Among the things to do and see in Krakow you must include a visit to the Jewish Quarter. This site, also known as the Jewish ghetto of Krakow, was one of the five large neighbourhoods created by the Nazis during the occupation of Poland in World War II. Many points remain today that serve as evidence of one of the greatest stories and crimes in the history of mankind.
For your tour of this neighbourhood you can choose from walking, cycling or Segway tours. Each one covers certain attractions and museums. You can choose the one that best suits your time and preferences. Although most of them are historical tours, some of them, such as the gastronomic tour, show you another side of the famous quarter.
1. Private tour of the Jewish Quarter: passing by Schindler's factory and Ghetto Heroes' Square
Krakow's fascinating Jewish Quarter is a must-see if you are on holiday in Krakow. I recommend choosing this tour as it will allow you to discover several attractions in one day.
During the tour your guide will tell you the history behind all the sites you visit. The total duration of the tour is about 3 hours and the average cost of the tour is 50 €.
After meeting your tour guide and your group in Krakow, you will walk to the Jewish quarter, the Kazimierz. The walk is approximately 20 minutes, depending on the meeting point. Once you reach the quarter you will realise how two cultures, Polish and Jewish, can live together in one place.
If you have only two days to explore Krakow, this is the ideal tour for you. When you arrive in Kazimierz, the Jewish quarter, you'll pass Schindler's factory, the site that saved over 1200 Jews from the Holocaust.
Other sites you will pass are the Ghetto Heroes Square and the Eagle's Pharmacy Museum. This pharmacy is often overlooked during visits to the neighbourhood. However, it played an important role in Jewish history as it served as a meeting place and shelter to receive medicines and food.
The owner of the pharmacy was Polish and refused to leave his home when the Nazis designated the space as the Jewish ghetto. On the tour you will learn more about this history.
- Price: around 50 €.
- Duration: about 3 hours.
- Means of transport: on foot.
- Advantages of this option: you will get a quick tour of the Jewish Quarter and see the most famous sites from the outside.
- Disadvantages of this option: this tour will probably leave you wanting to see more, as the tour is only done from the outside. However, the guide will do his best to make sure you learn all the details of each historical site.
2. Kazimierz Gastronomic Tour
If you are interested in gastronomic tours in Krakow, I invite you to take such a tour to the Kazimierz district. The tour is on foot so you can visit up to 5 restaurants.
During the tour you will spend about 3 hours so that you can taste all the dishes at your leisure. Your entrance fee of around €70 includes the food samples you receive in each restaurant.
The Kazimierz district is one of the oldest in Krakow, so its culture and history is present not only in the historical sites but also in its food. As you taste the food, your guide will tell you the history behind many of the dishes. They are usually a mixture of Polish and Jewish culture.
The tour guide will tell you which area of the restaurants you should go to for a sample of the food. In total you will taste 15 dishes. In addition to the food, you can sample the local craft beer and vodka. Other drinks such as water and soft drinks are available if you prefer them.
I invite you to take advantage of this tour not only to eat, but also to meet people with the same interests as you. Food is always a good excuse for conversation.
In addition to the restaurants you visit, your guide will recommend cafés, bars and other restaurants. These can be added to your list of the best restaurants in Krakow.
- Price: around 70 €.
- Duration: about 3.5 hours.
- Means of transport: on foot
- Advantages of this option: with this type of tour you will get to know another side of the Jewish Quarter and not only its history and most popular sites.
- Disadvantages of this option: if you have various food intolerances or allergies you should be very cautious with this tour.
3. Tour of Kazimierz: includes visits to museums and synagogues.
If you don't want to miss any of the sights of the Jewish Quarter, I recommend this walking tour. At each stop you will have enough time to enter and walk around the site, while listening to the stories your guide will tell you. The tour lasts approximately 4+ hours and costs an average of €70.
The first stop is the Oskar Schindler Factory. In this former enamel factory you will see exhibits showing what life was like in Krakow during World War II. You can enter for as long as your guide says and then continue your tour.
The next stop is Ghetto Heroes' Square. Here you can admire the monument to the ghetto heroes and listen to the historical facts told by the guide.
Then you will head to the Father Bernatek Footbridge over the Vistula River, which connects the Kazimierz district with the Podgorze district. Here you will see that many tourists hang padlocks as a symbol of a promise.
It also stops at the Galician Jewish Museum in Krakow, which commemorates the victims of the Holocaust, and the New Jewish Cemetery.
You will also pass the old ghetto walls, Szeroka Street, the statue of Jan Karski and the New Square.
Mrs. Dresner's courtyard and stairs is an expected location for many visitors as this site is featured in Steven Spielberg's film "Schindler's List", so film buffs always stop to take pictures.
- Price: around 80 €.
- Duration: about 4 hours
- Means of transport: on foot
- Advantages of this option: it is one of the most complete tours as it allows you to visit the most interesting places, not just pass by them.
- Disadvantages of this option: it is a tour that requires a lot of energy to keep you walking for hours. I recommend you to have breakfast before leaving, and to bring bottles of water and snacks for the way. Remember that inside the museums and synagogues you should not eat food.
4. Segway tour of Krakow's Jewish Quarter
For some people the walking tour through the Jewish Quarter of Krakow can be a bit tiring. However, there are other ways to get around this place without any problems:using a segway you can tour all the most popular sights of the area in about 2 hours. The average cost of these tours is 40 €. On board this vehicle you can explore the streets full of restaurants and bars, but also the historic side of the Jewish quarter.
