St. Mary's Basilica (Kosciól Mariacki)

#3 in Best Things To Do in Krakow
St. Mary's Basilica (Kosciól Mariacki) picture
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Key Info

plac Mariacki 5

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.5scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Sitting on the eastern corner of the Main Market Square, St. Mary's Basilica is a Gothic-style church that was originally built in the 13th century. It was destroyed by the Tatars and then rebuilt in the 14th century. It features two towers that have different styles, as well as different heights. But the basilica's highlight is a wooden altarpiece found on the wall near the visitor's entrance. It consists of a series of panels that depict biblical scenes such as the ascension of Jesus.

Past visitors suggest arranging your visit to St. Mary's around the turn of the hour. That's when a trumpeter sounds his horn from the taller of the towers. Many also said you should try arriving at opening so you can see nuns unveiling the church's beautiful altar. Keep in mind, though, that visits here are only free for worshippers. Exploring the basilica will set you back 10 Polish zloty (less than $3), while climbing up the tower will cost an additional 15 Polish zloty ($4). You'll also be charged 5 Polish zloty (approximately $1.50) if you wish to take photos inside.

St. Mary's Basilica is open to tourists from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and between 2 and 6 p.m. on Sundays. Mass, which is free to attend, is hosted as well every Sunday morning. No facilities are available inside, but a variety of shops and restaurants can be found in the surrounding Main Market Square. Tickets for snapping photos and touring the property are sold in a store across the street. You can reach the property by walking from central sights like Wawel Cathedral, hailing a taxi or taking the No. 1, 4, 6, 8, 13, 14, 18, 20, 24 or 72 tram to one of Old Town's stops.

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Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum1 of 6
Main Market Square (Rynek Glówny)2 of 6
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum

A 42-mile trip west of Kraków, the brutal, crushing concentration and extermination camps of Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau are located in the city of Oswiecim. More than 1.1 million people died in these camps' barracks, hospitals, gas chambers and labor fields.

Travelers say the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is one of Europe's best preserved concentration camps. These camps, many add, are an important piece of history, although you'll feel emotional during your tour. As such, this locale is not ideal for younger children. Plan on bringing water and wearing comfortable walking shoes since you'll cover a lot of ground here. Also, reserve your timed entry passes and guided tours on the property's booking page well in advance.

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