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Wondering how to spend 3 days in Krakow?
Like Amsterdam and Budapest, Krakow is perfect for a 3 day city break year-round. Located in southern Poland, Krakow is easily accessible from the UK and Europe, given the abundance of budget airlines which fly back and forth. Krakow is one of the most walkable cities in Europe, and is bursting with charisma – the streets are infused with history, vibrancy, quirkiness and fun. It is one of my favourite places for a European city break, and after a recent surprise trip for my partners birthday, I want to share with you my 3 day Krakow itinerary featuring the best things to do in Krakow, including some fab places to eat and drink, and my exact Krakow travel cost (keep scrolling).
Krakow 3 day itinerary overview
3 days in Krakow – fly home on the morning of day 4, unless time is tight then schedule this for the evening of day 3 (but I’d recommend flying home on the morning of day 4, so you have a full 3 nights in the city).
Know before you go
Always check the entry requirements for the country you are visiting to see if you will need a Visa to enter, and that you have enough validity left on your passport.
Always have a good level of travel insurance for every international trip. This is a non-negotiable part of any trip abroad, as the unexpected can happen.
What is the best month to go to Krakow?
Depending on the type of weather you prefer, Krakow is a year-round destination. I’ve visited in March and September, both of which were pleasant months, albeit chilly (especially in March).
March-May (Spring) and September-November (Autumn/Fall) are best if you want to avoid the peak of the summer season (June-August) which can often mean crowds, hotter temperatures which can be uncomfortable when sightseeing, and inflated prices.
During Spring and Autumn, temperatures fluctuate from 4°C to 14°C. My September trip was very pleasant, with warmer days which meant a long sleeve top and thin jacket were viable. March was much colder, and required some more layers, but it was lovely nonetheless.
I anticipate December is a beautiful time to visit Krakow. But I have noted from my own research over the years that flights are very much inflated due to it being a prime place for a Christmas city break, given the popular Christmas Market there. I would suggest that accommodation might be more sparse too, so you should probably book earlier to snap up a better deal.
December-February (Winter) temperatures average around 1°C or 2°C, with them plummeting below zero overnight. Snow might be in order at this time of the year so you’ll probably want to pack your thermals.
Tip: If you want to visit a Christmas Market in Poland, I suggest you consider visiting Wroclaw. Wroclaw Christmas Market is just magical, and is perhaps one of the most under-rated Christmas Markets in Europe.
What is the best currency to take to Krakow?
The currency in Poland is the Polish zloty (abbreviated as zl, currency code is PLN). The Polish zloty is subdivided into 100 grosz (gr). The majority of shops, bars and restaurants take major credit or debit cards and there are plenty of ATMs scattered around the city, but having some cash with you is always recommended.
How much should I take to Poland for 3 days?
If you’re wondering how much spending money to take to Krakow for 3 days, that will be very much dependent on your travel style (e.g., the types of restaurants you eat in and bars you drink in, and the things you want to do). If you’re budget-savvy like me, and limit the expensive things you spend money on, then I’d suggest £200 will be ample for 3 days. This is what each of us took on this trip, and we had money leftover at the end. My full Krakow travel costs are at the end of this blog post (for airport parking, accommodation and transport).
What’s the best area to stay in Krakow?
If you’re wondering where to stay in Krakow, I’d recommend somewhere within or on the outskirts of the Old Town. Doing this will mean that you can walk from A to B if you wish (or use the tram system if not). Each time I’ve visited, I’ve stayed outside the boundaries of the Old Town (which is marked by Planty, the green strip which circles it). Although accommodation in the Old Town is still affordable, outside is usually a tad cheaper (hence my decision).
One time I stayed on Starowislna near Kazimierz (the historic Jewish quarter) which was a 10 minute walk from Rynek Glowny (the main square in the Old Town). On my most recent trip, I stayed at Studio Pomorska, a beautiful double studio apartment located a 20 minute walk from Rynek Glowny. I’d recommend booking an apartment in Krakow – they’re cheap, good quality, and give you the option to prepare your own meals which will help you to save money. There are plenty of small supermarkets around the city, like Zabka or Carrefour Express, where you can stock up on essentials.
Is 3 days enough in Krakow?
If you’re wondering how many days you should spend in Krakow, 3 days is enough, but you could definitely spend longer depending on your interests. A 3 day itinerary will give you enough time to see the main attractions over a long weekend away. Spending longer in the city would give you a chance to do some day trips from Krakow, like to Auschwitz. I previously spent 5 nights in Krakow, which was ample time to do multiple day trips and see plenty of museums. But on this recent 3 day trip to Krakow, we focused on the sights of the city and did a half-day trip, and it proved to be the perfect amount of time.
