St. Leonard’s of the Wawel Cathedral.

4 – Church of St. Adalbert (or Church of St. Wojciech) in Krakow – This church, a discreet and small white building, sits on the main square. The Church of St. Adalbert is one of the oldest churches in Poland, built in the 11th century. On my visit to Krakow the church was under restoration but the side chapel was open – a minuscule room with a low ceiling and faded paintings. The crypt of the church is now part of the Archeological Museum and the church itself is still used today.

5 – Town Hall Tower in Krakow – The red brick tower next to the Cloth Hall is all that is left of the old Town Hall. The original town hall was built in the 13th century and underwent many reconstructions after fires and other damage. The old town hall once housed the city prison and the entire building took up more space in the main square. You can climb the town hall tower, for a small fee, where you will get a nice overall view of the historical city center of Krakow.


The next post will be about visiting Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral.

** Interested in a photo on this travel blog about Krakow? You can purchase a photo of Krakow, Poland on The Monica Store by clicking here.

*** For more photographs about Krakow, Poland click here for stock images of Krakow which are also available as prints.