Southern part of Kraków consists of six districts. Most interesting are Podgórze and Dębniki, located on the Vistula river bank opposite the Old Town. Districts further south (Łagiewniki, Kurdwanów, Bieżanów) are mainly residential.
Podgórze was granted city status in 1784 and until 1915 was an independent city. In 1915 it become a district Krakow and at that time it was one fifth of the whole Krakow city size.
In 1941 the Kraków Ghetto was established in Podgórze by Nazi occupation authorities. In 1943 the ghetto was 'liquidated' and inhabitants were moved to concentration camps. The monument located on the Ghetto Heroes Square (Plac Bohaterów Getta) is inspired by the moment when deported Jews were forced to leave their belongings (furniture, etc.) on the square before mounting trains headed to the camps. See Steven Spielberg's award-winning film Schindler's List, shot in Krakow in 1993, to catch a glimpse of life conditions in Krakow Ghetto and KL Krakow - Plaszow and understand the story behind Oscar Schindler's enamel factory. There are some props left from shooting the film in Liban work camp, but it's important to know those are not the real thing.
Podgórze to this day remains one of most 'industrialized' districts in Krakow, but lately a kind of gentrification process takes place with new cultural (like Museum Of Contemporary Art Krakow) and housing projects appearing in former industrial areas.
Stroll from Kazimierz through the bike/footbridge called "The Father Bernatek's Footbridge" (in Polish "Kładka Bernatka") at the end of ul. Mostowa. This footbridge will deliver you nearby to the Rynek Podgórski (Podgórze Market) surroundings.
- 1 Krakus Mound (Kopiec Krakusa) (3 km south of city centre). 24 hours. An artificial mound of great age, but just how old and its original purpose are unknown. It was supposedly built in honour of King Krakus, a mythical figure, but it contains no human remains and its earliest artefacts are 8th century. Four smaller mounds ringed it but were raided for building material in the Middle Ages. There is a curious astronomical alignment: if you stand atop it on Beltane (1 May), the sun rises over the equally unexplained Wanda Mound north of the river. But Beltane is a Celtic rite: this region hasn't been Celtic since the La Tène Iron Age culture of 2000 years ago. A mystery. Free.
- 2 Fort Benedict (Fort Benedykta). Gun turret built between 1853 and 1856. Unique in terms of European fortress architecture. The building is not accessible and the surrounding area is fenced off.
- 3 Krakow-Plaszow concentration camp (Obóz Koncentracyjny Kraków-Płaszów). Area of former camp is now grass fields and hills with one large stone monument commemorating the victims. Also the villa of Amon Göth, the commandant of the camp, is still standing. See Holocaust remembrance for context.
- 4 Liban work camp (obóz pracy Liban). Camp for Polish and Ukrainian prisoners who worked in very harsh conditions in a quarry and lime kiln.
- Ghetto walls. There are two places where you can still see remains of the wall shaped like a row of matzevas (Jewish tombstones). One at ul. Lwowska is fitted with memorial plaque, the other, less known, is behind the school at ul. Limanowskiego 60 - 62.
- 5 Bednarski Park (Park Bednarskiego) (behind St. Joseph's Church). Established (by the end of 19th century) around former industrial area (limestone quarry). These days slightly run down but has its own unique atmosphere and is considered the most beautiful park in Krakow.
Museums and galleries
- 6 MOCAK (Museum Of Contemporary Art Krakow), ul. Lipowa 4, ☏ . Tu-Su 11:00-19:00, M closed. One of the newest museums in Krakow, located in renovated buildings belonging to the former Schindler’s Factory, houses a permanent collection and temporary exhibitions of modern art, sometimes the 'I don't get it' kind. Inside a bookstore with albums on not only Polish art and a cafeteria. 14 zł, reduced 7 zł, Tuesdays free.
- 7 [dead link] Schindler's Factory Emalia, ul. Lipowa 4, ☏ . Apr-Oct (summer): M 10:00-16:00 (except every first M of the month when it closes at 14:00), Tu-Su 09:00-20:00. Nov-Mar (winter): Mon 10:00-14:00, Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. Museum houses a permanent exhibition concerning Krakow under Nazi occupation; it is located in the administrative building of the former Schindler's Factory. 21 zł, reduced 16 zł. Nov-Mar (winter): Mondays free. A combined ticket also giving access to MOCAK (see above) is available: 22 zł adults, 19 zł concessions.
