10 Epic Day Trips from Krakow


Krakow is an old capital of Poland, the first UNESCO site in Poland. Planning your trip to Krakow and wondering which day trips from Krakow to take during the limited stay? Here is my suggestion of the top day trips from Krakow including the driving information and some tour options.

Zakopane

Zakopane is a small town at the foot of the famous Tatra Mountains.  It is around two hours of driving from Krakow. The town has its unique wooden house architecture which is very attractive. But the most attractive area is the Tatras National Park. There many things to do and to see in the Zakopane area.

View of Tatras Mountain in Zakopane
View of Tatras Mountain in Zakopane

You can also join a Zakopane private tour from Krakow to see this place. By joining the tour, you will also have the opportunity to visit Gubałówka, one of the best viewpoints in Zakopane. With spectacular views of the High Tatras, the area is still covered with snow even in May. Click here for further details.

How to get there

It takes around 1hour and 45 minutes to reach Zakopane from Krakow by car. Get on A4 and follow E77to DK7 in Rabka-Zdrój, then follow DK47 and Zakopianka to Nowotarska/DW958 in Zakopane.

Related post: Top 9 Things to Do in Zakopane 

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the first twelve objects on the UNESCO’s World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. It is one of the most valuable monuments of material and spiritual culture in Poland. The only way to see it is to join a tour. You can buy a tour on site. The complete guided tour lasts three hours. Due to more than one million tourists from all over the world visit the mine, it is likely to have a long waiting time before the tour starts. Plan enough time for the day trip from Krakow, or book a tour ahead to save your time.

How to get there

Wieliczka Salt Mine is located 16 kilometres southeast from Krakow. There are many ways to get there from Krakow, by bus, by train or by car. Check here to get the detail information.

Please read my review of the tour:  Wieliczka Salt Mine, a Trip to the Underground World

Saint Kinga’s Chapel at the Wieliczka Salt Mine
Saint Kinga’s Chapel at the Wieliczka Salt Mine

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum

Auschwitz-Birkenau refers to the cluster of concentration, labour and extermination camps established by the Nazis during the World War II. It is located near the towns of Oświęcim and Brzezinka in southern Poland, about 60 km away from Kraków. The camps have become a place of pilgrimage for survivors, their families and all who wish to travel to remember the Holocaust. It is one of the popular day trips from Krakow for many tourists as well.

Auschwitz I has a lot of exhibitions in the historical buildings. It takes hours to see it all. Auschwitz II has a bigger area, but has less historical information. It is possible to see both camps within a day. Some organized tours departure from Krakow. During the tour, you will learn how the complex functioned and see the barracks where prisoners were kept. Well-informed staff will tell the site’s history and answer your questions. Please click here to book a tour.

How to get there

There are frequent buses to and from the main bus station in Kraków and minibuses that depart from the main bus station. The bus takes about one and half hours and stops locally along the way. Please check the last bus returns to Kraków ahead. Trains also stop running early. If you plan to stay until closing time make arrangements regarding your return beforehand.

Driving from Kraków takes about one hour and you have to leave the A4 motorway at the Oświęcim/Balin

There are several local trains each day, both from Kraków and from Katowice, about each 1.5-2 hours to the  train station of Oświęcim. From Kraków central station it takes a leisurely 2 hours, as the train goes slowly and stops frequently. There are buses from train station of Oświęcim to the museum.

Morskie Oko (one of the my favourite day trips from Krakow)

Near the border between Poland and Slovakia, in the Tatra mountains mark with blue-green alpine lakes. Among them, the loveliest and the largest one is Morskie Oko, which sits at the bottom of the valley on the Polish side. It is not well-known like some lakes around the world which are eye-catchers on Instagram or Pinterest.

To explore the mountain area, you can join this full-day Zakopane & Tatra Mountains guided tour. It also includes the tasting of a highlander smoked cheese called Oscypek and the visit of a museum dedicated to the Tatra Mountain.

