Top 5 Excursions in Krakow, Poland

Based on my experience visiting Krakow and its environs over nearly 20 years, here are my Top 5 Krakow excursions in and near the city. Some you’d expect, some surprises, but all are entertaining — and a couple are even worth doing repeatedly 😉

Top 5 Krakow excursions, including obvious sights like Wieliczka and Auschwitz plus a few overlooked things to do in Poland's second largest city #travelguide #travel #krakow #poland #traveltips #budgettravel #visitpoland

Top 5 Krakow Excursions  

Auschwitz in Poland

1.   Auschwitz (Oswiecim in Polish)

This has to come first, for obvious reasons. It’s impossible to describe it in a couple of sentences. I devote a chapter to it and the so-called “Jewish Question” in my book. Three tips: be in the mood to visit or don’t go at all. I’m one of those who thinks everyone should go there, but if you’re on a short city break to Krakow to unwind, well, you may not get out of it what you should. Secondly, be sure to visit Birkenau, too. Thirdly, attend with a good guide.

Crazy Guides communism tours are one of the must-do Krakow excursions

2.   Nowa Huta

This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it is a chance to get an idea of what life was like under Communism: endless monolithic concrete blocks laid out as plazas – soulless and depressing but impressive in their own way. Take a tour with Crazy Guides and travel around in the old cars from that era – I went in a yellow Trabant – and see the main sites such as the steelworks (outside only, I’m afraid) and a Soviet era tank.

The amazing Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow, Poland

3.   Wieliczka

Spectacular salt mine that extends to nine levels underground, including a cathedral and ballroom! Also a must-see. Tips here would be take a jumper, and be prepared to descend many steps at the start, and walk several kilometers. A scary but quick elevator ride back to the top!

  The Wieliczka Salt Mine is part of the HoliDaze epic 366-item Travel Blogger Bucket List (TBBL), a massive compilation of the most exciting, extreme, unique and offbeat global destinations and activities.   Check It Out!


Planty, a circular park is full of fountains, open spaces and monuments to famous Polish historical figures in Krakow, Poland

4.   Blonia bike ride

Hire a bike on or near Planty, the shock of green that surrounds Krakow’s old town. Cycle through the Planty, an oasis of calm and cool, until you reach the Vistula river near Wawel castle. Head along the banks of the river behind the castle, turning in eventually to the large recreational area Blonia. Follow cycle tracks towards the end of Blonia, furthest from the town. Return to the old town via the student town, around Reymonta street. All this will give you a real feel for Krakow, and you’ll be amazed how much green and tranquillity there is just outside the heart of Krakow.

One of the must-do Krakow excursions your first time in Poland is a dorozka ride

5.   Dorozka ride

Hire a horse and carriage just outside Hawelka restaurant (see my previous article on the Top 5 Restaurants in Krakow) on the main market square. Not the cheapest, so take the half hour (as opposed to one hour) option, asking to go on the Grodska/Wawel castle route. Feel like royalty for half an hour and relax: it’s really comfortable! Unique and enjoyable way to see the old town.

Peacock showing off at the Krakow Zoo

Wildcard: Krakow Zoo. Some way out of Krakow. Unusual because set in thick forest, and therefore very pleasant to visit. Good display of animals. The huge bison most impressed me. Bison roam free in another part of Poland. Don’t worry: not in Krakow town centre!

  // yarwood tuliobertorini voxaeterno
jenniferboyer generale wyzik

What are your favorite things to do in Krakow?

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4 thoughts on “Top 5 Excursions in Krakow, Poland”

  1. I visited Wieliczka a number of years ago … some of the sculptural aspects of the mine are pretty zany! Make sure you are on the correct bus heading out from Krakow. I hopped the wrong one and ended up being dropped off somewhere in he Polish countryside without a map.

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