If you’re thinking of traveling to Krakow soon, I highly recommend going in the Winter! The city is so beautiful, not as crowded, and so inviting in the colder months. However, regardless of the time of year you visit, this Krakow itinerary will help you plan your trip of 3, 4, or 5 days.
If you haven’t read my Ultimate Krakow Travel Guide, this might be new information for you: I LOVE KRAKOW!
I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did, but here I am, writing my second Krakow travel post to inspire as many of you to give this charming city a spot on your next European itinerary!
I mentioned in my last post that the perfect amount of time to explore Krakow is 5 days. This is how long I was there. Of course, I would have loved to stay longer, but I got to see just about everything on my list. That said, I’m a realist. I know not everyone is going to carve out 5 days for Krakow. So, that’s why I wanted to put together an itinerary that will work for you whether you’re in town for 3, 4, or 5 days.
Krakow Itinerary: Day 1
Wake up as soon as your hotel starts breakfast (hopefully, you’re staying at Hotel Francuski and this is 7am!). I’d suggest eating a big breakfast, because it’ll likely be a late lunch on the first day.
Wawel Castle and Cathedral
Around 8:30am, start walking to Wawel Castle. You can buy tickets to tour the castle starting at 9am and when buying tickets, you’ll pick the areas you want to tour a la carte style. I’d suggest at LEAST touring the Lost Wawel, the State Rooms, and the Private Apartments. The Private Apartments are the only tours that are guided – the rest are self-paced.
If you do these three tours, you’ll probably finish around 12 or 1pm. If you’ve still got energy, head over to the Wawel Cathedral ticket office and buy your ticket. This includes access to Sigismund Bell, the Royal Tombs, and the Wawel Museum. This is completely self-paced and will take between 1.5-2 hours to complete.
By this time, you’re probably starving! Head over to Enoteka Pergamin for a large (and very affordable) lunch (the house wine is great, too!).
If you’re up for another activity after lunch, head back to Old Town Square and visit St. Mary’s Basilica. You can just walk in and look around or schedule a tour. Keep in mind that it closes at 6pm most days, so if you don’t make it today, you can always stop in on another day, too.
When you’re ready for dinner, please please PLEASE to go Goscinna Chata and get the Polish Platter! It’s got a little bit of everything and it’s made for two. We stumbled across this restaurant and I’m so glad we did. They only serve food sourced locally and everything was absolutely delicious – down to the buckwheat cake for dessert!
It’s been a long day! Get some rest and get ready for another amazing day in Krakow tomorrow!
Krakow Itinerary: Day 2
Day two of this Krakow itinerary is going to be a tad different than day 1, but stay with me! After you had a chance to explore Krakow yesterday, use this day to explore some of history’s most famous (yet gruesome) concentration camps – Auschwitz and Birkenau.
What to expect on the Auschwitz tour
I’d suggest setting up a tour before you leave for Krakow – some will even pick you up right from your hotel. So, the morning of, eat a big breakfast at your hotel and wait for your driver to show up.
First, they will drive you to Auschwitz and hand you over to your tour guide. You’ll go through the entire tour (read more about that here) and then your driver will transport you to Birkenau for the second and final tour.
Most tours will include a light lunch (a tomato and cheese sandwich with water), but you might want to confirm whether or not you should bring food along with you.
If you left early (around 8 or 9am), you’ll likely make it back to your hotel around 2 or 3pm.
I’m not going to sugar coat it – this tour is somber and it can take a lot out of you. That said, I think it’ll end up being one of the most important, enlightening, and interesting things you’ll do on your trip – so don’t skip it!
Because it’s somewhat exhausting, I’ve read about some people just wanting to take it easy the rest of the day and maybe take a nap. If that’s you, go on and do that!
Sukiennice + Dinner
If you’re feeling up to it, venture out in the late afternoon to Sukiennice (cloth hall). It’s in the center of the Main Square and it’s a great place to find souvenirs and gifts to bring back home with you.
