Overlooking the city of Krakow is Wawel, a hill topped with the fascinating architectural complex that includes Wawel Castle and beside it, the gothic Wawel Cathedral. It was here that all the Polish kings ruling between the 14th and the 17th centuries were crowned and buried, and it lies at the heart of Poland's royal history. The Renaissance-style Royal Castle is now a museum, and the historic interior houses an astonishing collection of treasures from the Polish monarchy, including tapestries, period furniture and paintings. Visitors can see the Royal Private Apartments, Crown Treasury, Armoury, and the State Rooms. The Royal Cathedral was the coronation and burial site of all of Poland's monarchs, many of whom are interred in the Royal Tombs. Of the many royal chapels, the golden-domed Renaissance Chapel of King Sigismund is the finest. The bell tower can be climbed for views over the city and to see the enormous 11-tonne bell housed within. There is no joint ticket allowing access to the whole complex on Wawel Hill and tickets must be bought for individual exhibitions and attractions. A number of different guided tours are available - check the official website listed below for details. Exploring Wawel Hill is a must for tourists visiting Krakow.
Telephone: (0)12 422 1697 or 422 5155 ext 291
Transport: Tram 10 or a short walk from the Main Square, Rynek Glówny
Opening times: Wawel Hill: Open daily from 6am until dusk. The various castle attractions are open on Mondays from 9.30am to 12pm; Tuesdays and Fridays from 9.30am to 4pm; Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9.30am to 3pm; and Sundays from 10am to 3pm. The Royal Private Apartments are closed on Mondays. The Cathedral is open from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm, and on Sundays from 12.15pm
Admission: Castle attractions range from 3 PLN to 24 PLN. Concessions are available