Krakow is a unique city situated in the south of Poland. If you enjoy history, you will no doubt love it here! Krakow is an incredibly old city (at least 10 centuries!) and is famous for its preserved medieval core and Jewish quarter. Enjoy the main square that holds daily markets, scenic river walks and the multiple cathedrals! Read on for some great recommendations!
Join free walking tours
There are many amazing things to see and do in Krakow. As it is a city known for its beautiful medieval architecture, I would highly recommend doing a walking tour. This will give you the opportunity to learn the rich history and culture of Krakow. There are many companies that offer tours, do consider Free Walking Tour, as they are a reliable company. They also offer a selection of tours that cover different regions of Krakow, and the majority of their tours are free. Visit their website (link provided at the end of the article) for more information.
Visit the Main Square
The Main Square is always buzzing during the summer months. It is home to a very quirky market that offers everything from traditional food to authentic homemade jewellery. There are often street performers playing traditional music and horses drawn carriages occupying the streets.
During the evening, more food stalls arise to offer traditional meals to the hungry tourists. Speciality Polish dishes include perogi (polish dumplings), goulash (meat stew) and Borcht (beetroot soup). As Poland is a relatively cheap country, you can easily purchase a full meal for 3 USD.
St. Mary’s Basilica
Adjacent to the market, you will find St. Mary’s Basilica, the most famous church in Krakow. It was built in the 14th century and stands at 80m tall! The architecture is gothic and cathedral style. Every hour, you will hear trumpet calls from the gothic watchtower – this sound is very loud and can be heard from all over the city. To enter, you will have to pay a small fee of 10 PLN (2.70 USD). Inside the church, you will discover the most striking designs!
Wander around Wawel Castle
Wawel Castle is a very popular attraction due to the unique architecture and royal history. It is situated on a hilltop and overlooks a beautiful river, giving you a wonderful view. This castle was initiated in the 14th century and has been home to the Polish Royal family for hundreds of years. The architectural style of the castle is incredibly gothic as well as slightly Romanesque.
Today it is used as an art gallery and a tourist attraction. It is free to wander around the castle and enjoy the view. However, you will need to pay a small amount to view the art exhibitions.
The Jewish Quarter
Krakow is famous for the Jewish quarter, a district located just south of the old town. For over 500 years, this area was the centre of Jewish life, before it was systematically destroyed during World War 2. It is considered as Krakow’s most exciting district due to the bustling, bohemian atmosphere, historical sites, art galleries and quirky cafes.
This area is a massive tourist attraction and is even used as a pilgrimage site for Jews. Every summer, there is a huge festival here in the quarter to celebrate the Jewish culture and educate guests and residents about the city’s prewar history. The Jewish quarter is also the best for nightlife in Krakow!
Visit Schindler’s Museum
If you enjoy learning about WW2, I would suggest visiting Schindler’s museum. Here, you will find an innovative exhibition that tells the moving story of the city from 1939 to 1945. The exhibition covers the war, everyday life under the Occupation, the fate of the Jews and the city’s underground resistance through photos, radio and film recordings and artefacts. It will cost you 19 PLN (5 USD) for a day pass. This museum is considered world class!
Travelling around Krakow
As Krakow is a small city, it is easy to get around by foot. There are many native trees planted throughout, creating a very scenic atmosphere and an enjoyable place to explore.
A popular thing to do is to explore the city by bike. This way you can get around quickly, but also enjoy the scenery and relaxed atmosphere. There are many places around the city that offer bikes for hire. In particular, do consider Cool Tour Company. The staff are great, and you can hire a bike for a reasonable price.
Krakow is a city full of rich culture and history. You will no doubt learn a lot of valuable information as well as experience the unique Polish way of life.
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