For dinner tonight, you’ll honestly probably want to go back to the place you went last night (at least, that’s my experience), but let’s try something new!
There’s a chain restaurant in town (they’ve got 3 locations) called U Babci Maliny and you’ve got to try it! You’ll order at the counter, find a seat at the community tables, and wait for your number to be called.
It’s incredibly affordable – Austin and I split a bowl of borscht and a plate of pierogi for about $10 and it was delicious. You’ll notice a lot of locals at this place which is always a good sign that the food is good.
Krakow Itinerary: Day 3
It might be your last day in Krakow, so let’s make it a good one! We’re going to spend the day wandering the town and slowly making our way to the Jewish Quarter.
I’d suggest waking up early yet again and getting a hearty breakfast in before you leave.
I think it’s always important in a new place to just walk, get lost, and find things that you would have never been able to search for on the internet.
I’m sure you’ll find something that I haven’t mentioned in any of my posts and if you do, tell me in the comments – I’d love to hear about it!
Take whichever route you’re pulled to, but try to walk in the general Southeast direction, so you’ll eventually reach the Jewish Quarter (Kazimierz). It’s a little different than Old Town, but it’s worth seeing, too!
This was an area that celebrated Jewish culture until it’s people were forcibly relocated by the German military into the Krakow Ghetto until they were sent to concentration camps.
Depending on what you prefer, you can schedule a tour of the area or just walk around yourself.
For today, I suggest getting lunch wherever you end up. Find a restaurant that looks great and draws you in and get some great food! The Jewish Quarter has some very tasty-looking Jewish restaurants, so I’d probably choose one of those if I were you.
When you’re done with lunch, keep walking! Find a peaceful place to sit and take it all in. It’s important to slow down sometimes and reflect on how utterly AMAZING it is that you’re in another country and you have the privilege of exploring this city and culture.
When you make your way back to Krakow, I suggest Restauracja Sławkowska for dinner. If you’re going with someone (or even if you’re there yourself), split the soup flight as an appetizer! Polish food includes so many delicious soups and this is a chance to try 4 of them. I also got the Polish food sampler for my meal (can you tell I love a sampler, yet?).
If this is your last day, savor in your last meal and get ready for your flight/train ride/drive the next day!
Krakow Itinerary: Day 4
If you’re anything like me, you probably didn’t make it to St. Mary’s Basilica on Day 1. Let’s be real, the tours of Wawel Castle and Cathedral are incredible, but very tiring. Instead of touring the Basilica, we went back and took a looooong nap.
If you’ve been following this itinerary, you’ve probably been waking up early every day, so take this morning slow! Wake up naturally and slowly make your way down to breakfast (brunch?).
When you’re ready, let’s make it over to St. Mary’s Basilica to tour one of the most famous churches in the city.
You’ll notice a bunch of outdoor restaurants along the main square. Yes, they’re even open in the winter, but they’re covered and heated during the cold months. When you get hungry again, I’d suggest trying out one of these restaurants. I don’t have a recommendation for a specific one, but let me know if you try one and love it!
Let’s check out the nightlife tonight! I actually came across a Chicago bar which I wanted to check out, but we don’t usually go out much at night when we travel because we like to wake up so early. There is no shortage of bars and clubs in Krakow, so take your pick and drink/dance the night away!
Krakow Itinerary: Day 5
If you’re lucky enough to be in Krakow for a 5th day, consider taking a day trip to Zakopane. If you’ve followed along with my trips, you’ll know that we rented a car and drove down to Zakopane to stay for 3 nights, but there are several different day trips you can take.
There you have it! Your Krakow itinerary whether you’re visiting for 3, 4, or 5 days. This city captured my heart the second we were dropped off from the airport and I have no doubt you’ll fall in love to.
Let me know in the comments below if you plan on following any part of this itinerary, or if you’d add anything to it!