The first written record of Wadowice dates back to 1325. The name of the settlement was mentioned in the account for the building works of one of the temples. Another confirmation of the existence of Wadowice in this period was in 1325, in an act of allegiance of John I Scholastyk of Oświęcim to Bohemian prince John I, Count of Luxemburg. Only 100 years later in 1430 the settlement was granted the city rights by prince Kazimierz I. The same year due to the fire the city almost completely disappeared from the map of Poland. In order to rebuild it quickly prince Casimir I decided to grant Wadowice with Kulm law. Due to this, the settlers who were developing under the influence of Kulm Supreme Court, received special privileges of Teutonic Order for settlement, trade and crafts in this area.

Both for the settlers and local residents the Kulm law was more flexible and profitable than Magdeburg rights, which at that time was common in Polish cities. In practice people were released from all princely duties for the six-year period. Moreover, the free cutting of trees in princely woods and fishing in Skawice on Wednesdays and Fridays were allowed. According to the text of the privilege which was published a few years later, the right for a free trade was provided to tailors, shoemakers, innkeepers and brewers.

Nowadays Wadowice is considered to be one of the most famous cities in Poland, and it is not due to its historical and architectural heritage, but owing to the fact that on May 18, 1920 one of the  most famous Poles Karol Wojtyła was born here, known later as Pope John Paul II. He has become the first Slav pope and the 6th sovereign head of Vatican City State. He was a Head of Catholic Church from October 16, 1978 until April 2, 2005. Being a Pope, Karol Wojtyła visited Wadowice three times: in 1979, 1991 and in 1999.

Pope John Paul II was the first pontiff who was able to apologize. It was counted that since becoming the head of Catholic Church he has apologized for different reasons for 100 times. Firstly he apologized to Italians for not fluent speaking of their language. Also he apologized to Chinese for the mistakes made by the Catholic Church in the years of colonialism. He apologized to Indians and Africans. He offered his apologies to Jews for anti-Semitism of the Church. In 1992 Pope John Paul ІІ publicly submitted his apologies to the late Galileo Galilei and announced the decision of the inquisition to be false and vindicated the scientist, returning him 'the right to be a legitimate son of the church'. Later Giordano Bruno, Savonarola, Jan Hus and Martin Luther were also vindicated. Appealing to women, he sincerely repented in complicity of the Church in their oppression, apologized for the injustice and discrimination in payment for work labor, career and everything that relates to democratic rights and responsibilities of citizens. In 1995 on behalf of Catholic Church he apologized for all the evil, committed to 'brothers of other faiths'. On pilgrimage visit to Kyiv, immediately on  arrival to the airport, he pleaded guilty for 'mistakes made by the Catholic Church in distant and recent past'.

In 6 years upon the death of Pope John Paul ІІ, his coffin was exhumed and placed in front of St. Peter's Basilica main alter and after beatification reburied in a new tomb. Later the marble gravestone, earlier covering the tomb of pope, was sent to his Motherland, to Poland. On May 1, 2011 Pope Benedict XVI canonized Pope John Paul II (declared him a saint).

Worth seeing:
  • Church of Blessed Virgin Mary (XVIIIth century)
  • St. Josef's sanctuary and the Discalced Carmelite monastery (1897-1899)
  • Family home of Pope John Paul II, Kościelna St. 7
  • Historical museum of the city, Kościelna St. 4