3 days in Krakow itinerary
Day 1 – Arrive and get acquainted with Krakow
To maximise your time in the city, take an early flight from your home country to Krakow. The easiest, cheapest and most convenient way to get from the airport to the city centre is by train – check out this Krakow Airport to Krakow Old Town by train guide to show you how. Once you reach Krakow Glowny (the main train station), which is located a stone’s throw from the Old Town, navigate your way to your accommodation using Google Maps. Google Maps will show you walking or public transport options, but if you’re staying in the Old Town or on the outskirts it’s probably walkable.
Afternoon & Evening
Once you’ve checked into your Krakow accommodation, it’s time to krak-on (I won’t give up my day job) with your 3 days in Krakow itinerary. Given this is a travel day, it’s probably going to be at least early afternoon by the time you are ready to see some sights. For that reason, I’d suggest taking it easy so you don’t burnout before you’ve even started! Perhaps take a wander around Rynek Glowny and grab a drink. My favourite spot on the main square for a cold pint of Ksiazece from my first night onwards was Sioux, which is opposite the Town Hall Tower. To end your day, head for dinner. I ate at Indian-Nepali restaurant The Himalayan Treasure – the food was scrumptious and very reasonably priced.
How much is a beer in Krakow? When I visited, the average price of a pint in Krakow was £2 (approx. 10 zl). This might fluctuate depending on your chosen watering hole, but if you stick to budget-friendly bars, you shouldn’t pay much more than this.
Day 2 – Krakow Old Town
I suggest you allocate a whole day of your Krakow itinerary to exploring the Old Town. It might be relatively small but there are a whole host of things to do and see. After breakfast (which we had at our apartment each morning), head to Krakow Rynek as your starting point. First, take a wander through the iconic Cloth Hall in the centre of the main square, which is lined with stalls selling souvenirs, local produce, arts and crafts, jewellery and more. Some of the stands are a mirror image of each other, and it won’t take you long, but a walkthrough is worthwhile nonetheless.
After the Cloth Hall, I’d recommend heading across the St Mary’s Basilica which takes pride of place on the eastern corner of the main square – be sure to check opening hours and ticket prices before you go in. St Mary’s Basilica is a striking Gothic church with towers of different heights, and features the most intricate and elaborate decorations inside. Try and loiter outside of St Mary’s Basilica on the hour, and you should hear a bugle sound from the spires. The St Mary’s Trumpet Call, or Hejnal Mariacki, was once used to mark sunrise and sunset, and warn of enemy invasions, and is a tradition which has continued into modern times.
St Mary’s Basilica done, wander down Florianska Street (dubbed one of the prettiest streets in Krakow) and enjoy the architecture, before reaching St Florian’s Gate, a 14th Century medieval gate which acts as an entrance to the fortified city. Notable things to see in Krakow near Florian’s Gate are the Barbican, Planty, and across the road, Grunwald Monument. Stomach rumbling, it’s time for lunch, and I’d recommend you head to Mazaya Falafel just a stone’s throw away from these sights, which sells some of the tastiest falafel I’ve ever sampled!
For the afternoon of day 2 of your 3 days in Krakow, head towards Wawel Castle on the southern side of the Old Town. Walking from Mazaya Falafel, wander back down Florianska Street, across the main square, and down Grodzka Street. Personally, I think Grodzka Street is just as pretty as Florianska. Along Grodzka you will find an abundance of shops, quaint bars, and elaborate churches, like Saints Peter and Paul Church, and St. Andrew’s Church. Cut across Maria Magdalena Square (on your left as you are heading down Grodzka away from the main square) which is opposite Saints Peter and Paul Church, and you will stumble onto Kanonicza Street.
Keep wandering until you find Ministerstwo Tajemnic (the Ministry of Secrets), a Harry Potter inspired cafe. We stumbled across Ministerstwo Tajemnic by accident after the marble bookcase outside caught our eye. It is by far one of the best cafes I have ever been in and my favourite memories of Krakow. It has mystical stone chambers beneath the ground with seating, from which you can enjoy your drink – I literally felt like I’d been thrown into Hogwarts. If you’re of a certain age, I’d recommend you try the warm butterbeer with hazelnut vodka which was delicious (and moreish, I probably could have sat there all day).
