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A Weekend In Krakow: 3 Day Krakow Itinerary

If you’re looking to spend 3 days in one of Poland’s most popular cities, this guide will help you plan the perfect weekend in Krakow! 

With a few days annual leave to spare before the end of April, my best travel guy and I booked a long weekend off work, and scoured the internet for some cheap flights for a city break to somewhere neither of us had been. We settled on Krakow, one of Poland’s best-known cities – often the destination for boozy stag dos, but as we discovered, there’s more to Krakow than drinking. Although we did a fair bit of that too…

In this guide, you’ll find a 3 day Krakow itinerary, with the best things to do, places to eat and drink, as well as tips on how much things cost in Krakow.

This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, I get paid a small commission at no extra cost to you.

How many days should I spend in Krakow?

If it’s your first time visiting Krakow, I’d recommend a minimum of two days, and three days in Krakow will give you the chance to take things a little more slowly as you delve a little deeper into this charming Polish city. Krakow is the ideal size for a weekend break – big enough that there’s plenty to see, do (and eat), but small enough to get a good feel for its culture, history and main sights in 2-3 days.

If you’re planning on museum-hopping, it’s worth noting that some of the city’s museums close (or open reduced hours) on a Monday. If you’re planning to do this Krakow weekend itinerary from Friday to Monday, you’ll probably want to switch days 2 and 3 around to make the most of museum opening hours.

Planning on visiting during the colder months? Check out my ultimate guide to visiting Krakow in winter!

Weekend in Krakow Itinerary

Contents show

Day 1: Old Town & Wawel Castle

However much time you’re spending here, these are the must-dos for a first time Krakow weekend break! Having a wander around is my favourite way to acclimatise with the place I’m visiting, and Krakow’s old town is the perfect first impression of the city.

Rynek Glówny – Main Market Square

The historic centre of Krakow is its market square, which was designated one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites back in 1978. At 40,000m sq, it’s the largest medieval square in Europe, and the surrounding townhouses and palaces are home to a plethora of cafes, shops and restaurants.

Cloth Hall 

At the centre of Krakow’s market square, you’ll find Cloth Hall – a market hall dating back to the 13th century, which was later rebuilt in Renaissance style. Cloth Hall was the epicentre for international trade in Krakow, particularly in the 15th century, trading salt and lead from the Wieliczka Salt Mine for spices, silk and leather from the east.

The upper floor is home to the Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art at Sukiennice Museum, home to the largest permanent collection of 19th century Polish paintings and sculptures. Each of its four chambers is named after iconic Polish artists, defined by historical periods and themes. 

Sukiennice Museum Opening Hours: Tue – Sun 10am – 6pm
Entry Fee: PLN 32 (regular), PLN 19 (concessions)

Town Hall Tower

Staying in the market square, Krakow’s original town hall was the administrative hub of Krakow city, from the 14th until the early 19th century – one of Poland’s oldest civic governments. The town hall building itself was demolished in 1820 to open up the main square, however public protests resulted in the tower being saved from demoliton. At 70 metres tall, its one of the city’s most notable examples of Gothic architecture.

The top floor is now an observation deck, offering panoramic views of Krakow city. 

Opening Hours: Mon – 11am-3pm; Tue-Sun 11am-6pm 
Entry Fee: PLN 10 (adult) PLN 8 (concessions)

St Mary’s Basilica

We’re not done with the market square yet! Adjacent to the square, it’s hard to miss Saint Mary’s Basilica, with it’s 80m bell tower. This Gothic church was built in the 14th century, and has a particularly notable wooden altarpiece carved by German sculptor Viet Stoss. Every hour, on the hour, the taller of the two towers plays a trumpet signal to commemorate a trumpeter who was shot during a 13th century attack on the city. The signal is also broadcast daily at midday on Polish national radio.

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11.30am – 6pm; Sundays & holidays 2pm-6pm 
Donation: PLN 15 (regular), PLN 8 (concessions)

If you want to climb the Bugle Tower for stunning Krakow views, tickets are super limited and only available from the ticket office (Plac Mariacki 7) at 9am on the day of your visit. These sell out quickly, so I’d recommend getting there first thing to secure your reserved time slot. 

At the time of writing, the Bugle Tower is closed until April 2024 – keep an eye on their website for up to date opening days.

Florianska Street

This was actually the first street we found ourselves on when we arrived the previous evening, and it continues to bustle from morning through night. This major thoroughfare, named after Saint Florian, stretches through the northern sector of Krakow Old Town, between the Market Square and St Florian’s Gate. Take some time to wander along Florianska and its side alleys, and you’ll find a host of craft beer spots, confectioners, vodka tasting bars and boutiques. 

