3 Days in Krakow Itinerary : Complete Budget Guide to this City

By on August 30, 2018 in Budget Travel Ideas, Europe, Itineraries, POLAND with 2 Comments

3 Days in Krakow Itinerary

The city of Krakow was my first foray into Poland – and what an introduction!

This cute as a button town oozed character and charm.

It also boasts some very interesting day trips, as well as some superb eating and drinking options.

In my book, that’s pretty much everything you need for a delightful 2-3 day trip and, as such, I’m pitching Krakow as the perfect weekend break if you’re Europe-based (or Euro-touring!)

The other thing I, of course, couldn’t overlook is how amazingly cheap Krakow is for a country’s second city and a popular tourist destination and, as you should know by now, there’s nothing I love more than cheap!

So Krack-on Krakow, you’re doing great!

Here’s my perfect 3 days in Krakow itinerary to show you exactly why…

Poland, Krakow, Street Lamp


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My stay in Krakow was kindly sponsored by Tutti Frutti Hostel, but as always, all views are my own.


DAY 1

Poland, Krakow, Doorway

Start off your 3 day Krakow itinerary by hitting the main sights, namely the Old Town (Stare Miastro), Wawel Castle and Kazimierz district (Jewish Quarter).

If you’re staying in the centre of Krakow, then all these districts are easily accessible on foot, otherwise the series of city trams and buses are easy to navigate and cheap.

Just avoid the multiple group city tours if you’re on a budget – in my opinion they really are an unnecessary expense.

Stare Miastro

Poland, Krakow, Old Town

The oldest district in Krakow, this district is the heart of the tourist epicentre with its beautiful historical streets, huge square and ample photo opps.

A Medieval city, there’s more churches in this district than you can shake a stick at and sometimes wandering the narrow backstreets, watching nuns in habits scurry past you, you’re left wondering if you have indeed stepped back in time!

St Mary’s Basilica is the main church to check out and, just outside it, a quaint arts and craft market takes place in the main square.

TOP TIP: Get to the Old Town before 9am if you want to snap the beauty of Krakow without the crowds – even in the height of the summer season I found the city amazingly empty this early.

Poland, Krakow, Crumbling

 

BEST HOSTEL IN KRAKOW

And if you want to be in the heart of the Old Town – and the action – then there’s few better locations than that of Tutti Frutti Hostel!

Right off the Main Square, making it just a few minutes away if you do want to grab those early morning snaps, this independent backpackers boasts a cosy vibe, free wifi and good guest kitchen.

 

Wawel Castle

Poland, Krakow, Castle

Making your way south from the Old Town, the next stop of your 3 days in Krakow itinerary is the famous Wawel Castle, which is hard to miss as it looms over the skyline.

You have to pay to enter the castle itself, which includes entry to the Cathedral here as well as the Crown Treasury & Armoury, State Rooms and more.

But if you’re on a budget, then you’ll be delighted to know the grounds are free to just wander and offer some top views and lookout spots.

Guess which choice I opted for?!

Kazimierz District

This was actually my favourite part of downtown Krakow – a historic area that has a vibrant sense of regeneration and vibrancy around it.

From the eerily quiet synagogues, which still stand as testimony to the tragedy of the Jewish community in Poland, through to youthful cafes, bars and vintage shops, this is a great part of Krakow to explore via your own 2 feet as part of your 3 day itinerary.

Don’t miss the Old Synagogue or the area around Szeroka street, which is particularly picturesque.

Poland, Krakow, St Marys Basilica

 

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Poland, Krakow, Me in Doorway

 

DAY 2

On the 2nd day of your 3 day itinerary in Krakow, I’m going to give you a couple of options.

Either you can stick within the city area and visit the district of Podgórze and Kościuszko Mound or head out of the city to the Wieliczka Salt Mines.

Both will offer you historical insights, as well as interesting landscapes, but the former will be the cheaper option, so do see how your budget is running before deciding.

Podgórze District and Kościuszko Mound

Poland, Krakow, Schindlers Factory

The Podgórze District is the home of the former Jewish Ghetto, where all of Krakow’s Jews were moved to during World War II.

Parts of the high wall that surrounded the Ghetto can still be seen when strolling this part of the city today.

This area of Krakow was also home to Oskar Schindler’s Factory (the man whose heroic actions in saving over 1100 Jewish people was made famous by the movie Schindler’s List).

The old factory has now been turned into an excellent museum, which you should allow a couple of hours to explore.

Fees apply here, but entrance on a Monday is free – get here early on this day (like 9am) to ensure you get a ticket.

