Krakow is a fabulous city to visit for a long weekend. My boyfriend and I went back in February 2020 for three nights and ended up walking for miles, eating our weight in pierogi, and soaking up as many of the city’s most exciting sights as possible.
There’s no doubt that Krakow is a hotbed of history, with some of its most famous sights including Wawel Castle and Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory (all things I’d definitely recommend making time for in your itinerary). But some of the best things I did and saw in Krakow were some of the more under-the-radar attractions that we found on our many walks.
If you’re planning a trip to Krakow at some point in the future, I’d highly recommend making time to see and do some of the following!
Quirky things to do in Krakow
- Krakow Walk of Fame
- Cosmic Golf
- Pinball Museum
- Syrup beer
- Smok the dragon
- Cat cafe
- Museum of Illusions
- Krakow’s Observation Balloon
- Rynek Underground
- MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow
1. Visit the Krakow Walk of Fame (or Avenue of Stars)
Behind Wawel Castle – between the Vistula River and Smok the castle dragon – the Krakow Walk of Fame was something that we quite literally stumbled upon. Don’t get your hopes up – it’s not quite as impressive as Hollywood’s version, although it does have a handful of handprints that belong to some big Polish and international stars, including Benedict Cumberbatch and Stellan Skarsgård.
2. Go Cosmic Golf-ing
Cosmic Minigolf Pub can be found a five-minute walk away from Wawel Royal Castle. It’s maybe not as grand as some of the other miniature crazy golf courses you’ve visited – it’s just one large room with 9 holes on the ground surrounded by bright neon colours and wall murals – but it makes up for it by the attentive and friendly staff and cheap drinks. For 19 PLN (£3.64/€4.18) per person, you can play unlimited golf for as long as you like – and for 29 PLN (£5.56/€6.38) per person you get unlimited golf as well as two beers.
When we went in the early evening it was relatively quiet, which meant we spent plenty of time goofing around on each hole and painting our faces with the neon face paint. There’s also a little seating area with neon Jenga, so you can have a well-earned sit down between games.
3. Play games all day at the Pinball Museum
I don’t think I’ve ever played a single physical pinball machine until I arrived here (anyone else remember that pinball machine you used to get on Windows computers though?!)
Open from midday until 11pm (or midnight on Fridays/ Saturdays), the Krakow Pinball Museum allows you unlimited play of over 60 pinball machines for the price of 40 zloty (or around £8 per person). The best bit is that you’re given a wristband so that you can come and go as you please throughout the day (the wristband colour changes every day). All of the machines are on Free Play mode, as are the other 25 arcade games (including driving and shooting games). Alcoholic and soft drinks are available too.
Honestly, I’m not generally a gaming fanatic, but we spent hours at a time here on two days – at one point even until closing time. Well worth a visit, even if it is just to admire all the history locked within the machines!
4. Try syrup beer
Polish people love to add fruit syrup to their beer, especially in the summer months. As a non-beer fan I was intrigued, so tried the raspberry syrup beer for myself. I can’t say it turned me into a beer fanatic, but it was definitely a lot more drinkable than a regular lager. (We were inspired by Richard Ayoade’s Travel Man and headed to Hevre for ours – somewhere I’d recommend just for its gorgeous interior design!)
5. Visit Smok the castle dragon
Smok the dragon lives by the Wawel Castle, overlooking the Vistula River. Built in the 1960s, the bronze dragon statue even breathes fire around about every five minutes.
But…why a dragon?
Legend has it that a dragon used to live under the castle. He demanded food from the residents and when he didn’t get any he simply…ate them instead. Everyone was so scared they begged King Krakus to find a solution. After a while, King Krakus announced a competition: whoever defeats and kills the dragon will marry his daughter and win the crown.
Many men tried to fight the dragon but none succeeded – until Skuba, a poor shoemaker, had a cunning plan.
He took a sheep’s skin and filled it with hay and sulphur. When he saw the sheep, the dragon ate it immediately – but became so thirsty that he had to run to the Vistula river. He drank and drank and drank until he exploded! And yes, the shoemaker got to marry the Princess as his prize!
6. Enjoy cake and coffee at the cat cafe
You may know that I love a good cat cafe, so I couldn’t resist heading to Krakow’s very own Cat Café Kociarnia! We popped in for cake and tea and were pleasantly surprised that there was no entrance fee. The food was also quite affordable – 12 zloty (just over £2) for a chai latte, and a little more for a slice of delicious cake. The cats seemed content too (always an important factor for me…), and there were plenty of shelves for them to climb and beds for them to hide in.
7. Get your head around the Museum of Illusions
It says a lot about how cheap Poland is that we found The Museum of Illusions a little on the pricey side – 50 zloty (around £10) for adults, and 40 zloty (around £8) for children (although kids under 7 years go free).
Was it worth it though? I’d say yes. It was something very different to what we’d seen on our city breaks before. Although some of the static exhibits were a little underwhelming, we really enjoyed the interactive exhibits. There are some great opportunities for some cool photos in there too!
8. Head up in Krakow’s Observation Balloon
We walked past this on one of our many walks along the river but we didn’t think too much of it – we thought it may have just been an advertising gimmick for a local company. That was until I got back to the hotel and looked it up, and realised that it’s actually a year-round attraction that people can pay to go up for spectacular city views! Krakow’s Observation Balloon is open seven days a week (weather depending), and costs from 55 zloty (£8) per adult, or 39 zloty (£7) for kids.
9. Rynek underground
Rynek Underground gets a place on this list because of its awesome location – underneath the city’s iconic market square. The museum opened up in September 2010 after extensive excavations on the site in the previous years.
It’s generally 24 zloty (just under £5) to enter, although the museum is free every Tuesday. Be sure to always book in advance though, because only a certain number can enter at any one time. The museum is home to everything from vampire prevention burials to old coins and various multimedia exhibits. It’s somewhere that both kids and adults will love. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time – there was so much to see we got a little overwhelmed towards the end!
Oh, and because it enraged Ian so much, he made me take a photo of the hard-to-find entrance. If you’re finding it hard to work out how to enter Rynek Underground, just look for this shop on the outside of the Cloth Hall, opposite St. Mary’s Basilica.
10. MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow
MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow is a fascinating museum that’s home to a number of temporary exhibitions on everything from (at the time of writing) World War 2 to the Pope. If you’re into contemporary art, it’s definitely a place you could lose yourself in for pretty much the whole day (Top tip: Go on a Thursday when entry to the MOCAK Collections exhibition is free and tickets to the temporary exhibitions are discounted).
One of the most popular pieces of artwork is the below – ‘In-Between’ by Stanisław Dróżdż.
If you’re heading out to Krakow, I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time – I’m very jealous that you’ll get to experience all of this and so much more! Let me know what your favourite attraction is, and whether there are any other quirky things I should add to this list!