Organizing a trip with children is not always easy, especially if you are going to a city like Krakow, which, apparently, is very historical and does not call for family tourism. However, you will be surprised to know that there are many activities and visits that children especially enjoy.
Legends, stories, fun, games... Krakow is a city with a lot to offer to all kinds of tourists, even the youngest ones. From historical museums with a different air to water parks and medieval castles, the Polish city ends up enchanting the most childish spirits. I'll tell you what you can't miss if you 're visiting with children.
1. Small adventures in the Wieliczka Salt Mines
Among the galleries and passages of the Wieliczka Salt Mines, children will feel like explorers in search of treasure. Beyond its historical value (salt has been extracted from these mines since the 13th century), there are many sculptures, monuments and legends that will appear during the visit. Little by little you will go down steps and get into its depths, something that always produces a lot of excitement and curiosity.
Before you go, you must take into account that it is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Krakow, so it is usually very crowded. To avoid having to wait in a long line that will tire the little ones before even starting the visit, I recommend you to buy tickets for the Wielicza Salt Mine in advance. This way you can also book a tour with a specialized guide who will tell all the stories and peculiarities of this place, something that will keep the children more interested.
In general, this tour is always very popular with the whole family, as it is something different, and has discounts for children under 12 years old. Even so, I recommend you take a look at some specific tips for visiting the salt mines with children, because there are aspects that you may not have thought of but need to plan before you go, such as bringing an alternative to the stroller if you are traveling with babies.
2. Discover the Dragon of Wawel Castle
Are your kids obsessed with dragon and castle stories? Well, I have the perfect excursion to leave them open-mouthed during your trip to Krakow: the Wawel Castle. In addition to the fact that the building already invites you to enter and discover the legends that are housed in it, the little ones will be amazed when, towards the end of the visit, they meet a dragon.
The history of the castle
To reach the Dragon's Cave, you will first have to visit the other rooms of the Wawel Castle, which also hold secrets and stories of knights. The building dates from the fourteenth century and, before the capital of Poland moved to Warsaw, was home to the kings of the country.
Although now the royals no longer live in it, this castle is home to great works of art of the Italian Renaissance, as well as a large collection of goldsmiths, weapons, engravings, etc..
The legend of the Wawel Dragon
Before leaving the castle, you will enter through a tunnel that is actually a passageway that connects to a famous cave. There is a large sculpture in the shape of a dragon throwing a flame. Legend has it that this dragon terrorized the people around the castle for years until a cunning shoemaker tricked him into eating a sheep full of sulfur.
I don't know if this story is true, but I assure you that your children will believe it and will have a good time contemplating the figure of the animal. The perfect "colorín colorado" for this excursion!
3. Fun and games at Pinball Museum
Children love to play, so I suggest you let them spend an afternoon at the Pinball Museum in Krakow. In addition, adults will also enjoy reminiscing about your childhood among the dozens of arcade machines in this special museum. But don't let this word fool you, here it's not only about seeing, but also about playing.
Being a fully interactive museum, children will have the time of their lives trying out all the machines and discovering games that, although they may seem "old-fashioned" at first, will end up getting them hooked. If you are calculating all the coins you will need for them to play, don't worry, with the price of admission (approximately 20zl for children and 40zl for adults) there is free access to all the machines. It will be hard to get them out of there!
To top it off, getting to the museum is already quite an adventure because of the place where it is located. It is located near the Old City, but to enter you will have to go through an alley that leads to a back door. Without a doubt, it is like a trip back in time for children and for those who want to feel like children again.
4. Visit the Wax Museum and visit the most important Polish personalities
Have you ever taken your kids to a wax museum? If the answer is no, maybe your visit to Krakow is the time to change that. This city's Wax Museum is fairly new, having opened in 2016 in order to present the most important people in Polish society in the face of World Youth Days.
It is normal for children to get tired of long historical tours around cities, so visiting this museum can be a much more entertaining alternative. They will discover who are the people of reference in the country, as well as other famous people, and you can tell them why they are there or what have been the contributions of John Paul II, Maria Teresa of Calcutta or the footballer Robert Lewandowski.
The entrance fee is also quite affordable (about 30zl) and children under 7 years are free. It may not be an activity to which to dedicate a whole day but, being close to the city's Market Square, you can go to the museum after visiting it.
5. Back to the Middle Ages in the Underground Museum
Krakow is a city that sometimes seems to be taken out of a medieval history book, especially its oldest area. It is very likely that children will be curious to know how people lived in those times and how we have changed. To solve all their doubts, nothing like a visit to the Underground Museum, where they can learn in an interactive and fun way what the Middle Ages were like in Krakow.
Entering this museum means leaving the present behind to open the door to the past. Of course, you will have to go down a few steps, so keep that in mind if you have a stroller. Once there you can discover with your family the history of Krakow during the Middle Ages.