- 8 [dead link] Under the Eagle Pharmacy (Apteka pod Orłem), pl. Bohaterów Getta 18. 09:00 - 17:00. Exhibition focuses on the pharmacist - Tadeusz Pankiewicz, a Righteous among the Nations and life in Jewish Ghetto and Plaszow camp. Museum was renovated as memory lab and expanded in March 2013. 10 zł, reduced 8; Mondays (open 10:00 -14:00) free.
- 9 [dead link] Tadeusz Kantor Museum, ul. Nadwiślańska 4. Museum documenting life and work of one of most important 20th century Polish artists. Rusty structure built on the Vistula bank, opened in 2014.
- 10 Gallery Starmach, ul. Węgierska 5. M-F 11:00 - 18:00. Former Zucker Synagogue built in 1880s. Today a gallery showing well-known Polish artists such as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Tadeusz Kantor or Jerzy Nowosielski.
- In Podgórze you can find pieces on modern art on the street: murals by Polish and foreign authors (including BLU on ul. Józefińska) and sculptures: a seesaw dedicated to Polish absurdist writer Witold Gombrowicz (ul. Józefińska as well) or Auschwitzwieliczka by Mirosław Bałka next to the passage below rail tracks.
- 11 St. Joseph Church (Kościół św. Józefa). Built in 1905-09 in neogothic style and modeled after the St. Mary´s Church.
- Most Holy Redeemers Church. Built in 1905 by Jan Sas Zubrzycki in neogothic and neoromanesque style.
Jewish cemeteries in Podgórze were destroyed during the occupation and today it's hard to find them. There are only symbolic monuments in grass fields in the area of Plaszow camp.
- 12 [dead link] Manggha Centre of Japanese Art & Technology (Centrum Sztuki i Techniki Japońskiej Manggha), ul. M. Konopnickiej 26. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. Core of the collection is the artwork amassed by the Kyoto-Krakow Foundation set up by Andrzej and Krystyna Wajda, especially the 6500 items collected by Feliks Jasieński (1861-1929). The building, facing Wawel across the river, is an interesting contemporary structure by Arata Isozaki. Adult 30 zł, conc 20 zł, Tuesdays free.
- 13 The Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec (Opactwo Benedyktynów w Tyńcu), ul. Benedyktyńska 37. St. Peter's and St. Paul's Church and Benedictine Abbey are situated at the bank of Vistula river. In the 11th century it was one of the most important scientific places in the first Polish Kingdom, the first chronicles of Poland were written here about 1100. Built as a fortress, in the 15th century the church was rebuilt and later remodelled in the 17th and 18th centuries. Its buildings were damaged during the Confederation of Bar in 1764 hostilities. The revival of the Benedictine tradition at Tyniec occurred in the 20th century. Visit the abbey with a guide: 6zł. Museum: 7zł normal ticket, 5zł reduced ticket.
- 14 Divine Mercy Sanctuary (Sanktuarium Bożego Miłosierdzia), Siostry Faustyny 3. A popular destination for religious pilgrimages to Kraków. The basilica was built between 1999 and 2002. You can climb the tower of the sanctuary and enjoy views over the southern parts of Kraków.
- 15 John Paul II Sanctuary (Sanktuarium Świętego Jana Pawła II), Totus Tuus 32. This sanctuary is near the Divine Mercy Sanctuary. You can find there an original tomb table taken from his grave at Vatican. In the main altar, an ampoule containing the Pope's blood is built in. This sanctuary is even newer than the Divine Mercy Sanctuary. The church was inaugurated in 2013.
- Kika Cinema, ul. Ignacego Krasickiego 18. A cinema and a cafe. Arthouse, European films, classics, showings for children.
- Spółdzielnia Ogniwo (Ogniwo), ul. Smolki 11a (Left staircase, 1st floor). 17:00-22:00. Leftist cafe, bar, bookstore and culture house owned and managed by a cooperative. They organize many events: discussions, film screenings, exhibitions and book promotions. Prices at the bar are pretty low. Books they sell are mostly in Polish. LGBT friendly. Beer: 8 zł.
1 Zakrzówek- one of the nicest recreational areas in Krakow. In summer lots of people go there to swim, have barbecues etc. The legality of these actions is disputable and the owner of the area wants to prevent them and builds fences.
