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Why Is Everyone Talking About Visiting Cracow? The Beginner’s Travel Guide

Capital of culture of Poland. Some say you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but Cracow is terribly bent on proving otherwise.  The only major city to escape the destruction of World War II, Cracow has one of the best-preserved medieval city centers in all of Europe.

Situated on the banks of the Vistula River, Cracow is the third-largest city in Poland and has one of the best-preserved medieval city centers in Europe. Its rankings of prominent churches, monasteries and abbeys make it a jewelry box of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, and a walk through the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1978, is like a step back in time.

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 castles lining the old streets, reminiscent of its glorious days when it was the home of kings and royalty.

Poland’s greatest drawing card excites visitors for a range of reasons, but whether you are stimulated by history or hedonism, architecture or art, you just cannot fail to be impressed by the city.

The charming Old Town is a compact area surrounded by natural parkland that forms a green belt around the historic center. The main entrance to the old city was through the Florian Gate, set within the original city walls; it is now the haunt of artists and full of galleries containing their works. With a booming cultural life, it has been home to many of the nation’s greatest writers, artists, and intellectuals, and is one of the main cultural centers in the country, an energetic city with character and charm.

In summer, Cracow crowded with tourists and street cafes seem to occupy every cobble of the spectacular Market Square, while street performers stuff their trade to tourists. The horse-drawn carriages clattering around the streets merely add to the romance in the city center.

Aside from amazing architecture, Cracow is well known for its crazy nightlife. Regardless of your musical persuasions, the city is a paradise for hedonists, and authorities claim Cracow has the best concentration of pubs, clubs, and bars in Europe. Cracow is known as the cultural capital of Poland through its love of music, poetry, and theater.

After years of occupation and struggle, Cracow has appeared a proud city with a strong sense of identity, yet has still maintained its artistic and fun-loving soul.

City Guide

Cracow, Poland’s ancient royal capital is one of the great survivors of this part of Europe. And much like the embattled old countess, who handled to come through the war and the Soviet era, it is a proud city. Conservative in some ways and with an eye towards tradition, Cracow also has an eccentric ability that can be enchanting.

You can be found one of the important factors in the cities magic. It is the kind of place where every day you might fall across something that you have not noticed before – a little baroque church, a hidden courtyard, or perhaps just one of the variety gargoyles and statues that peer down from the city’s houses.

Cracow is a treasure chest and a great advantage that it can be mostly explored by foot. There is no need to launch you into a world of underground trains or buses.

In the medieval center of Cracow, you can visit the buildings regarded as having the highest class of historical and architectural values. The old town’s wall, the Barbican, was taken off in the 19th century and the green belt was replaced. The Royal Castle, located on Wawel Hill is where Poland’s Kings resided until 1609. In the portion of the walls of the old town, the Barbican you will find the Florian Gate. We’re students of Fine Arts and local artists sell their works.

In the Main Square (Glowny Rynek) is the famous St. Mary’s Church (Kosciol Mariacki), the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), the Town Hall Tower, and Jagiellonian University with the Collegium Maius.

This is a city of many fine churches, such as the Church of St. Catherine with the Augustine convent, and the church and hermitage of the Camaldolese (Kameduli) monks in Bielany. Near the Jagiellonian University is the baroque St. Anne’s Church and a little further away is the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul with statues of the Apostles on the fence.

There are also a number of places that are also well worth exploring. The salt-mines of Wieliczka and the lush valleys that surround Ojcow are both within easy striking distance.

Traveling to Cracow can be quite affordable so when you start to plan your travel arrangements, you can find hotels that fit your travel budget by comparing prices, but to make your travel more pleasant make a hotel reservation as accommodation expenses are an important part to consider when planning traveling.

Tours

Cracow Tours will let you see all the sights in Cracow and the area that you just cannot miss during your stay in this most beautiful city in Poland. Among the local Cracow tours, the most popular are City sightseeingWieliczka Salt Mine and Auschwitz-Birkenau tour. If you come to Cracow for the first time, these Cracow tours should be definitely on your list.

Cracow City Tour

Everyone knows that Cracow is, culturally, one of the richest cities in Europe. Named the City of Culture in the Millennium Year, the heart of Cracow has additionally been declared a World Heritage Site. As soon as you arrive at its beautiful medieval town center, with its famous Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), Wawel Castle, and the wide central square (The Rynek), you will understand why. You will discover the beautiful, historic, and culture-packed city of Cracow on a bus and walking tour.

Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour

See for yourself where the atrocities of the Nazi’s “Final Solution” were carried out with a tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. It is the most well-known cemetery and genocide site in the world. Another must-see for anybody. This former Nazi German concentration camp makes a great impression because it lets anybody at least partly visualize the scope of the Holocaust. Visiting Auschwitz for the first time can be scary and they do not recommend the tour for children under 12, though on the other hand, it is a place which is maintained as a memorial and people should not avoid it.

Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour

Prepare to be impressed at the devotion and superstition that drove miners to carve figures, monuments, and altarpieces into the walls of an 800-year-old salt mine. The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most superb attractions in Europe and your visit to Cracow is incomplete without visiting this fabulous historical monument.

Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains Tour

Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains, a mountain resort nestled at the foot of the Tatra Mountains and boasting breathtaking views of Poland’s countryside. 100 kilometers south of Cracow, Zakopane is the winter sports capital of Poland and the cradle of tourism in Poland. During the winter, Zakopane is excellent for skiing and in the summer season a lot of people visit it to hike or just relax at the foot of the Tatra Mountains.

Czestochowa Tour – the Black Madonna

Polish culture and history have been inextricably connected to the Catholic religion. The most important national shrine is located in the city of Czestochowa. This very symbolical and spiritual place has been attracting pilgrims from across the globe for centuries. The city of Częstochowa is a popular pilgrimage tour known for its monastery complex of Jasna Góra from the 16th century and the Black Madonna icon of the Virgin Mary from the 6th century believed to be miraculous.

Walking Tours in Cracow

Although the transportation system in Cracow is convenient and comfortable, walking around the city will still prove to be the best way to get a glimpse of the city’s beautiful offerings. Add to this, unlike other tourist services, a walking tour around Cracow can be experienced for FREE!

The free walking tour in Cracow happens all year round. For those who wish to explore the royal attractions in the Polish city, the walking tour takes place every 11 in the morning, while the Jewish attractions of Cracow can be explored on foot for free every 3 in the afternoon from April thru October and every 11:30 in the morning between November and March in front of the St. Mary’s Church, which is located on the market square of the city. With this free guided walking tour, you’ll get to get around Cracow guided by well-trained tour guides who speak English fluently. Of course, because the guided walking tour is free, it would be very nice to give the tour guide a tip or donation – which they surely deserve!

Now the weather in Cracow may not be that predictable, but that doesn’t mean that the free walking tour would be as well. In fact, for the licensed tour guides, the weather does not matter as far as providing the free walking tour is a concern. So whether it’s raining or chilling with winds, so long as you show up in the meeting place on time, the walking tour will still push through.

Walking tours in Cracow, because it’s free, will be a wise thing to add in your itinerary. So enjoy this economical offer to enjoy the city!

Landmarks

The top attractions in Krakow aren’t the only things in the city that will give you visual entertainment. The city also has a number of landmarks that will take your breath away. Here are some of these amazing landmarks in the city:

City Walls

The medieval fortification in the city features 2-mile walls of 8 gates and 39 towers. Its construction started in the late 13th century. It stands 10 meters high with 2.5 meters thickness. This particular landmark will give you a glimpse of the city’s past.

Town Hall Tower

If Italy has the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Cracow also has its own leaning tower through the Town Hall Tower. This 70-meter tall tower leans by 55 centimeters as a result of a strong wind that hit the city in 1703. This tower was built in the late 13th century using brick and stone. Over a century’s old, several conflagrations have threatened the wall (which logically will tell you that it isn’t as strong as it used to be anymore).

Skalka Sanctuary

Next to the Jasna Gora monastery of Czestochowa, this sanctuary is the second holiest sanctuary in Poland. From the Wawel Castle, the sanctuary is just a 5-minute walk away. In 1079, a rotunda church once stood in this sanctuary’s rocky hillock. Here, King Boleslav II, the Bold ordered the death of the city’s bishop, Stanislav.

Kanonicza Street

This picturesque street is located at the foot of the hilltop where the Wawel Royal Castle lies. When taking a royal tour to the city, this street is one of those streets you will pass by. From 1951 to 1963, this place used to be where Father Karol Wojtyla (who later became Pope John Paul II) lived.

These landmarks are perfect to take a picture with. They will also make interesting sights to add to your itinerary of activities.

Sandy

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