Krakow Travel Guide
Why? As the delights of Eastern Europe are discovered by
travellers, a holiday in Krakow, Poland's beautiful preserved
medieval city, is topping the list of desirable destinations. The
charming, atmospheric Old City is reason enough to travel to
Krakow, particularly the main Market Square, festooned with
churches, restaurants and bars, where the soul of the city is laid
When? Undoubtedly the best time to travel to Krakow is during the summer, between April and October, when the weather is sunny, warm and fairly humid. There can be some wet weather in summer too. The most ideal month for a holiday in Krakow is probably May, when temperatures are mild but rain is rare. Winter in Krakow is bitterly cold.
Who for? As a 'living museum', a holiday in Krakow is ideal for history buffs, but the city has a vibrant cultural calendar too, which will please the hearts of music, theatre and art-lovers. Krakow's notorious Holocaust history and historic Jewish quarter make this a place of pilgrimage for Jews. Romantics also travel to Krakow for an enjoyable city break.
More Info: Find out everything there is to do and see on a holiday in Krakow from our Krakow holiday guide, which is updated every day and contains a host of information for those planning to travel to Krakow.
Wawel Castle, Krakow © Judith Duk
The only major city to escape the destruction of World War II, Krakow has one of the best-preserved medieval city centres in all of Europe. The Old Town is a significant UNESCO World Heritage Site and retains a wealth of architectural gems from different periods, with magnificent churches and aristocratic palaces lining the old streets, reminiscent of its glorious days when it was the abode of kings and royalty. At the heart of the city lies one of the grandest squares in Europe, the Old Market Square.
The charming Old Town is a compact area encircled by leafy parkland that forms a green belt around the historic centre. The main entrance to the old city was through the Florian Gate, set within the original city walls, now the haunt of artists and full of galleries containing their work. With a thriving cultural life, it has been home to many of the nation's greatest writers, artists and intellectuals, and is one of the main cultural centres in the country, a spirited city with personality and charisma.
Overlooking the city is Wawel Hill, topped by the striking Royal Castle and Cathedral, the seat of Polish kings for seven centuries and the symbols of Polish national history. Also important is the city's Jewish roots, and the history of one of the great Jewish centres in Europe can clearly be seen in the old ghetto area of Kazimierz, and starkly remembered in the memorial death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, west of Krakow.
Situated on the banks of the Vistula River, Krakow is also a modern city, the third largest in Poland, and an important university centre boasting the oldest university in Europe. The large student population creates a lively atmosphere and a vibrant nightlife. Countless cafes and outdoor restaurants surround the cobbled main square. The unique atmosphere of this medieval city has made it one of Poland's most popular tourist destinations.
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