With a population of three quarters of a million, Krakow is the second largest city in Poland. Located in the southernmost part of the country, it lies at about a 1 hour drive from Katowice, on the Wisla River. Krakow has a long history, and was already an important center of trading activity in the 10th century. Nowadays it is one of the major cultural hubs of the country, and probably Poland's premier tourist destination with a wealth of historical and architectural sights.
Things center around the Old Town (Stare Miasto), where you will find most attractions and where most people end up staying on a trip to the city. The main square of Krakow is Rynek Główny, an enormous medieval square located in the heart of Stare Miasto, surrounded by churches, café's and restaurants. Dating back to the 13th century, it is in fact Europe's largest medieval town square. The Cloth Hall in the center of it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and houses a museum with the largest collection of Polish paintings worldwide. The Gothic style Wawel Castle is the most famous sight, located at the river and a short walk from the center of the Old Town. Built by Casimir III the Great in the 14th century, it was for several centuries where the Polish Kings lived.
Outside of the Old Town lies Kazimierz, the old Jewish quarter which offers a reminder of a dark recent past. Not feeling heavy when reflecting on the area's history while walking around here is seemingly impossible.
Besides history, Krakow is bustling in the present as well. There is an enormous amount of bars, pubs and restaurants in the Old Town alone. In the summer things are happening in the beer gardens around town, while in winter things go inside. Shopping-wise, Krakow is especially good for antiques, clothing, jewelry or art.
Krakow is also a base to travel to the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz, located at about 65 kilometers from the city. [Review by travelindicator]
You can find the best hotel deals in Krakow here.
- Krakow is a city in Poland. It has a population of 755,050, is situated at an altitude of 702ft and the best airport to fly into is KRK (John Paul Ii Balice International, Krakow)
- The currency used in Poland is the Polish zloty (PLN)
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