A Guide to Krakow’s UNESCO Old Town Sites And Many More

In 1978, Kraków was one of the first places to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The listing includes the city’s historic Old Town, Wawel Hill and the Kazimierz district.

The highlight of the hill is the castle, which used to be the residence of Polish royalty. Inside the castle, visitors can admire the royal apartments, the treasury, the armory and Szczerbiec, which is the coronation sword of Polish kings. Additionally, works by artists like Lucas Cranach the Elder and Eugene Delacroix are kept here. In the Wawel Cathedral, visitors can pay their respects to the more than a dozen buried kings, including Władysław Łokietek, Kazimierz Wielki, Zygmunt August, Saint Stanislaw, Adam Mickiewicz, and Tadeusz Kościuszko.

The famous „Stare Miasto” is defined by its famed main market square. This square, one of the biggest in all of Europe, was the hub of business activity as early as the thirteenth century, with its Cloth Hall located at its center. The beautiful Gothic St. Mary’s Church is a stunning addition to the area, and its tower plays a trumpet call every hour. Inside, visitors can admire the gorgeous altarpiece created by Veit Stoss from linden, oak, and larch wood, crafted between 1477 and 1489.

The Florian Gate and Barbican are two of the most well-known medieval fortifications that served to protect the city. For centuries, Kazimierz (which is destrict od Krakow now) was a separate city where different cultures interacted. Nowadays, the main attraction of this place is the St. Stanislaus Church on Skalka, where prominent personalities such as Jan Dlugosz, Jozef Ignacy Kraszewski and Stanislaus Wyspianski are buried. Additionally, the Jewish quarter, with its Remuh synagogue and one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Europe, make it a must-visit destination.

↳ Make sure to read my guide to the most amazing places to stay in Kraków:
How to Find Best Place to Stay in Krakow Old Town – Your Guide

Before we dive into the Krakow attractions, make sure you read my other article about the polish cities that feature Unesco Sites.

Attractions in the Old Town of Krakow

Exploring the captivating atmosphere of Krakow’s Old Town can be best experienced by taking a leisurely stroll around the Market Square and its surrounding streets. When you do so, keep an eye out for the many charming churches, monuments and buildings that you can find. I suggest doing so early in the morning, when most tourists are still asleep and you can enjoy the area in peace.

1. Collegium Maius

The Collegium Maius is the oldest building of the Jagiellonian University, formerly known as the Krakow Academy. The 15th-century Gothic tenements were combined to form the structure, which now houses a museum and its courtyards are open to the public. The museum features a library, the apartments of professors, the astronomical instruments used by Copernicus, and many other fascinating items tied to the history of the university.

You can explore the museum from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (hours may vary due to the pandemic) between Monday and Friday. An entrance ticket of 12 zlotys is needed. Free access to the courtyard of the Collegium Maius is available from 9:00 a.m. until dark.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

2: The Market Underground

If you want to explore the history of Krakow in a fun and interactive way, then the Market Square Underground is the perfect place for you. You can almost travel back in time, as you witness the archaeological excavations that show how the Market looked in the past. This is a must-see for anyone visiting the city.

The Underground is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and until 8:00 p.m. on weekends. Tuesdays are free of charge, while tickets cost 24 PLN (if you have discount – 20 PLN). To avoid the crowds, I recommend booking online. The entrance can be found in the Cloth Hall.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

3. Museum of 19th Century Art in Sukiennice

If you’re already visiting the Cloth Hall, you won’t want to miss the chance to experience the awesome Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art. This small museum features huge paintings by the great Matejko and other renowned Polish artists. You can visit this place every day, except Mondays. Tuesdays are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the rest of the week from 5 p.m., and Sundays from 4 p.m. Ticket costs 25 zlotys, or 15 zlotys with a discount.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

4. Bishop Erazm Ciołek Museum

If you’re into religious art, then you’ll be sure to love the show of Polish 19th-century art in the Cloth Hall. I’ve been to this Krakow destination a bunch of times and it never ceases to amaze me. You can check out Orthodox church art, artifacts from Polish medieval and modern art and architectural sculptures. I highly recommend this spot if you’re interested in divine art.

