If you are passionate about history and intrigued to know what is behind these classical and royal buildings, the Krakow Castle will be a must-see during your visit to Krakow. Learn about the history of its construction from when it all began with the reign of Casimir the Great until its last restoration by Bartolomeo Berrecci.
If this place is on your list of things to see and do in Krakow, and you want to know how to visit it, keep reading because I will tell you all about how to get there, what guided tours you have available and how to get your tickets easily to make this one of the best experiences in your visit to Krakow.
Discover Krakow Castle and Cathedral
On this guided tour you will get to know in detail the Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral, the Old Town and the Market Square of Krakow together with a professional guide.
With this guided tour of Krakow Castle, you will visit in depth the Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral, as well as its surroundings. In addition, you will have priority access so you will avoid the queues at the entrance.
On this tour you will be accompanied by a professional expert guide who will tell you all about the history and architecture of these two iconic monuments declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You will also walk through the Old Town and Krakow's Market Square, which is connected to Wawel Castle by the so-called Royal Road.
Recommended if... You are going to be in Krakow for a short time but you don't want to miss anything.
How to get tickets for the Krakow Castle at the ticket office
You have several alternatives to buy your tickets to Krakow Castle, in addition to the possibility of buying them online and prepare your visit in advance. My recommendation will always be to buy your tickets with guided tour online as it will guarantee you not to lose time and ensure your entrance for the day and time you have planned. This type of official places sell tickets at the box office with a limited number per day, so it is better not to take risks.
- At the Visitor Center, which is open Mondays from 9 am to 12 noon and Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 am to 4:20 pm.
- At the Herbowa Gate, the most popular entrance to Wawel Hill. It is open from April to October from 9 a.m. to 12 noon (Monday) and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Tuesday to Sunday).
- Through the Castle 's official website you can make your purchase online, with the possibility to make your purchase up to a week in advance or even on the day of your visit.
Information to keep in mind:
- Tickets are issued on a timed basis and you will see the time printed on your ticket.
- The number of tickets available is limited per day and the ticket is only for the day of the visit.
- The Castle does not accept payment in foreign currencies (euros or others). Payment must be made in zloty (PLN).
Are there guided tours of Krakow Castle - is it worth it?
Yes, there are guided tours and my recommendation is that you do not hesitate to do it, otherwise you will miss many details of great interest. My favorite option is this guided tour of the Krakow Castle, as it includes both the Wawel Castle and the Wawel Cathedral and you will also walk through the old town and the Market Square of Krakow. Undoubtedly, it is the most complete option.
In addition, Krakow Castle also offers the possibility to purchase an audio guide at the Visitor Center (at an additional cost) or book your own expert guide service. The maximum number of people in a group is 15 people.
Cost of the guide service for groups of maximum 15 people:
- 1 exhibition: 90 zloty (PLN) or 19 euros approx.
- 2 exhibitions: 140 zloty (PLN) or 30 euros approx.
- 3 exhibitions: 190 zloty (PLN) or 40 euros approx.
- 4 exhibitions: 240 zloty (PLN) or 50 euros approx.
- 5 exhibitions: 290 zloty (PLN) or 62 € approx.
- 6 exhibitions: 340 zloty (PLN) or 73 € approx.
- 7 exhibitions: 390 zloty (PLN) or 83€ approx.
Opening hours of the Krakow Castle
Krakow Castle is open every day:
- Monday: 9:30 am to 1 pm.
- Tuesday to Sunday: 9:30 am to 5 pm.
Please note, however, that the entrance hours to certain areas end between 30 minutes and one hour earlier.
How much do tickets to Krakow Castle cost?
Krakow Castle does not offer a group ticket to see everything. Tickets are sold separately and for each individual exhibit. According to the exhibition you decide to visit you can find tickets from 2,50 € to 6,50 €. You can include in your visit several exhibitions if you have the interest and enough time.
The categories of tickets you will find at the Royal Wawel Castle are: regular, reduced and complimentary. On the official website of the Royal Wawel Castle you will find all the details of who applies for reduced and complimentary tickets.
During your visit you will be able to see permanent exhibitions which I will tell you about later. In addition, the Castle also holds temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Please note that both the cost of tickets and opening hours may change according to the season.
Are the entrance tickets to Krakow Castle included in a city sightseeing pass?
There is a tourist card in Krakow or the Krakow Tourist Card that includes free admission to a variety of museums and tourist attractions in the city. Unfortunately the Krakow Castle is not part of this list. Some of the places you can visit with this tourist card are:
- St. Mary's Basilica.
- Oskar Schindler's Factory.
- Old Synagogue (Stara).
- Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow.
Some of these places are located in the interesting Jewish quarter of Krakow. A place where you have a lot to see and do.
How to get to the Krakow Castle Castle
The Royal Wawel Castle is located on the hill of the same name. It is just a 10-minute walk from the Market Square and a 20-minute walk from the Krakow train and bus station.
- Public transport: Wawel and Stradom streetcar stops and Jubilat and Stradom bus stops.
- Bicycle: You will find places to park your bicycle at the entrance gate to the Castle, as bicycles are not allowed on Wawel Hill.
