City breaks in Krakow
Book a short stay or weekend break in this historic Polish city
There's a fairytale quality to Kraków that makes it a charming destination at any time of year. With soaring church spires, cobbled streets and a castle perched on a hill overlooking the Vistula River, the historic city center is certainly picturesque. It’s also compact – so getting a sense of the city is easy, even during a short stay. This makes Kraków the ideal destination for a city break or weekend getaway.
The past is always present in Kraków, from the romance of medieval legends to the tragedy of the Holocaust, and history buffs will find numerous world-class museums and attractions that explore this heritage. However, Poland's 2nd-largest city and former royal capital is also a thriving, modern destination, with a young, hip student population and plenty of activities for visitors.
You'll find an excellent selection of trendy restaurants, bars and cafés, particularly in the Old Town and the former Jewish Quarter of Kazimierz – which together are a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site – as well as cool galleries, stylish boutiques and beautiful parks throughout the city.
By staying in a city-center location like the Radisson Blu Hotel in Kraków, you'll have great shopping, lively nightlife, stunning architecture and historic sites right on your doorstep. It's the perfect way to get the most out of your weekend break; save the time and money you would normally spend on transport, and focus on discovering this atmospheric city.
Our top 3 Kraków attractions
- Wawel Castle
- Wawel Cathedral
- Market Square (Rynek Glówny)
Our top 3 Kraków museums
- Schindler's Factory
- Galicia Jewish Museum
- Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków (MOCAK)
Our top 3 foods to try in Kraków
Use our Krakow map to see our pick of the top attractions
Locations and Neighborhoods
Location and neighborhoods
Discover Krakow’s different areas
Best for castles and spires: Old Town (Stare Miasto)
The heart of the city, the Old Town is always buzzing with activity. Here you'll find the majority of Kraków's historic attractions, including breath-taking architecture and Europe's biggest medieval square, as well as countless stores, bars and restaurants. Rub shoulders with tourists, locals and lively buskers as you explore all the action.
Best for cool shopping and nightlife: Kazimierz
Before World War II, this picturesque neighborhood was Kraków's Jewish Quarter. Today, it's a captivating mix of historic synagogues, museums and trendy shopping, as well as some of the city's best restaurants and nightlife centered on the Plac Nowy market square. The perfect place to soak up some culture and enjoy the city's intoxicating blend of past and present.
Best for laid-back charm: Podgórze
Once known chiefly as the site of the Jewish Ghetto during the Second World War, this up-and-coming area south of the Vistula now features plenty of restaurants, cafés and peaceful green space, with an authentic local vibe. A good place to escape the bustle in the touristy center.
Best for Communist history: Nowa Huta
An unusual example of a planned Socialist Realist city, the eastern suburb of Nowa Huta feels like a different world than the fairytale center of Kraków. Built to fit the Soviet concept of an ideal proletarian city, its carefully laid out blocks and streets are a fascinating glimpse into Poland's Communist past.
Best for greenery: Salwator
This quiet, affluent area of Kraków is a bit off the beaten track, but well worth exploring for its tranquil green spaces, handsome villas and historic cemeteries. Make time to climb to the top of Kościuszko Mound, an impressive monument to the famed Polish freedom fighter Tadeusz Kościuszko, for panoramic views over the city.
Where to Stay
Book a Radisson Blu hotel in Krakow
City breaks can be full of surprises. Book your stay with Radisson Blu and look forward to exploring everything Krakow has to offer.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Krakow
Step into the world of Radisson Blu during your visit to Krakow. The hotel's 196 rooms and suites make you feel at home with sophisticated décor and Free high-speed, wireless Internet. Two on-site restaurants and a bar offer plentiful dining options, while the in-house fitness center helps you stay in top form. Versatile meeting facilities are available as well.
© 2015 The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. All rights reserved.
Things to do in Krakow
Must-sees, must-eats and must-dos
Landmarks and attractions
Directions: About a 15-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel.
- Market Square (Rynek Główny: The largest medieval market square in Europe is a great place to start your Kraków adventure and do some people-watching. There are plenty of stores and restaurants, as well as some handsome architecture, including the Gothic town hall – hike to the top of its tower to enjoy some fine views.
Directions: Just an 8-minute stroll from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Kraków.
- St Mary's Basilica: Kraków boasts numerous beautiful churches, including this distinctive brick basilica on the edge of the Market Square. Inside you'll find a spectacular 14th-century carved wooden altarpiece, which is the largest of its kind in the world. You can also climb 1 of the church's 2 towers for impressive views.
Directions: Directly on Market Square.
- Wawel Castle: Formerly the residence of the Polish royal family, this ornate 16th-century palace is now a fascinating museum where you can view historic and artistic treasures, including Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Lady with an Ermine. Explore the Royal Private Apartments, State Rooms, Crown Treasury and more.
Directions: Located on Wawel Hill, a 10-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel.
