Cities Direct

Krakow

Top Attractions in Krakow

WAWEL HILL

WAWEL HILL

Symbol of Poland’s national pride and identity and representing the very best of Krakow’s architectural treasures, the city’s Royal Castle and Cathedral sit atop Wawel Hill and provides a dominant backdrop to the Old Town’s skyline. For centuries a seat of kings and a former royal coronation and burial site during Krakow’s tenure as the country’s capital, today Wawel Castle and Cathedral offer a wealth of historical and architectural attractions including the Polish crown jewels and a most unique ecclesiastical interior.
RYNEK GLOWNY (Main Market Square)

RYNEK GLOWNY (Main Market Square)

A natural starting point for any visitor to Krakow, Rynek Glowny represents the heart of the Old Town. The largest medieval marketplace in Europe and a focal point for city events, Rynek Glowny exudes a stunning diversity of architectural style with elegant Renaissance townhouses jostling for position alongside the Gothic Town Hall, the twin towers of St Mary’s Basilica and the 14th century Cloth Hall. Absorb its beauty and buzzing atmosphere from one of the many cafés lining its perimeter. 
KAZIMIERZ

KAZIMIERZ

For centuries Kazimierz represented Krakow’s Jewish Quarter, yet following the war only a handful of survivors remained. Backdrop to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 epic Schindler’s List, Kazimierz is today one of Krakow’s most vibrant and atmospheric communities, jam-packed with historic synagogues, bustling cafes, antique shops and art galleries. Exuding an artistic, bohemian character with a cool café culture and nightlife to rival that of the Old Town, Kazimierz is a charismatic and refreshing alternative to the standard city sights.
WIELICZKA SALT MINES

WIELICZKA SALT MINES

A 40-minute drive outside Krakow lies one of Poland’s greatest attractions dating back to the Middle Ages, the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Descend some 65 metres into an underground world of almost mystical proportions and walk through tunnels and chambers past stunning stalactites, sculptures, reliefs, chapels and chandeliers all painstakingly carved and crafted from the salt rock walls. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is also the world’s biggest museum of mining and makes for a thoroughly memorable day out. 
AUSCHWITZ

AUSCHWITZ

A name synonymous with tragedy, persecution and mass genocide, Auschwitz was the largest of the World War II concentration and extermination camps and has come to symbolise one of the most horrific acts in recent human history, And yet today, it represents a poignant and profound place of homage that makes for a most compelling and moving visit for anyone wishing to visit. A rather sombre excursion maybe, but undoubtedly one that will resonate for years to come.
SCHINDLER'S FACTORY

SCHINDLER'S FACTORY

A former enamelware factory where Oskar Schindler employed – and ultimately saved – thousands of Jewish prisoners, the Oskar Schindler Enamelled Goods Factory (as it is officially known) is today a world-class interactive and multimedia museum devoted to the history of World War II. Located across the river in Podgórze yet easily accessible via the Bernatek footbridge, exhibits include a recreation of Schindler’s office, the Nazi invasion of Poland and life in the Jewish ghetto and Plaszów Concentration Camp.
NOWA HUTA

NOWA HUTA

For a complete contrast to the awesome architecture so symbolic of ‘classic’ Krakow, Nowa Huta represents the antithesis of heritage and tradition. A rather eerie example of 1950’s social engineering and regarded as Stalin’s gift to Krakow, Nowa Huta was the Socialist answer to the post-war push for industrialisation. With milk bars by the dozen and tours available by authentic Trabant cars, this is as much an excursion back in time as it is an opportunity to see a very different side to Krakow.
BASILICA OF THE ASSUMPTION OF OUR LADY

BASILICA OF THE ASSUMPTION OF OUR LADY

Also known as St Mary's Basilica or Kosciól Mariacki, this striking church is arguably Krakow's most important ecclesiastical structure. Overlooking the Main Market Square, the basilica dates back to the early 13th century and is dominated by its two towers, the higher of the two used as a watchtower and it's from here that the hourly trumpet call plays out across the city. Inside, don't miss the magnificent wooden altarpiece and the stunning 14th-century stained and Art Nouveau glass windows.
CLOTH HALL

CLOTH HALL

Dominating the city's Main Market Square, Krakow's Cloth Hall (or Sukiennice) dates back to the mid-14th century (although an open-air market was in existence much earlier) and was once the focal point for the city's medieval clothing trade. A stunning neo-Gothic structure, today the Cloth Hall is a much photographed and visited attraction in Rynek Glowny and inside, you'll find the Gallery for 19th-century Polish painting upstairs, whilst the ground floor is dedicated to craft and souvenir stalls.
OLD SYNAGOGUE (STARA SYNAGOGA)

OLD SYNAGOGUE (STARA SYNAGOGA)

With its origins in the late-15th and early-16th centuries, the aptly-named Old Synagogue is Poland's oldest surviving Jewish place of worship, although no longer serves as such. Having been rebuilt in the 1950s following its destruction during World War II, today it plays host to the Museum of Jewish History and Traditions and contains an interesting array of Jewish relics and artefacts, as well as a photographic exhibition depicting Jewish life in the city following the Holocaust.

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