Ask about available parking near the Castle
Many travelers, especially Europeans, travel by car. If this is your case, you will find parking available very close by. The closest one is on Plac na Groblach, just a 5-minute walk from the Castle. You can also find next to the National Museum, which is a 20-minute walk from the Castle or with the Muzeum-Narowowe bus route.
Is it advisable to go to Krakow Castle with children?
Children are always welcome in places like this. There is nothing better than instilling a love of history, culture and art from a young age. Although Krakow Castle does not offer discounted family tickets, children under the age of 7 get in free regardless of the time of year.
The Castle also organizes special activities for children throughout the year. I recommend that you consult the site's agenda at the time of your trip to see what options you have. And if you are looking for more activities for the little ones at home, here are 10 things to do in Krakow with kids.
How much time do you need to visit the Krakow Castle?
The length of your visit to Krakow Castle or Wawel Castle will depend on how many exhibitions you decide to see. Remember that for each exhibition you must buy a separate ticket that will be valid only for the day and time indicated on the ticket.
The longest exhibitions are the State Halls which lasts up to 1 hour, and the visit to the outer gardens, courtyards and St. Gereon's Church which lasts 70 minutes. Then you will have others lasting between 20 and 40 minutes, the shortest being the visit to the Cave or Dragon's Lair which only takes about 10 minutes.
Best time of the year to visit Krakow Castle
It will obviously depend on your availability. As it is an enclosed area the weather matters little, in my opinion. But the season does influence the number of people you might encounter. If you decide to visit the castle in summer, it is likely to feel a bit crowded or you will have more difficulty getting tickets.
My recommendation is to visit between April and June when the weather is pleasant and the chaos of summer is not yet felt.
What not to miss at Krakow Castle? Permanent exhibitions
You have a variety of possibilities when visiting the Krakow Castle. Which confirms that this is one of the best tours and excursions from Krakow. Let me tell you a little more about the permanent exhibits you can't miss:
The State Rooms of Wawel Castle are my favorite. This access is ideal for those who want to connect with history, appreciate architectural details, art and learn a little more about the history of Polish royalty.
Also, this seems to me one of the most complete and ideal entrance options, as it allows you to access several of the rooms and apartments used by the monarchy to receive their guests. Here you can appreciate a complete collection of Gothic art, portraits of the monarchy, exquisite Italian Renaissance furniture and much more.
- This ticket includes direct access to the permanent and temporary exhibitions in each royal hall. These are 4 salons on the second floor and 14 rooms on the second floor of the Castle.
- The last admission for this exhibition is at 4 pm from Tuesday to Sunday.
- The tour of the Royal Halls lasts approximately 1 hour.
- The regular entrance fee for this exhibition is 30 zloty (PLN), approximately €6,50.
Art of the East: Turkish Ottoman Tents
This exhibition on Art of the Orient is located on the second floor of the castle and features carpets, silks, tapestries, arms and armor and much more. Highlights include a collection of trophies taken during the Battle of Vienna, and a collection of East Asian porcelain, which reflects 18th century Europe 's fascination with Chinese and Japanese cultures.
- Last admission for this exhibition is 4:20 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
- The approximate duration of the tour is 40 minutes.
- The regular entrance fee for this exhibition is 20 zloty (PLN), approximately 4.30 euros.
The Lost Wawel
This exhibition was officially opened in 1975 and aims to take visitors on a tour of the complete history of Krakow Castle. It includes a space with a multimedia video to make the visit more interactive. I definitely recommend it for those who appreciate more the architectural and engineering theme. There is a station on the tour devoted exclusively to the Castle's extensive collection of Renaissance tiles.
- This exhibit is open Mondays from 9:30 am to 1 pm. From Tuesday to Sunday it is open until 5:00 pm with a last admission at 4:30 pm.
- The approximate duration of the tour is 30 minutes.
- The regular entrance fee for this exhibition is 15 zloty (PLN), approximately 3,20€.
Wawel Recovered or Wawel Restored
I highly recommend it as well, as it is an interactive exhibition that uses state-of-the-art technology to show you traditional works, architectural models and large-scale illuminated reproductions of the historical archive of the Wawel Hill from the late 18th to the 20th century.
- This exhibition is also open on Mondays from 9:30 am to 1 pm. From Tuesday to Sunday it is open until 5 pm with a last admission at 4:30 pm.
- The approximate duration of the tour is 30 minutes.
- The regular entrance fee for this exhibition is 10 zloty (PLN), approximately €2,15.
Tips for visiting Krakow Castle
The first thing is to try to plan your visit in advance. Especially, because you can take advantage and on the same day visit other places of interest very close to the Krakow Castle as:
- Wawel Cathedral.
- Archdiocesan Museum.
- St. Andrew's Church.
- Archaeological Museum of Krakow.
If you plan your visit and you have clear what exhibits to visit the Castle, I recommend you to buy your tickets online to avoid queues and to make your tour in the most comfortable way.
I hope you can enjoy this charming and historic place that you have to include in your visit. Krakow is a city to enjoy little by little, and it is always a good idea to come back. If you have at least a week to spend in Krakow, you can visit this and many other places such as the Krakow salt mines or enjoy the best gastronomic tours in Krakow.