How to get there

The best way is to drive there by car. There’s a big car parking at the entrance of the national park. The parking fee is 25zl per day for a usual private car. If the parking lot is full then you have to park along the street. Someone will direct you there and charge the same fee. There is no free parking with walking distance. Alternatively, you can local buses from Zakopane and buses also stop in front of the parking lot.

Related post: A Great Hiking to Morskie Oko in Tatras Mountains

View of Morskie Oko from the Top (one of the day trips from Krakow)
View of Morskie Oko from the Top

Tyniec Abbey

Tyniec is a historic village in the southwest of Kraków, 8 km from the city center. The location is famous for its imposing historical Benedictine Abbey perched high above the Vistula River. It is the oldest monastery in Poland and one of the oldest in all Eastern Europe with foundations dating back almost 1000 years. Take a casual stroll along the river or wander through the Tyniec neighborhood to experience rural Polish life. It takes you only 25 minutes to drive there.

There is an organized bike tour as well. Depart from Krakow, you will cycle along a green, quiet, and peaceful cycling route towards The Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec. You can see the Twardowski Rocks Nature Reserve, take in the views over Krakow at the observation deck. And, when you reach the abbey, you will learn about the traditional goods produced by the monks known as Produkty Benedyktyńskie, all prepared using traditional, centuries-old recipes. In the end, you can enjoy an arranged picnic where you will have the chance to taste some of the traditional Benedictine treats. To book this tour, please click here.

How to get there

From Krakow, you take bus 112 from the bus stop MOST GRUNWALDZKI and get off at the 17th stop called TYNIEC. The journey is ca 20 km and takes about 30-45 minutes.

Ojców National Park

Ojców National Park is the smallest of Poland’s twenty national parks, but it ranks among the most attractive recreational areas in the country. It is just 24 kilometers northwest of central Krakow. The beautiful Pradnik river valley, many-shaped limestone rocks, Pieskowa Skala Castle (called ‘a pearl of the Polish Renaissance’), Ojcow village and caves etc. are the main attractions. It takes only 25 minutes to drive there.

If you don’t have a car, you can join the Ojców National Park and Pieskowa Skała Castle tour from Krakow. You will visit the beautiful Ojców National Park, discover the Pradnik Valley and have a journey to Pieska Skala Castle, a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture.

Oskar Schindler’s Factory

The film Schindler’s List is based on the history of ‘Schindler’s Factory’. Oskar Schindler’s Factory consists of three parts: the permanent show, temporary displays, and the screening room. The permanent exhibition is dedicated to Oskar Schindler, his factory, and the fate of its Jewish workforce. It is located in the southeast of Krakow and about 4 kilometres from the centre. To drive there only takes 8 minutes.

Or, you can join the Jewish Quarter, Schindler’s Factory & Former Ghetto tour which departures from the local suppliers’ office located at Grodzka 61 street, Kraków. The tour includes the exploration of the Jewish Quarter, the former Ghetto terrain located in Podgórze district, and the famous Oscar Schindler’s factory. You will be traveling in a comfortable electric car equipped with an audio-guide system.

How to get there

The museum is about three kilometers southeast from Krakow’s Old Town historical center. It takes five minutes’ drive acrossing the Wisla river. The simplest access routes is through Most Kotlarski bridge east of Lipowa and Most Powstancow Slaskich west of it. But it isn’t easy to find parking in the area.

The nearest bus stop within walking distance of Schindler’s Factory is Krakowska Akademia stop at Herlinga Grudzinskiego street. The closest tram stop is situated at Plac Bohaterow Getta square.

Spend a day in a local thermal pools or SPA

The Tatra Mountains region has numerous thermal springs and sources of mineral water. Thermal pools in Bukowina (in Bukowina Tatrzańska village, around 25 minutes drive from Zakopane) are rich in quality mineral water.

Aqua Park Zakopane is a popular place for family. Situated in the very centre of the city, it offers a beautiful view of the panorama of the mountains. The complex of pools with thermal waters and lots of water attractions also offers spacious spa, fitness, and bowling. Spend a day to relax or have fun with your family in local thermal pools or SPA.

