17 Unique Museums in Krakow You Need to Visit

Most people associate Krakow with affordable city breaks, good parties, and strong vodka, but did you know that Krakow is actually a museum city as well?

There are 82 museums in Krakow, including one of the biggest aviation museums in the world, countless esteemed art galleries, Oskar Schindler’s Factory museum, as well as lots of unique and rather quirky offerings (bagel museum, anyone?).

However, with so much choice, it can be difficult to know where to begin, which is where I come in.

I’ve been visiting Krakow since 2017, and if I had to guess, I’d say that I’ve visited this magical city at least 20 times, for at least a week each time.

I know Krakow. I know what’s good, what isn’t, and the places you should prioritise if you want to make your most of your time in the city.

Whether you’re a history nerd, an art lover, or a kid at heart, you won’t struggle to find something for you in Krakow.

To make it even easier, I’ve put together this list of the 17 BEST museums in Krakow to get you started.

Let’s get into it.

17 Best Museums in Krakow

Know Before You Go

  • Many of Krakow’s museums are closed on Mondays.
  • Most museums have one day per week where admission is free, so try to time your visit well!
  • While you can show up without a reservation for most museums, there are a few where it’s advisable to buy your ticket in advance. I have included links to ticket websites where applicable.
  • If you plan on visiting several museums in Krakow, it might make more sense to purchase a City Pass, which includes access to 40 museums and free public transport. You can buy a pass that will remain active for 1, 2, or 3 days, allowing you to explore the city on your own schedule.

History Museums

Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory

Schindler’s Factory Museum is one of the most important museums in all of Poland, and it’s certainly one of the best museums in Krakow.

Although the name may suggest otherwise, the museum is not actually inside Schindler’s Factory.

It is actually housed in the former administrative building of the factory, not any of the production buildings.

The museum is also not dedicated to the story of Oskar Schindler; rather it is a day-by-day detailed account of Krakow during the war, with a permanent exhibition titled Kraków During Nazi Occupation 1939-1945.

I’m pointing this out because although Schindler’s Factory is certainly a brilliant museum, I’ve spoken with some people who went there hoping to learn of Schindler’s story and were disappointed that the focus of the museum is quite different.

Good to know

Auschwitz and Birkenau

It seems strange referring to the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau as ‘museums,’ but that is technically what they are, and you cannot visit Krakow without taking a day to learn about the tragic history of the Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps.

You’ll be able to walk around the camps, enter the buildings, and see the macabre collections of spectacles, shoes, and, worst of all, human hair.

There is a short drive between the two camps, which is why I recommend visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau on a tour (I go into this in more detail below).

shoes in auschwitz
A collection of shoes in Auschwitz

Good to know

  • You can visit Auschwitz and Birkenau either on your own, or with a guided tour. I have done both (yes, I’ve visited Auschwitz more then once), and I recommend taking a guided tour. First, it works out at pretty much the same price when you take transport into consideration, and you also get a much more in-depth experience when you visit with a knowledgeable guide.
  • There are certain unwritten rules when visiting Auschwitz that you should familiarise yourself with before you visit.
  • When you enter Auschwitz and Birkenau, your bag will be scanned and you will have to walk through a metal detector.
  • Allow for at least half a day here.
  • You can find more information in my comprehensive guide to visiting Auschwitz, and also on the official website.

Ethnographic Museum

Krakow’s Ethnographic Museum opened over 100 years ago, back in 1911!

Here, you’ll learn all about how life used to be in the Polish countryside.

Mannequins in Polish ethnic garb, painted Easter eggs, old prayer books, tools, and reconstructed rooms of villagers all come together to create a portrait of 19th century Poland, which is very interesting to see.

I personally love ethnographic museums, and have been to them in many countries, Poland included.

