We have already published the article “Castles and Palaces in Krakow Area” about this type of attractions, we have also already talked about all religious attractions in the region in our article “Religious attractions of Krakow and its vicinity” and natural advantages in “National Park’s in Krakow’s Area”. This time we want to concentrate on the most unique attractions.
It is a memorial and museum of Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau which is situated in Oświęcim and Brzezinka about 65 km from Cracow. A visit in this place is definitely not an easy one. After a visit in this former Nazi German concentration camp you will definitely perceive the world in a different way. For many people it is highly depressing place and they are even unable to finish sightseeing of it. Still, it is important to know the history and take care that it never happens again. It is possible to visit Auschwitz with a group and a museum guide or individually. It is very important to book a visit much in advance (even a few months ahead) as tourist entrances are limited. Standard guided tour takes about 3.5-4 h and it includes sightseeing of museum exhibition in Auschwitz and sightseeing the remains of buildings in Birkenau. It is also possible to order 6 h, 2 days visit or workshops for groups. Transfer from Kraków by coach takes about 1.5 h but a group has to be about 20 minutes before their tour at check in to pass all security procedures. Therefore, we recommend leaving Kraków 2 h in advance. Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp is a cemetery of more than 1.5 million people. For this reason we ask to prepare a proper outfit before arrival and respect for the victims during sightseeing.
Wieliczka salt mine (13 km from Cracow) is an extended underground city and certainly one of the most interesting touristic objects In Poland. In 1987 it was put down to UNESCO World Heritage List. Every year the mine is visited by over a million tourists from all over the world. The main is no longer producing salt and since 1996 it has been only a touristic attraction. The mine has 9 levels, the deepest is at the depth of 327 m. One of the best well known chambers in Wieliczka is St. Kinga’s Chapel. The graduation tower (Polish: Tężnia Solankowa, Wieliczka) is located in the Saint Kinga Park, near the Daniłowicz Shaft, which leads to the mine underground. Wieliczka graduation tower is one of the four largest buildings of this type in the country and the largest in Małopolska. It has 7,500 sq m. area and is surrounded by a garden. At the same time, about 100 people will be able to stay in the graduation tower. Tourists will be attracted both by the health benefits of the facility and additional attractions, such as the 22-meter high observation tower. Inhalations at the graduation tower are recommended for people suffering from recurring or chronic respiratory diseases. Patients with rhinitis, inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, laryngitis, and patients with acute respiratory infections after therapy will feel relief. It is also worth going to the graduation tower when you are healthy. Inhalations help clear the respiratory tract.
An underground slide, travelling with an underground train or an underground boat cruise are just a few attractions of Bochnia. Bochnia hasn’t got such a long tourist tradition as Wieliczka but it is equally interesting. One of the most crucial goods of the mine is healing climate. This is why the mine hosts many sanatorium clients. In the underground gym, sports events also take place. Finally, the underground massive chambers are excellent place for conference organization. Bochnia mine constantly develops adding to their offer new points, also using so currently popular multi media effects.
EnergyLandia Park is located in the town of Zator less than a half hour drive from Katowice or Kraków. EnergyLandia is the first full-fledged Amusement Park, which offers its clients world class, highest quality services for all ages: children, teenagers and adults. The park is a place where parents do not need to watch their kids. Instead, they can enjoy their time playing together and spend it on a journey to the land of fairy tales and fantasy—the world of magical and incredible experiences. It is a huge complex with an enormous area of 26 hectares, which includes over 30 various modern and advanced devices and attractions, starting from the extreme ones, through family ones, up to those for the kids. All of them are presented using themed, stylised decorations and arrangements, which together create a complete, audiovisual set prepared for each individual device. It is very important, that in EnergyLandia you only need to buy one ticket to be able to use all devices and attractions as much as you wish and without any limitations.
It is a real Wild West in Silesia, in Żory. It is the first amusement park in Poland inspired by the greatest American classics! Over 10 hectares of the Park are divided into eight thematic zones referring to the history and culture of the overseas. The entire buildings reflect an American town from the 19th century, with a characteristic street layout, buildings and lots of thematic attractions. The Twinpigs theme park has over 30 different attractions. Discovering America begins with Columbus, at the legendary ship Santa Maria moored right at the entrance to the Park. Further on, a Hawaiian beach, a space station and a Mexican hacienda await guests. In the forest zone, they can learn interesting facts about the life of Native Americans. In the park, visitors can also try to milk a cow, gold panning, shoe a horse, and shoot a bow and shotguns at shooting ranges. There are also devices typical for an amusement park - a mill wheel, rushing carousels, a slide, the Haunted Adit and an underground railway.
