krakow City Breaks
A harmonious blend of past and present, Krakow has retained its old world ambience and charm. The city centre covers a relatively small area so much of it can easily, and most enjoyably, be seen on foot.
The Old Town, centered on the Main Market Square (Rynek Glowny), the largest market square in Europe. Residents and visitors come here to shop and to eat in the many restaurants, cafés and clubs. Also in the Square are the Renaissance Cloth Hall, the 13th-century Gothic Town Hall Tower, the magnificent 14th-century Gothic basilica of the Virgin Mary and the tiny church of St. Adalbert, dating back to the 11th century. A visit to Wawel Castle and Cathedral, perched on top of Wawel Hill immediately south of the Old Town, cannot fail to inspire visitors.
This ancient seat of Polish royalty is perhaps the crown jewel of Krakow’s architectural treasures, containing an assortment of Romanesque, Renaissance and Gothic architecture dating from around the 14th century onwards. Kazimierz, the Jewish quarter, is a bustling, bohemian neighbourhood packed with historical sites, atmospheric cafés and art galleries as well as numerous synagogues and Jewish cemeteries the centre of Jewish life in Krakow for over 500 years, before it was systematically destroyed during World War II.
Krakow is known as Poland’s “Capital of Culture” and has a number of excellent museums including the National Museum in Naja Street and the Czartoryskis Museum which boasts valuable collections of art, ancient handicrafts, and memorabilia connected with historical figures. Krakow is also the home to Poland’s oldest university and is renowned for its art galleries and musical heritage. Since 1988 the hugely popular Jewish Culture Festival has filled Kazimierz’s streets and cafés with music, whilst at the same time informing residents and visitors about the city’s pre-war Jewish history.
Eat and Drink
Krakow has a large number of good, well priced restaurants, even in the Main Market Square.Typical food is very hearty and often contains a lot of meat. Try Bigos – a traditional meat and cabbage stew – and Pierogi which are filled dumplings which are made by boiling pockets of unleavened dough filled with savoury or sweet fillings. Typical ingredients you’ll find on many menus are beetroot, cucumber, kohlrabi and smoked sausage.
Try the flavoured vodkas, particularly the cherry version, found in shops and bars everywhere.
For typical Polish souvenirs, handicrafts and amber jewellery head to the Cloth Hall in Rynek Glowny. Grodzka Street in the Old Town is the place to look for chic boutiques and in Kazimierz you’ll find a number of shops selling antiques, artwork and jewellery as well as a flea market on Saturdays and Sundays.
The fascinating Oskar Schindler Factory. Schindler was a Nazi industrialist who famously saved the lives of members of his Jewish labour force during the Holocaust. The story of Schindler and his employees was made famous by Steven Spielberg's film Schindler’s List (which was shot almost entirely in Krakow) in 1993. The museum is located in the administration building of Schindler’s former enamel factory in Krakow’s industrial district of Zablocie. This well organized, interactive exhibition tells the story of the city in pre-war times, the German invasion in 1939, the wartime history of Krakow’s Jews and the post-war Soviet take-over of the city.
For many people a stay in Krakow wouldn’t be complete without visiting the former concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, about an hour west of Krakow near the industrial town of Oswiecim. Also worth a look are the fascinating salt mine at Wieliczka with its remarkable underground cathedral and the iconic Stalinist “model city” of Nowa Huta.
Moderately warm summers, cool springs & cold, often stunningly clear winter days.
Any time of year; this city always represents good value.
Goes well with
Warsaw - the Polish capital is easily reached by train from Krakow
Feeling surprised that there is so much of interest and so many things to see and do in such a relatively small city
In Our Opinion
One of the oldest and prettiest cities in Poland, Krakow is a treasure trove of medieval buildings and tales dating back to the 7th century.
Excellent value for money & plenty of useful information received after we booked. Excursions were amazing...Krakow
Historical sights and architecture
Combining with a stay in the mountain resort of Zakopane