Good to know

  • The Ethnographic Museum is open Sun – Tues from 10:00am until 6:00pm. It is closed on Mondays.
  • The Museum has ‘quiet hours’ between 3:00 and 6:00 on Wednesdays. Quiet hours are designed for sensitive people, people on the autism spectrum, and people who want to visit the museum without excess stimuli.
  • Entry costs 18 PLN for adults and 10 PLN for students and seniors.
  • The museum is free on Tuesdays.
  • You can find the Krakow Ethnographic Museum at plac Wolnica 1, 31-060 (Google Maps link).
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Under the Eagle Pharmacy

If you’re interested in history, and specifically people’s personal stories, you’ll want to add Under the Eagle Pharmacy (Apteka Pod Orłem in Polish) in Kazimierz to your list of must-visit Krakow museums.

When the Germans established Podgórze, the largest ghetto in Kraków, they advised the Poles to leave the district. 

However, a Polish pharmacist named Tadeusz Pankiewicz refused to open another pharmacy on the non-Jewish side of town, deciding to stay put instead.

Not only did Under the Eagle become the only pharmacy to remain open in the ghetto, but Pankiewicz and his staff were the only Poles allowed to live and work in the ghetto during its two-year existance!

During this time, Pankiewicz would give free medication to the Jews, as well as providing Jewish leaders with a safe meeting point in his pharmacy.

He helped elderly Jewish people dye their hair in order to give them a more youthful appearance (saving them from certain death), and gave young children sedatives to help them remain hidden.

The pharmacy remained open until 1967, and it has been preserved as a museum which immortalises the story of Tadeusz Pankiewicz and the people he helped.

The pharmacy looks exactly like it did during Nazi occupation, and the exhibition is very interactive, with information, photographs, and replica artefacts inside the chests and cupboards.

Good to know

  • Under the Eagle Pharmacy is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. It is open every other day from 10:00am – 5:00pm.
  • Admission is 18 PLN, or free on Wednesdays.
  • You can find the pharmacy museum at Plac Bohaterów Getta 18, 33-332 (Google Maps link).

Polish Aviation Museum

I’m going to be very upfront here – aviation museums are not my jam, and I don’t ever intend to visit this place.

With that being said, the 14,000 positive Google reviews of this place clearly disagree with me, and so I’ll accept that this may be a great museum, if you’re into planes n’ things.

The Polish Aviation Museum is housed in Krakow’s old airport, and it’s one of the biggest aviation museums in the world!

Scattered along the airport’s old runways are gliders, anti-aircraft weaponry, state-of-the-art fighter jets, aircrafts built for the First and Second World Wars, as well as the Cold War.

If you’re a history or aviation lover, you’ll be able to spend a whole afternoon here, as corroborated by many of the Google Maps reviews I read!

Good to know

  • The Polish Aviation Museum is about a 15 minute taxi ride outside of the centre of town. I recommend using the Bolt taxi app (this is what I always use when I’m in Krakow).
  • The museum is open from Tues – Sun between 9:00am and 5:00pm. It is closed on Mondays.
  • Admission is 27 PLN, and free on Tuesdays.
  • You can find the Polish Aviation Museum at al. Jana Pawła II 39, 31-864 (Google Maps link).

Nowa Huta Museum

If you want to learn more about the communist history of Poland and Krakow, head to the neighbourhood of Nowa Huta and visit the aptly-named Nowa Huta Museum.

Located in a former cinema, the museum details the history of the Nowa Huta neighbourhood, as well as Krakow’s history throughout the Cold War and socialism. There is quite a lot to read, and you could easily spend a couple of hours here.

In the basement, there is an bomb shelter which houses an exhibition about what to do in the case of a nuclear attack.

Good to know

  • The Nowa Huta Museum is open Tues – Sun from 10:00am until 6:00pm.
  • Admission is 16 PLN, and free on Tuesdays.
  • You can find the Nowa Huta Museum at Osiedle Centrum E 1, 31-934 (Google Maps link).
  • Nowa Huta is a bit of a distance from the centre of town. I recommend taking a Bolt taxi (taxi apps are common and very affordable in Poland).
invitation to join the author's facebook group

Museums for Art Lovers

Wawel Royal Castle State Rooms

The Wawel Royal Castle is the most historically and culturally important site in all of Poland, and the castle itself hosts numerous permanent exhibits that art lovers will find fascinating.

Among the exhibits are an important collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, the Sigismund II Augustus tapestry collection, and the largest collection of Ottoman tents in Europe (not always on display).

