One of Poland’s largest and most beautiful cities, Krakow is enjoying a burgeoning reputation as a place to enjoy city breaks with friends and partners. One of the most historical cities in Europe, Krakow’s roots date back to 20,000BC, although its more recent history makes the city all the more intriguing, as evident in its various churches and public squares.
Today, many of the historical buildings have been restored to their former glory, while this part of Poland welcomes plenty of visitors from across the world, whether for business or leisure. The mix of old and new in the city makes it appealing for all kinds of people, especially those who want to visit an old-style European city.
Although Krakow has good connections to other parts of Poland and across the border in Germany, in the centre, a small car is the safest option, especially in relation to traffic and street parking.
When visiting Krakow, the first place to go should be the Old Town. Here, you can walk through the Planty, a large park which surrounds this part of Krakow, visit a bar or simply take a few photos to remember your trip by.
St Mary’s Church is the main place of worship here. In a deeply Catholic country, St Mary’s is a good place to participate in a Mass. The interior of the church is one of the most striking aspects of the building, while you might also be amazed at the way in which worshippers act here.
MOCAK, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow, a new attraction in the city, features paintings, sculptures and other works from the past two decades from local and international artists. Private tours of the museum are preferable.
Schindler’s Factory Museum, on the site of a factory formerly owned by Oscar Schindler, documents the city’s recent history from World War Two to the fall of communism in the late 1980’s. Look out for the special exhibition dedicated to WWII.
The city centre is often packed during rush hour, while finding a parking space can be difficult at times. Parking just outside the city centre is your best bet.
Look out for laws relating to local ‘driving zones’. Among other things, they may involve specific speed limits for each part of the city.
Krakow has no fewer than nine tourist offices throughout the city. Most of them are open every day from 9am to 5pm, while some are open a little longer during summer.
John Paul II International Airport Krakow-Balice is the second largest in Poland. It has two terminals, the newest of which was built just seven years ago. Just under seven miles west of the city centre, flights come here from all over Europe, especially the UK and Germany.
The airport is close to Highway 7 and the A4. On 7, you can drive straight towards Krakow or, to reach the southern suburbs, take the A4 southwards.