Top 13 Must-See Museums in Krakow – You Private Guide

There are plenty museums in Kraków. Nestled in southern Poland, this city oozes history and charm with its stunning architecture, quaint Main Market Square, and an array of attractions for all age groups. Its narrow streets are lined with picturesque buildings and sprinkled with cozy cafes and restaurants right in the heart of the Old Town. But what truly makes Krakow shine, I believe, are its museums – where you get to marvel at some of Poland’s most significant monuments.

I’ve rounded up couple of these amazing museums of Kraków you definitely shouldn’t miss when in this city:

National Museum in Kraków

If you want to dive into Poland’s rich history, start your journey at the National Museum. It’s located in a massive building on Aleja 3 Maja and houses three specific exhibitions. The first one, „Arms and Uniforms in Poland„, showcases historic, medieval weaponry, including an 11th-century knight’s helmet and memorabilia from notable military commanders such as Tadeusz Kościuszko, Józef Poniatowski, and Józef Piłsudski.

Next, there’s the Gallery of Artistic Crafts which offers a sneak peek into everyday items used several hundred years ago. Lastly, the Gallery of Polish Art of the 20th Century will wow art enthusiasts with works from artists like Olga Boznańska, and many more.

↳ Make sure to read my guide to the most amazing places to stay in Kraków:
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Czartoryski Museum

I am convinced that the Princes Czartoryski Museum is a must-visit, being one of the oldst grouped museum collections in Krakow. Its history dates back to the early 19th century when Izabela Czartoryska showcased her first collection.

It comprises three stunning buildings:

  • the Czartoryski Palace
  • the small Klasztorek
  • and the former Krakow Arsenal.

And, let me tell you, it holds two of the most famous paintings housed in Poland – Leonardo da Vinci’s „Lady with an Ermine” and Rembrandt’s „Landscape with the Good Samaritan„. Besides, the museum also features eastern art, medieval applied arts, and a large military exhibition.

Wawel Royal Castle Museum

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that you can’t leave Krakow without visiting the Wawel Royal Castle, affectionately known as „Wawel”. Being one of the region’s largest museums, it offers a whopping 70 exhibition rooms that cover over 7,000 square meters.

At the castle, you can explore beautifully preserved royal apartments and chambers, witness Polish and European art collections, and get mesmerized by a unique collection of Eastern art. Plus, there are five exhibition halls that are part of the Crown Treasury exhibition. It is worth to say that being there, you need to know about the enormity of its historical significance.

Vodka Factory Museum

I can tell you, the Vodka Factory Museum is an exhilarating journey into the world of vodka that you won’t forget. It lets you delve into its history, its brewing process, and how the culture around this beverage has evolved over the centuries. This museum sits in the historic building of the erstwhile Vodka Factory No. 11 from the 1930s and later, the Polmos Distillery. The place itself is a testament to its unique identity.

The Vodka Factory offers nearly 1,100 m2 of space, divided into several zones – a cinema for an introduction, a general area about vodka’s history, a section explaining the production processes, and a part focusing on the history of the Polmos plant. Your vodka adventure concludes with a tasting session where you can try potent spirits and even some cocktails.

Museum of Pharmacy – Collegium Medicum

Ever wondered what wax was used for besides candles? Or what were medicinal wines and the diseases they combated? If you want the answers to these intriguing questions, you need to know about the Museum of Pharmacy. Founded in the 1940s, this museum, spread across five floors, houses hundreds of fascinating exhibits. Some of the key attractions you’ll encounter include:

  • Items that pharmacists used, such as distilling apparatuses, alembics, crucibles, and presses for extracting juices and oils.
  • Furniture and objects from monastery pharmacies, including chests of drawers for storing medicinal herbs and even a dried crocodile.

Don’t miss out on the attic of the Pharmacy Museum. This space used to be a drying room for medicinal herbs, which has been meticulously recreated for visitors. You’ll see a scientific collection of medicinal plants, offering a glimpse into the healing arts of the past.

Collegium Maius – Museum of the Jagiellonian University

For the science geeks, I believe, a visit to the oldest part of the Jagiellonian University – Collegium Maius, housing the university museum, will be a delight. Here, you can marvel at astronomical instruments used by Nicolaus Copernicus, the Jagiellonian Globe (one of the world’s oldest accurate globes marking America), and numerous medieval measuring tools.

