Kraków is one of the most historical and interesting towns in all of Poland.
With interesting buildings, it is perfect for simply getting lost in and enjoying what you stumble upon. It is fast becoming a hotspot for tourists, but despite this, there are still plenty of things to see and do for free in this pretty town.
It is one of my favourite towns in all of Europe and I have spent quıte a few happy and funfilled days and nights in this town.
Here are 5 favourites from my weeks spent in Kraków.
1. Walk Planty Park
Planty Park is a 4 kilometre (2.5 mile) chain of gardens that circles the old town. The park offers a scenic walk full of monuments, fountains, and protection from the crowds and sun of the centre. This is an absolute pleasure to walk through and a great place to stop for a picnic.
2. Explore Rynek Główny
Rynek Główny is the main market square in Kraków and dates back to the 13th century. In the centre, is a large cloth hall through which you have to walk and experience the hustle and bustle. Outside, you can find street artists, townhouses, and churches that help to contribute to Kraków’s reputation as one of the more beautiful cities in Europe.
3. Go to Church
I’m not a religious person and I don’t go to church. However, the churches of Kraków are an exception and an absolute pleasure to visit for their elaborate, grandeur architecture. Some are free to enter, whilst others may simply be enjoyed from the outside. Some of the most famous and spectacular churches include Kościół sw. Piotra i Pawła (The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul), Kościół sw. Andrzeja (St. Andrew’s Church), Kościół Paulinow Na Skałce (The Pauline Church), Kościół sw. Katarzyny (St. Catherine’s Church), Zespoly klasztorne Dominikanow (The Dominican Church), and Franciszkanow (Franciscan) Church. As a lover of science, I would particularly reccommend Kościół sw. Piotra i Pawła (The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul) due to it having a Foucault pendulum (and free entry). A Foucault pendulum is the device that was used to prove that the world is spinning at a time when people believed the world was stationary.
4. Explore Las Wolski Forest
Accessed close to Kraków’s zoological gardens, Las Wolski forest is a pleasure to walk through. There are trails for those who want to take a pre-planned route and a multitude of paths for those who are happy to wander aimlessly. It’s a little break from the city without having to venture too far.
5. Join a Tour (Cringe)
I hate tours. I can’t believe that I am recommending for people to go on one. Ideally, get a local person (I met friends through Couchsurfing) to show you around. If you don’t manage this, you can join an organised tour for free (donation). There are tours of both the Jewish Quarter and the Old Town and with so much to see, it helps to have someone who knows where they are going.