For centuries Krakow was the capital city of Poland. It no longer plays such an important administrative role, but for many people, thanks to its rich history, Krakow represents a synthesis of old and new. The unique atmosphere of the beautiful and mysterious streets of the Old Town will allow you to escape from everyday life. Galleries full of exhibitions, 19th century Viennese style cafes, where students and professors engage in debate, stylish pubs and restaurants in Kazimierz Quarter are all part of the charm of Krakow.
Auschwitz Birkenau is the site of the gravest mass murder in the history of humanity. It remains a memorial that can serve everyone as a mirror of the human soul and a prism for looking deep within ourselves.
Wawel Castle and old city
Almost everything that you necessary should see in Krakow is in the neighborhood of Royal Trial. It leads from Barbican, trough the main square, near the St. Mary’s Church, Cloth Hall to amazing castle of Polish kings – Wawel. You can pass this way on foot, to stand for a while next to each of this monuments or can take a ride on droshky which is always charming experience.
We recommend to get on foot from Barbican to main square, to see remaining of medieval fortifications, stay a while to delight with famous St. Mary’s Church with unique altar made by Wit Stwosz and take a seat in one of beautiful cafes surrounding square, to take a breath and listen to bugle-call. Then is good to catch a coach and in the rhythm of hoofs make your way to Wawel, to spend amazing few hours between the walls of giant castle of Polish monarchs.
Kazimierz – The Jewish quarter
Kazimierz, the heart of Jewish Krakow, is now a thriving district, a mixture of cultural festivals, café culture, antique shops, art galleries, restaurants and bars, a place to watch the world go by over a coffee or to catch up with friends.With communism’s fall, Kazimierz has changed beyond all recognition. As well as the aforementioned art galleries and cafés, buildings have been renovated and museums opened. There has also been a reawakening in the importance of Jewish history and culture in Poland, for instance, the Jewish Culture Festival which takes place every year attracts thousands of visitors, both Jews and non-Jews alike.
Oscar Schindler’s Factory
The man and his story were made famous by Spielberg’s film, Schindler’s List. In many ways he was a man of contradiction. At the beginning of the war Schindler seemed to be intent on making a fortune from the misery that was unfolding around him. In common with other Germans, Schindler took over companies that were previously in the hands of Jewish owners, in this case two enamel kitchenware companies.
Of course Krakow is not only medieval history and Royal Trial. Is always worth to see Nowa Huta, the district which came to being during the communistic era as a place to live for ideal socialistic workers. Thank to pope John Paul II who was the bishop of Krakow at this time, cruel plans of communistic authorities has failed. Nowadays Nowa Huta is important symbol of Polish “Solidarity”.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
The only salt mine in the world preserved in such pristine condition and placed on the original UNESCO list of the World Heritage Sites ! 135 meters underground! Visited by more than 1 million tourists a year!
Travel to Zakopane, a mountain resort nestled at the foot of the Tatra mountains and boasting breathtaking views of Poland’s countryside.
Ojcow National Park
The park contains numerous castles, including a ruined Gothic castle at Ojców and a better-preserved Renaissance castle at Pieskowa Skala, both of which were part of a late medieval system of defenses in southwestern Poland, known as the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests constructed by the order of King of Poland, Kazimierz the Great. There are two museums in the park, the Professor Władyslaw Szafer Museum (named for the first person to advocate the creation of a national park in the Ojców area), and a branch of the Kraków-based National Art Collection, located in the Pieskowa Skała castle.
A huge part of Krakow's appeal lies in its culture. With its museums, galleries, churches in Krakow:, orchestras, cinemas, bars, cafes and a huge academic population to keep them all busy, the city very much earned its title of 'European City of Culture' for the year 2000.
Wawel Hill, with its castle and cathedral is a 'mecca' for both Poles and foreign visitors to Krakow, as this where the origins of Poland began. The significance of Wawel derives from both a political and religious aspect, and today is home to Krakow's most popular landmark.
Museums include the main branch of Poland's National Museum, with three floors of art in a somewhat brutal modernist building, and the Czartoryski Museum, whose stunning collection includes Leonardo Da Vinci's 'Lady with an Ermine'.
For the classical music fan, the main venue is the Filharmonia Hall, home to the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Orchestra in Krakow, as well as a number of smaller ensembles. Other choices include intimate Chopin piano recitals in Dom Polonii on the Main Square and numerous other concerts in churches and smaller halls.
Jazz in Krakow has always been well catered for in, with an annual month-long jazz festival in the summer and clubs such as Harris in the Main Square offering live music seven nights a week.
Although lacking a truly large music venue, in recent years artists such as Jamiroquai, Lenny Kravitz and Celine Dion have played massive outdoor concerts in Krakow, while a diverse collection of other venues offer a wide variety of music styles from experimental to mainstream. Krakow hosts a number of music festivals and art events throughout the year.
As well as modern multiplex cinemas dotted around the city, Krakow boasts the suitably arty Kino Pod Baranami and Ars cinemas in the Old Town, as well as Kino Kijow. These days most foreign films are subtitled in Polish, but children's films are often dubbed. Krakow hosts a variety of film festivals all year round.
For many visitors to Krakow, one of the essentials will be to sample its bar culture. The city is literally teeming with bars and cafes, with particularly high concentrations in Kazimierz and the Old Town. Whether it's a cavernous multi-roomed cellar bar, a Kazimierz legend like Alchemia or Singer, or one of the many modern-themed cocktail bars to be found virtually everywhere, you need never go thirsty. Opening hours can vary quite a bit, with some places calling it a night by 1 or 2 a.m. and with others happy to keep going until the last customer stumbles out.
Kraków has a thriving nightlife with a young and beautiful crowd.
Yes, the stereotype is true. Polish people LOVE their vodka. I hope you can hang because that is nearly all they drink in Kraków. And they drink A LOT. The scene is so much fun, and almost everyone that I met was very friendly and willing to show me a good time.
I also noticed the beer in Poland was much stronger than most beer that I’ve had around Europe. So, be careful because you’ll get drunk fast! If you normally drink 7 beers to get drunk, then drink only 4 in Poland. Especially with all the vodka shots on top!
*In Kraków, all of the drinks are pretty cheap, so you can get drunk without feeling like you are lighting money on fire!
Kraków is packed with clubs, pubs and bars that stay open until the early hours of the morning. My favorite spots to party at were the underground “cellar” bars. These bars were so much fun! When you enter any given cellar bar, you will walk down a level of stairs (sometimes 2 levels down) into a crazy world of ecstasy with loud music blasting in your ears. Most of them have many different rooms with dance floors, bars, rooms and sometimes even couches.
Some clubs around town, like Kitsch Club, are well-known for their summer gardens and beautiful atmosphere. Hopefully you are in Kraków during the summer months so you can truly experience this!
Enjoy the beautiful babes, friendly people and vodka shots that will keep you going until sunrise!