Uncovering the best places to visit in Krakow for the best photos turned out to be an easier task than we expected. The city is stunning and offers plenty to travelers during a visit.
When most people think of Poland they think of WWII along with the mass destruction and death that went along with that in every polish city.
Krakow survived most of the destruction of the Nazis because they surrendered and it became the capital governed by the Nazis during WWII. This, in return, saved most of the historic buildings in Krakow.
Krakow is truly a photographer’s ideal city. There are so many photogenic things in such a short distance.
Don’t leave home without your Lonely Planet Poland (Travel Guide)
10 Places to Visit in Krakow For the Best Photos
1. Plac Wielkiej Armii Napoleona
Tucked in between the Vistula River and the shadow of Wawel Royal Castle is a little unknown square to tourist called Plac Wielkiej Armii Napoleona.
Maybe unknown to tourists, but is a hot spot for young locals to meet up and hang out.
Throughout the day you will find locals enjoying the views along the Vistula riverbanks, skateboarders practicing their moves, and at night this park lights up with locals dancing to old fission music.
For us, this was a magical spot to see the youth dancing to old music and just enjoying life. If you’re looking for a place to just sit to take in the sights and sounds of locals this is your place.
It’s also a great spot to take night photography of Wawel Royal Castle. Making it the perfect spot to start your tour of the best photo spots in Krakow.
Recommend time to allow for photographing Plac Wielkiej Armii Napoleona: 1-2 hours depending on the time of day and what’s going on.
2. Wawel Royal Castle and Wawel Cathedral
Standing along the Vistula riverside gazing up at the large castle walls, saying to myself, “Wow, this is truly a castle.” This fortified hilltop castle was constructed in the 14th century.
We made our way around the tall red brick walls to the iconic statue that guards the castle wall. Every castle needs a fire-breathing dragon, right?
The Smok Wawelski statue is located along the wall and it really does breath fire. There is not only great photos to take along the outside of Wawel Royal Castle but climb up in the Castle to discover its grounds.
The castle grounds have a large garden, a great scenic overlook, museums and a photogenic Gothic Cathedral with royal tombs. Photos are not allowed inside of the Wawel Cathedral.
So this is your chance to put down your camera and enjoy the sights inside. After discovering the full property of Wawel Royal Castle and Wawel Cathedral you will understand why it’s one of the best places to visit in Krakow for photos.
Recommend time to allow for photographing Wawel Royal Castle and Wawel Cathedral: 1-2 Hours. Grounds are free to walk around; you must pay entrance fees to enter the Wawel Cathedral and the Museums.
Grounds are open from 6am-Dusk.
Check out these guided tours of Wawel Castle:
3. Grodzka St. The Royal Road
One of the oldest streets in Krakow is Grodzka St also known as The Royal Road. Stroll down this road and you will see most of the historic landmarks in Krakow.
From Saints Peter and Paul Church, Rynek Główny (Town Square), Sukiennice, St. Mary’s Basilica, and St. Florian’s Gate.
Some historic buildings on this road did not have street numbers they had animals marking buildings. For photographers this is the honey hole, Grodzka St stretches throughout all of old town from one end to the next.
Just walking this street you will be able to capture some of the best photos. There’s no wonder why it’s on our list of best photo spots in Krakow.
Recommend time to allow for photographing Grodzka St: If you’re going to walk the whole street it can take 2-3 hours. Most of the streets are walking streets and can get crowded throughout the day.
4. Saints Peter and Paul Church, Krakow
Guarded along the oldest district in Krakow is the church of Saints Peter and Paul Church (Polish Kościół pw. św. Apostołów Piotra).
Guarded by the 12 apostles, this Catholic Church has a great fence built along the outside grounds.
You can not miss this large limestone fence with several plinths with raised sculptures of apostles while you’re walking down the street. Within the grounds is a large Baroque-style building was built between 1597-1619.
Recommend time to allow for photographing Saints Peter and Paul Church, Krakow: 10-15 minutes unless you go inside, once inside you could spend hours exploring this old Catholic Church.
5. Jagiellonian University – Collegium Maius
I know what you’re thinking, a University? Jagiellonian University is the oldest university in Poland, founded in 1364.
It’s the second oldest university in Central Europe and one of the oldest universities in the world.