First you should start the tour with a short lesson or training. The guide will explain how the Segway works, an ideal transport for people with reduced mobility
After this you will be ready to explore the local streets and markets. You will also pass by the Schindler factory, Ghetto Heroes Square, the most famous synagogues, the Father Bernatek Footbridge, among other places of interest. Please note that the tour does not include entrance to any museums or factories, you will only pass in front of them. We invite you to pay attention to all the historical facts that the guide will tell you along the way.
- Price: around 40 €.
- Duration: about 2 hours.
- Means of transport: Segway.
- Advantages of this option: it allows you to take in all the popular sites of the Jewish Quarter on board an easy-to-handle vehicle.
- Disadvantages of this option: this tour does not allow you to enter the museums and other sites that can be explored from the inside.
5. Bicycle tour of Krakow and the Jewish Quarter
If you liked the idea of the segway tour of the Jewish Quarter, this bike tour I'm sure you'll love. This option is ideal if you are looking for things to do in 1 day in Krakow, as you will not only see the Jewish Quarter, but also a good part of Krakow. This tour can take up to 4 hours and only costs an average of €19.
Start the tour at the meeting point that your guide has set up in advance. There you will be assigned a bike and given instructions. It goes without saying that you should know how to ride a bike to avoid accidents.
Not all companies provide helmets, elbow and knee protectors. I advise you to take them with you to avoid injury in case of an accident.
The tour starts in the Old Town of Krakow and follows the city's network of cycle paths. As you go along you will see the Krakow Market Square and the Royal Wawel Castle. You can visit the Krakow Castle another time, as it is a very popular site and worth seeing. The Market Square also offers several things to do and deserves a special visit.
The route will take you to the Jewish Quarter of Krakow. From your bike you will be able to appreciate the modern part of this area, full of art galleries, restaurants and so on. However, you will also pass by synagogues, cemeteries and museums. The guide will allow you to stop at certain points so that you can appreciate the scenery and take some pictures.
- Price: around €19.
- Duration: 4 hours or less.
- Means of transport: bicycle.
- Advantages of this option: with this tour you can see part of the city of Krakow before entering the Jewish Quarter.
- Disadvantages of this option: like the Segway tour, you will not be able to enter anywhere by bike.
What will I see on this type of tour?
Krakow is a city in southern Poland where around 60,000 Jews lived. When the German army occupied this city, the persecution of the Jews intensified.
One of the measures taken was the creation of a Jewish quarter within Krakow. Today this site is preserved so that you can visit it and never forget these historical events.
The quarter was enclosed with barbed wire fences and even stone walls. Although the site is now modernised, you can still see traces of perhaps the darkest episode in Polish history. The tour guide will tell you in detail about each of the sites you visit.
Although you could say that every street, wall and corner of this place has something to tell, there are certain places that you cannot miss. As I mentioned in the rest of the article, you will see museums that house the history of the Jews and their persecution. Many of these sites were once factories where Jews worked.
Other sites such as the Royal Wawel Castle became the residence of Nazi lawyer Hans Frank, who was appointed Governor General of Poland. As well as this you will find other points of interest.
Tips for an excursion to Krakow's Jewish Quarter
As you may have noticed, most of the tours are on foot. That's why my main advice is to take ergonomic shoes that allow you to walk freely.
Another important point is your clothing. I also recommend you to wear comfortable clothes that will allow you to move around freely, although this will depend on the season, because in Krakow it can get quite cold in winter.
If you want to go on a bike tour, wear trousers that will help you ride better. Many accidents happen because a person cannot pedal freely due to their clothes or shoes.
On this tour you will be constantly exposed to the sun. If you travel to Krakow in summer I suggest you to be more careful. Always apply sunscreen on your skin and bring your water bottle to keep yourself hydrated.
If you visit Krakow in winter you can also do these tours, but always wear warm clothes that keep you warm, but still comfortable for you.
What are the advantages of taking a guided tour vs. visiting Krakow's Jewish Quarter on my own?
Many people often question whether or not it is worth paying for a sightseeing tour or visiting the Jewish Quarter on their own. Honestly, both ways have their advantages. However, I recommend you to visit this place with a tour guide, because this person knows all the sites and will be able to take you to them more quickly.
On the other hand, if you go on your own you will most likely have to constantly be using your smart phone to check the directions on Google Maps. This sometimes prevents you from fully concentrating on the new sites in front of you.
In addition, the tours are already planned and have an organised schedule so that you can visit all the sites without missing anything. If you go on your own, you may not know exactly how to get around the museums or how much time you should spend on each activity.
If you still want to visit the site on your own, I advise you to plan your day carefully by checking distances and ticket prices.
Let's compare the options
Private tour of the Jewish Quarter: passing by Schindler's factory and Ghetto Heroes' Square.
Price: about 50 €.
Duration: about 3 hours.
Means of transport: on foot.
Gastronomic tour to Kazimierz from Krakow
Price: about 70 €.
Duration: about 3.5 hours.
Means of transport**: on foot
- Tour of Kazimierz: including visits to museums and synagogues.
- Price: about 80 €.
- Duration: about 4 hours.
- Means of transport: on foot
Segway tour through the Jewish quarter of Krakow.
Price: about 40 €.
Duration: about 2 hours.
Means of transport: Segway.
Bicycle tour of Krakow and the Jewish Quarter
Price: about 19 €.
Duration: 4 hours or less.
Means of transport: bicycle.