Updated for 2021
You don’t have to be a local to discover the best free things to do in Krakow, however, many people visiting end up paying 2-3 times for tickets or tours around Krakow.
In fact, many of the best things to do in Krakow are free. So we have put together this list of the 24+ of the best cheap or free things to do in Krakow. For more nightlife tips, check out The Dos & Dont’s of Krakow Nightlife.
For an even better way to travel without breaking the bank, check out The Budget Traveller Technique.
#1 Wawel Castle
Price: Free, although some parts cost
Krakow was once the capital of Poland, and Wawel Castle ruled over it all. Wawel castle sits on top of a small hill at the edge of the Old town with stunning views of Krakow. The Castle has become one of the most important historical sites of the country.
These days though, it is transformed into an art museum of sorts where you can wander the courtyard gardens and look over at the Vistula river or witness its stately halls and exquisite chambers. You can also see all the tombs of the past Kings the ruled over Krakow.
Address: Wawel 5, 31-001 Kraków
#2 The Dragon’s Den
There are several caves under Wawel Hill, and as the legend goes, this one is where the ferocious dragon, Smok Wawelski, once lived. This is obviously a tourist trap, howevere, it sells to the kids (and the young-at-heart) with an entrance fee of 3zl.
If you do decide to venture into this space, you will find at its opening a bronze sculpture of Smok that often breathes fire. The entry to this attraction is at the top of Wawel castle near the wall. For more things to do in Krakow, check out this Krakow Guide.
Address: Wawel 5, 31-001 Kraków
#3 kosciuszko mound
Cost: 10 zł
Thought to have been built around the 1st and 2nd Century, the man-made hill is one of the best views in town, with a brick cathedral surrounding it that is perfect for an afternoon exploring. But remember to bring a jumper as it gets very windy up that high. It’s a nice place to have a picnic and some wine(although you are not actually allowed do drink there)
Address: al. Waszyngtona 1, 30-204 Kraków
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#4 Zakrzowek lake (Quarry)
Cost: 10zl or free
This hidden gem was once a limestone quarry. Pope John Paul II worked at Zakrzowek quarry as a young boy during the German-Occupation of Poland.
The former quarry is now a lake with fantastic walking trails and cliffs of all sizes to dive from. Suitable for a beautiful summer’s day in Krakow. You will find most people drinking and relaxing here. Until recently, it was actually illegal to drink here and prohibited to be in some areas, but that has changed due to a large number of locals and tourists visiting.
The local council has also just been given a substantial grant to reinvigorate the area to attract more visitors. Make sure you are very careful as the cliffs and water are very dangerous.
Address: Zakrzówek, Kraków
#5 Krakus Mound
As the legend goes, Krakus mound is meant to be the final resting place of Kraków’s mythical founder the legendary King Krakus. The mound has fantastic views of Krakow from all sides. Krakus mound is the perfect place to have a picknick and a few drinks while watching the sunset. Drinking here is technically illegal, and there are no public toilets, but that doesn’t stop the money locals visiting every weekend
Address: 30-543 Kraków
#6 Plac Nowy Square
Plac Nowy is situated in the centre of the Jewish quarter (Kazimierz). Although much smaller than the Old Towns main square, it is lively and bustling with excitement.
You can find a wide range of great bars, pubs and restaurants around the square with a fresh fruit market and a flea market every Saturday morning. The square is a nice place to grab a coffee, you can also enjoy Krakow’s most popular ice cream at Good Lood, but the square is most famous for its big selection of traditional polish street food, the zapiekanka (pictured below).
Address: Plac Nowy, 31-056 Kraków
#7 discover Krakow’s Food Truck Parks
Cost: Free entry but bring some cash for all the delicious food
Krakow has many great food trucks all over the city with great local and foreign cuisine. We put together this list of the best food truck parks in Krakow.
#8 Contemporary Art Museum
Cost: 10zl or free on Tuesdays
This museum is also better know as MOCAK. It is situated in the up and coming Podgórze district. This museum encompasses the latest local and international art, education as well as research and publication projects.
Address: Lipowa 4, 30-702 Kraków
#9 Rynek Underground Museum
Cost: 10zl or FREE on Tuesdays
Rynek Underground is an interactive museum that shows you the foundations of the buildings that used to stand in the Old Town centuries ago. The museum is basically the result of huge excavations that took place in the square from 2009-2010. You get to see how the current level of the city has raised over the centuries.
The Entry is limited to only 300 people at a time, so you have to buy a ticket with a time slot allocated to it; this can be done either online or from the information office at the entrance to the museum
Address: Rynek Główny 1, 31-042 Kraków
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#10 Schindler’s Factory
Cost: 24zl or free on Mondays
The former enamel factory has been turned into a modern museum dedicated to the incredible story of Oskar Schindler(The factory owner helped save more than 1,000 Jews in Krakow during World War II).
At the Schindler Factory Museum, you can hear personal stories about the Jews of Krakow under the Nazis.
Address: Lipowa 4, 30-702 Kraków
#11 Main Square Markets (seasonal)
Krakow has the biggest medieval market square in Europe. The seasonal markets are filled with amazing Polish street food, wine, souvenirs and art and crafts. The markets are rotating and have different stalls all through the year.
