Cracow: If you have more time...

It's impossible to fully appreciate Cracow in one day. If you come to the city, plan your time sensibly and try to spend as much of it as you can exploring. You won't be disappointed! Here is a list of all the venues worth seeing to help you plan your stay with us.

Grunwald Monument

The founder of the monument located in the middle of the Matejko Square was Ignacy Josef Paderewski. The monument was created, according to the inscription placed on its pedestal "for the glory of fathers - brothers in courage." The monument designed by Antoni Wiwulski, was unveiled in 1910 to commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald. After its devastation in World War II, the monument was reconstructed under the supervision of Marian Konieczny in 1976, and currently measures 24 metres in height. Located in the centre of the memorial is the statue of King Wladyslaw Jagiello which was set in place using a military helicopter, with all the action broadcast on Polish television. The steps leading to the monument were laid with marble from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The remains of the old monument were destroyed by the Nazis and were taken to different places in Poland - some of them were placed by Grunwald, thus fulfilling the desire of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, which - due to the policy of the occupation authorities - was not feasible in the era when the monument was built.

Broad Street

This is a unique, for many people even magical, place in the heart of Kazimierz. There is also every year the splendid final concert of the Festival of Jewish Culture. Szeroka, like the whole of Kazimierz, is classified as part of the Old Town, but in the Middle Ages it was the centre of Bawół village, which was incorporated into the nearby town of Kazimierz in 1340. The Jewish population began to settle from the late fifteenth century, and eventually formed a separate district here, separated from Kazimierz by their own city walls. The surroundings of the street focus on sacred and secular architecture. Szeroka's prestige dropped in the nineteenth century, when most of the wealthy residents moved to other districts in the city, leaving the place to poorer inhabitants. During World War II the synagogue was destroyed and the Jewish population relocated to the Podgórza district. It was impossible to change the fate of the people, but the synagogue was rebuilt after the war. The most important buildings today are: the Landau tenement house (No. 2), formerly three separate buildings, all from the sixteenth century, the Great Mikvah (Mykwa Wielka), now the Klezmer-Hois Hotel (No. 6), the Popper Synagogue (No. 16), the Old Synagogue (No. 24) and the Remuh synagogue and cemetery (No. 40).

B otanical Garden

was founded in 1783 in the Wesoła Park. It is therefore the oldest botanical garden in Poland and one of the oldest in Europe. Initially it was only about 2.5 ha, and included a pond in the south part and the first greenhouses built in the years 1786-1787 . At the end of the eighteenth century, the collection of plants already numbered about 3 thousand specimens that had been brought from places such as Vienna, Paris and St. Petersburg. The surface area of the garden was enlarged to 3.6 ha in the early nineteenth century, and the new site was arranged as an English style park with a channel of water surrounding it. Its biggest expansion was in the 50's and 60's of the nineteenth century, when expeditions to South America resulted in several thousand species of tropical plants being brought to Krakow, including 300 species of orchids. Currently Krakow Botanical Garden occupies 9.8 hectares and has a collection of about 6 thousand. taxa (species, subspecies and varieties). The oldest trees are the Sniadecki dogwoods - which were planted in 1790 and are therefore more than 200 years old, and the Jagiellonian oaks, whose age is determined to be 400 years old.

Cracow Fortress

The most famous example of post-Austrian defence construction in Krakow. The Krakow Fortress Development under Kosciuszko mound can be divided into the period of the polygonal and fort system (1815-1885) and the distributed system (1885-1914). When the building was completed in 1855, the ring of fortifications consisted of an  undeveloped battlefield and military area as the citadel of the Castle. Several years later, the Krakow Fortress took the form of a hexagon located on the Vistula within the Wawel military area, closed from the south at Krzemionki fort. The Franco-Prussian War (1870) launched the next change in defence construction, with the introduction of a centrally fortified system, transferring the line of defence to the artillery forts. A little later the construction of an annular fortress was started in Krakow. Further changes resulted in the creation of a projectile minefield. Reinforced concrete was commonly used . The twentieth century was the period of the most recent changes in Krakow Fortress. Then it was the custom to have a distributed system of fortifications, small units, scattered shelters, artillery batteries and firing points. Despite the stagnation in the Austrian technical thought, in Krakow, a new fort (Bielany) was built and a few others were upgraded, such as Tonie (No. 44), which uses retractable armoured towers.