All warmed up, continue down the road past John Paul II Family Home Museum and up to Wawel Castle. Now, I’m going to be honest with you, I have never been inside Wawel Castle because I’ve never felt the need (I’d rather see the outside of these types of buildings, than the inside). The grounds of the castle are free to wander and I think they are beautiful enough. If you want to find out more about visiting the inside of the buildings, check out the Wawel Castle website. To the rear of Wawel Thief Tower, there is a viewpoint which overlooks the Vistula River and Wawel Dragon. The Wawel Dragon sporadically blows fire from its mouth, so stop and wait for this to happen.
Tip: The Wawel Dragon breathes fire irregularly. Unfortunately despite waiting nearly 40 minutes, it didn’t on this trip – it did on my first trip to Krakow. So I guess there’s no guarantee it will!
Head for dinner this evening. I’d highly recommend Mirror Bistro on the outskirts of Kazimierz (where you will fully explore on day 3 of this Krakow itinerary). Mirror Bistro serves traditional Polish dumplings, both sweet and savoury. The menu is affordable, and the food is fresh and super tasty. The eatery is fairly small with only a handful of tables so you might have to wait for a seat if visiting in peak times. Each time we visited, we were lucky enough to get a seat – once was around 4pm and once around 7pm. After dinner, pop across to Cosmic Minigolf for a bit of fun.
Day 3 – Wieliczka Salt Mine and Kazimierz
Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the best day trips from Krakow. You can book onto an organised tour to visit, but I’d recommend you do the trip yourself as it’s easy and cheaper. After breakfast, head to Krakow Glowny (main train station) and purchase a return ticket to Wieliczka Rynek Kopalnia station. The train from Krakow Glowny to Wieliczka Rynek Kopalnia station takes 40 minutes, and Wieliczka Salt Mine is a 5 minute walk from Wieliczka Rynek Kopalnia station. You can purchase your tickets online for Wieliczka Salt Mine before you go, and I’d recommend you do this because tickets are limited. Tours last for approximately 2-3 hours. After, return to Krakow by train.
Grab some lunch from a bakery in Krakow Glowny, like a scrummy hummus and roasted vegetable baguette, and eat it en route to Kazimierz for your afternoon exploring the Jewish quarter. I’d recommend you go wherever your legs take you in Kazimierz, and opening Google Maps to navigate yourself around this interesting and vibrant district as you don’t know what you might see. Must-see sights are the Corpus Christi Basilica and Szeroka Street. After you tire from walking, stop at HEVRE Bar and Restaurant to try a syrup beer (I’d highly recommend beer with raspberry syrup).
Tip: On this trip, we didn’t see any of the museums because we didn’t want to rush through sights. But I can recommend Oskar Schindler’s Factory or the Eagle Pharmacy which are both south of Kazimierz across the Vistula River, which I visited on a previous trip.
As the sun sets, pop over to the Pinball Museum and spend a couple of hours reliving your childhood on the retro pinball machines and video games. You can pay for an hour pass, or one where you can enter and leave an unlimited amount in one given day. We chose to buy an unlimited pass because time goes quickly when you’re having fun, and before we knew it we’d been there for 2 hours. For dinner, we headed to Georgian restaurant, Smaki Gruzji for Khachapuri (a traditional boat shaped bread filled with scorching cheese and a raw egg which you scramble in the cheese to cook).
Day 4 – Return home
On the morning of day 4, it’s time to say do widzenia to Krakow and return home. If your time really is limited, schedule this flight for the evening of day 3, but that will really restrict how much you can see in Krakow. Return to Krakow Airport using the train, as you did on day 1 of your 3 days in Krakow, for your return flight home.
How much does it cost to visit Krakow? (per person)
Return flights from Bournemouth International Airport to Krakow (hand luggage only, including pre-booked seat reservations) = £71.88pp
Bournemouth International Airport parking for trip duration = £21.33pp*
Return train from/to Krakow Airport to/from Krakow Glowny (main train station) = £5.60pp
3 nights in an apartment near Krakow Old Town = £41.50pp*
Total = £140.31 per person
for 3 days in Krakow
*The cost for anything marked with an asterisk is per person (pp) based on 2 people sharing.
Note: Price excludes the costs for travel insurance, spending money (tours, food, occasional taxis, drinks etc.), costs to travel to/from UK airport for international flights, and visas (if required). I don’t book accommodation based on star rating, and book purely based on reviews, location and value for money. All accommodation is private hotel rooms (I’m not a hostel type of girl, I like my privacy and home comforts) or apartments, and all flights are economy. Prices for certain things may have changed since the time I took this trip, so please only use this as a guide to help you set your own savings target.
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