Among the top must-visit countries in Eastern and Central Europe, I highly recommend Poland. The country has a lot of history, culture and especially great cuisine to experience. If you are into seeing genuine Polish medieval architecture, come to Krakow instead of Warsaw. Most parts of Warsaw, Poland’s capital city, were destroyed during the second World War. Krakow is so small that you can explore almost all the main spots on foot. The most popular attractions are located in the historic centre including the Old Town, Kazimierz and the Wawel Castle. Add these top activities to enjoy in Krakow to your bucket list.
Walking the Royal Way
One of the ultimate routes to explore Krakow is the Royal Way - a ceremonial route that kings and other celebrities paraded through Krakow when it was the capital of Poland. The Royal Way starts at St. Florian’s Gate, goes down Florianska street, across the Rynek Glowny Central Square, and down Grodzka to the Wawel Castle. The Wawel Castle was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage in 1978. Krakow’s busiest areas are Florianska Street and the Rynek Glowny Square - Europe’s largest medieval city plaza with the Renaissance Cloth Hall in the middle and the Town Hall Tower nearby.
Wandering around the Old Town
Although the Royal Way already covers the major attractions of Krakow, there is so much more to see of the historic centre. The Old Town is the home to various squares, palaces, churches, monasteries, and museums. Krakow medieval town is surrounded by Planty Park, which offers ideal paths for locals to jog, have a picnic or simply go for a nice walk. You can also roam around the Old Town’s main squares driven in a horse cab, a carriage or an electric cart of a cycle rickshaw. Some of the main squares to check out are the Rynek Glowny (Main Marketplace), the Maly Rynek (Little Marketplace) and the Plac Mariacki (Mary’s Square).
Joining a Mass in St.Mary's Church
Lying in the middle of the Mary’s Square, St.Mary’s Church is an important medieval work of architecture and art with various important paintings on the wall by Matejko, Wyspianski and Mehoffer. The church was rebuilt in the Gothic style during the late 13th century. Come here on Sunday at 10:30 am to experience the weekly English Mass.
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Take a night walking tour for free
Every night starting from St. Mary’s Church at 7 PM, you can join a free walking tour around the dark and mysterious Krakow. This 1.5 hour exotic tour focuses on medieval methods of punishment, ghosts of unhappy lovers and a scary dragon. Admire the alternative magical sides of the city and enjoy its lively nightlife at the oldest nightclubs of Krakow afterwards. The local travel professionals also offer many other tours for you to discover Krakow such as the daily Old Town Tour and the Food Tour.
Taking a summer cruise down the Vistula River
If you are into a more relaxed and romantic trip, get on a double-deck pleasure boat leaving from the Wisla River bank near the Wawel Royal Castle. The vessels will take you for an hour long excursion throughout some of the main attractions such as the St. Nobert’s Convent, the Tyniec Abbey, the Bielany Monastery and many others. You can also take summer river buses with stops at Zablocia, Galeria Kazimierz for shopping, Wawel Castle and Tor Kajakarswa. The cruises start everyday from 9:00 AM and tickets are sold on the spot.
Getting around Poland
Traveling around Poland is easy and cheap with the train. You can book tickets online or purchase directly at the office at any main station. Commuting between cities in Poland is also possible by bus companies like Eurolines, but buses usually take longer.
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