- Wawel Cathedral: This 14th-century cathedral was the site of royal coronations, weddings and funerals, and is now the burial place of kings, queens, generals and other famous figures from Poland's past. Be sure to visit the stunning Sigismund Chapel and Holy Cross Chapel inside.
Directions: A 2-minute walk from Wawel Castle.
- Florian Gate and the Barbican: This medieval stone gateway and turreted bastion are among the only surviving fragments of the city's original defenses. They now house a small museum which lets you visit inside the picturesque structures.
- Rynek Underground: Venture into the tunnels and chambers beneath Kraków's Market Square at this intriguing underground attraction. Holograms and audiovisual displays add life and color to a close-up look at the city's medieval archaeology. Book tickets on official site.
Directions: Entrance is beside the Cloth Hall in the Market Square.
- Planty: Escape from the busy city streets with a stroll through this 3km stretch of public parks and gardens built on the former site of Kraków's medieval town defenses. It's a peaceful place to relax and enjoy a picnic.
Directions: Just a 10-minute walk from the Radisson Blu.
- Wieliczka Salt Mine: A labyrinth of tunnels, pits and lofty chambers carved from salt blocks deep beneath the earth, this breath-taking salt mine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located southeast of Kraków. It's worth a day trip to see the magical underground Chapel of St. Kinga, lakes, sculptures and more. Buy tickets on official site.
Directions: Travel by train from Kraków to the Wieliczka Rynek Kopalnia train station, or get bus number 304 to the Wieliczka Kopalnia Soli. Our concierge team can also help you arrange tours to the salt mine.
- Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial & Museum: Over a million Jews and other people, including men, women and children, were murdered at this infamous concentration camp during the Holocaust. Today it is a moving memorial and a powerful reminder of this dark period of European history. Admission is free, but due to large visitor numbers, you should book your visit well in advance.
Directions: The memorial is located near the city of Oświęcim, more than an hour's drive from Kraków. The staff at the Radisson Blu Hotel can help you arrange a tour or provide directions.
- Zapiekanka: This open-faced sandwich (often called "Polish pizza") is the ultimate Kraków street food. Choose from toppings such as cheese, mushrooms, sausage, spinach and chives to load up your slice of baguette.
- Obwarzanek: Similar to a German pretzel, this thin, twisted bagel-like roll is topped with sesame or poppy seeds and a sprinkle of salt – making it a tasty, satisfying snack.
- Pierogi: A kind of Polish dumpling made with soft, mashed potato and cheese, pierogi are delicious when fried with onions or served in a sauce.
- Barszcz: A hearty soup made with beetroot and served with sour cream, this is the perfect winter warmer.
- Kielbasa:A must for meat lovers, these flavorsome pork sausages with garlic and pepper can be served grilled or added to a variety of dishes.
- Sernik: Traditional Polish cheesecake is heavier, drier and less sweet than you might expect, but it's a delicious baked treat that goes well with coffee.
- Cloth Hall: Browse for artwork, crafts and souvenirs created by local artists and designers in this historic market building, which has been a center for trade in Kraków for centuries.
Directions: Located in the center of Market Square.
- Old Town and Kazimierz: Kraków's historic center offers a wide selection of stores, including excellent antique stores, fashion boutiques, art galleries and gift shops selling souvenirs and crafts. Check out Ulica Józefa street in Kazimierz in particular for antiques and stylish boutiques.
Directions: About 10 minutes' walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel.
- Plac Nowy: Edgier and more bohemian than the Old Town markets, this historic square has hosted a market since before the Second World War. Today you'll find a delicious selection of street food stalls throughout the week, as well as antique and vintage clothing markets on the weekend, and even a rabbit and pigeon fair on Fridays. Expect plenty of local color.
Directions: Less than 20 minutes' walk from the hotel.
- Galleria Krakowska: One of several modern shopping malls in Kraków, this is a good place to shop for international brands, particularly fashion. Head here for everything from H&M, Mango and Zara to Converse, MAC and The North Face, as well as plenty of food options.
Directions: Less than 20 minutes' walk from the Radisson Blu.
- Schindler's Factory: Visit the actual factory owned by Oskar Schindler which inspired the award-winning film Schindler's List. Today, it’s an excellent museum on Kraków during the Second World War years. Only a limited number of visitors are admitted at any one time, so book your tickets in advance online.
Directions: Take the tram across the river to the Plac Bohaterów Getta stop, then follow the signs to the museum.
- Galicia Jewish Museum: Learn about the history of the local Jewish community and the horrors of the Holocaust in this innovative museum, which also hosts cultural events and walking tours of Kazimierz, Kraków's historic Jewish Quarter.
Directions: About a 20-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel, or else take tram number 3, 9, 19, 24 or 50 to the ul. Miodowa stop near the museum.
- Museum of Pharmacy: With a collection of more than 22,000 objects, including medical and laboratory equipment, vials, mortars, books and documents, as well as several recreations of vintage pharmacies, this fascinating museum outlines the history of the profession.