Address: Rynek Główny 1/3, 31-042 Kraków
#12 St Mary’s Church
Cost: Free for worshipping during services, or 10 zł to buy a tourist ticket and then another 15 zł to climb the Mariacki tower.
This church was built in the 14th century. St. Mary’s church is one of Krakow’s most famous and beloved buildings. The building’s foundations go back even longer into the 13th century. It stands at 262ft or 80 metres tall and is a great spot to get a beautiful view over the market square and the city from the top.
Address:Rynek Główny 4, 33-332 Kraków
#13 Walk (or ride) down the Vistula river
The Vistula river flows from southern Poland all the way up to the baltic sea. The boulevards beside it are perfectly green and lush, so it makes them perfect for lounging and strolling or even hold a mini picnic as you escape the crowd in the city. Often in peak times, some events are held there.
#14 Old Town Free Walking Tour
Cost: Free (tip-based)
This is one of the most obvious free things to in Krakow but it’s the best way to get to know the city if you are on a budget. This is 2.5-hour tour that takes you on a journey through time and explores the Old Town. With lots of history, interesting facts and tips from a local, meeting in the main square every day at various times. Check out City Walks Krakow for times
#15 Jewish Quarter Free Walking Tour
Cost: Free (tip based)
Poland is a place where Polish Jews and Polish Catholics lived together side by side for generations. This has given Krakow a rich history and Jewish culture that you can explore on the 2.5-hour tour, meeting daily in the main square. Check out City Walks Krakow for times.
#16 Exploring the churches of Krakow
St. Joseph’s Church – (church pictured) a historic Catholic church in the Podgórze district of Kraków.
St. Peter and Paul Church – Dubbed as the oldest baroque building in Poland, you can take the free audio guides that they provide so that you can learn more about the history of this place, which is located at Grodzka Street in the Old Town.
St. Andrew’s Church – This is an interesting church because it’s a rare surviving example of a European fortress church. It used to be a place where Krakowians would flee when Tatars were trying to conquer the city. Additionally, it has well-preserved Romanesque architecture! (This is also located at Grodzka Street).
Corpus Christi Basilica – This is located in the Jewish quarter and through the exterior might not grab your fancy, the interior of this church is very impressive with a mixture of Polish Gothic and Polish Baroque — in fact, it is often referred to as having the most beautiful Baroque stalls in Central Europe.
#17 Lounge around in Krakow parks and gardens
One of the best free things to do in Krakow is to relax in the Planty. The Planty is a large park that surrounds the entire Old Town (it’s the green space that you will see on any map of the old town). The Planty was previously an extra layer of protection for the city as it was once a moat situated around medieval walls and fortifications that guarded the city.
These walls have since been taken down(except for the Florian Gate and Barbican) and the moat filled in. Today, it has an area of over 5.2 acres, and it contains 30 smaller gardens that each have their own styles, monuments, and fountains.
#18 Botanic Garden
Another option would be visiting the Botanic Garden of the Jagiellonian University. These stunning gardens are located just outside the Old Town. The gardens have over 5,000 species and varieties of plants, along with three greenhouses in which various plants from different climates are kept and housed.
#19 Rakowicki Cemetery
Rakowicki cemetery sprawls over roughly 42 hectares of land, and this cemetery is an architectural and artistic gem. It features graves, tombs and mausoleums of many different shapes, sizes and styles designed by various artists.
Tip: If you are in Krakow at the start of November, then we recommend seeing the cemetery lit up with candles for All Saints Day on November 1st.
#20 Ghost Tour
Cost: Free(tip based)
Explore the darker side of Krakow’s history. City Walks Krakow takes you on a 3-hour tour of tales of ghoulish ghosts and gruesome deaths. If you are ready to explore the city’s haunted past,t his is the tour for you. Not for the faint-hearted!
#21 Discover Podgorze
Until recently, Podgorze has been off the path for most tourists. As Krakow has grown in popularity for travellers over the past few years, Podgorze is just across the river from Kazimierz and has a vast range of up and coming bars and restaurants.
#22 Join a Pub Crawl
Enjoy Krakow’s nightlife without breaking the bank. Our pub crawl takes you to Krakow’s premier nightspots off the tourist trail to mingle with the locals. It includes 1 hour of unlimited Beer, Vodka, Rum, Gin, Shots and mixers, a free welcome shot at every club, VIP entry at all clubs so no waiting in lines and professional party guides.
Every night at 9:45 PM
#23 Get High
Before you have any crazy ideas we are referring to getting high in the air at one of Krakow Jump or Air Parks. Jump from wall to wall on rand f trampolines, inflatable castles and foam fits.
Address: Rzemieślnicza 20G, 30-363 Kraków
#24 Go Skating
Go back in time and put on some rollerblades or roller skates and try Krakow’s skating rink.
Address: ul. CPU 41A, Krakow
If you want some more free things to do in Krakow or have any further questions about the city in general, please get in touch with us as we love helping people discover our amazing city. You can also check out this great Krakow Travel Guide. Or check out Momondo’s Krakow Guide for travel inspiration or our Unique guide to Krakow.
Here are some more travel tips for Poland, another great Polish city to visit is Warsaw and here are some reasons why it’s great for a city trip