11 Free or Cheap things to do in Krakow
1. Wawel Castle and a cathedral: Free & Paid Options
Towering on top of Wawel hill and looking over the Vistula river and greater Krakow. This stunning Castle and Cathedral is a must see. You can enter the courtyards, gardens and walk around the outer wall for free. There is a lovely cafe in the courtyard where you can grab a coffee and imagine what it would be like to be a Royal of Poland. You will have to pay to enter the cathedral or the Royal Crypts
2. Krakus Mound: Free
Thought to be the resting place of Kraków's mythical founder the legendary King Krakus with great views of Krakow. A great place for a bbq or grill and some beers.
3. Kosciusko Mound: 10zl
This man-made hill was thought to have been built between the 1st and 2nd century. The view from the top of the mound is one of the best in Krakow. There is a brick cathedral fortress surrounding the hill that is perfect for exploring. It's free to get into the main section and 10zl to get to the very top of the mound(this is where the best views are)
4. Old Town Walking Tours: Tip Based
A 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.
5. St Marys Church: Free & Paid Options
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, however, because the church that was originally on the site was destroyed during the Mongol/Tetra attack in 1241. One of the most striking features of the church are its two asymmetrical towers, one being taller than the other. There is a gruesome tale the locals tell to explain the difference in size. If you would like to visit the basilica, it is free for worshipping during services, or 10zl to buy a tourist ticket and then another 15zl to climb the Mariacki tower, which is the taller of the two.
6. Underground museum: Free & Paid Options
An interactive museum which shows you the foundations of the buildings that used to stand in the Old Town centuries ago, and is basically the result of extensive 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 on the other side of the square from the entrance to the museum. The museum is open until 8 pm and is free on Mondays, but expect it to be busy!
7. The Cloth Hall: Free
Dating back to the 13th century and the construction of the Market Square itself, the cloth hall was originally just two lines of cloth and fabric stalls with a cobbled alleyway running between them. King Casimir the great then had a more permanent cloth hall built around the stalls in the 14th century as a place for merchants and traders to buy and sell goods, making the Cloth Hall effectively Poland's first shopping mall where people could buy and sell goods like precious metals and salt mined from the local salt mines, and of course cloth and fabric.
8. Jewish Quatre Walking Tour: Tip Based
Poland is a place where Polish Jews and Polish Catholics lived together side by side for generations, and 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.
9. Barbican: Free
Built as an outer defence to the City's main walls in 1499, the Barbican was built to be an impenetrable fortress against the increasing threat of attacks from Ottoman Empire coming East from Turkey. The circular fort is one of only three surviving Gothic rundels of its style in Europe, and is the best preserved. The Barbican did prove impenetrable, and despite various attacks over the years it still stands intact. It has 3 feet thick walls, seven turrets as lookouts and 130 defence slots for archers or riflemen to take aim through. Soldiers defending the tower were also known to pour boiling oil and water out onto anyone trying to breach the walls.
10. Jagiellonian University: Free & Paid Options
This first University in Poland (although it does look a bit like Hogwarts!). Krakow is a big university city, about 1 in 4 people are students and students makeup around 200,000 people in the city. The University is named after the most famous Polish dynasty of Kings, and that is the Jagiellonian dynasty which spanned from 1386-1572, but the University itself was actually founded even before that.
11. A Walk With The Dead Tour: Tip Based
Explore the darker side of Krakow’s history. Join City Walks on there spookiest tour, for tales of ghoulish ghosts and gruesome deaths. Are you ready to explore the city’s haunted past? Not for the faint-hearted!