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Welcome to Krakow, the heart and soul of Poland! Krakow’s old town looks like a fairy tale, with its medieval castle looming over the city, an eternal symbol of kings, royalties and notable church leaders. Krakow has gone through a lot; loss, war and destruction. But it now stands strong and more beautiful than ever, proud of its history – and it’s a top travel destination, with millions of travellers around the world searching for cheap air tickets to Krakow every year, making it, without a doubt, Poland’s most popular destination. Krakow’s medieval architecture stands as a reminder of the cultural and national identity of the city, while the pure love for arts music and poetry has given Krakow the title of Poland’s cultural capital. Having the status of one of Europe’s most influential hubs, Krakow knows how to satisfy its visitors. Make your plans and find all the cheap hotels in Krakow to organise your accommodation and see for yourself what we’re talking about!
Krakow is Poland’s second largest city and has been, for years, a major hub for both the European Catholic Church and European trade. With a turbulent history and a bright future, Krakow is a city of contrasts that keeps its old heart alive, while looking open-mindedly towards the future.
Krakow’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and welcomes around 3,000,000 visitors annually!With a population of 750,000 and a flourishing tourist industry, Krakow is an extremely lively destination with much and more to offer to everyone visiting. Medieval castles, world-class art, delicious cuisine and a great deal of historic landmarks and monuments, modern Krakow is a sight for sore eyes!
Krakow’s international airport (Kraków Airport im. Jana Pawła II) is located 11 kilometres west of Krakow and can be reached by train (Balice Ekspres) and bus (lines 208, 292 and 902).
Getting around Krakow
You can get around Krakow by bus, tram and railway. Fares start at 3.80 zł and minimum taxi fare cost around 6.00 zł.
Your day in Krakow starts at the city’s main square, Rynek Glówny. The square was designed in 1257 and was at the time Europe’s largest one and a major economical, commercial and social centre for the locals. Be sure to visit one of the many restaurants and cafes on and around the square, as well as some of Krakow’s most important buildings that can be found there:
- Sukiennice was the traditional meeting point of European merchants arriving at or passing by Krakow. While renovated more than once, the building still retains the old, traditional feeling and atmosphere.
- At the north-eastern part of the square, the gothic Kosciól Mariacki church, dating back to the 14th century, stands as a symbol of Krakow. The church is decorated with graceful murals by 19th century artists like Jan Matejko, Stanislaw Wyspianski and Wit Stwosz. Extensive excavations around the church area have given birth to an underground museum, with collections that present the city’s long history, spanning a period of 1,000 years.
The Wawel Hill looms over the Old Town and River Vistula with a radiant beauty and splendour, bearing an important history and heritage. The Wawel castle was the official royal seat of Poland until 1596, the year when Warsaw became Poland’s capital. Each king has left his mark in the castle, from restoration and expansion works to artefacts and treasures left in it.
Feel free to wander around the castle’s halls and renaissance gardens and pay special attention to the palace’s treasury, where a splendid collection of French and Flemish art is kept, along with antiques and precious tapestries.
Within the boundaries of the Castle, you will also see the Wawel Cathedral and its museum, on a religiously and historically significant location. This is Poland’s most important church, has been a major coronation temple for Polish Kings and now houses the tombs of kings, national heroes, poets and other notable Polish nationals.
A visit to the Schindler Factory Museum is a must if you’re visiting Krakow. Oskar Schindler’s enamel factory that saved the lives of 1,000 Jews during the Third Reich, is now converted into a history museum, devoted to the wartime experiences of Jews in Krakow – and of Krakow in general.Before you leave Krakow, head to the Nowa Huta district, 10 kilometres outside Krakow city centre. This neighbourhood was created during the last years of World War II, to serve as the industrial hub that would re-build a broken city. A giant steel mill was constructed – “Nowa Huta” means “New Mill” – and a public housing complex was built around it, along with shops and entertainment facilities for future residents.
Things didn’t go exactly as planned and people didn’t look forward to moving to an industrial zone. However, the area is of great historical and architectural interest, presenting a totally different face of Krakow.
The official language of Krakow is Polish.