Walking Tour: Coronation Route of Kings & Queens

  • Start Florian Gate
  • End Wawel Royal Castle
  • Length 2km; two hours

This walk follows the old coronation route for much of its way and, just as kings and queens of yesteryear aimed to do, it pays respects to the main attractions in a relatively logical path.

Start at the Florian Gate, an attractive stone gateway built around 1300. It was once the city's main entryway and is the only one of its original eight gates still standing. It can be toured along with the nearby Barbican bastion as part of the City Defence Wall.

Continue down lively ul Floriańska. To your left as you enter the Main Market Square is twin-spired St Mary’s Basilica. Arrive on the hour to hear the bugler play from the taller tower – the best spot for this is in front of St Barbara’s Church.

Dominating the centre of the square is the lively Cloth Hall, a two-level Renaissance confection that serves many purposes, including as the entryway to the Rynek Underground. The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Painting is on the second floor.

The Town Hall Tower, next door, recalls what must have been a glorious 15th-century building before the occupying Austrians dismantled it in the 19th century. You can still see the original Gothic portal. From April to October, climb the tower and check out the underground space, used for concerts.

The Collegium Maius was the earliest home of Jagiellonian University, the second-oldest university in Central Europe (after Prague’s Charles University). Pop in to the courtyard to see original Gothic portals and the famous clock.

Many say the Basilica of St Francis, a 13th-century Gothic beauty, is their favourite church. Possibly it’s for the dark, hushed interiors but more likely it’s for the beautiful stained-glass windows by art nouveau master Stanisław Wyspiański. The most famous window, above the rear entrance, depicts God in the act of creation.

Continue south on ul Grodzka, the final stage of the Royal Route, as far as ul Senacka, then turn south onto charming ul Kanonicza. This will lead you to the foot of Wawel Hill and Wawel Royal Castle.