krakow Travel Information

krakow Holiday Guide

Rich in culture and heritage, Krakow is truly one of Poland's finest cities. The former capital has experienced more historical events than any other Polish city, and is proudly known for its medieval universities, one being the world's oldest and most distinguished, as well as an exquisite royal castle and a Jewish quarter with a significant past that is very attractive to tourists.

The beautifully designed old town, bounded by green parkland, is reasonably small and unbelievably charming. With the city's market square surrounded by numerous historic buildings, impressive museums and incredibly stunning churches, Krakow is a labyrinth of charm.

krakow Tourist Attractions

The old medieval market square, Rynek Glowny, is one of the biggest squares in Europe and has been there since the 13th century when the Old Town's streets were built into a grid formation. Nowadays the square is a bustling and lively meeting point for Krakow residents and tourists alike to enjoy shopping, restaurants, caf├ęs and clubs. The area is also a popular site for theatrical street performances.

Another piece of historical architecture is one of the oldest churches, St Adalbert, which dates back to the 10th century. There are coffins of Reformed Francisians in the church, which some enthusiastic priests will open to show the mummified bodies to morbidly fascinated tourists.

With the notorious Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp - where between 1941 and 1945 hundreds of thousands of men women and children perished - only an hour's drive from Krakow, it is a very popular tourist attraction. The renewed interest since the 1993 Oscar-winning film Schindler's List has brought visitor numbers up to 500,000 per year.

Some of Krakow's museums are home to the best collections of treasures in Poland and are even the envy of museums around the globe. Much of the history of the Jewish community that lived in the area before the Holocaust is on display at the National Museum (Historical Museum of the City of Krakow). There are historical tours demonstrating the life and traditions of Polish Jews.

Transport Around Warsaw

Travelling to Krakow is easy, with John Paul II International Airport serving many direct flights to and from major cities worldwide. Getting there by road is also possible but be warned of delays at the land borders with neighbouring European countries. Rail is another option, with Krakow being one of Poland's main railway junctions.

Generally Poland is considered safer than many European countries, and Krakow one of Poland's safest cities. Trouble can be found in most holiday destinations though, and petty crime, such as pick-pocketing, is often where tourists come into problems as they are viewed as easy targets.