Krakow, Poland, is an amazing city to visit, with plenty of great things to see and do. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting, then make sure to read up about these 8 major do’s and don’ts of Krakow, that will help ensure your stay is the best it can be!
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Why Visit Krakow?
Why visit Krakow? There are many reasons to visit Krakow. Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Europe, full of medieval streets, castle ruins, and colourful market squares. Visitors can explore the history of this old city and its cobbled alleys or take in the views of the surrounding landscapes from churches and cathedrals. There are so many things to do that you’ll want to spend at least one week in Krakow.
There is plenty to explore and enjoy in Krakow, such as the Jewish Quarter in Kazimierz and the iconic Wawel Hill, where visitors can marvel at the views and the breathtaking Wawel Cathedral.
With so many places to shop, plenty of tasty restaurants, and traditional music, all add to the ever-growing attractions that make Krakow an unforgettable destination for travellers.
What is Krakow Famous For?
What is Krakow famous for? As Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Europe, it is most famous for its rich cultural heritage and preserved historical attractions. Located close to the Carpathian Mountains in southern Poland, the city has been elegantly preserved since the 13th century, making it a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit destination.
Krakow is home to various historical buildings and attractions, most famously – the iconic Market Square in the city centre which dates back to the 12th century. Here, tourists can stroll through the old cobblestone streets as they take in the fabulous architecture of ancient buildings such as the Gothic St. Mary’s Church and the Renaissance Cloth Hall, which houses a well-known souvenir market.
Krakow is also most famous for being the former capital of Poland, where visitors can explore the world’s oldest university, the Jagiellonian University, the old Jewish ghetto of Kazimierz, and the Renaissance Wawel Royal Castle. Here, visitors can learn about the city’s long history and turbulent political past, making it an excellent place for visitors interested in history and cultural heritage.
Things To Do in Krakow:
If you’re looking for some of the best activities to do in Krakow, then I highly recommend checking these great things to do out:
- Wieliczka Salt Mine Guided Tour – Exploring the underground Wieliczka Salt Mine is an amazing adventure for everyone who does it. Spanning over 300 km, this breathtaking natural wonder is a must-see. This exciting tour has many salt sculptures, underground lakes, and a breathtaking salt chapel.
- Krakow Wawel Castle and Cathedral Guided Tour – Wawel Castle and Cathedral are a must-visit when in Krakow. It’s compromised of beautiful Gothic architecture and has witnessed over 800 years of history – from battles to coronations. It’s one of Krakows most iconic landmarks.
- Krakow Schindlers Factory Entrance Ticket – Unlock the secrets of Oskar Schindler’s Factory – an important piece of world history! Discover the remarkable stories of heroism, courage, and resilience during WWII. Explore the factory and witness an emotional journey you won’t forget!
Do’s and Don’ts of Krakow:
If you’re visiting Krakow, then make sure to read up all about the do’s and don’ts of Krakow:
1. Don’t forget to validate your ticket
One of the major do’s and don’ts of Krakow is to do use the public transport, but don’t forget to validate your ticket. Under certain circumstances, passengers can be fined for not validating the ticket. An inspection officer may board vehicles and require passengers to show their tickets. If the ticket is invalid, the passenger can be charged with a fee up to 100 PLN. Therefore, validating tickets is an essential part of travelling in Krakow and should not be forgotten.
Validation can be done at the validator machines found inside the bus or tram. The validator usually takes a few seconds to process and shows a green light when the ticket is valid. Once the ticket is validated, it can only be used for the specific bus or tram line it was intended for. By validating the ticket in Krakow, tourists can rest assured that they will be able to travel their intended route in peace.
2. Do take a trip to Wieliczka Salt Mine
When visiting Krakow, one of the biggest do’s of Krakow is that tourists should not miss a visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mine. This vast underground network of tunnels spans over three hundred kilometres with miles of chambers and stairways that are adorned with hundreds of sculptures and monuments.
The mine itself is a must-see, as it is filled with unique sculptures, chapels, and monuments crafted from underground salt deposits. Visitors will explore various levels of the mine with a guide and see the amazing works of art made entirely from salt.
One of the main attractions is the underground Chapel of St. Kinga, which is surrounded by a church, a museum, and several other figures carved from salt. Other features of the mine include an underground lake, unique acoustics, and an exciting museum exhibiting the equipment and artefacts used during the mine’s long history.