Jagiellonian University Astronomical Observatory

is an institute of the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. It is named after Nicolaus Copernicus, and is located at Forcie Skała, about 10 miles west of the city centre. You can get there from Bielany or Zakamycze. The Observatory was founded in 1792 and the scientific programme included, among others observations of the position of the Sun, Moon, satellites of Jupiter, and the sky mechanics of the solar system. Now a team of scientists is engaged in areas such as the physics of comets, the photometry and modelling of various stars, radio observations of solar radiation, the study of extragalactic radio sources, interstellar and intergalactic matter, and magnetic fields in the universe among other topics. Work is undertaken in collaboration with a number of research centres in Poland and abroad.

Józef Piłsudski Mound

Called the Mound of Independence, it is the greatest one of all. It occupies 0.76 hectares, is 35 m high, and the diameter at its base is 111 m. It was formed on the Sowiniec hill (358 m) in the Wolski Forest. Work began on August 6, 1934, on the 20th anniversary of the first march from Krakow by the 1. Kompanii Kadrowej Legionów, and was completed on July 9, 1937 After World War II the communist government deliberately committed itself to the devastation of the mound. With its repairs complete, a committee to take care of the mound was set up in 1980.


Krakow's Kazimierz is a special place, influenced by the close, Christian-Jewish community which lasted a few centuries. Jews arrived here in the second half of the fourteenth century and in the early years of the nineteenth century, occupied a separate "Jewish town", whose boundaries ran roughly along where the current Miodowa, św. Wawrzyńca, Wąska, Józefa and Bożego Ciała streets are. It was an autonomous enclave ruled by rabbis and elective elders, with only the king having authority over them, exercised on his behalf by the governor of Krakow. During the nineteenth century and first decades of the twentieth century, the Jewish population gradually dominated the whole of Kazimierz, just as in the neighbouring district of Stradom. In 1867, for their involvement in the development of the district - as investors, builders and architects - the people were granted equal civil rights. Kazimierz at the end of the inter-war period remained a very Jewish district of Krakow and was the natural social base of most Jewish organizations and institutions. All shades of political parties worked there, representing the Jewish population in the Polish parliament, in educational, charitable, cultural, artistic and sports organizations. The religious life of Jews in Krakow finally became focused in Kazimierz. They prayed in six large Orthodox synagogues (Old, Remu, High (Wysokiej), Isaac, Popper and Kupa) and a progressive synagogue, or in the so-called Temple on Podbrzeziu which maintained a community, as well as in many houses of prayer belonging to various religious associations and private individuals. Today, this district, part of the Old Town, is one of the most visited by tourists, who appreciate its magical atmosphere.

Kościuszko Mound

In Krakow, there are four mounds and in this respect Krakow holds the national record. The oldest mounds are called Krakus and Wanda, the younger and most popular -Tadeusz Kosciuszko Mound, and the youngest and largest - Jozef Pilsudski Mound. In the park surrounding the Łobzów Palace was once the fifth Krakow mound - Ester, the legendary lover of Kazimierz the Great, who at hearing the news of his infidelity jumped from a window directly into the pond. Currently at this point is the pitch of WKS Wawel sports club. The Kosciuszko Mound was formed on the św. Bronisław hill (access from ul. św. Bronisławy and al. Waszyngtona). Work began on 19 October 1820 and ended on 25 October 1823, and the mound measures 34.1 metres in height and contains soil from the battlefields of the Kosciuszko Uprising (Raclawice, Maciejowice and Dubienka) and the American war of independence. In the mid-nineteenth century Austrian fortifications surrounded the mound, which in 1977 became a hotel. On clear days there is a wonderful panoramic view of Krakow from the terrace on the top of the mound.

Krakus Mound

Like Wanda's mound from the seventh century, it was formed on Krzemionki (around st. Wielicka) and measures 16 m in height. Legend has it that it is the grave of the founder of Krakow - Prince Krak. Krakus and Wanda mounds probably originally served as places of worship or watchtowers.

