Cracow, Wawel and Wieliczka in one day? It can be done! 🙂
We didn't let go and flew on with the "Ready for Poland" series. Another weekend, more plans – this time the capital of Malopolska, Wieliczka and the nearest areas. Time was pressing us, as always, because unfortunately we only had a weekend at our disposal.
Welcome to the report, you will see what we managed to see in and around Krakow.
First thought – we must finally see the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Second thought – if already Wieliczka, then necessarily Cracow. Third thought – since Wieliczka and Krakow, maybe see something else in Jura Krakowsko-Czestochowska? And just like that, the idea for another weekend in Poland was born 🙂
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Wieliczka Salt Mine is on the list of world heritage sites UNESCO. More interestingly, it was included in the very beginning of the list (1978) and is often pointed out as one of the highlights because no slaves were used in its construction. The description of the mine itself is impressive, both in terms of depth (9 levels, the deepest of which reaches 327 meters underground), the length of the galleries (a total of about 300 km), or history (together with the Bochnia mine, these are the only mines in the world that have been open continuously since the Middle Ages).
We bought our tickets to Wieliczka in advance online (buy is a big word, because you still have to stand at the ticket office to pick up your tickets). But at least we chose a specific time – 8.45 (online you can choose only morning or afternoon hours). Of course, you need to be a while early to pick up tickets.
At the beginning, Before going down to the Mine, Everyone gets a receiver with an earpiece that allows you to hear everything the guide has to say.
During the tour we see the numerous chambers (each has its own name), water reservoirs and the biggest attraction of the Mine – the the chapel of st. Kingi. This is a truly impressive place and unique in the world – it is the largest underground temple.
We were told that the tour lasts 3 hours, but in practice it's 1.5-2 h with a guide, and then free time downstairs, where there are additional attractions like a multimedia center, cinema room, restaurant, and finally Cracow Saltworks Museum.
We recommend you especially the latter – also with a guide, because you can see real old machines and equipment, miners' costumes, different forms and types of salt etc. According to many people, this is even more interesting than the earlier part of the mine, although less impressive.
The Mine itself has stores, restrooms and the aforementioned restaurant (or even two, if you count the coffee and tea kiosk along the way). You can, of course, also stock up on souvenirs, straight from the Mine 🙂
We wrote more about the Wieliczka mine itself in our more recent post here.
Parking in the center of Krakow? 🙂
After the Wieliczka Salt Mine, we went to Cracow – even though it was Saturday, the center was slightly jammed. We were interested in parking near the Wawel Castle, so as not to waste time walking, but 7 zł per hour is a slight exaggeration…. Especially since about 300 m away you can park on the street and for free.
Wawel Castle tour
Once again, we were in a hurry, as we had made a reservation for an hr. 13.45, and tickets need to be picked up half an hour earlier. Generally, Wawel Royal Castle, You can visit for free, but some entrances have an additional fee, and so for example. Cathedral Sightseeing for free, but to see Sigismund Bell already have to pay.
In the Cathedral is quite cramped, but it is surprising the number of chapels, tombstones, decorations that managed to fit here (it is also surprising the number of tourists and tours in such a small area!). Under the cathedral is the grave of Marshal Jozef Pilsudski and former President Kaczynski and his wife.
At first we explored Representative Royal Chambers – without a guide. Here you can see the chambers on the ground and second floors, including the famous Deputies' Hall and Senators' Hall. In the chambers there are numerous tapestries, paintings and furniture. The exhibits are described, but not individually but collectively on an orientation map of each room (a good thing too!).
Next we had a sightseeing tour planned Private Royal Apartments – only possible with a guide. This was the most interesting part sightseeing tour of Wawel. The guide lady who showed us around told everything in great detail, with mega passion, which made it attractive for both adults and children, and everyone could learn something interesting.
Here we viewed numerous richly decorated rooms, a bedroom, a bathroom, as well as collections of paintings, porcelain or tapestries collected by successive rulers. Particularly noteworthy is a room in the tower, where all the walls are upholstered with curd leather. The downside is that the exhibits are not signed, so we completely trust what the guide says 🙂
At the end we had planned to enter Crown Treasury and Armory. This was probably the most modest part, and certainly less attractive if you've seen the royal chambers and apartments before. There are valuable ornaments, gold and silver tableware, weapons, armor (the biggest attractions are the coronation sword Szczerbiec and the sword of Sigismund I the Old).
From practical information: you can not take pictures anywhere inside (!), and backpacks and larger bags should be left in the storage room.
Sightseeing in Krakow
We didn't want to go back yet, and since it's light for a long time in the summer, we went to the Cloth Hall and the Old Market Square. The first thing that surprised us was the wild crowd of tourists, lots of pubs, carriages, stalls with all sorts of goods. We knew that the tourist city, but so much so?! A very positive surprise, especially since we really saw a lot of tourists from other countries 🙂
Market Square in Krakow is huge, you can't cover it with your eyes, and on top of that, there's something interesting happening every bit of it.
We walked through the Cloth Hall and came out from the side of St. Mary's Basilica, where the wedding was just going on 🙂 You can enter the Basilica, but it is forbidden to visit (whatever that means) the.
From the Basilica we went to the ul. Florianska Street to Floriańska Gate and Barbican.
Since we still couldn't get enough, we took the direction of Kazimierz And we followed the trail of synagogues.
Kazimierz itself made a very positive impression on us, but you should definitely have more time to just walk those streets, sit in one of the numerous pubs or eat something in one of the food trucks. Very atmospheric place, if we were to look for somewhere to stay for the night, it would be here 🙂
On the way back, we went around the Wawel Castle, waved To the Wawel Dragon and we returned to the car 🙂
It was a day full of attractions, very intense, but positive.
We are glad that there are so many attractive places to see in Poland and we can't wait to see more 🙂
Of course, we also invite you to visit our gallery:
Looking for others inspiration for travel in Poland? We also recommend our other posts:
- Our tips where to go on vacation in Poland? – You praise others, you do not know your own 🙂 : Solilandia, Mining Route or Tourist Route – what to choose?
- (Not only) Castles of the Krakow-Czestochowa Upland