The city of Cracow remains one of Poland's prettiest cities with its charming Old Town and the Wawel Royal Castle. Cracow is the former capital of Poland, and centuries ago, was the seat of a great kingdom of intellectuals and artisans.

Getting there

Visitors can choose to fly direct to the John Paul II International Airport in Cracow-Balice from Berlin, Chicago, London, Paros, Rome, Amsterdam, Cologne, Budapest, Munich, Oslo, Frankfurt, Dortmund, Copenhagen, or Prague.

Cracow can also be reached by rail from other major cities in Poland, such as the InterCity train from Warsaw that takes approximately 2.5 hours. Berlin, Bucharest, Prague, Vienna, Zilin, Lviv, and Hamburg have direct links that stop at Cracow's Main Rail station. By car, Cracow is 295 kilometers away from the capital of Poland, Warsaw.

Going around Cracow

The famous Wawel Hill, home of the Wawel Castle, can be reached through the small and narrow Kanonicza Street. The castle contains impressive remnants of Poland's strong Christian influences, including Oriental artworks, archeological finds, military emblems, Flemish tapestries, and classic royal chambers. Explore the sites within the castle grounds, such as the Sigismund Bell, rung during very special occasions, the Wawel Cathedral, and the Royal Tombs, where sarcophagi of Polish royals are kept. Walk along the borders of the Wawel Castle to glimpse the Vistula River. If you stay long enough, you may even spot the Dragon of Cracow swimming about.

Cracow's Rynek Glowny or Main Square is located in the central part of the city. The main buildings found in the very heart of Cracow are the Cloth Hall or the Sukiennice, the Church of Saint Adalbert, Saint Mary's Church, and remnants of the old Town Hall. Keep your ears peeled for the hourly bugle call from the towers of Saint Mary's Church over a cup of warm chocolate at the Main Square. Also, if you're looking for a place to party during the New Year, Cracow offers one of the best New Year celebrations in Europe right on its Main Square.

Day trips can be arranged with the help of tour companies to the Wieliczka Salt Mines, a UNESCO Cultural and Heritage Site located some 10 kilometers away from the city. Adults who want a firsthand experience of Poland's complex history should go to the Auschwitz and Birkenhau Museums. It is well worth any visitor's time to tour the campgrounds and reflect on the stories of 1.6 million victims who were murdered by the Nazis during the Second World War.

Cultural life in Cracow

Perhaps the best food in Poland can be found in Cracow. The city is also home to the most talented chefs in the country. Among the most popular places to wine and dine in Cracow are the home canteen in Mikolajska, the pubs in Kazimierz, and the gourmet center that is Kazimierz.

Every first of December each year, the Main Square holds a grand Christmas Market for tourists and visitors. Expect to see, smell, and taste the best Polish dishes like mulled wines, sausages, and cheeses. The Christmas Market offers unique crafts and the perfect Christmas gifts to bring home to your loved ones.