If you are visiting Poland for the first time in your life or are planning a trip that is eventful and full of new experiences, then the Polish city of Kraków/Cracow is the place to go!
With lots to see, plenty to visit and even more to try, you will have an amazing time.
Let’s explore a sample plan for a winter edition 7 day trip to Kraków! It's the time when the city is the most charming, and, if you're lucky - maybe even covered in fluffy snow.
Most mentioned attractions are available for an online booking - which we suggest you complete well ahead of your trip.
Brief Kraków Facts
Kraków is one of the oldest cities of Poland, with the oldest record dating back to the 1st Century A.D. It is also the second largest city of the country, being a cultural, historical, gastronomical and business center, second to Warsaw.
With the richness of experiences the town has to offer, and the closeness to one of the main marks of the Holocaust - the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, Kraków is a place with more than 14 million tourist visits a year.
We invite you to visit Kraków during the winter months, especially around Christmas. This is the time that Kraków becomes a truly magical place.
Depending on the climate you are coming from, you might find Kraków to be either pleasant or quite cold during winter, so don’t forget to pack warm clothes (scarf, hat and all), so you can walk around comfortably.
Now, let’s hop on an imaginary itinerary of a Kraków visit - which you can make come true!
Day 1: Old Town and Christmas Market
Witamy! Welcome! You’ve arrived! Now, after a long flight and a little jet-lag fight, we suggest that you take things easy the first day.
The plan is to walk around and visit the Old Town, getting to know what Kraków is really about.
Kraków Old Town
Known in Polish as Stare Miasto, this historic district of the city belongs to the UNESCO’s original World Heritage List. It is rich in historic landmarks, and you can always book a guided tour for the most immersing experience, like a Kraków Guided Walking Tour, which lasts about 3 hours. The tour guides will make sure you visit the most important places, like the Main Market Square (Rynek Główny) and the famous Wawel Castle.
Where to Eat?
You can always grab a bite to eat along your way, but we suggest you opt for a sit-down meal at one of the Polish restaurants in the city center. This way, you will experience a Polish cooked meal, made to warm your belly and your heart after a nice walk in the town.
You can check out a place with a suitable name - W Starej Kuchni (In the Old Kitchen) and taste homemade foods like Polish soups, Polish pierogi (dumplings), and Polish sweets, all for a great price. They even offer prepared lunch menus for about $10.
Kraków Christmas Market
As you’re already in the center of the biggest winter happening in Kraków - the Christmas Market, after you’ve finished your lunch, it’s time to explore all the Market has to offer. Jarmark Bożonarodzeniowy, as it’s called in Polish, takes place from mid-November to the beginning of January (25st November to 1st January in 2022). This is the place to explore Polish culture, Polish handmade art and Polish fast foods like zapiekanki. Depending on your day of the visit, there might be an entertainment program going on. Important to note - entry is free.
Day 2 & Day 5: Museum Day
We suggest you break up your stay in Kraków with two museum days. Why? Kraków has lots of museums for you to visit, and it would be a shame for you to miss some of that history. Here is a list of historical/cultural museums to visit, with links for you to book your ticket.
These are also the days that you can explore more from Polish cuisine and Kraków restaurants, and pay another visit or two to the Christmas Market.
Day 3: Visit Auschwitz - Birkenau
Now, this is a tour that is maybe not for the faint of heart, but it is definitely worth devoting a day to. Auschwitz - Birkenau, one of the biggest and the most infamous concentration camps of the Holocaust, stays almost intact as a witness to horror that humans can bring upon each other.
Book your tour here, picking you up from Kraków and bringing you back at the end of the day.
Day 4: Kazimierz Food Tour and Night Crouse on Vistula
On your fourth day in Kraków, set aside a few hours to explore delicious Polish food with the guidance of Kazimierz Food Tour, and to experience the Polish river Wisła via the Night Crouse Vistula and the breathtaking view of the city by night.
Day 6: Wieliczka Salt Mine
On your sixth day in Kraków, go for a visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, one of the oldest salt mines in the world which now serves mostly as a museum of breathtaking art made from salt.
This one of a kind experience will be something you will remember your whole life. Don’t forget to wear something you won’t mind washing afterwards - as you will be covered in salt by the end of the tour.
Day 7: Casual Walk and Shopping
Take some time on your last day in Kraków to walk around and visit shopping sites, picking up some cool pieces to take back to your friends as souvenirs. Opt for Polish supermarkets for some Polish sweets, kabanosy and drinks, or visit one of the many shopping malls in Kraków (like Galeria Krakowska) for some cool Polish brands to explore.
Things to Consider When Visiting Poland
As we mentioned before, winter time in Poland does get quite cold and possibly snowy, so bring adequate clothes to wear, and comfortable boots to take you through the city. This type of a trip focuses on experiences rather than looks - so you can easily leave your makeup behind when preparing for the day.
Don’t forget to bring enough cash for your daily needs, even though Poland accepts credit cards almost everywhere, it’s good to have some money on you. And don’t forget to change dollars to Polish złoty!
As for everything else - most attractions, restaurants and places of visit can be booked online ahead of time, so try to organize your trip as much as you can, so that you won’t be disappointed once you arrive - Christmas time in Kraków does get pretty busy with tourists.
Also, do note that Sundays in Poland mean that not all places are open for visit - so check availability ahead of time, too.