Whether you come to Krakow to relax, to party or to soak up the history and culture, you won’t be disappointed. The city’s numerous cafés, restaurants, museums, bars and clubs will keep you coming back for more. The downtown area is full of attractions, but if you’re wondering what the best free things to do are, Greg has some great tips.
1. Climb Kopiec Kraka for beautiful views of the city
It costs nothing to climb up this ancient mound, and the views of Kazimierz and the Old Town are splendid. Its age and original purpose remain a mystery, though it’s assumed to be the resting place of the legendary Prince Krakus. Read more…
Photo credit: sz.u.
2. Take a relaxing walk through the Wisła boulevards
Sitting on both sides of the Wisła River, the Wisła boulevards are perfect for a stroll, a run and even a picnic. Take a bike, a book or a loved one with you and enjoy the calm atmosphere and scenic views. There are also many events held on the boulevards throughout the year. Read more…
Photo credit: Konstantin Malanchev
3. Discover sculptural gems at the Rakowicki Cemetery
Sprawling across about 42 hectares of land, Cmentarz Rakowicki is one of Poland’s best-known cemeteries. It’s an architectural and artistic gem with graves, tombs and mausoleums of many different shapes, sizes and styles designed by different artists.
One of the most beautiful nights of the year to visit is All Saints’ Day on November 1, when the entire cemetery glows with candlelight. Read more…
Photo credit: Eric Huang
4. Cross the modern Kładka Bernatka bridge
Spanning the Wisła River, The Kladka Bernatka footbridge connects Kazimierz to Podgórz. It provides easy access to what used to be the border of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It’s a pleasant way to get to Old Podgórze, leading directly across to a small enclave of restaurants and bars. Read more…
Photo credit: Jacek
5–6. Visit the oases of Skałki Twardowskiego and Zakrzowek
Once closed to the public and filled with water, the old Skałki Twardowskiego limestone quarry is now a turquoise oasis that everyone can enjoy. It’s just a short ride from the city centre, and the biking and hiking paths in the surrounding forest make it a great place for a break and some fresh air. Read more…
Photo credit: Anna Maria Weronika
It’s also in the vicinity of the Zakrzowek Reservoir. Although you’re unfortunately not allowed to swim here, you can take scuba diving lessons. Read more…
Photo credit: Magda
7. Enjoy the hustle of Plac Nowy
Plac Nowy is the living, beating heart of Kazimierz, brimming with flea markets and antiques bazaars. Fresh produce, sweets and random rubbish are sold here constantly, but the real highlights are definitely the weekend markets.
Krakow’s hip and trendy crowd also tend to hang out at the venues located on this square – here you can spend an entire evening hopping between cafés and bars. Read more…
Photo credit: Arkadiusz Karpinski
8. Museums: days with free admission
Most museums in Krakow offer free admission one day per week. Be sure to check out the website of the museum you wish to visit beforehand to find out when it’s free to visit! Here are a few of our favourites:
- Rynek Underground Museum: free on Tuesdays, except the first Tuesday of every month when it’s closed
- Muzeum Archeologiczne (The Archaeology Museum): free every Sunday
- MOCAK (The Museum of Contemporary Art): free every Tuesday
- Manggha: free every Tuesday
- Schindler Factory Museum: free every Monday, except the first Monday of every month when it’s closed
- Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art at Sukiennice: Free every Sunday from May 1–October 31
- Wawel Hill and Castle: Selected exhibits are free on Mondays from April 1–October 31, 09:30–13:00. From November 1–March 31, selected exhibits are free on Sundays from 10:00–16:00.
Photo credit: Fougerouse Arnaud
9. Admire the iconic Saint Mary’s Basilica
Bazylika Mariacka is a highlight of Krakow’s secular architecture. This legendary and iconic symbol of the Main Square has been standing since the 1200s. Entry is free, excluding the section with the Veit Stoss altarpiece.
Remember to listen out for the famous trumpeter. The trumpet was originally played every hour by the town guard, but since the 19th century this duty has been performed by active members of the fire brigade, who also use the church tower as a lookout post. Read more…
Photo credit: Pawel Pacholec
10. Enjoy watching artists and performers on the Main Square
Although this is probably one of the most touristy spots in Krakow, it’s likely you’ll end up here at some point. Instead of being put off by the tourist masses, why not take pleasure in observing the various artists and performers, many of whom are very talented! Read more…
Photo credit: Aidan McMichael