Directions: About a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
- Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków (MOCAK): Get a taste of post-war art in Poland at this fantastic modern gallery which focuses on the conceptual and avant-garde. Explore both permanent and temporary exhibitions in a bright, spacious building designed to blend into its urban environment.
Directions: Beside Schindler's Factory.
- Old Synagogue: Housed in Poland's oldest synagogue, which dates from the 15th century, this museum offers a glimpse into Jewish worship in the period before the Second World War.
Directions: About a 20-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel.
- Pharmacy Under the Eagle: Set in a restored pharmacy which served the occupants of the Jewish Ghetto during the Nazi occupation, this compelling museum tells the story of its owner, Tadeusz Pankiewicz, and offers insight into life in the ghetto during the war.
Directions: Just a 10-minute walk from the Old Synagogue, or 15 minutes from Schindler's Factory.
Travel in Krakow
All you need to know about the city’s transport
The majority of Kraków's attractions are clustered around the river and the Old Town, which makes the city easy and pleasant to explore on foot. Just bring comfortable walking shoes and season-appropriate clothing, and you're good to go.
By staying at a central location like the Radisson Blu Hotel, Kraków, you can really make the most of your weekend break. You'll start each day right at the heart of the action and save time and money on transportation, so you can concentrate on discovering everything this fascinating city has to offer. Our staff will be happy to help you with directions, public transportation and taxis, too.
Here’s everything you need to know to get around Kraków:
Arriving at John Paul II International Airport Kraków
Kraków's main airport is in Balice, about 12km to the west of the city. There are direct trains from the airport to the main train station, with a journey time of around 20 minutes.
You can also get bus number 208 or 252 to the city center during the day, or night bus 902 if traveling late. The journey takes around 40 minutes.
Taxis are also available, but make sure to check the price in advance as some firms charge a high fixed fare. Private minibuses also stop outside the main terminal.
Visit official site
Arriving by bus and train
Kraków's main train station, Kraków Główny, is located next to the Galeria Krakowska shopping mall, just over 10 minutes' walk from the central Market Square. The main bus depot is just a short walk from the train station. Both have good public transport connections to the rest of the city.
Public transportation in Kraków
Kraków has an extensive network of trams and buses that make it easy to make longer journeys across the city. You can buy tickets in advance at some major stops, or buy them from the coin-operated machines on-board the vehicles.
Tickets for shorter (up to 20 minutes) and regular-length (up to 40 minutes) trips are available, as are 1, 2, or 3-day passes. Remember that you must validate your ticket when you board a bus or tram.
Visit official site for info on routes, fares and more.
Taxis are plentiful and mostly reliable in Kraków. However, to make sure you're paying the correct, metered fare it is better to phone for a taxi from a reputable firm rather than flagging one down in the street. The staff at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Kraków will be happy to arrange a cab for you.
Exploring Kraków on 2 wheels is a pleasant way to take in the city's charming atmosphere, and there's a steadily expanding network of bike paths along the river and throughout the center. Speak to our concierge team about hiring a bike during your stay.
Facts and Useful phrases
Language, costs, useful phrases and more
Top 10 Polish phrases:
|Hello||Dzień dobry||Jeyn dob-ry|
|Goodbye||Do widzenia||Do vee-dze-nya|
|Do you speak English?||Czy mówisz po angielsku?||Chi moo-vish po ang-gyel-skoo|
|Where are the toilets?||Gdzie jest toaleta?||G-jeh yest twa-leta|
|How much?||Wat kost het?||Vat kohst ut|
|Yes / no||Tak / Nie||Tahk / Nye|
|I don't understand||Nie rozumiem||Nyeh roh-zoom-yem|
Population: 762,000 (2016)
Currency: Polish złoty (zł)
Average cost of travel: A 24-hour ticket for the buses and trams is 15 zł
Most defining feature: The fairytale architecture
Average cost of a pint: 8 zł
Top 5 Kraków facts and tips:
- Legend has it that a dragon once lived in the cave beneath Wawel Castle and terrorized the countryside before it was slain. The prehistoric bones displayed outside the cathedral are said to be its remains.
- Crossing the street anywhere other than a marked crosswalk is illegal in Kraków and can incur a heavy fine.
- A bugle is sounded every hour from the top of St. Mary's Basilica to commemorate a trumpeter who was killed by arrow while warning the city of an enemy attack – which is why the tune stops suddenly, without finishing.
- You will sometimes find that washrooms are marked only with symbols – the circle stands for women, and the triangle for men.
- Kraków is home to more than 200,000 students, which keeps the city feeling young and vibrant.
Kraków enjoys a temperate climate with 4 distinct seasons. Summers are warm and sometimes humid, with highs of around 25°C. Winters can be bitterly cold, with lows of around -5°C in winter and frequent snow cover. Spring and fall are pleasant times to visit, with mild, fairly dry weather.