24 Hours in Krakow, Poland: Itinerary & Where to Go in One Day

Spend just 24 hours in Krakow, and you’ll instantly meet your new favorite city in Central Europe. The former royal capital of Poland, Krakow is a magical city for culture lovers, with its beautiful architecture, historic churches, and cool museums. From walking about Old Town to exploring the national treasures on Wawel Hill, dig into this fascinating Central European city with this complete 1-day Krakow itinerary!

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What to do in Krakow in 24 hours: A complete 1-day itinerary

Rynek Główny (Main Market Square)

Nearly every traveler’s first day in Krakow starts in Rynek Główny (Main Market Square), the heart of Old Town Krakow. However you choose to arrange your schedule, you’ll end up back at Rynek Główny—whether by design or inadvertently.

Rynek Glowny Market Square

Start the day off by grabbing your morning coffee buzz at one of the many cafés overlooking this massive square. For people-watching, this is Krakow’s switchboard. Take your time and enjoy watching the early morning crew dodge pigeons as they wander across the square.

Cloth Hall in Market Square

See that massive hall on Rynek Głowny? That’s Sukiennice (Cloth Hall), a marketplace that’s been rockin’ out mad bargains since the 15th century. Test out your haggling skills to snag some cool Polish souvenirs for your loved ones back home.

Above the “Grand Bazaar” vibe of the lower Cloth Hall sits the Sukiennice Museum, the world’s biggest 19th-century Polish art exhibit. While it might not rival the Louvre, if you have a passing interest in art—or Polish history—you might enjoy a quick browse for a 32zł fee.

Polish musicians in Market Square

Two other major Krakow attractions are worth your time in Rynek Główny: St. Mary’s Basilica and Town Hall Tower. Even if you’re “all churched out,” the impressive interior of St. Mary’s Basilica is well worth the 15zł fee, especially to get a chance to see Veit Stoss’ stunning Gothic Altar.

Tower at St. Mary's Basilica

Aside from the tower at St. Mary’s, those with a hankering for heights will also love ascending up Town Hall Tower to catch bird’s eye views of Kraków. And at 7zł, it’s not exactly a budget killer.

Old Town Krakow

Half of the fun of spending one day in Krakow is throwing your plans out the window and simply wandering. And there’s no better place to do it than Old Town. (Even if visiting during the Polish tourism high season means you won’t exactly be alone).

RELATED: Popular Day Trips from Krakow

Culture vultures could spend a lifetime randomly uncovering Old Town Krakow’s innumerable charms. Whether it’s hunting down architectural genius in medieval squares or drenching yourself in Polish culture at Krakow museums, such as the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow or the National Museum in Krakow, boredom is impossible here.

Looking into Old Town from Market Square

Of all of the amazing moments I experienced in Krakow, none was more memorable than eating a traditional lunch at Restauracja Kuchnia u Babci Maliny.

There’s absolutely zero chance I would have ever found this place on my own, but thanks to a friendly local, we snaked through the courtyard of the Polska Akademia Umiejętności at ulica Sławkowska 17 into a dark basement full of simple wooden dining tables to eat what may have been one of the most filling meals I’d eaten for such little money.

Hunt for it, and you won’t be disappointed! (The heavily meat-based servings might not appeal to vegetarians or vegans, though.)

Wawel Hill

After exploring Old Town, hop a couple blocks south and dazzle at the crown jewels of Wawel Hill, home to the most coveted cultural attractions in Krakow: Wawel Royal Castle and Wawel Cathedral.

Wawel Cathedral

An entire day could magically float away perusing the innumerable treasures you’ll discover in Poland’s former royal home.

The exhibits on Wawel Hill each command their own price, but if you have to choose, try the Royal Tombs in the Wawel Cathedral (22zł) and the Crown Treasury in Wawel Royal Castle (35zł). Mondays can be hit or miss with opening times, so plan accordingly.

Wawel Hill

Once you’re done exploring Wawel Hill, introduce yourself to Wawel Dragon. This badass (literally) fire-breathing dragon is immortalized in bronze in front of his former mythical lair below the northwestern side of the castle walls. Watch your eyebrows!


Not long ago, Kazimierz, Krakow’s historic Jewish quarter, was a no-go zone. Outsiders rarely came, and the odd one that wound up here would have discovered a dismal place far removed from the ageless beauty of Old Town.