Although most historical museums tend to bore children, this one has maps, recreations, lights, sounds ... That help to create an educational and entertaining atmosphere while discovering the archaeological finds that have been recovered from the ancient city, such as funerary objects or remains of the pavement. In addition, there are usually also temporary exhibitions that narrate other historical events.
One of the great advantages of the museum is that the price is quite cheap (it has a family voucher of about 48zl) and there is even one day a week that is free, but I do not recommend going that day because it is usually crowded and children can not enjoy the same.
6. Discover a Krakow built with Legos at HistoryLand
Do your kids get bored during historical tours and excursions? I'll give you a solution: Historyland. It may still be a history museum, but when Legos are involved, fun takes center stage and kids are less reluctant to visit this museum. Believe it or not, all the recreations of this museum are made with legos, making them much more attractive and original!
In addition to being able to take a tour through the history of Krakow through Legos, you can also put on virtual reality glasses and transport yourself to the Jasna Góra monastery. There is no better way to learn how Krakow has changed over the years, especially during World War II. You and your family can't miss out on this tour, which is also very affordable (approximately 100zl for a family combo of 2 adults + 2 children).
As it could not be otherwise, the last stop had to be a playroom full of lego blocks so that the little ones can build their figures and capture everything they have learned.
7. Meet animals of all kinds in Krakow Zoo
If your kids love animals, have you thought about including Ogred Zoo as a stop on your trip to Krakow? I have to warn you that it is a bit far from the city, although you can easily get there by bus 134. Although it is one of the oldest zoos in the world (it was founded in the 15th century), it is also one of the best, as it has been modernized to house over 1000 animals and even breed rare species.
It is clear that children love to watch large predators from a distance, something they can also do here, but they will also have the opportunity to approach and feed those animals more sympathetic. However, what will most attract their attention will be the freedom with which pink flamingos and peacocks walk around the enclosure.
8. Water fun in Wodny Park
Whetheryou're traveling to Krakow in summer or traveling to Krakow in winter, the Wodny Water Park is always a fun and perfect choice for the kids (and the rest of the family). Being mostly indoor, inclement weather is never a problem to go down its slides, take a dip in its pools or relax in its saunas. It also has specific areas for the little ones, including the pirates' island.
Although it is not a huge park, it is the largest in Poland and in fact it is quite complete. Why do I say that? Because it has attractions for all ages, so any child will be welcome, from the youngest to the beginning of adolescence. Meanwhile, parents can keep an eye on them from the hammocks or take turns going to the sauna.
Keep in mind that during the summer months it tends to be more crowded, since the outdoor area (Aquapark Beach) is also open. In addition, the price is somewhat more expensive (during the rest of the year general access costs approximately 80 zl/hour for three people).
But on the outskirts of Krakow you have another amusement park you can't miss. We are talking about Energylandia, an amazing place where your children can enjoy more than 60 attractions, several roller coasters and a large water park. In addition, there are packages that include, besides the tickets, the transfer to and from the park by minibus, a great experience for you and your family!
9. Walk among the street performers on the Market Square
Sometimes we don't need big excursions to have a good time with our children. Krakow's Market Square is a case in point; it has numerous attractions that will keep the whole family entertained, such as street performers or food and craft stalls.
Being the center of the city, the Market Square is always full of life. It is also a pedestrian area, so you won't have to worry about cars if one of your children suddenly runs out after a pigeon or to get close to one of the musicians playing there.
After so much hustle and bustle they will surely get hungry, so you can buy them a typical Krakow bun, the obwarzanek, or try the menu of one of the restaurants in Krakow.
10. Fly in the Lotnictwa Polskiego Aviation Museum
Kids might be a bit wary if you tell them you're going to a museum, but once they get to the Aviation Museum, they'll forget all their doubts. Why? Because the whole place is quite impressive and allows the little ones to get up close (and even inside) various airplanes and helicopters.
As it is an open-air museum, children will have all the freedom in the world to move around and run among the huge collection of old aircraft, including those from the World Wars and the Soviet fleet. To make the visit even more special, they can put on their helmets and sit in the cockpit of some of the most legendary aircraft; they will feel like real pilots!
Your kids are sure to look forward to a trip to Krakow as much as you are, so be sure to include some of these plans to make their experience even better.
When is the best time to go to Krakow with children?
Although Krakow has its charm all year round, I won't fool you, the winter months can be quite cold. Despite the wide variety of indoor activities to do in the city, such as visiting museums or Krakow's best churches, Krakow is best enjoyed outdoors, among its parks and streets. The cold, the rain and the few hours of daylight are not the best travel companions, believe me, that's why it's better to go in spring.
The cold can be freezing in Krakow and children can have a hard time if they have to be walking or queuing in bad weather. By going in the months between April and September, for example, the little ones will enjoy themselves and you won't have to worry about them catching a cold. The only month in winter when I would advise you to travel to the Polish city is in December, when the lights, markets and Christmas decorations in Krakow are up, the kids love them!