16 Jun Krakow Travel Guide
Welcome to Krakow
Kraków (often spelt Cracow in English) is a historic city in southern Poland. It is one of the country’s oldest and most important cultural and economic centres. Nestled in the south part of Poland, Krakow is a captivating city that effortlessly combines rich history, architectural splendour, and a vibrant cultural scene.
Historical Significance: Kraków has a rich history that spans over a thousand years. It was the capital of Poland from the 11th to the 16th century and served as the coronation city for Polish kings. Today, the historic centre of Kraków is known as the “Old Town” and, since 1978, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. As the second-largest city in the country and the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Krakow boasts a wealth of treasures waiting to be discovered.
Located on the banks of the Vistula River, Krakow offers a picturesque setting surrounded by natural beauty. The city experiences a temperate climate, with warm summers and cold winters. From strolling along the cobbled streets of the historic Old Town to marvelling at the majestic Wawel Castle, visitors are transported back in time, immersing themselves in the city’s medieval ambience. Krakow’s fame stems from its remarkable architecture, exemplified by the UNESCO-listed Old Town with its grand Main Market Square, the awe-inspiring Wawel Cathedral, and the haunting reminders of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. Delving into the Kazimierz district, travellers can explore the Jewish heritage and experience its thriving arts and culinary scene.
Jewish Heritage: Kraków has a significant Jewish heritage, and the Kazimierz district was once a thriving Jewish community. Explore historical synagogues like the Old Synagogue, the Remuh Synagogue, and the Jewish Cemetery. Additionally, Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory, made famous by the film “Schindler’s List,” is located in Kraków.
Cultural Hub: Kraków is renowned for its vibrant cultural scene. The city hosts numerous festivals annually, including the famous Kraków International Film Festival, the Jewish Culture Festival, and the Kraków Christmas Market. It is also home to several prestigious universities, including the Jagiellonian University, one of Europe’s oldest universities.
Access to Nature: Kraków is situated near several natural attractions. The Tatra Mountains, part of the Carpathian range, are within a few hours’ drive from the city. This mountainous region offers stunning landscapes and opportunities for hiking, skiing, and enjoying the outdoors.
Education and Innovation: Kraków is a hub for education and innovation. Besides the Jagiellonian University, the city has numerous research centres, technology parks, and startups. It fosters a dynamic environment for academic and technological advancements.
Whether seeking cultural immersion, historical enlightenment, or breathtaking natural landscapes, Krakow offers an enchanting escape that leaves an indelible impression on every visitor.
How To Get There
By Air: Krakow has its own international airport, John Paul II International Airport Krakow-Balice (KRK). It serves numerous domestic and international flights, making it easily accessible from major cities. You can take a taxi or public transportation from the airport to the city centre.
By Train: By train, Krakow is well-connected to other major cities in Poland and Europe. The city has two main train stations: Krakow Glowny (located in the city centre) and Krakow Plaszow. There are regular train services from Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw, and other Polish cities. International trains also connect neighbouring countries such as Germany, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.
By Bus: Krakow has a well-developed network of bus connections, both domestic and international. The city’s main bus station, Krakow MDA, is centrally located and offers frequent services to various destinations. Numerous private bus companies operate routes to and from Krakow, making it a convenient and affordable mode of transportation.
By Car: Krakow is easily accessible by road, with major highways connecting the city to other parts of Poland and Europe. The A4 motorway runs through Krakow, providing a direct route from cities like Warsaw, Wroclaw, and Katowice. However, remember that parking in the city centre can be limited and subject to fees.
Places Of Interest
Located in the heart of Kraków’s Old Town, the Main Market Square is one of the largest medieval squares in Europe. Admire the beautiful architecture, including the Renaissance-style Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) in the centre and the iconic St. Mary’s Basilica with impressive Gothic interiors. Book tours here.
Marvel at the stunning Wawel Castle, the former residence of Polish kings and queens, which features remarkable architecture and houses art collections and exhibitions. Adjacent to the castle, visit Wawel Cathedral, where Polish monarchs were crowned and where you can admire its exquisite chapels and the Sigismund Bell. Book tickets here.
Discover the rich Jewish heritage of Kraków in the Kazimierz district. Explore its charming streets lined with synagogues, such as the Old Synagogue and the Remuh Synagogue, as well as the atmospheric Jewish Cemetery. Kazimierz is known for its vibrant arts scene, unique shops, and bustling nightlife. Book tickets here.
Located about an hour’s drive from Kraków, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is a haunting reminder of the Holocaust. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and provides a profoundly moving and educational experience, paying tribute to the millions of lives lost during World War II. Book tickets here.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
The Wieliczka Salt Mine is a remarkable historical and cultural site near Krakow. It is one of the world’s oldest salt mines and has been continuously operating for over 700 years. The mine is renowned for its stunning underground chambers, intricate salt carvings, and breathtaking chapels, all crafted entirely from salt. Book tickets here.
Step back in time at the Collegium Maius, the oldest building of the Jagiellonian University and a treasure trove of historical artefacts and scientific instruments. It houses a museum showcasing the university’s rich history, including exhibits related to famous alums like Nicolaus Copernicus.
Where To Stay
Situated on the Main Market Square, The Bonerowski Palace offers majestic views of the bustling heart of Kraków. This luxurious hotel is located near St. Mary’s Basilica, placing guests in close proximity to one of the city’s most iconic and famous landmarks.
This Hotel offers stunning views of the city skyline. It’s located near the famous Wawel Castle, allowing guests to easily visit this historic landmark and explore the charming Old Town of Krakow with its rich culture.
This budget hotel provides a convenient location near the city centre. While offering limited views, it is close to famous attractions, allowing guests to easily explore and experience Krakow’s vibrant culture and history during their stay.
Where To Eat
Enjoy traditional Polish dishes in local restaurants, including pierogi (dumplings), bigos (hunter’s stew), and kielbasa (sausage). The city also has a vibrant café culture, and you can sample delicious pastries and coffee in charming cafés.
Starka Restaurant: Located in the heart of the Old Town, Starka is known for its traditional Polish cuisine and cosy ambience. They offer a variety of hearty dishes, including pierogi, roasted meats, and traditional soups.
Pod Aniolami: This charming restaurant is situated in a historic building near the Main Market Square. It specializes in Polish and European cuisine, serving dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. The elegant setting and attentive service create a memorable dining experience.
Chimera Resto Bar: Chimera Resto Bar, situated in a contemporary art nouveau structure near Planty Park, presents a fusion of Polish and international cuisine. With a diverse menu featuring an assortment of dishes, from mouthwatering steaks and seafood to delectable vegetarian options, each prepared using top-notch ingredients. It promises a culinary experience of the highest calibre.
Bar Mleczny Pod Temidą: Bar Mleczny (Milk Bar) Pod Temidą is a traditional Polish cafeteria-style eatery. It offers affordable, home-style Polish dishes, including pierogi, soups, and main courses. The no-frills atmosphere adds to the authentic experience.
Kraków is a city that combines its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene to create an unforgettable travel experience. From exploring the medieval streets of the Old Town to discovering the depths of its Jewish heritage and reflecting on the poignant lessons of the past, Kraków will leave an indelible impression on your heart. So, pack your bags, embark on this remarkable journey, and let the enchanting charms of Kraków captivate you.
Explore Trips From Krakow
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