Cathedrals, ancient synagogues, palaces, parks and even a dragon’s den make the former Polish capital one of the most fascinating European cities to explore.
Dating back to the seventh century, Krakow is among the oldest cities in Poland. The palaces and castles that were once home to the nation’s rulers and royal families have been converted to museums and are ideal places to learn about the city’s often troubled past. For five centuries Krakow was the Polish capital and while the monarchs may have left, their legacy can still be seen throughout the regal city.
History is just one of Krakow's draws: the progressive city is also home to an exciting contemporary arts community, colourful weekend markets and a fascinating underground nightlife.
Krakow’s efficient public transport system makes crossing the city easy, but many attractions are just a short walk from the city centre. See the beautiful St. Mary’s Basilica, home to one of Europe’s most revered altarpieces, or wander through the Planty gardens that once marked the city’s border. In the centre of the park you’ll find the Barbikan, once the entrance to Krakow.
Throughout the city are great vantage spots to photograph the Wawel Castle that looms above Krakow. Visit the castle to see its stately interior and a collection of military relics or to see the enormous Wawel Cathedral. Legend has it that a dragon once lived below in the limestone cave known as the Dragon’s Den.
Krakow’s Jewish influences are evident throughout the city; its often-painful history can be discovered at Oskar Schindler’s Factory. After rising to international fame following the release of Stephen Spielberg’s movie, Schindler’s List, the factory was converted into a dedicated museum that outlines the haunting events of the Holocaust. The nearby Galicia Jewish Museum takes you on a fascinating photographic journey through the contemporary Jewish community in Krakow.
When dusted with snow, the picturesque city looks like something from a fairy tale. In the warmer months Krakow’s parks become central meeting places, home to open-air concerts and arts festivals. Pack a picnic lunch and head to Jordan Park or go on a boat for a tour of the Vistula River that splits the city in half.