If you really like going to shopping malls, you can visit Bonarka City Center mall located nearby Podgórze centre. To get there, you should approach Rondo Matecznego (Mateczny Roundabout) and take any bus going via Kamieńskiego Street. After two stops you will see a big building with a high chimney standing nearby. This chimney remains from the Bonarka chemical factory, located on this area in the 20th century. When it is after dawn, you can notice that the top of the chimney is illuminated with colourful lamps.
- Bar Mleczny Południowy, Rynek Podgórski 11 (100 m south of Makaroniarnia). M-F 07:00-18:00, Sa Su 07:00-15:00. Budget "milk bar" or soup kitchen, cheap & cheerful.
- Euskadi, Brodzinskiego 4 (facing Makaroniarnia), ☏ . Daily 12:00-22:00. Basque cuisine, tasty but small or tapas-sized portions. Reservation recommended.
- 1 Makaroniarnia, ul. Brodzińskiego 3, ☏ . Daily 10:00-22:00. Breakfasts, pastas, pizza. Great riverside location, food is good when they get it right but quality very erratic.
- 2 [dead link] Jadłodajnia Wczoraj i Dziś, plac Bohaterów Getta 10, ☏ . M-F 10:00-18:00, Sa 12:00-17:00. That translates as "Eating place yesterday & today" so they're aiming for communist-era. Canteen with self-service, good budget Polish meals, no alcohol.
- 3 ZaKładka, ul. Józefińska 2, ☏ . Tu-F 13:00-21:45, Sa 12:00-22:45, Su 12:00-21:00, M 17:00-21:45. French style bistro/restaurant gets rave reviews for quality and price. Interesting wine list.
- 1 BAL (Bal na Zabłociu), ul. Ślusarska 9. M-F 08:00-21:00, Sa 09:00-22:00, Su 09:00-21:00. In former warehouse, big wooden table, children's corner, papers, books, breakfasts and beer.
- 2 Cawa / Drukarnia, Nadwiślanska 1. Daily from 09:00; cafe to 22:00, club Su-Th to 01:00, F Sa to 03:00. Ground floor is Cawa café (daily 09:00-22:00), the basement is Drukarnia club with concerts/disco.
- Krako Slow Wines, Lipowa 6F. Great winebar with natural wines 100 m from the Schindler's Factory.
- 3 Forum Przestrzenie, ul. Marii Konopnickiej 28 (in former Hotel Forum). Daily 10:00-02:00. They're aiming for posh grunge: bar in the lobby of a disused hotel on the river bank, great Wawel view. Brunches, lunches, film screenings, discos & live music.
- 1 [dead link] Backpackers Hostel Bursa Jagiellonska, ul. Śliska 14, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. University student self-catering accommodation, available for tourist groups year-round and for individuals July-Sept. They also run the similar Żaczek, Bydgoska and Nawojka all west of city centre. Single 65 zł, double 110 zł.
- 2 Patria Apartments, ul. Limanowskiego 1, ☏ . Clean modern self-catering apartments available for short stays. Free parking but you'll need to breathe in sharply to wriggle the car into the lot. Double room from 170 zł.
- 3 Hostel Kraków (formerly Guliwer), ul. Kalwaryjska 42, ☏ . Very basic place. Dorm 60 zł.
- 4 Qubus Hotel Krakow, Ul. Nadwislanska 6, ☏ . Efficient four-star hotel with sauna, jacuzzi, fitness centre and pool. On riverbank by Powstańców Śląskich bridge across to Kazimiercz, 30 min walk or tram to Old Town. B&B double 400 zł.
- 5 School Youth Hostel Grochowa, ul. Grochowa 21 (4 km SE of centre, 400 m south of Mały Płaszów transport hub), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Hostel for youth & school parties but they take individual travellers. Open all year. They run a similar hostel on Sokolska near the Qubus Hotel on the south river bank. 32 zł ppn.
- 6 Park Inn by Radisson, ul Monte Cassino 2, ☏ . Good reliable 4-star chain hotel, often hosts business meetings. 20 min walk or tram to centre. B&B double 300 zł.
- 7 Hotel Poleski, ul Sandomierska 6, ☏ . Functional modern 3-star with a 5-star view: great location on the bend in the river, looking across to Wawel. B&B double 200 zł.
- 8 Camping Krakowianka, ul. Żywiecka-Boczna 2 (off Zakopiańska 3 km south of centre, tram stop Solvay), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Open all year. Very basic, looks like it's not been cleaned or repaired since communist times. Person 40 zł, tent, car 10 zł, trailer 40 zł.