Krakow is amazingly beautiful and everybody should definitely visit it at least once in a lifetime. But if you are planning a trip to Krakow and have a few extra days, there are several day trips from Krakow worth going to.
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. The city is an amazing combination of a modern metropolis and a classic European city with town halls, churches and squares. People come to Warsaw to wander along the streets of the Old Town and the picturesque embankment of the Vistula, take a stroll through the immense Lazenkovsky park and see the Church of the Holy Cross, where Chopin’s heart rests. You could easily spend several days in Warsaw but if you’re short on time, a day trip will do too. The best way to get to Warsaw for a day trip is by taking a high speed intercity train from Krakow which takes roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Katowice is the nearest big city to Krakow, and it will for sure show you how diverse Poland can be. This is post-industrial musical mecca, which is rapidly gaining popularity as a new, not yet trivial destination for unusual travels. Katowice itself, despite all its modernity and industrialism, is an interesting city. The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary made in the new Gothic style, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in the Baroque style and the wooden church of St. Michael the Archangel are wonderful examples of architecture of past centuries. There are many museums in the city: archaeological, historical, museum of antique interiors and even an excellent planetarium and observatory – children will especially appreciate and enjoy it. The best way to get there is by bus, which departs almost every hour. The trip itself takes around 1,5 hours.
Tarnow is often dubbed the “Pearl of the Renaissance” by historians, and has plenty of fascinating museums to visit. Until now, the buildings of the Middle Ages have been preserved in Tarnow. The winding streets of the medieval town remain the same, as do fragments of the fortified walls as well as many Gothic and Renaissance buildings, all helping in creating a magical atmosphere that can be experienced in no other place in the country. Make sure to visit several museums located in the Renaissance Town Hall and the Arcade House close to the market square, as they all offer truly unusual collections. There are frequent regional and intercity trains connecting Krakow and Tarnow which take around 1,5 hours.
The incredible and fantastic Lake Morskie Oko is located among the impressive peaks of the High Tatras, at the southernmost tip of Poland. Morskie Oko lake is officially included in the list of the most beautiful lakes on the planet. Thousands of tourists from all over the world come to the Tatra National Park with Morskie Oko being the main point to see in it. The place is absolutely amazing in its beauty, which differs depending on the time of year, time of day and weather. In summer, there are endless streams of tourists walking around the lake, while in spring there are snow avalanches that descend from the nearby mountains, in winter there is a layer of snow (up to a meter), frosty air and all the same stream of those who would like to enjoy the beauty of these places. The best option for coming here from Krakow is taking one of the many buses, leaving every 10-20 minutes from the main station Dworzec Glowny and it takes around 1,5 hours. After that, you can reach it by a picturesque 9-kilometer long route, on foot or in a traditional horse-drawn carriage.
Zakopane is the highest mountain city in Poland and the most popular ski resort located in the south of the country 110 km away from Krakow. It is an amazing city with a unique national atmosphere, it is perfect for those who have long dreamed of getting acquainted with the cultural traditions of Poland. Everything is amazing here: excellent climatic conditions, breathtaking panoramas of nature, fresh air, typical local architecture, incredibly beautiful folklore events and national cuisine. It is worth noting that the resort attracts attention of travelers not only in winter. In summer, hiking lovers prefer to rest here, as they are provided with a decent selection of beautiful places for walking.
Address: Ul. Benedyktyńska 37. Tyniec is a historic village in Poland on the Vistula river and since 1973 it’s been a part of Kraków. Benedictine Abbey, a monumental monastery complex of the XI century, is located here. The abbey is the oldest existing monastery in Poland. Nowadays, this complex consists of the abbey itself, the church of Saints Peter and Paul, a museum, tranquil cloisters and courtyards, a shop selling locally-made products as well as souvenirs, a guest house, the centre of culture and a cozy cafe with a terrace providing a picturesque view. The Abbey is Kraków’s nearest destination for a countryside day trip. You can reach it in less than an hour by taking the 112 bus or on a bike, following a beautiful cycle path.
Address: Ojców 9. Ojcowski National Park is the smallest national park in Poland and is located 16km north of Kraków. The park was founded in 1956 and is packed with nearly 400 caves, several gorges, countless rock formations, hikes and castles! Ojców is home to about 4,600 species of insects, 35 species of birds and 15 species of bats. Other wildlife you could meet include beavers, stoats, and badgers. Here you’ll be able to enjoy the local speciality trout (grilled or smoked), climb to the top of Ojców Castle ruins, view a part of the Trail of the Eagle’s Nest (a trail along a chain of 25 Medieval castles), discover Renaissance Castle at Pieskowa Skala, admire fascinating jurassic rock formations and of course, enjoy the wonderful nature all around!
Address: ul. Stanisławy Leszczyńskiej 11, Oświęcim. This is one of the most popular day trips from Kraków and probably one of the most historically significant and poignant attractions in the world. Established by the Nazis in 1940 in the outskirts of Oswiecim, the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp has became a symbol of terror, genocide and Holocaust all over the world. You will see a museum which has numerous exhibits where you can learn more about the people who suffered and died here. Since 1979 this site has been inscribed in the UNESCO Cultural and Natural World Heritage list. Needless to say, this sight tends to bring a host of emotions to the forefront. During the war, it was where the lives of more than a million poor souls were taken. Auschwitz-Birkenau is located 75 kilometers west of Kraków. You can get there by train, bus or with an organized tour (which is my recommended choice).
Address: Daniłowicza 10, Wieliczka. Wieliczka Salt Mines is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest salt mines in the world. It was built in the 13th century and produced table salt continuously until 1996. The mine reaches a depth of 327 metres and is spread over nine levels. Visitors can descend to the third level of the mine – 135 metres deep. Wieliczka salt mine surprises you with amazing rock chambers, mysterious salt lakes, salt sculptures, altars, galleries with striking statues and an absolutely breathtaking chapel of St. Kinga. The air inside the mine has similar healing properties to that inhaled by the sea. Wieliczka Salt Mine is located around 15 kilometres from the city centre of Kraków (about 30 min drive) You can take a bus number 304.
Address: Zamkowa 13, Nowy Wiśnicz. Nowy Wiśnicz Castle is located on a forested hill by the River Leksandrówka. The castle was raised by Jan Kmita in the second half of the fourteenth century. The castle was built in the Baroque architectural style with Renaissance elements and it has four towers, with one in each corner. Inside, there are photographs depicting the former look of the castle, nineteenth and twentieth-century furniture, models and artworks of high school students. There is also a ballroom, a room with a gilded ceiling, an acoustic hall once used as a place of confession, a castle chapel and a crypt with an exposition of six sarcophagi. Nowy Wiśnicz castle is located around 73km from Kraków but you can easily get there by bus.
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