You can visit the Bishop Erazm Ciołek Museum every day apart from Mondays. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, the doors are open from 10am to 5pm, while on other days, opening hours are until 4pm. The entrance fee is 15 zlotys, and a discounted price of 10 zlotys is available.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

5. St. Mary’s Basilica

You can’t possibly miss out on a visit to St. Mary’s Basilica when you explore Krakow’s Old Town. It is easily one of the most noteworthy churches in Poland, with its vibrant stained-glass windows, colorful sculptures and Wit Stwosz’s altar. Additionally, the observation deck offers stunning views, and the organ and bugle call will make your experience truly unique. Make sure you get to see its one-of-a-kind interior at least once in your lifetime.

The Marian Basilica welcomes visitors every day of the week, from Monday to Saturday from 11:30 in the morning until 6 in the evening, and on Sundays from 2 until 6. The cost of admission is 10 zlotys (seniors and students pay 8 zlotys, and children and young people pay 5 zlotys). Access to Hejnalica and the bell tower requires the purchase of separate tickets, both priced at 15 zlotys. Visits to the towers are not available in the period stretching from November to the end of February, but the opening times in other months depend on the time of year and the day of the visit.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

6. Jan Matejko’s House

After the passing of Matejko (famous painter), a museum was established in his family home to commemorate his life and work. You can walk through the rooms where he used to live and his studio to see some of his works. As well as this, there are letters, photographs, books that Matejka had collected during his lifetime.

If you’d like to visit John Matejko House, it is open every day except Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., while other days close at 4:00 p.m. Admission tickets cost 15 zlotys, although discounted tickets are available at a price of 10 zlotys.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

7. Dominican Basilica

The renowned Gothic basilica is connected to a Dominican convent and is most known for the burial site of Prince Leszek. This place is referred to as the Krakow campo santo, due to the numerous memorials, gravestones and commemorative plaques. It is also embellished with many pieces of art. Inside the church, the main altar and subsidiary chapels, although small in size, make for a stunning display.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

8. Small Market

The Small Market is charming and quite a sight to behold, boasting a spectacular display of quaint townhouses that surround it. It is not only a frequent host of all sorts of celebrations and get-togethers, but it was also historically the site of traditional markets held on the square.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

9. The Czartoryski Museum

We waited for ages for the reopening of this renowned museum, but it was definitely worth it. The newly-renovated building looks amazing. I was deeply impressed with not only its fantastic displays of Polish history, but also with its splendid design. As soon as you walk in, the magnificent courtyard will take your breath away, and then it gets better and better. You can find masterpieces by Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Cranach, Bruegel, Grottger, Matejko, and Orlowski in the museum’s corridors.

The Czartoryski Museum is available to visit every day of the week except Mondays and Tuesdays, with opening times from 10 in the morning to 6 in the evening on all days apart from Sunday. It’s a good idea to buy your ticket in advance. The museum can get pretty crowded. A ticket costs 35 Zloty, but if you’re entitled to a discount, you’ll only have to pay 20. It’s definitely worth paying to get in!

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

10. Maria Magdalena Square

I think this is the most gorgeous square in Krakow, making me think of the baroque cities of Italy. This is because of the stunning facade of St. Peter and Paul’s and St. Andrew’s Church (both are great places to explore). Next to the square is Kanoniczna Street, lined with remarkable townhouses from the Old Town, one of which was Jan Długosz’s former abode.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

11. Bielak Arcade

That is, an interesting place to spend an evening in Krakow. It is a shopping arcade, where we can find pubs and a cafe. You can eat something here, take a rest, and take off for the rest of the trip.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

12. Słowacki Theater

When you’re exploring Krakow’s Old Town, I think it’s worth making the theater in its eclectic-neo-Baroque building your first stop. It’s just a short walk from the train station to the Market Square, and the theater’s facade is adorned with allegories like Drama, Comedy and Poetry. I suggest to make this fantastic sight the start of your journey.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

13. Barbican and Florian Gate

Just below the iconic Florianska Gate, you’ll find stalls selling art and other memorabilia. They make great souvenirs. The Barbican is a fantastic example of Gothic fortification. With seven impressive towers, it almost looks like a medieval castle.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here
Click Play to see video showing Krakow’s Old Town

14. St. Anne’s Church

The interior of St. Anne’s Church is a remarkable example of Baroque architecture, and its facade is quite eye-catching. The decorated ceilings and the dome are particularly impressive. The church was built as a result of the joint efforts of the teachers of the University and the King John III Sobieski. It is also worth mentioning that it was in this very temple that Helena Modrzejewska held her wedding ceremony. Helena was a famous actress from Poland. She was born in Krakow in 1840.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

15. Szołayski Tenement House

This 19th-century tenement building on Szczepanski Square is now part of the National Museum in Krakow, which usually hosts temporary exhibitions. Art lovers should add it to their itinerary, even if it is not a primary stop for visitors to Krakow.

Kamienica Szoałyskich is open every day of the week except Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays from 10:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening and all other days until 4:00 in the afternoon. The price of a ticket is 20 zlotys (with a discount it will be 10 zlotys).

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

16. St. Francis Basilica

It is one of Krakow’s oldest churches. The church was built by Boleslaw the Feminine and is connected to a Franciscan monastery. Unfortunately, throughout its centuries-long history, it has been damaged by fire several times. However, it still features beautiful stained glass windows created by Stanislaw Wyspianski, as well as numerous works of art adorning its walls. Feel free to visit the basilica from 10:00 to 16:00, Monday through Friday, and from 13:00 to 15:00 on Sundays and holidays.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

17. The View From The City Hall Tower

More than 100 stairs to climb and here we are at the City Hall tower! It offers an interesting panorama of the city, including the market square, basilica and Wawel Castle. One of the cooler vantage points in Krakow, plus one with an interesting history.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

18. The Underground of St. Adalbert’s Church

This miniature temple has been transformed many times over the years, yet researchers believe it dates all the way back to the 11th century. It is thought to have been erected to honor the location where Saint Adalbert delivered his discourse. At the bottom of the church, there is a showroom dedicated to the history of Krakow’s Market Square.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

19. Cloth Hall

It’s impossible to talk about Krakow’s Market Square without mentioning the well-known Cloth Hall. Despite the throngs of people that usually flock there, it’s still worth a quick glance at the shop windows. Although the souvenirs may cost you a fortune, the shopping arcade itself, with the city’s markings on the walls, is quite fascinating.

  • Pictures and Google Maps Location: Here

Krakow’s Old Town Attractions – Information

  • It’s really easy to get to the Krakow Market if you’re arriving by bus or train, as it’s just a short distance away from both stations. With a few minutes walk, you’ll be in the heart of the Old Town.
  • I suggest you take a walk as it is the best way to discover Old Town – all the attractions mentioned in the article are in close proximity and can be easily reached by foot.
  • With the KrakowCard, you have access to unlimited use of public transportation and entry to most of Krakow’s attractions. You can choose from a one-day pass (90 PLN), a two-day pass (120 PLN) or a three-day pass (140 PLN). There’s also an option to get a three-day pass without using public transportation for 90 zloty. Krakow Tourist Card is a plastic card, similar to a credit card, that can be purchased at selected Tourist Information Points:
    • Rynek Główny 30
    • Rynek Główny 1/3 (Sukiennice)
    • Krakow-Balice Airport
    • Main Railway Station, Pawia St. 5A
    • Basztowa Underground Passage
    • All Saints Square 2
    • Pawia St. 8
    • St. John St. 2
    • Grodzka St. 18
    • Floriańska St. 6
    • Powiśle St. 11
    • Józefa St. 7
    • Szpitalna St. 25.
  • It is very popular to visit the attractions of Krakow’s Old Town, such as the Czartoryski Museum and the Market Underground. I suggest to book tickets ahead of time for these two spots.
  • Church visits are free of charge (except for St. Mary’s Basilica)
  • It is worth starting the tour in the morning, when there are still few people on the streets.
  • Other interesting places on the Market Square in Krakow that I didn’t manage to see and describe here in this post are: The Hippolytus Tenement House, the Archaeological Museum, the Poster Gallery and the Archdiocesan Museum and the Collegium Medicum Museum of Pharmacy. The Barbican and the basement of St. Adalbert’s Church in the Market Square used to be closed due to pandemic, so please double check before visiting.
  • Before you go, check the official website of the attractions you intend to visit, as Mondays are typically the day when museums are closed and Tuesdays typically offer complimentary tours. Additionally, many museums have set hourly technical pauses throughout the day (generally from 1:00pm – 2:00pm).
  • Young people up to the age of 26: some museums offer tickets for 1 PLN for you, so bring your ID.


  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krak%C3%B3w_Old_Town
  • https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/29/