Krakow - the cultural heart of Poland


What to Do in Kraków: Exploring Poland's Cultural Heart

Krakow is one of Poland's oldest and most significant cities, having been the residence of kings and artistic bohemians and the location of important historical events – all of which still leave their mark on the city today.

Are you wondering what to do in Krakow? Our brief guide will inspire you, so we encourage you to read it and uncover the secrets of this exceptional city.



What to See in Kraków? Old Town

If Krakow is the cultural center of Poland, then the heart of Krakow is the Old Town, a delightful area filled with historic buildings and energy.

At the center of the Old Town is the Main Square, a bustling hub surrounded by the iconic Cloth Hall and beautiful townhouses. The cobblestone streets are lined with cozy cafes, inviting visitors to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

One of the standout streets, Florianska Street, is a treasure of boutiques and restaurants, offering a wonderful mix of shopping and dining. The beautiful St. Florian Gate marks the street, which adds a touch of historic charm to the thriving area.

The Old Town is also home to Wawel Castle, a former royal residence and the burial place of many important figures, from the aforementioned kings to the tragically deceased President Lech Kaczyński.

It's worth spending at least a few hours in the Old Town, preferably a whole day, to soak up its charm.
Remember that the airport is almost 20 km from the Old Town, so include this in your plan. If you want to get around the city and its surroundings efficiently, it's worth using the car rental at Krakow Balice Airport.

What to Do in Kraków? Kazimierz: a Cultural District

Kazimierz, the former Jewish quarter, is a lovely blend of history and modernity everyone can enjoy. Movie enthusiasts will be delighted to discover that Kazimierz was the location for some of the scenes in the Oscar-winning film Schindler's List!

In addition to its rich historical sites, Kazimierz boasts a vibrant contemporary scene. Szeroka Street, home to the Old Synagogue and many charming restaurants offers a glimpse into the neighborhood's past while providing a lively atmosphere. Meanwhile, Nowy Plac serves as a vibrant nightlife center.

What is the best way to get to Kazimierz? By public transport or by car. Car rental in Krakow allows you to explore more places, as you won't rely on trams and buses.

What to See in Kraków? Museums – Places Full of Knowledge

Krakow has a large number of museums – it is estimated that there are 50, which is more than 40% of all such institutions in Malopolska! Of course, the sightseeing schedule is usually stretched to the limit, so you need to make a selection. However, some places are worth visiting.

What is there to do in Kraków?

  • National Museum in Krakow – home to Leonardo da Vinci's „Lady with an Ermine” and numerous collections of Polish paintings.
  • MOCAK – the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow is an institution offering a modern space dedicated to contemporary art. It is situated in the post-industrial landscape of Zablocie, adding to its unique charm.

Add to this the Wawel mentioned above Castle, which also houses rich museum collections, and you will surely satisfy your cultural needs for a long time.

What Can You Do in Kraków? Cultural Events Calendar

We all know that many people love to explore and experience new things, and Krakow is the perfect place for that!

There are so many cultural events to participate in throughout the year, from lively festivals and art exhibitions to fantastic music performances and traditional folk events. Whether wandering through the historic streets or checking out the city's museums, there's always something interesting to see and do.

Krakow is always buzzing with culture, and there are some really special events that you won't want to miss. Check them out!

  • Krakow Film Festival (May-June) – a celebration of documentary and short films.
  • Garlands on the Vistula River (June) – music, dancing, and fireworks on Midsummer night.
  • Pierogi Festival (August) – exploring the flavors of traditional Polish pierogi.
  • Christmas Fair (November-December) – a Christmas event where you can feel the atmosphere of the upcoming holidays.

As you can see, Krakow is a fantastic city with so much to offer. And the best part is that it is a perfect home base for exploring other incredible places, like the Tatra Mountains in Zakopane.

If you're looking to explore the country quickly, why not consider using a car rental in Poland? This way, you can easily reach other cities and places.

And if you're looking for additional travel inspiration, be sure to check out our other „Beautiful places in Poland” guide, where you'll discover even more exciting places in the country. Whether you're interested in historical landmarks, natural wonders, or cultural hotspots, our guide has something for every type of traveler.

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