The thing that I like the most about the exhibitions at Wawel Castle is that you don’t just pay a flat-fee to gain access to everything; instead, you choose the ones that interest you the most and just pay for those ones!

wawel castle grounds
The grounds of Wawel Castle

I’ve been to Wawel Castle countless times over the years, and even if you don’t want to venture in to the exhibits themselves, the castle grounds are lovely to stroll around.

If you visit between spring and autumn, you can also pay a small fee and descend underground into the lair of the legendary Wawel Dragon.

The Dragon’s Den is a cave inside Wawel Hill that goes back 25 million years, and although it will only take you a couple of moments to pass through, the illuminated cave is eerie and fascinating in equal measures.

When you exit on the banks of the Vistula River, you’ll see a huge bronze dragon sculpture that actually breathes fire!

Good to know

  • Because of the number of exhibitions and various ways that you can buy tickets, the best way is to visit the official website, where you can find out all you need to know about planning a day at Wawel Castle!
  • It’s worth making a note that Wawel Castle and its exhibitions are free on Mondays.
  • You can find Wawel Castle at Wawel 5, 31-001 (Google Maps link).

MNK Princes Czartoryski Museum

The Czartoryski Museum is one of the oldest museums in Poland, and is most famous for being the home of Da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine (which happens to be one of my favourite paintings!).

Lady with an Ermine is one of only three oil paintings by Leonardo Da Vinci, and of Krakow’s 2.3 million registered artworks, it is the most important of all.

However, Da Vinci isn’t the only artist to have work displayed here.

The Czartoryski Museum is the most valuable collection of art in Poland, and one of the most important in Europe!

With 26 exhibition halls showcasing everything from paintings to marble sculptures, applied arts, Egyptian artefacts, crafts, antique jewellery, Far Eastern art, historical Polish memorabilia, priceless books and much more.

This isn’t the most interactive museum, so I’d recommend it more for genuine art lovers, rather than tourists looking for something fun to do.

Good to know

  • The Czartoryski Museum is open Tues – Sun from 10:00am until 6:00pm. It is closed on Mondays.
  • The entry fee for adults is 65 PLN and 50 PLN for concessions.
  • Pupils and students between the ages of 7 – 26 pay just 1 PLN.
  • Audio guides are available to rent for an additional 10 PLN, and visually impaired guests will receive an audio guide free of charge.
  • A guided tour in English costs 200 PLN on top of the ticket price.
  • You can find the Czartoryski Museum at ul. Pijarska 15, 31-015 (Google Maps link).
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MOCAK (Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow)

When I was working at a hostel in Krakow, I took some guests to the MOCAK contemporary art museum, and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much inside a museum before!

Now, this may have something to do with the fact that I’m uncultured and find that much contemporary art is a bit much (come on, a video of a sausage dog eating a hotdog is objectively ridiculous!).

mocak museum krakow
One of the most Instagrammable rooms in MOCAK!

However, whether or not you find contemporary art as amusing as I do, you can’t fail to be entertained at MOCAK.

The exhibit is huge and varied, and I ended up spending far longer here than I first imagined!

There are also lots of interactive pieces that lend themselves well to photo opportunities, as well as a nice café and book shop here.

Good to know

  • MOCAK is right next to Schindler’s Factory museum, so you could easily combine a visit to both.
  • The museum is open Tues – Sun from 11:00am until 7:00pm. It is closed on Mondays.
  • Entrance is 25 PLN, with part of the museum being free to look around on Thursdays.
  • You can find MOCAK at Lipowa 4, 30 – 702 (Google Maps link).

19th Century Polish Art Gallery

One of the most underrated museums in Krakow if you’re an art lover is the 19th Century Polish Art Gallery, located inside the Cloth Hall.

This is Krakow’s oldest museum, and while small, it has a wonderful collection of treasured Polish works, mainly portraiture and epic historical paintings.

There’s also a small balcony here where you can enjoy a lovely view over Krakow’s main market square.

Good to know

  • The gallery is open Tues – Sun from 10:00am until 6:00pm. It is closed on Mondays.
  • Admission is 35 PLN.
  • The gallery is free to enter on Tuesdays.
  • For an additional 7 PLN, you can rent an audio guide, which I highly recommend. Art can be difficult to appreciate if you don’t have the historical and contextual knowledge about the artist and the piece itself, and I always like to have a guide in art galleries where possible.
  • The 19th Century Polish Art Gallery is inside the Cloth Hall. Here is a Google Maps link.
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Poster Gallery

Polish posters have played a huge role in modern graphic history, and during the 1950s and 60s, they were considered the finest in the world!

Krakow’s Poster Gallery is an iconic attraction for poster-lovers and graphic design nerds.

Founded in 1985, it is the only gallery in Poland that specialises in promotional posters, and today you can admire thousands of posters created by hundreds of Polish graphic artists, painters, and designers.

Starting with the founder’s private collection, the Poster Gallery now has about 40,000 posters, and having a look through them is as much a lesson in pop culture and history as it is in art and design.

Good to know

  • Many of the posters here are for sale at reasonable prices, so this is a great place to come for souvenirs.
  • The gallery is open Mon – Fri from 12:00pm until 4:00pm (5:00pm on Fridays), and Saturdays between 11:00am – 2:00pm. It is closed on Sundays.
  • Entrance is free.
  • You can find Krakow’s Poster Gallery at Kramy Dominikańskie ul. Stolarska 8-10 31-043 (Google Maps link).

Stained Glass Museum

Krakow’s Stained Glass Museum and Workshop has been an active workshop for over 100 years (since 1902!), and it is considered one of the best stained glass workshops in Europe.

Not only can you see the original projects from the Polish Art Nouveau period masters, and admire the original interior of the building, but you’ll also witness how stained glass windows come to life, which is what really makes this museum unique.

Visits are always conducted by a museum guide who will lead you through original workshop rooms and explain everything as you go.

I haven’t personally visited this museum, but an artist friend living in Krakow told me that it’s one of her favourites!

Good to know

  • The museum is open from Tues – Sat. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
  • English speaking tours take place at 12:00pm and 3:00pm, and each guided tour lasts for 45-60 minutes.
  • Entrance costs 50 PLN and includes the tour. Children under 4 go free. You can buy tickets here.
  • The museum is dog-friendly.
  • You can find the Stained Glass Museum at Aleja Zygmunta Krasińskiego 23, 31-111 (Google maps link).

Quirky and Unusual Krakow Museums

Museum of Illusions

If you’re looking for things to do in Krakow when it rains, the Krakow Museum of Illusions (Muzeum Iluzji) is a great place to spend an hour or two.

I visited the Museum of Illusions with my boyfriend on a dismal day in Krakow, and we had so much fun!

In the museum, you’ll find traditional picture illusions, funhouse mirrors, a 2D room, upside down bedroom, and tonnes of other toys and objects to interact with – Ethan and I took so many goofy pictures while we were here!

Good to know

  • The Museum of Illusions is open Mon – Fri between 10:00am and 7:00pm, and Sat – Sun from 10:00am until 8:00pm.
  • Admission is 55 PLN for adults, with reduced rates for students, children, and seniors. Children under 3 go free.
  • The Museum of Illusions is at Floriana Straszewskiego 15 (Google Maps link).
  • You can find out more on their website.
the author in a kaleidoscope illusion
an optical illusion of a giant chair with the author standing on it
the author posing with an optical illusion painting

Obwarzanek Museum

What if I told you that Krakow has a bagel museum?!

Obwarzanki are a beloved street food in Krakow that you can find on almost every street corner, and they are very similar to the humble bagel!

In this whimsical museum, you will learn the 600-year history of obwarzanki, before being guided through the process of making your very own, which you can take home with you!

I love Polish food, so this one is well up my street.

English workshops are pretty infrequent and you have to book in advance, so it’s best visiting the website for opening times and bookings.

Good to know

  • Tickets cost 40 PLN.
  • Children between 3 – 18, students, and senior citizens can enter at a reduced rate of 35 PLN.
  • Children under 3 go free.
  • The duration of your visit will be about 1 hour.