It is situated about 110 km from Kraków (1h 30 min drive) and 80 km from Kielce (1h 40 min drive). Zalipie is called “a painted village” as it is famous for its folk art painted houses. Currently, there are 20 painted houses there, also a painted health centre and a fire brigade headquarters. Tradition of such decorations in Zalipie has over 100 years. These unusual works of art can be admired especially in Felicja Curyłowa House, which is Regional Museum nowadays, and in the House of Painters. The museum also offers art workshops for visitors. Zalipie female artists decorate with flower patterns not only their houses but also barns, wells, benches, chicken coops, fences and even kennels. Every year on weekend after Corpus Christi holiday there is a contest for the prettiest house. Therefore, it is the best period to visit this colourful village. Zalipie is an excellent choice for all folk art lovers.
It is the only desert in the country and also the biggest European desert. The length of the desert is 10 km and its width is 4 km. The area of moving sands is about 33 km2. Currently only 1/3rd of the whole sand layer is covered in sand only. The rest of it is slowly reclaimed by plants. The distance from Kraków to the desert is 47 km (1:10 h). It is an attractive walking and horse riding area and also a magnificent natural curiosity. At the desert, before and after the Second World War, there was a military training ground organized. Right now Polish army trains parachute jumpers in this area which can also be very spectacular for the tourists in the area.
Prince’s Tychy Brewery is a very interesting tourist spot. The brewery is located about 1:15 h drive from Kraków (about 85 km). Sightseeing takes about 2.5 h. During a tour with full of good humour guides, tourists get to know how beer is produced, learn abort the brewery history, watch 3D film, send postcards from the inside of a huge barrel, taste Tyskie beer and purchase beer bottles as souvenirs. There are also two special tour options: ecology trail and Silesia stories. The brewery tours are available to adult tourists. Visiting Tyskie Brewery is an amazing adventure, which can end at a visit in Tyskie Brewery Pub.
Brewery Museum in Żywiec is about 95 km from Kraków (2 h drive) and about 85 km from Katowice (1 h drive). Żywiec Brewery was established in 1856 and is one of the oldest companies of this type in Poland and definitely one of the most well known. During museum visit tourists get to know more about beer history and its production. The exhibition is modern and interactive, you can touch almost anything that you find in this 1600 m2 area. The museum is open both for adults and children. Sightseeing of the museum with beer tasting (juice tasting for children) takes about 1.5 h, sightseeing of the museum and breweries takes about 2.5 h.
The Chabówka Rolling Stock Heritage Park “Skansen” was opened in 1993 (Polish: Skansen taboru kolejowego w Chabówce). It was built on the site of the old steam depot in Chabówka, and it is famous for the most numerous and one of the most interesting collections of exhibits related to the history of railways in Poland. Several tracks host an exhibition of decommissioned steam engines, electric and diesel locomotives, wagons, plows, cranes and other special rolling stock. Some of them have been brought back into service. Apart from railway vehicles, the facility also houses equipment for the maintenance of steam locomotives. In the memorial room there are many exhibits and stationery related to the history of railways. One of the exhibits of the facility is the TKb-1479 steam locomotive, which was manufactured in 1877 in Berlin. It is the oldest surviving steam locomotive in Poland. Tourist trains with a steam engine run regularly during the holiday season. In addition to the scheduled trains, the rolling stock from Chabówka serves occasional trains: on the occasion of Saint Nicholas Day, New Year, and on the occasion of various railway anniversaries. Trains also run on special request.
Summing up, Krakow’s vicinity is as interesting as Krakow’s agglomeration itself. It is really interesting, inviting and incredibly diverse, so it is worth to plan longer stays in Kraków area. ITS Poland local travel agent happily helps to arrange trips to this area of Poland. Contact us now and begin your journey to Poland straight away!
Author: Agnieszka Szwedzińska