Poland, Krakow, Mozak Gallery

After this museum, head next door to the Mocak Museum of Contemporary Art.

This is one of the city’s flagship galleries and a must on your 3 days in Krakow itinerary.

Again entrance fees apply, except on a Tuesday, when it’s free.

In the afternoon, head to the Kościuszko Mound.

Situated a little way out of the City Centre (so getting here will require navigating public transport), the extra mileage is worth the effort for the panoramic views of the city and patch of green space it provides.

Wieliczka Salt Mines

Poland, Krakow, Tram

An alternative to the above is to head out of Krakow to the Wieliczka Salt Mines.

This amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site gives you a direct insight into life deep underground in salt mines that were still operational until only a few decades ago.

Situated 14km outside of Krakow, you can make your way to the Salt Mines independently and then take a tour when you reach there (cheaper!) or take a fully guided tour from Krakow itself (easier, but who wants easy right?!)

Tours of the mines last around 2 hours and give you a unique opportunity to experience the bizarre microclimate and history of these subterranean chambers, lakes, chapels and galleries, as well as the chance to ride in a traditional mining lift!

 

5 ESSENTIAL PACKING ITEMS FOR KRAKOW

#1 Good Camera – You will be pretty much snapping non-stop in Krakow and will need a good camera to do this gorgeous destination justice. I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels because its light, compact and robust!

#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking in Krakow, it’s as simple as that! Make sure your feet are comfortable therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers. Perfect for stylish city strollling, I love mine!

#3 Good Guidebook – I’m still a massive fan of the Lonely Planet Guidebooks and do think their Poland edition is well put together and able to save you a lot of money if you want to learn about the history of Krakow, but not pay for a guide!

#4 Good Water Bottle – All that city sightseeing is thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because Krakow tap water is drinkable… and free!

#5 Good Backpack – And to carry your water bottle, camera and guidebook, you’re going to need a decent backpack that will help you balance the weight as you walk the city streets. In my opinion you can’t go past the Bobby Anti Theft Backpack, which is also perfect for helping you avoid pickpockets too.

 

DAY 3

Poland, Krakow, Auschwitz

And on the final day of your 3 days in Krakow itinerary, it’s definitely time to head out of the city and brace yourself for a visit to Auschwitz.

Now I know “dark tourism”, as it’s called, is an ethically-fraught and difficult moral landscape to traverse, but personally I think the importance of bearing witness and ensuring the narratives of human suffering don’t fade into invisibility, is very important.

And it’s in this vein, I “recommend” a trip to Auschwitz.

Auschwitz

Do be aware that this is a full day trip and it is emotionally drowning, but it will give you an utterly unforgettably real and vivid perspective on the horrific events that took place here during World War II.

Like with the UNESCO Salt Mines, you can take a fully organised tour to Auschwitz, but personally I recommend the option of utilising public transport to get there and then taking a guided tour of the camps on-site.

Entrance to Auschwitz is free and you can wander the museum and former concentration camp yourself, however paying the small fee for a guide will exponentially increase your depth of experience and understanding.

Book camp tours online at least 10 days in advance during high season, via this website. You pay online at the time of purchase.

I would recommend visiting Auschwitz in the afternoon when the crowds are less and you won’t have to rush to leave Krakow early in the morning.

I won’t say anymore about this Krakow day trip except it’s incredibly powerful and you should go. You can read more in my post here.

This year, I’ve also visited the Genocide Memorial in Rwanda and the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.

Auschwitz was by far the most profound.

You simply can’t translate the feeling into words.

 

PIN IT TO PINTEREST!

So there you have it folks, the perfect 3 days in Krakow itinerary.

Are you heading to this gorgeous Polish city soon?

Do let me know what you have planned in the comments section below…

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About the Author

About the Author: Creator of Big World Small Pockets, Stephanie Parker is a budget travel addict! Originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Stephanie backpacks the world collecting tips, advice and stories, to share with a smile .

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There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Kris says:

    On Novembers visiting Wawel is free ( due to limited number of visitors/day it is necessary to get the ticket which shows the hour you can enter )
    I recommend to visit underground city museum ( multi-media route under the Main Square
    Also recommend to climb the tower of St Mary’s Church for views ( especially be there on each full hour when heinal is performed

    • Steph says:

      Kris, thank you so much for these excellent pieces of advice! What a wonderful budget top about Wawel that is and I look forward to visiting the Underground City Museum and climbing St Mary’s Church on my next visit to Krakow. Thanks again, Steph 🙂

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