Today, things are different. Kazimierz is on the rise, and the district that once scared off all but the bravest souls now attracts them; it’s quickly becoming Kraków’s new hipster hangout and one of the coolest things to do in Krakow!

Start your tour of Kazimierz on ulica Szeroka, the former main drag of Jewish Kraków. Ulica Szeroka is one of Krakow’s most distinctive streets, lined with restaurants and bars and anchored with two major synagogues—Remuh Synagogue and the Old Synagogue—and the Remuh Jewish Cemetery.

Ariel Restaurant in Kazimierz

If you’re hungry, you could grab a bite at one of the restaurants on ulica Szeroka or wiggle through the alleys of Kazimierz to Restauracja Starka (ul. Jozefa 14) for a taste of traditional Polish cuisine.

When evening slides in, finish off your day by rehydrating with a refreshing piwo at one of Kazimierz’s many pubs. Popular Polish beers include Żywiec, Okocim, and Tyskie, but for a better idea of what Poland’s been brewing up lately, retire to Omerta Pub, home of Krakow’s best selection of Polish craft beers.

Where to stay for one day in Krakow

Even with the size of the city, figuring out where to stay in Krakow is hardly as difficult as in other Central European cities like Berlin or Prague. And if you’re only spending 24 hours in Krakow, the answer is even simpler.

On this Krakow trip, you’ll probably spend most of your time in and around Old Town, so it’s a good place to start looking for your Krakow accommodations. Just be aware: Krakow (and especially Old Town) is popular. Book ahead several weeks/months if you can! Here are a few hotel recommendations:

  • Aparthotel Stare Miasto: A great choice in Old Town Krakow. Rooms here are infused with modern Polish charm and are budget-friendly, considering the excellent location.
  • INX Design Hotel: A brand-new boutique hotel situated on a main drag in Kazimierz. Colourful artistic designs spread throughout the property create an ambiance, unlike any other hotel in Krakow. The outdoor terrace serves up spectacular views of Kazimierz and Old Town.
  • Hotel Copernicus: Enjoy classic Central European grace at this delightful 5-star hotel just steps from Wawel Castle. The sauna and swimming pool, hidden in the Renaissance-era building’s cellar, feel like a royal escape.

Getting to Krakow

By air

Krakow is served by John Paul II International Airport Kraków–Balice (KRK). If this is your first stop on your Poland itinerary, you can find flights to Krakow (both direct and indirect) from most major North American and European cities on airlines like LOT Polish Airlines, RyanAir, and easyJet. More options exist from Warsaw (2.5 hours away by train).

By train

From Warsaw (another interesting Central European city, of course!), you can catch a train that will zip you between central stations in about 2.5 hours. (Be sure to double-check the schedule, or risk getting on a slower local train!)

The ticket cost for the Warsaw to Krakow train varies. By booking ahead a few weeks in advance, you can find 2nd-class tickets for as low as 49zł for the faster trains. Search for Polish train fares and schedules here.

Rynek Glowny

Already in Central Europe? Here’s how to get to Krakow from other Central European cities:

  • Prague: From Prague to Krakow, I’d recommend hopping on a night train unless you want to waste nearly an entire day in transit. The train leaves Prague at 23:00, arriving in Krakow at 07:00. Prices start from €29 for a couchette to €49 for a 2-bed sleeper. It’s not luxurious, but it’s a time- and money-saver!
  • Vienna: Trains from Vienna to Krakow take about 4 hours, with prices starting at about €19.
  • Berlin: It’s about an 8-hour train ride from Berlin to Krakow. There is a night train that costs about €29. Buses are quicker and cheaper, but less comfortable. You can find fares starting at €18 for the 7-and-a-half-hour journey.

More 1-day Krakow itinerary ideas

  • Got some spare time in Kazimierz? Visit Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory featuring a museum outlining Krakow’s dark days under Nazi occupation. The factory is also home to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków.
  • Need a little relaxation? Plant yourself in Planty Park, a relaxing green space encircling the entire Old Town where the medieval city walls once stood.
  • Love museums? Browse through a millennium of Krakow history at Rynek Underground, a museum set in the underground vaults below Rynek Główny.
Ryan O'Rourke

Ryan O'Rourke is a Canadian traveller, food & drink aficionado, and the founder & editor of Treksplorer. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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