St Florian’s Gate

At the north end of Florianska Street, you’ll find its namesake – St Florian’s Gate. Built in the 14th century to protect against attackers, it also marks the start of Krakow’s ‘Royal Route’, where royals and dignitaries entered the old town to make their way to Wawel Castle.

Barbican and City Walls

Next to St Florian’s Gate, the Barbian and City Walls are two examples of ancient defensive measures. The Barbican is a Gothic style fortification built in 1499, with a large surrounding moat. There’s not much to see inside, but the ticket will also grant you access to the outpost and city walls.

The 200 remaining metres of the city’s thirteenth-century defensive wall. Reinforced throughout history, the walls eventually reached 2 miles long and three metres thick, protecting the town against invasion. Included in your ticket to visit the Barbican, visitors can step onto the remaining walls, which host a small exhibition on the history of the city’s defensive measures.

Opening Times: 10.30am – 6pm (April to October)
Entry Fee: 16 PLN (regular) 12 PLN (concession)

By this point you’ll probably be ready for some lunch – check out where to eat and drink in Krakow to find somewhere delicious to refuel!

Wawel Royal Castle

Widely regarded as Poland’s most culturally significant site, the complex contains some of the country’s most significant buildings and places of interest. Some of the oldest buildings here can be traced back to 970 AD, and for centuries the castle was the residence of Polish kings and their families.

It’s free to enter the grounds and wander around, taking in the melting pot of architectural styles, which we were happy to do. If you want to delve deeper, timed tickets for interior exhibits often sell out quickly – to avoid waiting at the ticket office in the morning, book your exhibit tickets online in advance.

If you book a guided tour, one exhibit (subject to availability) is included in the cost.

State Rooms

The castle’s main interior exhibition, exploring notable rooms within the castle’s second floor, featuring a large collection of antique furniture, tapestries and artwork.
Ticket price: 35 PLN (regular) 25 PLN (concession) 

Royal Private Apartments

The next step up from the State Rooms, the Royal Private Apartments are made up of state and guest bedrooms, exploring the royals’ day-to-day and private lives.
Ticket price: 25 PLN (regular) 15 PLN (concession) 

Crown Treasury

The official state treasure, in the for of precious objects from royal history including jewels, insignia, crowns and sceptres.
Ticket price: 35 PLN (regular) 25 PLN (concession) 

Armory

A wealth of military equipment including weaponry and armor, dating from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. A must if you like crossbows. 
Ticket price: 25 PLN (regular) 15 PLN (concession) 

The Lost Wawel

In the castle basement, discover how Wawel Hill and its structures have evolved since the Middle Ages, including remains of previous buildings on the site.
Ticket price: 15 PLN (regular) 10 PLN (concession) 

Wawel Cathedral

One of Poland’s most sacred and impressive religious buildings, Wawel Cathedral is the historic coronation and burial spot for Polish royalty. 

The entrance fee for Wawel Cathedral includes access to:

Sigismund Tower and Royal Sigismund Bell
The cathedral’s 15th century bell tower holds five bells, the largest being the Sigismund Bell

Sigismund Chapel
A notable architectural work in Krakow, in the Renaissance style.

St Leonard’s Crypt
The crypt underneath Wawel Castle holds the remains of notable Polish people, including royals, generals and prime ministers.

Sarcophagus of St. Stanislaus
The mausoleum of Stanislaus of Szczepanów, a Bishop of Kraków in the 11th century and Polish saint.

Wawel Cathedral Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-4.30pm; Sun 12-2.30pm 
Entry Fee: 22 PLN (regular), 12 PLN (concessions)

Dragon’s Den and Wawel Dragon

Polish legend has it that a dragon once lived in a cave at the foot of Wawel Hill, unleashing a reign of terror on the townsfolk of Krakow. In these tales, a brave shoemaker poisoned the dragon by hiding sulphur inside a dead goat.

This is why you’ll find a dragon statue outside the castle walls.  Every five minutes or so, the statue breathes actual fire, so of course we stuck around to see it for ourselves.

During the summer months, you can investigate the cave that folklore has named the dragon’s den, entering through an old well and descending to the river bank.

Opening Hours: 10.30am-6pm (April to October)
Entry Fee: 9 PLN (regular), 7 PLN (concessions)

Optional Evening Activity: Take an evening river cruise

I LOVE seeing cities from the water, and with the Vistula River running through it, Krakow’s an ideal place to take an evening boat tour. Book yours here – it’s £15pp, and takes in scenic views of Wawel Hill and Castle, Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel, the Józef Piłsudski Bridge and much more.

Additional things to do in Krakow’s Old Town

Spending more than 3 days in Krakow? (or maybe you just walk really fast…) Here are some additional places to visit in Krakow Old Town:

Rynek Underground Museum

One of Poland’s most visited museums lies just beneath the well-pounded pavements of Krakow’s Market Square. Rynek Underground explores Medieval life in Krakow via a subterranean route.
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 10am-7pm; Tue 10am-2pm; Fri-Sun 10am-8pm
Entry Fee: 32 PLN (free on Tuesdays) – skip the queues if you book a guided tour.

Jan Matejko House

The home of the renowned Polish painter, with exhibits chronicling his life and work
Opening Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 10am-6pm
Entry Fee: 18 PLN (free on Tuesdays)

Czartoryski Museum

Polish history, art and architecture across three buildings, with a collection of weaponry and antiques. Home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine.
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-6pm
Entry Fee: 18 PLN (free on Tuesdays)

Planning on visiting multiple museums and attractions in Krakow? Save money with a 3 Day CityPass.

Day 2: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine

When we planned our weekend in Krakow, we knew we had to include a visit to Auschwitz. It’s an experience that anyone with an interest in the world, history or just humanity should have. I had a truly eye-opening, moving day, and hope to go into more detail about the trip soon, with the sensitivity and respect it deserves. If you’re planning a Krakow city break, it’s something I completely recommend you do.

There are a few different ways you can plan your day, visting just Auschwitz-Birkinau, or doubling up a day trip with the Wieliczka Salt Mine -an extraordinary place that’s a key part of Polish history.

Option 1: Auschwitz Concentration Camp & Birkenau

You CAN visit Auschwitz independently without a guide, although you’ll still need to book your personalised entry pass, and only a limited amout of these entry passes are available. However, it’s well worth booking a spot on a guided tour, as you’ll learn so much more about the history of both sites. You can book a guided tour only, or a tour plus bus transport from Krakow.

The visit will likely be quite emotionally exhausting, so having our transport from Krakow included in the price so we didn’t have to focus on getting there and back really helped. You can book a guided Auschwitz-Birkenau tour with transport from around £20-£35pp (prices can vary based on operator and how busy the individual tour is). We booked via GetYourGuide.

Option 2: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Salt Mine 

If you’re looking to extend your day trip from Krakow, you can combine both Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine. An organised tour takes around 11 hours, but if you want to make the most of a long weekend in Krakow, it’s a great way to see both in the space of a day. These tours are more expensive, but the amount you’ll experience in your day makes it worthwhile.

If you’re doing this trip independently with a car, the drive from Krakow to Auschwitz takes just over an hour, and about the same to get from Auschwitz to Wieliczka Salt Mine.

Alternatively, if you’re spending three days in Krakow, you could spend the following morning visiting Wieliczka Salt Mine, as it’s much closer to Krakow – only 20mins drive, and around an hour on public transport.

Book it: Auschwitz & Wieliczka Salt Mine Day Trip

Day 3: Kazimierz/Jewish Quarter

With three days in Krakow, you can delve a little deeper – either with a trip to Wieliczka Salt Mine, or if you did that yesterday, spending some more time in Krakow. 

Itinerary note: Be aware that if your third day falls on a Monday, some of the main attractions may not be open, or will be operating reduced hours. You could always switch days on your itinerary, so your Auschwitz day trip falls on a Monday. If you’re doing this day on a Monday, I’d advise switching up the order and doing Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory first thing, as it’s only open until 2pm.

A short walk from Krakow’s Old Town is the neighbourhood of Kazimierz – Krakow’s Jewish Quarter. Today, it’s a trendy, creative area filled with arty boutiques, galleries and lively bars. You may have already visitied Kazimierz during the evening on a Krakow weekend trip, but it’s worth exploring during the day too. If you’re interested in exploring the Jewish history of Krakow, these are some spots to check out:

Church of Corpus Christi

Believed to be one of Europe’s most beautiful Baroque-style churches, and one of the few remaining Christian buildings within the district.

Galicia Jewish Museum

A photographic exhibition depicting life in Kazimierz, celebrating Jewish culture in southeastern Poland alongside honouring those who lost their lives during the Holocaust.
Opening Hours: 10am-6pm
Entry Fee: 16 PLN (regular) 11 PLN (student) 

Old Synagogue

The oldest synagogue building still standing in Poland, the Synagoga Stara is now a museum, focusing on Krakow’s Jewish population, with exhibit subjects including birth, prayer rituals, diet, divorce and death. 
Opening Hours: Mon 10am-2pm; Tue-Sun 10am-6pm
Entry Fee: 18 PLN (regular) 14 PLN (student) (free on Mondays)

Museum of Municipal Engineering

A modern museum in a former tram depot explores Polish automotive history, with a collection including former public transport vehicles, Polish cars and motorcycles.
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-6pm
Entry Fee: 35 PLN 

Heading south from Kazimirez into Stare Podgórze, we walked across Father Bernatek’s Bridge over the Vistula River, adorned with padlocks and sculptures of acrobats. On the other side, we found quieter streets, and the imposing neo-gothic architecture of Église Saint-Joseph. 

Ghetto Heroes Square

A town square with a harrowing history – Zgody Square was where Jewish people were gathered before deportation to concentration camps. An art installation with 70 empty chairs symbolises the lives of the Polish Jews in the Krakow Ghetto.

Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who hadn’t at least heard of the movie Schindler’s List, based on the 1982 novel Schindler’s Ark, based on the true story of Oscar Schindler. A German businessman, Schindler is credited with saving the lives of 1200 Jewish people during the Holocaust, employing them at his enamelware factory and negotiating with Nazi intelligence services to prevent them being deported to concentration camps.

An essential part of Krakow’s history and one of the city’s most popular attractions, the permanent exhibition at Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory reflects Krakow under Nazi occuptation during the years 1939-1945.

Opening Hours: Mon 10am-2pm; Tue-Sun 9am-6pm
Entry Fee: 32 PLN (regular) 28PLN (concessions) (free entry on Mondays – limited tickets available) – book your ticket in advance to skip the line.

If you’ve got this far doing all of the above, chances are you’ve covered a lot of ground – so it’s probably time for some rest and enjoying the last hours of your weekend in Krakow!

Spending more than 3 days in Poland? Take a day trip to Zakopane to enjoy local cheese and vodka, and dip in the delicious hot springs.

Where to stay in Krakow

We stayed in a private room at Dream Hostel, well situated between the Old Town and Kazimierz, the former Jewish District, it gave us the best of both worlds and a perfect base for exploring the city. Our room was clean and comfortable, and stayed warm when the temperatures dropped well below freezing on a very wintry Krakow weekend.

Hotels in Krakow

Lemon Tree Hostel (£) – for backpackers on a dorm-bed budget
ibis Budget Old Town
(£) – no frills chain for budget travellers
DReAM Garden Palace (£) – great location for exploring the Old Town
Hotel Atrium (££) – plush 3-star hotel in the Old Town
Aparthotel Pergamin (££) – relaxing surroundings with calming decor
Art & Garden Residence (£££) – industrial chic close to the Old Town
Hotel Ferreus Modern Art Deco (££££) – luxurious central hotel with indoor pool and sauna

Read more: Where to stay in Krakow

Where to eat and drink in Krakow

As well as traditional Polish food, the city is home to a range of delicious cuisines, with options for vegetarian and vegan travellers. As our hotel was close to the Jewish Quarter, we ate a lot of our meals there – but there are also some delicious places to eat in Krakow’s Old Town that aren’t tourist traps. 

The Black Duck (Old Town)

Black Duck specialises in homemade traditional Polish dishes, and by rocking up a little early before standard dinner seating, we managed to get a table without booking.

For starters, we picked out a sharing platter featuring oven-cooked spicy dumplings stuffed with duck meat, grilled mountain style smoked cheese in bacon, marinated carpaccio of duck and herring tartare. We ordered two mains to share – the crispy potato pancakes with beef goulash, and the beer-braised pork knuckle served on potato.

Everything was delicious, but the dumplings and pork knuckle were a firm favourite with both of us. In total, a shared starter, a main each, two glasses of wine, a beer and service came to under £50. Absolute bargain.

Poselska 22, 31-002 Kraków
Website

Mr Vincent (Kazimierz)

We settled on some traditional tastes with pierogi dumplings at Mr. Vincent. I’d been mega hype about pierogi ever since we booked the trip (I had them before in Bratislava and LOOOVED) and I wolfed down the entire plate very quickly. No regrets. The restaurant was quiet at the time we went, so we had the chance to chat to the staff, who were really welcoming and friendly.

