Krakow is becoming an increasingly popular option for those who want to enjoy a city break with a difference, with a fascinating blend of history and culture waiting to be explored.
Poland’s second largest city provides plenty of opportunities to explore streets and squares that have been somewhat unchanged for hundreds of years.
However, modern day Krakow is also home to a range of up-to-date bars and restaurants where you can then relax and unwind on an evening.
Although the weather isn’t usually a major factor when booking in a city break, Krakow is very much a city of seasons, which means you’ll want to visit in the middle of summer if you want to catch the sun.
Then, temperatures can rise to as high as 30° although high teens to the early 20s is more common. Visit in winter however, and you’ll need to pack the thermals, with temperatures dipping below freezing and a chance of snow.
There’s little doubt that it is the historic attractions of Krakow that are the major draw for tourists, particularly when it comes to events around the Second World War.
However, there is plenty more to explore besides, from impressive museums packed with stunning works of art to underground tunnels and mines dating back thousands of years, and from historic castles to vibrant jazz clubs where you can listen to live music on an evening.
Take a trip to Krakow and you certainly won’t come home disappointed.
Kazimierz was once the main Jewish district in Krakow but sustained heavy damage in the Second World War. With many residents forcibly removed, Kazimierz was left neglected before being gradually brought back to life in the 1990s. Now, it’s a popular area with tourists thanks to the many cafes, bars and galleries within the neighbourhood.
Oskar Schindler’s Factory
Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist who is famous for his role in preventing more than 1,000 Jews from being taken to the Concentration Camps during World War II. The factory where those Jews worked now houses a museum that includes the history of Krakow and also Schindler himself.
The most famous Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz was the place where more than a million Jews lost their lives in the Second World War. Guided tours are available of the site, which has become a symbol for the horrors of the Holocaust and is dedicated to the memory of those who died there.
The Bernatek footbridge is a relatively new structure that crosses the Wista River close to the centre of Krakow. It’s a place where couples visiting the city tend to head to attach padlocks engraved with their names to the bridge before throwing the keys into the water below.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
The Wieliczka Salt Mine dates back to the 13th century and was still in operation right through to 2007. One of the oldest site mines around, the mine is now deemed to a Historic Monument of Poland and is visited by more than a million people a year who want to explore statues and chapels carved from the rocks by miners through the years.
Wawel Royal Castle
The Wawel Royal Castle sits in the UNESCO World Heritage site that is the Historic Centre of Krakow 13th and 14th century. Once the residence of Polish kings, the castle is now home to a museum and is regarded as one of the most important buildings in the city.
Visit Krakow during the winter months and you might decide to take a day trip out to Zakopane, which is regarded as the Winter Capital of Poland. Located in the Tatra Mountains, it’s a great place to go skiing of snowboarding. Visit in summer and there are various hiking trails and mountain biking routes to enjoy.
The main square in Krakow is a busy hub of activity throughout the year, and houses markets, concerts and festivals. It’s a good place to start your tour of the city, with various shops, bars and restaurants nearby.
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