Planty Park

in terms of scale, it is quite a unique Polish city park that surrounds the oldest part of Krakow. Planty is one of Krakow's major parks, of around 20 hectares in area, with a circumference of more than 4 km. It is divided into eight gardens, whose names refer to nearby buildings and places: the Station, Barbican, Florianka, Palace of Arts, University, Wawel, Gródek and Stradom. Formerly the site stretched along the city walls along with a moat, which later fell into disrepair. In the early nineteenth century, the remains of the fortifications became a dangerous area, full of beggars, criminals, and a hotbed for rats and many diseases. In 1820 it was decided to demolish the remains of the medieval walls, fill the moat and drain the marshes and work began two years later. Trees, dominated by chestnuts, were planted. Lawns were made surrounded by low fences, painted with the white and blue colours of Krakow. Stone benches were also installed. The jewels of this place are the monuments of the great figures of Poland and Krakow. As the distinguished founder of the first park - Florian Straszewski, became a member of the Senate of Krakow. Then, on each anniversary other monuments were made of: Michael Bałuckiego, minstrel Bojana, Jadwiga and Jagiello, Lilli Weneda, Artur Grottger, Nicolaus Copernicus, Grazyna and Litawora, and Tadeusz Boy-Zelenski. Devastated during World War II and in decline until 1989, the Phantom has been restored to its previous splendour.

Stolarska Tower

Built in the fifteenth century, it stands east of the City's Arsenal. It is rounded with four-storeys, built on a square limestone base. It was finished with a stone veranda on consoles and a streamlined conical roof. The cross-shaped loopholes were adapted for the use of crossbows and harquebus guns.

Słowackiego Theatre

Since the beginning of its artistic activities, in 1893, the stage here has become a place of avant-garde theatre. In addition to theatrical classics, new pieces have also been staged here, and there were, among others the dramas of: Stanislaw Wyspiański, Stanislaw Przybyszewski, Lucjan Rydel, August Strindberg, Henrik Ibsen, and Anton Chekhov. On this very stage took place the premi?res of Wyspiański's Wesela (the Wedding - 1901) and Wyzwolenia (Liberation - 1903). An innovative project was Adam Mickiewicz's Dziady (Forefathers) venture, which Wyspianski staged in 1901, and the staging of this belongs to the history of Polish theatre. In 1909, the Municipal Theatre was given Słowacki's patronage. Today's countenance is of a portrait of a man suspended between the old and new. The tradition of the theatre is to promote a diverse repertoire and a high artistic level, provided by excellent artists. For over 20 years shows on the Big Stage have been accompanied by performances in Miniature, on the second less-known Little Stage. Since 2003 there is also the Gate Stage - adapted from a former warehouse theatre decoration, distinguished by its austerity, economy and the dark interior decoration. The Słowackiego Theatre is also seen as a "Krakow Meeting Place" in which the venerable meet at all sorts of occasions such as a jubilee anniversary and at conventions of visiting scholars or artists from various countries. It is the most representative stage in Krakow, having the only curtain painted by the famous Henry Siemiradzki which you can admire during the interval.


The famous Benedictine abbey is perched on a lofty rock by the Vistula River, 10 km from Krakow. Now located within the administrative borders of the city, it is the oldest existing monastery in Poland. Shortly after the arrival of the monks (in about 1044), the Romanesque basilica was built here (some remains preserved), and in the fifteenth century, a new church and monastery. Rebuilt and expanded several times, the Tyniec complex was also often destroyed by invaders. Today it has a baroque architectural form, with a characteristic two-towered façade. The monuments you can see in Tyniec are fragments of the past splendour of the abbey. Most of the interior of the church, library and archive were dispersed or destroyed during the nineteenth century, after the destruction of the abbey by invading forces. Tyniec artefacts can be found today in various Polish museums, archives and libraries. The famous Tyniecka well, forged in the courtyard rock in 1620, is up to 40 m deep. The buildings of the monastery cloister are still in use, so you can only see some of the objects there. An unforgettable experience is listening to Gregorian chant, sung daily by the monks, and the sound of the organs, especially during the summer organ recitals. It is worth meeting Father Leon, and to walk down the Vistula embankments, from where the abbey buildings make the biggest impression. Tyniec also has a longer prehistory. Archaeological research which has been conducted for decades has provided significant data supporting the presence of a monastic settlement on the hill and its environs in the first millennium before Christ, and therefore long before the arrival of the Benedictines. The area was then inhabited by the Celts.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