You can combine the spa experience with other activities such as the 1234-meter long Bachledka Treetop Walk by joining the Slovakia Treetop Walk, Zakopane & Thermal Spa tour. The tour departures from Krakow and includes a walk through Zakopane as well.

How to get there

It takes around 1hour and 45 minutes to reach Zakopane from Krakow by car. Get on A4 and follow E77to DK7 in Rabka-Zdrój, then follow DK47 and Zakopianka to Nowotarska/DW958 in Zakopane. And, Bukowina Tatrzańska village is around 25 minutes drive from Zakopane.

Kryspinow Beach

Located some 15 km outside of Krakow Kryspinow beach is an ideal place for all the family to enjoy and escape the hustle and bustle of the city limits. The beach is part of a lake. It has facilities such as a beach volleyball court, a swimming area complete with slides and a separate play area for younger children. It is one of the popular day trips from Krakow for the locals. You can combine the trip to Tyniec in one day.

A tour of  a traditional Polish folk show takes place in a restaurant Skansen Smaków which is situated in the picturesque surroundings of the forest near Kryspinow lake. You will see the folk dances, such as mazurka while learning about their origin. Meanwhile, you will immerse yourself in Polish culture by trying a range of meals and drinks. To book this tour, please click here.

How to get there

To drive there takes around 30 minutes. Follow road 780 and then road 774, the lake and the beach is to the west side of the road 774.

Babia Góra

The Babia Góra national park is located in the Beskid Żywiecki mountain range, Poland’s second-highest mountain range (after the Tatras). This protected areas encompass a portion of the Babia Góra massif, including the highest peak in Beskid Żywiecki – Diablak , frequently called Babia Góra, as is the entire massif. The Babia Góra massif offers breathtaking views and outstanding ski pistes. The park is home to animals such as deer, lynx, wolves and bears. The abundance of unusually rare flora has led to these areas into the list of world biosphere reserves by UNESCO. There are hiking trails which lead to the summit.

How to get there

Babia Góra mountain range is at the Poland-Slovakia border some forty kilometers northwest of the Tatras.   It is located 75 kilometres southwest of Krakow.  The fastest way to drive there is via DW957. It takes around 90 minutes to reach there.

Where to book the tours

If you rent a car, it is possible to combine several day trips from Krakow. There are buses connected to several destinations. However, they are not running so frequently. Our family spent a long weekend in Krakow and managed to make 3 day trips from Krakow. Above day trips from Krakow are all within reachable distances which make it easy for you to plan.

Other than those I have introduced above, you can find some nice tours at the following platforms in case you are short in time.

Where to stay in Krakow

Krakow has many hotels priced reasonable. If you don’t have a car, then the 4-star Hotel Polski Pod Białym Orłem is perfect for your stay. It is located just opposite the St. Florian’s Gate, 4 minutes’ walk from the Main Market Square and just a 15-minute walk of the Wawel Royal Castle. The bus and railway stations are only 300 m away. You can enjoy the evening scenes of the old town without hurrying back to the hotel.

Hilton Garden Inn Krakow Airport is suitable for both business travelers as well as solo travelers. It is just outside of Krakow Balice Airport.  When we picked up our car from the rental office, we realized that the office is right next to the hotel’s lobby.  Luggage storage and WiFi are available free of charge. Guests can enjoy a fitness centre free of charge. You can find these hotels on the following platforms.

Hotel Polski Pod Białym Orłem, KrakowHotel Polski Pod Białym Orłem, Krakow (Booking.com)
Hilton Garden Inn Krakow AirportHilton Garden Inn Krakow Airport (Booking.com)

Planing your trip to Krakow and wondering what other places you could see during the limited stay? Here is my suggestion of the top 10 day trips from Krakow including the driving information and some tour options. #poland #krakow #europe #unesco #city #capital #daytrips

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