Best hidden gems in Krakow.
Discover hidden gems in Krakow – 9 magical places of interest that tourists don’t know about.
With so much going on in Krakow, you might overlook quirky and offbeat destinations. Yet you don’t have to stray far from beaten paths to find a fascinating medley of hidden gems in Krakow that reveal more about the city.
Complementing our guide to hidden foodie gems in Krakow, we switch our focus to places of interest. On our radar are covert landmarks evading tourist radars and hidden places that add splashes of color to the Krakow experience.
Hidden Krakow – Things to See and Do
Wojtek The Bear Soldier
A bear soldier sounds unmissable. However, Wojtek, the ursine warrior enlisted into the Polish Army, is long gone. In his honor stands a statue in Jordan Park.
Made a private to circumvent an unsurprising rule that bears are unwelcome on the front line, Wojtek’s tale sounds too crazy, even for Disney. More lover than fighter, the furry mascot smoked, cracked beers, and cuddled up with his fellow troops.
Memorials to the larger-than-life bear left are found from London to Italy. And this hidden gem in Krakow is worth a detour to remember a bear that took YOLO to heart.
Stained Glass Museum
After marveling at modern and vintage stained-glass windows in St. Mary’s Basilica, you can see how it’s done at the Stained Glass Museum and workshop.
Guided tours offer insights into the methods and inspiration of feted artists. The hands-on workshops lift the muti-chromatic fun up several notches as you craft a souvenir unlike any other.
Krakow Ghetto Wall Fragments
The scars of World War II and The Holocaust run deep in Krakow, and the symbolism of the Krakow Ghetto walls is poignant.
All that remains are fragments of a wall that confined thousands of Jews within the Krakow Ghetto in Podgórze, many later deported to extermination camps.
There are only a few hidden places in Krakow to see them. The most visible section, marked by a commemoration plaque, is at 22 Lwowska, Podgórze.
Abandoned Rail Yard
We promised quirky hidden gems in Krakow, and we give you an eerie abandoned train yard.
Technically still on the beaten track, this curiosity is one for trainspotters and travelers with a yen for the bizarre. Surreal doesn’t do justice to the assortment of rusting locomotives and carelessly abandoned machinery. The kind of place a Scooby Doo villain would call home.
Former Gestapo HQ / Pomorska Museum
The former Gestapo HQ might have started out as one of the most hidden places in Krakow, yet it quickly became one of its most notorious. A museum is now hosted behind the chillingly inconspicuous façade.
Inside is sobering, with cells and personal horror stories revealed. It won’t take long to visit, but the exhibits and the palpable history lessons leave a lasting impression.
Mordechai Gebirtig Memorial
Mordechai Gebirtig was a celebrated poet and songwriter of Kazimierz. Acclaimed for moving songs like “S’brent” (It is Burning), a reaction to the Przytyk Pogrom, he was a Jewish voice that spoke for his community during dangerous times.
In 1942 he was shot dead during a Nazi massacre in the Krakow Ghetto. His songs were never forgotten. Today, fans pay respect at his old home, home to a project showcasing his songs and poems.
Arka Pana church
St. Mary’s Basilica is a show-stealer but hardly a hidden gem in Krakow. The Arka Pana church fits the bill better despite being completed in 1977 (yesterday in European church years).
But aside from the novel Noah’s Ark design and an uplifting origin story, the religious curios inside upsell this detour. They include a controversial depiction of Christ, a moon rock, and a statue named “Our Lady the Armored,” made with shrapnel removed from Polish soldiers at the Battle of Monte Cassino. In short, it’s not your everyday church.
Schindler List Movie Set
Steven Spielberg’s 1993 masterpiece, Schindler’s List, gave the story of Oskar Schindler the global audience it deserved. Authentic movie locations include some leading things to do in Krakow, like the real-life Enamel Factory and Auschwitz-Birkenau.
But more determined explorers can see several buildings from the movie, notably Schinder’s plush apartment and Pilsudski Bridge. A model of the Plaszów labor camp was carefully reconstructed near the Krakus Mound, close to the original camp location. Thread the points together for an engaging path through history.
An ancient tumulus steeped in myth, the Krakus Mound rises above the skyline and affords spectacular citybound views. There are less conspicuous hidden gems in Krakow, yet this one — 3 km (2 mi) from the city center — still flies below the radar.
Underfoot might be the tomb of King Krakus, dragon slayer and legendary founder of Krakow. Archeologists disagree, but they agree artifacts date the mound back to at least the 9th century.
The views are bracing, as is the walk up Lasota Hill to the Krakus Mound. If the views set your pulse racing, there are four other Krakow mounds to conquer.
Find time for Krakow’s hidden gems
We imagine a few highlights on our list of hidden gems in Krakow caught your attention. It’s a tantalizing historical and cultural cocktail to quench any thirst for the offbeat and original.
Sidestepping to hidden places around the city might present a challenge for weekend travelers. Our guide on how many days to spend in Krakow can help. With world-class attractions and hidden gems to swell any travel itinerary, you can tailor a vacation that satisfies all your travel instincts.