The historic Salt Mine in Wieliczka is the only mining facility in the world which has been functioning continuously from the Middle Ages to the present day. Its original excavations (passages, ramps, chambers, lakes, windows, shafts) with a total length of about 300 kilometres spread over 9 levels, reaches to a depth of 327 meters and illustrate all the stages in the development of mining technology over time. The underground part of Wieliczka contains about 7.5 million m3 of voids, hollowed out during the seven centuries of the mine's existence. Visitors to the tourist route to have to walk more than 2 km. While wandering through the historic chambers and walkways you can learn about the history of salt mining, and the geological deposits of Wieliczka, then finally admire the picturesque underground landscapes, including the charming saline lakes. On the route you are able to visit sacred places, including the Chapel of St. Kinga, which can safely be called an underground church. After visiting the mine, tourists can eat in the restaurant situated at a depth of 125 m. The salt scenery provides a backdrop  to concerts, exhibitions, ceremonies, banquets, elegant balls, weddings, and even sporting events. On the third level in the Wessel Lake chamber there is the Underground Rehabilitation and Treatment Centre. The mine's unique micro-climate provides relief to sufferers of respiratory diseases and allergies. Since 1978 the Mine has been a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage site.

Villa Decius

Willa Decjesza is a charming, Renaissance palace located in the beautiful Wola Justowska park in Krakow. It was built in 1535 by Justus Ludwik Decjusz, the owner of these lands. Decjusz, of Alsatian origin, was one of the most distinguished diplomats and financiers of his era. Being uncommonly scholarly, he kept contacts with the greatest minds of Renaissance Europe. The Mansion House, built by an Italian architect design trio - Giovanni Cini of Siena, Zenobius Gianotti of Rome and Philip of Fiesole soon became a place for philosophical debates, social gatherings and an important centre on the Polish cultural map of the Renaissance. In 1590 the heirs of Decjesza purchased Sebastian Lubomirski's villa, introducing a number of upgrades. Unfortunately, by the eighteenth century the villa had declined. From the ruins rose Joanna of Wielowiejskich Ledóchowska, the first of three great ladies who lived in the palace. Under the hand of Ledóchowska in the 20s of the nineteenth century, the building was restored to its splendour and the surrounding gardens made into a fashionable English-style park. Another lady of Willa Decjesza was Henrietta of Ankwiczów Kuczkowska, who undertook extensive reconstruction of the property. Unfortunately, Kuczkowska and her husband were not able to enjoy the villa long, as due to huge debts the couple sold the property. It went into the hands of a third unrelated woman - Marcelina Czartoryska. Thanks to her, the villa turned into Krakow's most famous late nineteenth-century retreat, and also the mainstay of Polish and patriotic thoughts. Czartoryska' death in 1894 brought to a close the golden years of the villa, as a few years later it was converted into military barracks. During the Second World War it housed the seat of the German police, and after 1945 - the Co-operative Training Centre of Labour. Then it became a boarding house, and the tuberculosis ward. of dr. Anki. In the 70s, the building fell into disrepair, rising again only in 1996, thanks to the efforts of the City of Krakow. Today the building is the headquarters of the Willa Decjesza Association. There is a conference centre, where training courses, meetings and cultural events are organised to promote dialogue between different cultures.

Zoological Garden

Krakow Zoo is situated in the Wolski Forest, on a hill, exactly 345 meters above sea level. It was opened to visitors on 6 July 1929, by the then President of Poland, Ignacy Moscicki. The garden performs many functions, the most important of which is the protection of endangered species and those threatened with extinction. The zoo is a member of the European (EAZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria (WAZA). Currently there are over 1,500 animals (260 species) and over 120 species are endangered animals or are threatened with extinction. Many valuable species are bred and reared: pygmy hippopotamus, lowland tapir, Przewalski horse, addax antelope, snow leopard, Siberian tiger, jaguar, Fennec fox, many monkeys: mantled guereza, mandrill, black mangabey and cottontop tamarin.  The garden also operates a popular science scheme, organizing biology lessons, talks for children and youth, broadcasts and interviews. Krakow Zoo is not only a great place to observe animals, but is also conducive to recreation as it is surrounded by greenery, and provides the possibility of direct contact with domesticated species. In the mini-zoo, created for the youngest visitors, you can stroke and feed the ponies, miniature rabbits, guinea pigs, tortoises, pygmy goats, donkeys and llamas (food is provided by the zoo staff).

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