3. Do eat Pierogi!
When visiting Krakow, tourists should make sure to eat the pierogi – which is the best food ever ;). Pierogi are traditional Polish dumplings filled with savoury fillings such as potatoes, meats, cheeses, and fruits. This popular dish has been a staple in Poland for generations and is a great way to experience the culture and flavours of the country.
Pierogi can be found all throughout Krakow, either served in restaurants or street stands, with various types and fillings. Visitors can enjoy the classic savoury varieties, such as the potato and cheese pierogi, or sample some of the more unusual combinations, such as duck pierogi or cherry pierogi. Honestly, I would fly to Krakow JUST for the Pierogi!
4. Don’t wear clothes that don’t cover your shoulders and knees
Tourists visiting Krakow should remember to wear appropriate clothing that covers their shoulders and knees. As the city is filled with many churches and religious buildings of various denominations, most have a dress code requiring visitors to be modestly dressed. Longer shorts or skirts and blouses or tops that cover the shoulders and collarbone are preferred.
In addition to following the request of religious sites, dressing appropriately in Krakow is also a sign of respect for the local culture. As with any foreign country, visitors should make sure to show respect for the local customs and culture.
5. Don’t eat or drink somewhere without seeing prices first
One of the big don’ts of Krakow, is that tourists visiting Krakow should not eat or drink anywhere without first knowing the prices. There have been reports of scams in the city where tourists are served excessive food and drinks from restaurants or bars, only to be presented with an exorbitant bill at the end of the meal. Sometimes, the prices may not have even been stated before ordering.
Luckily, it’s fairly simple to avoid being the victim of this scam, as visitors should make sure to ask the waiter to confirm the exact prices of the items on the menu. Many establishments post their prices outside the restaurant for optimum transparency, and it is a good idea to go over the prices before ordering. So – go and eat as much Pierogi as you want 😉
6. Do visit Wawel Castle for an amazing view
When visiting Krakow, tourists should make sure to visit the iconic Wawel Castle. This spectacular castle is located on Wawel Hill in the heart of Krakow and has been a symbol of the city’s history and power for centuries. Visitors can explore the inner chambers of the castle, and tour the Royal Castle and the adjacent buildings, which are full of artworks and historic artefacts.
The views from the castle are also breathtaking and offer a spectacular way of seeing parts of Krakow, such as the Vistula River, the adjacent park, and the city skyline. From this point, visitors can get the total experience of Krakow and see the beauty of the cityscape.
Therefore one of the biggest do’s and don’ts of Krakow is to don’t forget to visit Wawel Castle and get a taste of the city’s rich history and witness its beauty from this fantastic vantage point.
7. Don’t drink too much
Tourists visiting Krakow should remember to drink responsibly. Poland has a reputation for its nightlife and may offer some enticing drinks; however, it is vital to be aware of the potential risks that come with indulging too much. Not only can too much drinking lead to uncomfortable situations, but it can also lead to legal and health repercussions – especially when you’re in a different country.
Drinking while in a foreign country may also lead to impaired judgement and reckless behaviour, so it’s best to know your limit and stay within it. Tourists should also remember to stay in well-lit areas and keep a friend with them who is also sober when out at night in Krakow. In this way, visitors can enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Krakow without putting themselves or others in danger.
8. Do carry some cash
Tourists visiting Krakow should remember to carry some cash with them when going out for the day. As with any foreign country, it can be hard to find ATMs, and some shops don’t accept cards in Krakow, so having some cash on hand is always a good idea. It is usually markets and small shops, which are cash-only and may not accept other forms of payment.
Carrying cash can also save valuable time, as you don’t need to worry about looking for an ATM and waiting for the transaction to process – or the exchange fee! Therefore, tourists should make sure to carry some cash when visiting Krakow for an easier and smoother experience.
When visiting Poland, most things are common sense, however, it’s important to know some of the don’ts of Poland – like not drinking in public, being respectful in churches and not assuming everyone speaks Englsih.
Visitors should take caution when exploring certain areas of Krakow, such as Kazimierz, an inner-city district on the banks of the Vistula River, where reports of theft have been reported.
No, you can not drink in public in Poland. People who choose to do this, risk being fined by the police.
Do’s and Don’ts of Krakow – Conclusion
Hopefully, after reading this post all about the biggest do’s and don’ts of Krakow, you’ve gained a better understanding which will help you make your trip to Krakow the best it can possibly be! Which do’s and don’ts of Krakow surprise you the most? Are there any do’s and don’ts of Krakow that you know but weren’t mentioned in this post? If you’d like any more information or advice, feel free to contact me. If you’d like to read some more similar posts, then these are what I’d recommend: