Best Photography Spots in Krakow

Published by Andy from The Travel Hub

Andy is one of the Co-Founders of The Travel Hub and loves combining travel with a passion for photography. From capturing wildlife on safari to cityscapes in New York, travel is always about finding the best shots. Read where to find some great photo spots in Krakow, Poland.

Instagram: @andympics

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These days, travelling and taking photos have become almost synonymous. If you are looking for the best places to get some photos in Krakow, here are some tips from my 3 day visit.

 

1.    Wawel Castle (map)

A famous and iconic structure in Krakow. It is well worth taking a guided tour through Wawel Castle and hearing some of the history - including tales of the Wawel Dragon, right through to when it was the capital of Poland.

The best place for images in my opinion is in front of Trattoria Wawel (map) around sunset. Unfortunately security wants everyone to leave before sunset, however if you strike up a conversation, you should get long enough to take a few images as the sun goes down. The area around this lawn has some great compositions, however directly in front of the café is probably the most iconic.

Wawel Castle at sunset. Taken from in front of Trattoria Wawel - long exposure using an ND filter.

Wawel Castle at sunset. Taken from in front of Trattoria Wawel - long exposure using an ND filter.

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After dark, you can take some long exposure shots from the bridge over the Vistula River – Most Grundwaldzki (map).

Low light long exposures from Most Grunwaldski Bridge.

Low light long exposures from Most Grunwaldski Bridge.

Another great view of Wawel Castle is from the top of the tower of St Mary’s Basilica (map). Purchase tickets to climb the stairs from the small office next to the Hard Rock Café – you need to book a time as only a few people are allow up every 15minutes. From the southern side of the tower you get a great view across the Main Square all the way over to Wawel Castle. You might want a zoom lens if you want to specially photograph the castle from here.

Wawel Castle from the tower of St Mary’s Bascilica

Wawel Castle from the tower of St Mary’s Bascilica

 

2.    Cloth Hall Arches (map)

You could look to either take photos of the Cloth Hall arches, or from within the arches themselves.

A really iconic composition of St Mary’s Basilica is using one of the arches as a frame. In the afternoon you can even create some sunburst effects as the sun goes down between buildings. At night is also a good time to photograph from this spot. I found the archway one south from the middle gave me the best view, but you can play around and see what works for you. You will likely need to get down nice and low to get the whole of the Basilica in your frame and preferably have a wider angle lens than my 24mm.

Using the Cloth Hall arches to frame St Mary’s Bascilica.

Using the Cloth Hall arches to frame St Mary’s Bascilica.

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There is a water feature (map) at the North end of the Main Square and at night this can create some pretty cool reflection shots of the Cloth Hall arches with the fountains also in the shot. You might find it challenging if its busy.

This guy came and sat in my frame while I was taking pics……….I prefer it to the ones without anyone.

This guy came and sat in my frame while I was taking pics……….I prefer it to the ones without anyone.

 

3.    St Mary’s Basilica (map)

Probably the most iconic building in Krakow. It has some pretty cool history and also some great photo opportunities.

If you want to photograph the inside of St Mary’s Basilica, you will need to purchase a ticket from the office next to Hard Rock Café (map) for 10PZL. You will also need to purchase a photography pass inside if you want to use a DSLR camera. Ideally if you have a wide angle lens you will be able to get some incredible photos of the brightly colored artwork and stained glass windows. An overcast day without shadows would be best for this.

The colourful details inside St Mary’s Bascilica

The colourful details inside St Mary’s Bascilica

You can also purchase tickets to climb the tallest of the 2 towers of the Basilica for 15PZL. You will need to book a time as spaces are limited to small groups. You get a great view across the main square and across the city in almost every direction. There are some nice perspectives of the colored rooftops, views of Wawel Castle and of the action in the streets below.

Views from the top of Wawel Castle

Views from the top of Wawel Castle

From the street you can take lots of different perspectives of St Mary’s Basilica. As mentioned above, a really nice perspective is using the arch of Cloth Hall to frame the towers. The street North of St Mary’s Basilica (map) also gives a perfect composition of the towers with some streetscape. Then for something different, you can try and incorporate some of the action and color of the area surrounding St Mary’s Basilica. For example, try to capture one of the horse drawn carriages – again a wide angle lens will be best for this. This is probably a pretty good tourist/lifestyle photo option!

Florianska Street early in the morning

Florianska Street early in the morning

There are lots of horse drawn carriages around St Mary’s Bascilica.

There are lots of horse drawn carriages around St Mary’s Bascilica.

 

4.    Zalew Zakrzowek (map)

This was the most surprising place for me and a favorite place to take photos! In the summer especially the sunny skies will light up the blue water of the quarry that is now a lake. You need to pay 15PZL entry and you can walk around the steep edges. There are great photo spots from lots of places. 

On weekends people will jump from the cliffs for some unique action shots.

On Summer weekends, locals jump from the steep cliffs of the old quarry!

On Summer weekends, locals jump from the steep cliffs of the old quarry!

On the eastern side you can find some great sunset photo spots. There is a bit of walking through some scrub and winding paths. Try and find a spot that has some nice clear water in the foreground with the sheer white cliffs and green vegetation on the opposite side.

Sunset from the eastern side of Zalew Zakrzowek

Sunset from the eastern side of Zalew Zakrzowek

At the southern end, there are some great spots to get down close to the waters edge for long exposure photos.

Long exposures with a ND filter from the southern end of Zalew Zakrzowek

Long exposures with a ND filter from the southern end of Zalew Zakrzowek

Zalew Zakrzowek is also an incredible place for droning! I couldn’t find anything online for Krakow that limited the use of drones while I was there - definitely check and make sure before you visit in case this has changed.

Aerial view of Zalew Zakrozowek

Aerial view of Zalew Zakrozowek

It is roughly 15-20minutes drive from Main Square and it is definitely worth spending an afternoon/sunset here! I found it very easy to get around Krakow and travel out to Zalew Zakrzowek using Uber.

 

5.    Auschwitz (map)

Its hard for me to describe Auschwitz as a “great place to visit”, or even more to say it is great for photos. However, it is one of the most memorable experiences I have had as a traveller and certainly one way of capturing that and being able to share that with others is through photos.

When I visited I tried to capture the depressing feeling you get walking around both Auschwitz I and Birkenau camps. 

Note, there are certain areas in Auschwitz I where you are not permitted to take photos (these are clearly marked).

Its best to book a guided tour (see my guide to visiting Auschwitz). The tours move along pretty fast if you’re looking to take lots of photos. Some of the signs and barbed wire fences create pretty haunting photos that really capture the atmosphere of the place!

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6.    Kazimierz:

The “Jewish Quarter” of Krakow has some really unique architecture and some great street art. There are a couple of famous spots for photos, in particular Szeroka Square (map) with its cobblestone streets, coloured cafes and several synagogues and museums. Kazimierz is a great place to wander around with camera in hand, with loads of street art and small winding streets. There are LOTS of opportunities for lifestyle street photos with unique doorways and alleyways. If you are travelling to create some casual portrait shots, spend some time wandering around Kazimierz

There is also a bridge across the Vistula River at Kazimierz (Passerelle Pere Ojca Bernatka) (map) with some unique architecture sculptures. If you cross it in the afternoon with the sun behind them it’s an opportunity to create some nice sunburst images. It is also a place that you could create some nice reflection and long exposure images.

Sculptures on Passerelle Pere Ojca Bernatka

Sculptures on Passerelle Pere Ojca Bernatka

 

7.    Rynek Glowny (map)

This will likely be the first place you visit as a tourist in Krakow! The Main Square of Old Town – it is where a lot of the cafes, restaurants and buildings like Cloth Hall and St Mary’s Bascilica are located.

So many great photo opportunities just walking around – from the outdoor street stalls, the walk through market of Cloth Hall, the sculptures in the Main Square and of course some of the architecture. It’s a great place to be able to capture some activity and atmosphere. There is definitely plenty of colour and movement and you will find yourself visiting here several times!

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Gallery from Krakow


Equipment:

Nikon D850
Nikkor 24-70mm and Nikkor 70-200mm
Siruii Tripod
Rollei ND Filters
DJI Mavic Pro Drone