Rynek Underground Museum

One of the most interesting museums in Krakow is actually hidden underground, 4 metres below the main market square!

Rynek Underground details the entire history of Krakow through a futuristic mix of touchscreens, holograms, and other interactive multimedia.

The most interesting part of the museum however, is the recently excavated merchant stalls from the Middle Ages, foundations of cottages from the 12th/13th centuries, reconstructions of craftsman’s workshops, and even original items recovered in archaeological digs!

If you’re an ancient history nerd, you’ll love Rynek Underground, and lovers of all things spooky will be drawn to the vampire prevention burials in the remains of an ancient cemetery!

Good to know

  • Entrance to Rynek Underground costs 32 PLN, and children under 7 can enter for free.
  • Entrance is FREE on Tuesdays.
  • Tickets for Rynek Underground must be bought in advance, and you can do this via their website.
  • You can book a 2 hour guided tour here if you want to learn even more!
  • Rynek Underground is located underneath the Cloth Hall, in the middle of the main market square. The entrance to the museum is from the arcaded gallery of the Cloth Hall, at the side facing St Mary’s Basilica.
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Torture Museum

Being the morbid tourist that I am, I love torture museums, and if I see one when I’m travelling, I’m always first in line to visit (although let’s be honest – they’re all more or less the same!).

The Krakow Torture Museum (Museum Kata Kacianora) houses a small collection of 20 model torture instruments, all of which were legally used on people during criminal cases across Europe in the Middle Ages and the early modern period.

What makes this torture museum stand out is the friendly owner Kamil, who will accompany you through the museum, dressed as an executioner and eagerly telling you stories about the gruesome torture methods that took place centuries ago.

You won’t need long here, but it’s worth a visit if you’re into the macabre.

Good to know

  • Entrance includes the guided tour and costs 35 PLN.
  • The museum is open daily from 10:00am until 9:00pm.
  • You can find the Torture Museum at 10 Florianska Street (Google Maps link).

Bricks & Figs

One for the true geeks among you, Bricks & Figs is a LEGO museum that houses over 14,000 Minifigures and 700 rare sets.

The collection is a result of 6 years worth of careful curation, and it includes some of the rarest and most sought-after items in the LEGO universe.

One of the LEGO Minifigures even journeyed into space and spent nearly a week aboard the International Space Station!

Good to know

  • Bricks & Figs is open every day from 10:00am until 8:00pm.
  • Admission is 39 PLN for adults and 29 for children.
  • There’s an onsite store where you can buy recent and vintage LEGO sets and Minifigures.
  • There’s also an onsite coffee and wine bar where you can enjoy a refreshment and play with some LEGO before you leave.
  • You can find Brick & Fig at Henryka Dąbrowskiego 20 St. 30-532 (Google Maps link).

A Word of Caution

Some publications on the first page of Google – *cough* Trip Advisor *cough* – list places like the Krakow Pinball Museum and Lost Souls Alley as museums.

While certainly worth a visit, these places are NOT museums.

The Krakow Pinball Museum is a pinball bar, and Lost Souls Alley is a haunted house scare attraction.

Again, both very entertaining places to visit (I’ve been to both of them on multiple occasions), but not museums.

If you’re looking for quirky places like these, you might like my post about unusual things to do in Krakow, or things to do in Krakow at night.

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Museums in Krakow | Final Thoughts

So, that brings us to the end of my best recommendations for museum-hopping in Krakow!

Remember that if you plan on visiting several museums, it might be wise to purchase a City Pass, which will grant you access to 40 museums and attractions in the city. Of course, make sure that the museums that you want to visit are included in the pass before you buy it!

There are so many museums in Krakow, no matter what your idea of fun is.

Personally, I love the quirkier ones on the list, but when it comes to history and art, there are tonnes of excellent museums to choose from.

That’s all I’ve got for today’s post, but as always, if you have any questions then don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments section below!

I’ve visited Krakow more times than I can count, and I know this city like the back of my hand, so if I don’t know it, it probably isn’t worth knowing 😉

You may also find the following posts useful:

Best Restaurants in Krakow

A Guide to Krakow’s Nightlife

Until next time,


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