Krakow, the second-largest city in Poland, is a cultural and historical gem that draws visitors from all over the world. With a history spanning over a thousand years, Krakow has seen its fair share of triumphs and tragedies, including invasions, occupations, and revolutions. Despite the many challenges it has faced, Krakow has persevered and emerged as one of the most vibrant and beautiful cities in Europe.
The city’s historic centre, which dates back to the 13th century, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts an impressive collection of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. It is home to Rynek Glowny, the largest medieval market square in Europe, as well as Wawel Castle, a stunning fortress that has served as the seat of Polish royalty for centuries.
Krakow is also famous for its cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, theatres, and music venues. The city is particularly well-known for its classical music and opera, and hosts several major festivals throughout the year. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or simply soaking up the atmosphere of a beautiful European city,
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Krakow’s Old Town is a historic district that dates back to the 13th century and is considered one of the most beautiful and well-preserved medieval town centers in Europe. The centerpiece of the Old Town is the Rynek Glowny, or Main Market Square, which is the largest medieval town square in Europe and is surrounded by colorful townhouses and historic landmarks.
Other notable attractions in the Old Town include the stunning Wawel Castle, the Gothic St. Mary’s Basilica, and the Cloth Hall, a beautiful Renaissance-era market hall that has been in operation for over 700 years. With its charming streets, beautiful architecture, and rich history, the Old Town is a must-visit destination in Krakow.
Facts about Krakow
- Population 770,000 (2022)
- City founded in 1257
- Time Zone: GMT +2
- UNESCO site: Historic Centre of Kraków
Planning a trip to Krakow
Krakow is a beautiful and historic city in Poland that offers plenty of attractions for visitors to enjoy. Some of the must-visit sights include the Old Town, which boasts stunning Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture, as well as the Main Market Square, Wawel Castle, and St. Mary’s Basilica.
Krakow is also known for its cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and music venues to explore. Foodies will appreciate the city’s delicious cuisine, which includes traditional Polish dishes like pierogi and kielbasa, as well as a thriving café culture.
Visitors should also take the time to explore the Kazimierz district, which was once the center of Jewish life in Kraków and is now a lively neighborhood filled with trendy bars and restaurants.
The best time to visit Krakow depends on what you’re looking for. The city experiences four distinct seasons, with cold and snowy winters and warm summers. If you’re looking for mild weather and fewer crowds, the best time to visit is in the spring (April-June) or fall (September-November). During these seasons, temperatures are pleasant and there are plenty of cultural events to enjoy, including the Krakow Film Festival and the Jewish Culture Festival.
If you’re looking for warm weather and lots of outdoor activities, the summer months (June-August) are the best time to visit. However, this is also the busiest time of year, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. Finally, if you’re interested in winter sports or Christmas markets, the winter months (December-February) are a great time to visit. Just be prepared for cold temperatures and possible snowfall.
Getting around Krakow
There is no underground transport system in Krakow, An integrated bus and tram system runs in Krakow from 05:00 – 23:00. Check timetables and network maps online for Krakow at mpk.krakow.pl. Tickets are the integrated bus and tram system are timed.
This allows you the freedom to change between tram or bus lines within the allocated time of your ticket life. You can get 20min 40min, 1-hour, 24-hour, 48-hour, 72-hour, and unlimited weekend family pass tickets. You can catch a taxi, Uber or use the bike share program in Krakow.
Best places to stay in Krakow
Krakow has numerous hotels, hostels, and apartments for tourists who visit Kraków. The best area to stay in Kraków is in and around the Old Town areas. Krakow is a safe city to visit by European standards, with little violent crime. Crime in Kraków is low, with only the occasional street mugging or theft in a museum, but always be aware of your surroundings when you visit any big city in Europe.
Travelling to Kraków with family
Krakow is a city that’s rich in history and culture, making it a popular destination for tourists. But what if you want to take your kids along? No problem! There are plenty of things to do in Kraków with kids. The city is home to several museums, including the National Museum and the Historical Museum of Kraków. There are also plenty of parks and green spaces, such as Planty Park and Wawel Hill.
How to get to Krakow
Krakow is well-connected to other major cities in Europe, and there are several options for getting there. If you’re driving, Kraków is easily accessible via major highways. From Warsaw, the journey takes about four hours, from Berlin, about six hours; and from Vienna, about four and a half hours.
Krakow’s John Paul II International Airport is located just outside the city and is serviced by several major airlines. From the airport, you can take a taxi or public transportation to the city center. Several bus companies offer routes to Krakow from other cities in Europe. Eurolines and Flixbus are two popular options.
Krakow has several train stations, and there are direct train connections to major cities in Poland as well as international destinations like Berlin, Vienna, and Budapest. The journey time from Warsaw is about two and a half hours, and from Berlin, about six hours.
Latest Krakow travel guides
Here at Poland Travel Expert, we have all the best Krakow travel guides so you can make a Krakow itinerary that suits your travel style. When you are planning a trip to Krakow these guides will ensure you have an unforgettable vacation in Poland.
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