Vegab Vegan Kebabs (Old Town)

Just outside the old town, this plant based kebab shop offers cheap and tasty vegan fast food. The combinations on offer were a little unusual compared to the UK’s kebab shop offerings (sun dried tomatoes and olives??), but the kebabs were tasty and filling.

Alchemia (Kazimierz)

Alchemia was already on my radar after seeing pictures of its shabby-chic interior, and the food didn’t disappoint either, as we filled up on a big cooked breakfast to start off day two of our weekend in Krakow. The veggie option was particularly tasty, served with veggie sausages, eggs, rich and saucy baked beans and some local cheeses. Teamed with some freshly baked sourdough bread, it set us up perfectly for a big day of exploring.

HEVRE (Kazimierz)

A former Jewish prayer house with a stunning original interior, the brunch we had here was equally enjoyable – classic brunch fare, with a Polish twist.

Pierogarnia Krakowiacy (Old Town)

A traditionally decorated restaurant serving Polish cuisine, with a focus on pierogi dumplings (which I could eat every day of my life). 

The Dog Food Truck (Kazimierz)

Long, thin sausages absolutely covered in delicious toppings – mine was covered in raclette cheese – The Dog Food Truck has a reputation in Krakow as the best place around for hot dogs. In my opinion, completely warranted. It’s located in Plac Izaaka, which offers a selection of street food vans with a nice little seating area, so if sausage isn’t what you fancy, there are other options too!

Read more: Top restaurants in Krakow Old Town

Bars in Krakow

As fitting for a country famed for its vodka, Krakow has a huge variety of places to enjoy a drink, from cellar wine bars and cosy pubs to craft beer joints and vodka tasting spots. These were some of our favourites…

Krakowskie Zakaski (Old Town)

A bar with a heated ‘indoor garden’, where I warmed up with plenty of delicious mulled wine. I’m rarely one to commit so easily to a bar when I’m on holiday, but we liked it so much, we were back the very next night.

Single Scena (Old Town)

A cosy cellar wine and cocktail bar, with exposed brickwork and arches. (I continued my mulled wine adventures here)

Pijalnia Wódki I Piwa (Old Town)

Truth be told, I’m not much of a vodka drinker usually, but the flavoured vodka shots we tried in Pijalnia Wódki I Piwa went down very easily – they’re definitely not as strong as neat, unflavoured vodka. There are multiple vodka tasting bars across the Old Town, and their tasting flight is great way to try different flavours.

Baza Pub (Old Town)

A pub and record store in one, with major retro vibes.

Cybermachina Game Pub (Old Town)

A gaming themed bar with specialty cocktails and retro arcade consoles.

Propaganda Pub (Kazimierz)

A true punk dive bar in the Jewish Quarter. 

Beer Street (Kazimierz)

A great little selection of…yep, you guessed it. Craft beer. Krakow has a brilliant beer scene, and anyone who loves getting a bit hoppy will find a whole range of beers to sample, from local brews to international imports. 

Runa Game Cafe (Kazimierz)

Beers and board games. Name a better chilled out evening duo.

Read more: The best bars in Krakow

How much does a weekend in Krakow cost?

If you’re coming from a country such as the UK or US, you’ll probably find Poland and Krakow to be an affordable weekend city break.

Eating and drinking is particularly cheap, and even the most expensive attraction tickets are around £7 each. The main areas of the city are extremely walkable, or you can get a 24hr public transport ticket for around £3 per day.

Finding cheap accommodation in Krakow

With highly-rated studios and hotel rooms available for £100 for a 3 night weekend break, Krakow is an easy place to find budget accommodation. Dorm rooms start at £10 per night.

Eating and drinking on a budget in Krakow

We found Krakow’s food and drink prices to be inexpensive – expect to pay around £6 at local diners and street food vendors; around £8-10 for mid-range restaurants, and anywhere from £15-£25+ for upmarket restaurants.

A pint of beer in the Old Town area costs about £2.50-£3 – and can be even cheaper in the less touristy areas.

How to visit museums for free

Remember I said most museums offer limited opening hours on Mondays? They’re also often free, so if you’re there on a Monday, make the most of it! (you may need to arrive early or book in advance as it’s a popular offering)

Could the Krakow City Pass save you money?

If you plan on visiting multiple attractions in Krakow, a city pass could save you money. The 3 Day Krakow City Pass without transportation costs as little as £25.77, and includes Schindler’s Factory, Town Hall Tower, Barbican and City Walls, Galicja Jewish Museum and more.

Buy Krakow City Passes here.

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