Whether you’re backpacking, honeymooning, or just having a weekend away; it’s always handy to have some sightseeing options that don’t break the bank. So with that, City Walks Krakow give you the 13 best (& cheapest options) for what to do in Krakow.
1. Wawel Castle and a cathedral: Free & paid options
Towering on top of Wawel hill and looking over the Vistula river is Krakow castle- Wawel. This and the accompanying cathedral are a must see. You can enter the courtyards, gardens and walk around the grounds for free. There is a lovely cafe in the courtyard where you can grab a coffee and imagine what it would be like to be a Royal of Poland. You can also visit some of the exhibitions for free on a Monday morning. Although you will have to pay to enter the cathedral or the Royal crypts.
2. Krakus Mound: Free
Thought to be the resting place of Kraków’s mythical founder the legendary King Krakus with great views of city. A great place for a bbq grill to watch the sunset.
3. Kosciusko Mound: 10zl
This man-made hill was thought to have been built between the 1st and 2nd century. The view from the top of the mound is one of the best in in the city. There is a brick cathedral fortress surrounding the hill that is perfect for exploring. It’s free to get into the main section and 10zl to get to the very top of the mound(this is where the best views are).
4. Free Walking Tour Krakow Old Town: Tip Based
A 2.5-hour tour that takes you on a journey through time. Explore Krakow old town and Wawel castle. With lots of history, interesting facts and tips, meeting in the main square every day at various times.
5. St Mary’s Basilica Krakow: Free & Paid Options
Built in the 14th century, St. Mary’s church is one of the city’s most famous and beloved buildings. The building’s foundations go back even longer into the 13th century, however, because the church that was originally on the site was destroyed during the Mongol/Tartar attack in 1241. One of the most striking features of the church are its two asymmetrical towers, one being taller than the other. There is a gruesome tale the locals tell to explain the difference in size. If you would like to visit the basilica, it is free for worshipping during services, or 10zl to buy a tourist ticket and then another 15zl to climb the Mariacki tower, which is the taller of the two.
6. Krakow Underground Museum: Free & Paid Options
An interactive museum which shows you the foundations of the buildings that used to stand in the Old Town centuries ago, and is basically the result of extensive excavations that took place in the square from 2009-2010. You get to see how the current level of the city has raised over the centuries. The Entry is limited to only 300 people at a time, so you have to buy a ticket with a time slot allocated to it, this can be done either online or from the information office on the other side of the square from the entrance to the museum. The museum is open until 8 pm and is free on Tuesdays. Go early and expect it to be busy!
7. The Cloth Hall: Free
The cloth hall (Sukiennice) is an absolute must see. Unquestionably one of the best options when it comes to what to do in Krakow. And it’s hard to miss; right in the middle of Krakow main square.
Dating back to the 13th century and the construction of Krakow main Square itself, the cloth hall was originally just two lines of cloth and fabric stalls with a cobbled alleyway running between them. King Casimir the great then had a more permanent cloth hall built around the stalls in the 14th century as a place for merchants and traders to buy and sell goods, making the Cloth Hall effectively Poland’s first shopping mall where people could buy and sell goods like precious metals and salt mined from the local salt mines, and of course cloth and fabric.
8. Jewish Quarter Krakow Free Walking Tour: Tip Based
Polish Jews and Polish Catholics lived together side by side in the Krakow Jewish Quarter of Kazimierz for generations. This has given Krakow a rich history and Jewish culture. Many tourists travel from Krakow to Auschwitz to learn what happened during World War Two. However part of that story belongs to the Krakow Jewish Quarter itself. It was here where Jews lived and were moved into the Krakow ghetto. Before being taken to the most notorious Krakow concentration camp. On the Jewish Quarter Krakow- Free Walking Tour you can hear the poignant details of what happened during World War Two in Krakow. The escalation of tyranny during Nazi occupation. However you also see how Jewish Quarter Krakow is now a revived hub or street art and great food. The tour meet daily in the main square.
9. Krakow Barbican: 16zl
The Krakow Barbican is great when looking for what to do in Krakow for cheap. It is located between the old town and Krakow train station. Built as an outer defence to the City’s main walls in 1499. The Barbican was built to be an impenetrable fortress against the increasing threat of attacks from Ottoman Empire coming East from Turkey. The circular fort is one of only three surviving Gothic rundels of its style in Europe, and is the best preserved. The Barbican did prove impenetrable, and despite various attacks over the years it still stands intact. It has 3 feet thick walls, seven turrets as lookouts and 130 defence slots for archers or riflemen to take aim through. Soldiers defending the tower were also known to pour boiling oil and water out onto anyone trying to breach the walls.
10. Jagiellonian University: Free & Paid Options
This first University in Poland (although it does look a bit like Hogwarts!). Krakow is a big university city, about 1 in 4 people are students and students makeup around 200,000 people in the city. The University is named after the most famous Polish dynasty of Kings, and that is the Jagiellonian dynasty which spanned from 1386-1572, but the University itself was actually founded even before that. Definitely a must see and one of the best Krakow things to do for cheap.
12. Join a Pub Crawl
One of the cheapest ways to enjoy the Krakow nightlife is by joining a pub crawl. You can explore the best bars and clubs while staying safe. Join like-minded travelers looking to explore the city at night.
13. Join a Free Krakow Ghost tour : Tip Based
If you don’t fancy joining boozed- up pub crawlers. Explore the darker side of Krakow on the Walk With The Dead free Krakow ghost tour. For tales of ghoulish ghosts and gruesome deaths. Are you ready to explore the city’s haunted past? This one is not for the faint-hearted!
Want more? Check out our list of what to do for Free in Krakow