48 Hours in Krakow: History, reflection and cuisine 

ByAndrea Thompson

May 30, 2024

Krakow, Poland’s former royal capital, is a city where the past and present intertwine in a vibrant tapestry. With just 48 hours to explore, you will find this is not enough time to see the whole of Krakow.

We suggest some of the main things to do where you will find yourself whisked away on a journey through centuries-old history, modern-day marvels, cultural richness, culinary delights, lush green spaces, and the indomitable spirit of resilience that defines this city.

Day 1: Historical Heartbeat and Modern Pulse

Start your Krakow adventure in the Main Market Square (Rynek Główny), the beating heart of the city’s Old Town and the larges medieval square in Europe. As you stand amidst the medieval architecture, you can almost hear the echoes of the past. The iconic St. Mary’s Basilica towers over the square, its bugle call sounding on the hour, a reminder of a centuries-old tradition.

Wander through the Cloth Hall, a Renaissance monument turned marketplace, where you can pick up traditional Polish crafts. Then, make your way to Wawel Royal Castle and Wawel Cathedral, a symbol of national pride and a testament to Krakow’s regal heritage.

As the day progresses, step into the present by exploring the Kazimierz district, once the historical centre of Jewish life in Krakow. Now, it’s a hip neighbourhood brimming with contemporary art galleries, quirky shops, cafes and vibrant street art.  Also home to Schindler’s Factory Museum.

Day 2: Cultural Immersion and Culinary Exploration

On your second day, dive deeper into Krakow’s cultural scene. Visit the National Museum or the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art to witness the city’s artistic evolution.

For lunch, indulge in the culinary delights of Polish cuisine. Sample pierogi (stuffed dumplings), żurek (sour rye soup), or a hearty bigos (hunter’s stew). Don’t forget to treat yourself to a pączek (Polish doughnut) for dessert!

In the afternoon, seek out the green spaces that offer a tranquil respite from the urban buzz. The Planty Park, a green belt encircling the Old Town, or the Jordan Park, are perfect for a leisurely stroll or a moment of reflection.

Further afield, around 70km from Krakow is Auschwitz-Birkenau, which stands as a stark reminder of the Holocaust.  By visiting we honour the memory of the victims and ensure that their stories are never forgotten.

As your 48 hours come to a close, you’ll have experienced the resilient spirit of Krakow. From its phoenix-like rise from the ashes of history to its embrace of modernity and innovation, Krakow stands as a beacon of cultural richness and enduring spirit. It’s a city that doesn’t just survive; it thrives, inviting you to return and uncover more of its timeless stories.