You can peek into professors’ rooms, the Physics Room, the Chemistry Room, and the cozy Gallery of Medieval Sculpture. Also part of this exhibit is the Pharmacy Museum, situated in a historic tenement house on Floriańska Street. It spans five floors, including cellars and attic, where you can witness old tools used for making medicines, secretaries, and a sales room.

Manggha – Museum of Japanese Art and Technology

Krakow’s star attraction, the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, allows you to dive deep into the history and culture of the Land of the Rising Sun. The museum regularly holds exhibitions featuring Japanese monuments, Asian paintings, photography, and applied arts such as textiles, sacral objects, ornaments, and jewelry.

Meet experts in Japanese culture and natives discusing their cuisine, art, and history. If you’ve got kids, they’ll love the calligraphy courses, culinary workshops, and travel meetings.

Museum of Polish Army

The Krakow Museum of Polish Army is the only museum of its kind in Poland. Its mission is to spread awareness about the former „Polish Underground State” during World War II. The museum combines a classic exhibit with a multitude of monuments and multimedia elements, making it a great attraction for younger visitors too.

At this facility, you’ll find military equipment, old weapons, ammunition, decorations, documents, and photographs. The biggest highlight, however, is the chance to see the inside of a V-2 rocket (once developed by the Home Army) and the reconstruction of World War II tanks.

The Pinball Museum in Kraków

If you want to time travel back to the ’90s, you definitely need to make a stop at the Pinball Museum. Picture this: 35 pinball machines that once graced almost every bar and public place. Can you remember any of them? Well, let me jog your memory:

  • „Terminator 2” – a pinball machine that pays homage to the cult classic film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • „The Addams Family” – a pinball delight for those who loved Mortica and Gomez Addams.

And here’s the best part: these machines are still playable! I believe that’s the beauty of it. You can spend long, nostalgic hours here, lost in the sounds and lights of these iconic machines. And, don’t stress about making it back to your hotel room late. The Pinball Museum is conveniently located near the city’s central parts, and there are numerous places nearby that are perfect for an overnight stay, such as the Novotel Kraków Centrum.

Geological Museum

The Geological Museum in Krakow is a paradise for fans of paleontology, geology, and mineralogy. Let me say, its biggest draw is Poland’s largest meteorite collection, boasting over 330 findings. It also features a massive „crystalline brush” made of halite, procured in Wieliczka in the early 20th century. You can learn about Krakow’s geological structure and the creation and evolution of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship’s individual regions at the permanent exhibition.

House of Jan Matejko

If you’re an art lover, I know you’ll appreciate the House of Jan Matejko. Jan Matejko is undoubtedly one of the greatest Polish painters in the country’s history. Krakow houses this museum, a branch of the National Museum, established a day after the artist’s funeral in 1895, in the historic tenement house where he was born.

Here, you’ll find the original equipment from the artist’s family home, a massive collection of publications, letters, and documents, and photographs of Jan Matejko’s works that adorn Europe’s most important sacral buildings.

Polish Aviation Museum

The Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow is located at the former Rakowice-Czyżyny airport. Its vast grounds house over 200 historic aircraft, including passenger planes, gliders, and helicopters. The museum even gives you the chance to see four Soviet missile systems!

Also, it’s worth to say, it hosts one of the world’s largest exhibitions of aircraft engines, featuring pioneering artifacts as well as recent structures. Some exhibits are over a century old, with the so-called Small Hangar displaying aircraft from 1909-1920.

Museum of Illusions

The compact yet captivating Museum of Illusions in Krakow is perfect for families. Across two floors, you’ll find numerous tools and machines demonstrating the principles of physics. An interesting part of the exhibit is dedicated to ancient optical illusions, boasting copies and reconstructions of works once deemed „magical”.The museum also features light displays and specially darkened rooms where you can experience various physical phenomena.


You see, there’s more to Krakow than just historical monuments. There’s also this charming corner of nostalgia waiting for you to explore. So, I think, why not take this chance to revisit your childhood and have some fun?