Krakow is the most popular tourist destination in Poland and it's really not hard to see why. Tracing its grand history back to the medieval era, Krakow is packed with top attractions and boasts an old town of staggeringly well preserved gothic and renaissance architecture. There are vast and opulent cathedrals, palaces and museums as well as pleasant town squares making this an excellent city break destination and the ideal spot for a romantic holiday or a weekend away with friends.
Formerly the royal capital, Krakow is home to the magnificent Wawel Castle which looms over the old town centre. The Castle is well worth a visit and houses a cathedral as well as a beautiful Royal Palace. The main centre of Krakow is the vast town square - the Rynek Glowny, where you'll find a number of excellent restaurants and bars as well as such attractions as the magnificent Church of St Mary. Nearby are the beautiful Florian Gate and the ancient campus of the Jagelonian University. Another interesting and attractive part of the city is the Jewish Quarter - Kazimierz - which is where you'll find many of the cities hippest restaurants and bars.
When: Krakow enjoys beautiful weather from the start of April until November. You could visit at any point during this period. The spring is particularly fresh and attractive in Krakow.
Where: There are plenty of fascinating tourist attractions in Krakow. Be sure to visit the National Museum which houses great exhibits on Polish art and History. Schindler's Factory is an excellent museum of second world war history and is well worth a visit.
Why: Because Krakow's long, chequered and often painful history makes it a truly fascinating place to visit. For those with an interest in history and culture there is plenty of interest here.
When: Why not head out to Krakow in the summer months? The city has a vibrant and celebratory ambience with bars spilling out onto the pavements and people sunbathing on the banks of the Vistula.
Where: Krakow is well known for its excellent bars, clubs and live music venues. Many of the more popular establishments are located around the Rynek Glowny whilst the trendier spots such as the beautiful Singers Bar are to be found in Kazimierz.
Why: Because Krakow's nightlife is legendary. The live music scene ranges from Jewish Klezmer music to pumping techno. Many of the bars brew their own delicious Vodka infusions and sell local lagers too.
When: Head to Krakow in the spring, when the city is shaking off the shackles of the long winter and the city is particularly beautiful.
Where: The Old Town centre is particularly beautiful and there are many excellent restaurants around the Rynek Glowny. Particular highlights of a trip to Krakow include attending a mass in the extravagantly beautiful St Mary's Church and going on a cruise down the Vistula.
Why: Because the spectacular beauty of Krakow makes it a fantastic destination for a romantic getaway. There are plenty of fantastic restaurants and some gorgeous and historical boutique hotels to stay in.
When: Krakow makes a charming destination for a summer or easter holiday. Whilst the weather is nicer in the summer, the easter offers some charming traditions and rituals for you to enjoy.
Where: Cycling is very popular in Krakow and there are many rental companies operating in the centre of town. A cycling tour of the city and the surrounding countryside can be a fun and interesting way to explore the city. The boat cruise to Niedzica Castle is also not to be missed.
Why: Krakow is a fascinating and beautiful city and one that children are sure to find interesting. It also boasts some excellent indigenous cuisine which they will definitely enjoy!
Krakow has tough winters with daytime temperatures hovering around 0ºC and nighttime temperatures plunging sub zero. The winter ends around the end of March and the climate is very pleasant from then until November with temperatures between May and September in the hight teens and twenties celsius. In the middle of summer the temperature regularly hits 30ºC and higher and can sometimes feel a bit oppressive though the light breeze that sweeps through the city throughout the year means that it is generally quite pleasant.
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What to expect
Visitors to Krakow should expect a very beautiful and unique city. Amongst the cities of central Europe it is quite remarkable for the immaculate condition of its gothic and baroque architecture. There is the regal finery of Wawel Castle and the stunning town square of Rynek Glowny to enjoy. You'll see some staggeringly opulent churches and cathedrals as well as a selection of excellent museums. Krakow is a city of many parts though. As well as the royal centre there is the old Jewish ghetto of Kazimierz and the Soviet centre of Nowa Huta which is a masterclass in brutalist architecture! Of course, one of Krakow's most famous features is its fantastic nightlife. Visitors should check out the old pubs of the Old Town as well as the swanky and alternative bars of Kazimierz.
Flight InformationFlights available from:
Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester, NewcastleAirlines:
Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, EasyJet, Jet2.com, LOT, Lufthansa, Ryanair, airberlin