10 Best Things To Do In Krakow Poland On A Budget

by Fay

Are you planning a visit to Krakow in Poland and looking for budget things to do? You have come to the right place! I have listed 10 budget-friendly activities to do in this beautiful city.

Krakow is the second largest city in Poland. It is nestled on the Vistula River and is filled with beautiful, quiet city streets that are bursting with ambiance and character. So much so that the Old Town area of the city has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There is plenty to do for people of all ages in and around Krakow from castles to underground tours and cultural markets. And, best of all, so much of Krakow is easy to do on a budget.

All things considered, Krakow is an affordable place to visit.  The city offers multiple free and reduced options, and the exchange rate for the zloty is favorable to most other currencies. 

In order to get you the most bang for your buck, I’ve compiled a list of the 10 best things to do in Krakow on a budget. 

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Best Things To Do In Krakow On A Budget

Take a Walking Tour Through Old Town Krakow 

One of the best things to do in any city on a budget is to take a free walking tour. This is a fantastic way to orient yourself to the layout of the city and see some of the more popular tourist areas. 

krakow market square
Old Town Krakow_Market Square

Krakow Explorers is just one of the many tour companies that offer a free walking tour in Old Town Krakow.

The tour lasts for about 2.5 hours and includes things such as the Main Market Square, the Wawel Cathedral, and The Dragon’s Cave, in addition to more than 10 other awesome places in Krakow. 

You can book your tour here for free!

  • Cost: Free (Donations Accepted)

Peruse the stalls in Cloth Hall 

In the middle of the Stare Miasto, the main square in Old Town, Krakow, is Cloth Hall (also known as Rynek Główny). Once a place for merchants to meet and do business, the hall has been transformed into a market of sorts where local artisans sell their handmade goods. 

krakow cloth hall at night
Krakow cloth hall at night

Filled with various stalls and vendors, Cloth Hall is a fantastic place to pick up a unique souvenir to take home.

  • Cost: Free

Enjoy dinner at an outdoor cafe in the Stare Miasto

The Stare Miasto (Old Town Square) is a bustling hub in the middle of Krakow. In the center of it lies Cloth Hall, but the outskirts are lined by countless restaurants, stores, and churches.

Almost all of the restaurants around the square have outdoor seating. One of my favorite things to do is grab an evening dinner here and enjoy the nightlife that bubbles in the streets around the square.

Polish bigos in a bread bowl
Polish bigos in a bread bowl

There are constantly street performers, artists, and carriage rides happening. Often, there are flower peddlers and musicians putting on shows. Whatever the night, you will find entertainment and delicious food in the Stare Miasto.

My favorite restaurant is Restauracja Sukiennice! Try the traditional Polish bigos in a bread bowl or the handmade pierogies. Yum!

Tour Wawel Castle 

One of the largest tourist attractions in Krakow is Wawel Castle. Sitting atop a hill overlooking the city, the Wawel Castle was originally the home of the King of Poland when the country was still a monarchy.

Now, the grounds have been turned into a museum. Within the castle and its courtyard you’ll find many different exhibitions, both permanent and temporary, to visit. Among the most popular are the crown treasury and the royal apartments. 

Wawel Castle cracow poland
Wawel Castle

The Castle is unique in that you can pay by which part you decide to visit as each has a separate entry ticket. However, on Mondays, the entire museum is free to enter. While here, you can also opt to tour Wawel Cathedral. However, although it is in the same complex as the Castle, it is a separate entrance ticket. 

Book your entrance ticket to Wawel Castle!

  • Cost: Varies depending on what exhibitions you visit

Climb the Tower in St. Mary’s Church

St Mary’s Church stands proudly above the Stare Miasto and is one of the most beautiful churches in Poland. It was built and dedicated in the 13th century and has undergone 

multiple restoration projects since then. Visitors can tour the church for a small fee or attend a mass inside the church for free. When visiting Krakow, you’ll notice that a bugler plays from the window of the St. Mary’s church turret every hour.

For 20 PLN (12 PLN Reduced), you can also climb up the Bugle Tower and see where this tune is played from. However, you cannot actually stay in the tower when the bugle call is occurring.

  • Cost:15 PLN (8 PLN Reduced)

Explore Kazimierz: The Jewish Quarter

Krakow has historically had a large Jewish presence. In fact, during the 16th century, the Jewish community of Krakow was one of the largest in the world. The result of this is the Jewish Quarter in the city, more commonly known as Kazimierz.

Kazimierz crocow poland
Kazimierz

The best way to explore this area is to take a free walking tour with Walkative! You will embark on a 2.5-hour tour that includes the main square of the Jewish Quarter, locations from the movie “Schindler’s List,” the remains of the Jewish Ghetto from World War II, and the Old Synagogue. 

Experiencing the culture and rebirth of the Jewish Community of Krakow following World War II and the Holocaust is such a privilege. This walking tour is a must-do during your time in Krakow!

Book your Walking Tour of the Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz, here!

  • Cost: Free (Donations accepted)

Visit the Auschwitz Memorial Museum

One of the darkest parts of Poland’s history comes from World War II and the Holocaust. 

Outside the city of Krakow, about an hour away, lies the town of Oświęcim. Here, you can visit what remains of the largest Nazi concentration camp- Auschwitz. 

Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau
Auschwitz-Birkenau

Both Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau have been well-preserved and turned into a museum for remembrance. Spend some time here reflecting on one of the largest evils of humanity and learning about the Holocaust to ensure it never happens again. 

Entry to the camp is free, and transportation can easily be found from Krakow by taking the bus, a train, or booking a tour.

  • Cost: Free (except for transportation)

Tour the Contemporary Art Museum

A newer institution in Krakow, the Contemporary Art Museum is a fantastic place to learn about recent trends in the artistic spectrum and appreciate the value that art can have in society.

Often depicting current societal issues, here you will see art arguing politics, making bold statements about humanity, and proving that art contributes beauty to our world. 

There are a multitude of permanent and temporary exhibitions to walk through, as well as a cafe and bookstore to enjoy. 

  • Cost: Free on Thursdays (20 PLN on Other days)

Plac Nowy Square

Located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, Plac Nowy Square is a hub for local life in Krakow. Depending on the day, you never know just what you’ll find going on in Plac Nowy. For Instance, Saturdays are antique market days while Sundays are clothing days.

Zapiekanka- a type of open-faced Polish pizza
Polish pizza Zapiekanka

Around the square, you will find vendors set up in stalls selling whatever their wares are for the day. A must-try here is the traditional Zapiekanka- a type of open-faced Polish pizza. Spend some time exploring and tasting your way around the market!

  • Cost: Free

Dragon’s Den

Wawel Hill, the home of Wawel Castle, looks pretty sturdy from the outside. In fact, most assume it is just a generic hill worthy of little attention. That could not be further from the truth! Underneath the Wawel Castle and inside of Wawel Hill lies a web of caves and chambers to be explored.

As legend has it, the Wawel Dragon once lived in the cave. Visitors can walk down through the caves and come out in front of the riverbank on the Vistula where there is a statue of the dragon that breathes fire!

  • Cost: 5 zloty
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Written by Taylor from Traverse With Taylor

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