Tucked inside this old university is a musical clock that plays throughout the day at 9 A.M., 11 A.M., 1 P.M., 3 P.M., and 5 P.M.
Known as the famous University Clock, most tourist only know about this if they are on a guided tour, it’s easy to missed by just not knowing it’s even there.
Recommend time to allow for photographing Jagiellonian University: 15-20 minutes. Try to plan your spot before the show, even though it’s not well known, the grounds are small.
Don’t leave home without your Lonely Planet Poland (Travel Guide)
6. The Grand Square Rynek Główny (Town Hall Tower Sukiennice, Bazylika Mariacka)
This square is one of the best squares in Europe and it has everything from accent architecture, cobbled streets, horse-drawn carriages, large fountains and great shopping,
The main square Rynek Główny dates back to the 13th century surrounded by historic townhouses and churches. It’s easy to spend hours here enjoying the sights and sounds.
At night the square is lit up and provides a great chance for some great night photography with many different subjects in one location.
Like all of Europe the best photo spots in Krakow are by climbing a church tower, and for the best view of Kynek Growny you must climb the tower of St. Mary’s Basilica (Bazylika Mariacka).
This church is located adjacent to the main market square and is famous for its wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss. Get there early for a good spot to view the altarpiece. You will have to pay for photos but it’s worth it.
This 14th century brick Gothic church has two towers, one larger than the other. You can climb the 239 steps of the tallest tower for the best photo spot of the main square.
While we were up in the tower we got a first-hand view of the hourly hejnał (bugle call).
Church Cost: 10 zł and 5 zł children
Tower Cost: 15 zł and 10 zł children (tickets do sell out. Buy in advance)
Opening Hours: 11.30am-5.30pm Mon-Sat, 2-5.30pm Sun
Recommend time to allow for photographing Rynek Główny: You should allow for 2-3 hours to photograph the square, a great time to visit this square is during golden hour.
7. St. Florian’s Gate
Standing in the center of the main square looking down Grodzka St, there’s a large rectangular Gothic tower. This tall focal point is St. Florian’s Gate built in the 14th century.
This beautiful gate has the only remains of the old city walls and is one of the best places to visit in Krakow.
It gives you an idea of what the city looked like hundreds of years ago. It is one of the top places if you love history too.
Recommend time to allow for photographing St. Florian’s Gate: 10-15 minutes
8. Kraków Barbican
Grading the entrance of Old Town Krakow is the Krakow Barbican. This large historic gateway was once a fortified outpost connecting the city walls.
Instead of city blocks, there would have been a moat surrounding it, now the old wall is a great city park that circles the old city, making it a perfect addition to our best photo spots in Krakow list.
Recommend time to allow for photographing Krakow Barbican: 20-30 minutes
Looking for a tour of Krakow Barbican? Check out Viator tours.
9. Planty Park
Some of the best photo spots in busy cities are in parks. One of the biggest parks and best places to visit in Krakow is Planty Park.
It encircles the Stare Miasto, where the medieval city walls used to stand until the early 19th century.
You can get lost in nature within the big city photographing colorful gardens and great fountains. Throughout all times of the day, you will find locals and travelers enjoying this slice of nature around the old city.
After a scenic stroll with your camera, you will see why Plenty Park is one of the best photo spots in Krakow.
Recommend time to allow for photographing Planty Park: 1-2 hours
10. Alta Shul (Jewish District) Famous Szeroka St
Like many of the best places to visit in Krakow, get transported back in time to this multi-religious and culturally rich place by exploring Alta Shul (Jewish District.) This is a great district to just roam around and see what you can find.
There’re many restaurants, art galleries, nightclubs and throughout the summer there are many street festivals. The old Jewish Quarter is also known for its street art.
Recommend time to allow for photographing Alta Shul: 1-2 hours. It’s a little far from everything in Krakow.
Best Photo Spots in Krakow Conclusion
Krakow falls into a unique category that only a few major European cities fall into.
No matter how hard European cities try to rebuild the destruction after the war, you can always tell the ones that were not rebuilt from scratch. Krakow certainly falls into a unique category.
Of course, this list is not absolute and you’ll find plenty of other great photo opportunities if you just take the time to wander around the city.
More on Poland:
- 25 Things to Do in Krakow For First Time Visitors
- 15 Best Things to Do in Warsaw, Poland
- 10 Cheapest Places to Travel in Europe