Krakow Travel Guide

Introduction to Krakow

Krakow is cosmopolitan city and a cultural hub of Poland, gaining the title of European City of Culture in 2000. Having celebrated its 750th birthday in 2007, the city is steeped in history, with fantastic Renaissance and Gothic architecture, much of which survived the Second World War, unlike many Polish cities. From quaint Krakow hotels to the ambience and charm of the Old Town, to the vibrant galleries, bars and restaurants in the Jewish district, Kazimierz, it’s no wonder that Krakow is tourist hotspot.

Basilica of the Virgin Mary

Basilica of the Virgin Mary

An imposing Gothic church containing sculptures and art works of its period

Kanonicza Street

Kanonicza Street

The perfect route to Wawel Hill with its ancient streets and beautiful Renaissance buildings

Krakow Museum of Pharmacy

Museum of Pharmacy

Take a look at the cures and potions of ancient apothecary

Other things to do in Krakow

Among the city’s treasures is Wawel Hill, home to Wawel Cathedral and Wawel Castle, both of which are must-see attractions. Wawel Castle was the political centre of Poland up until the 16th century and as the country’s former capital you can really get a feel for Poland’s rich heritage here. Most of Poland’s coronations as well as burials occurred in Wawel Cathedral and it’s possible to climb the tower to enjoy the panoramic views of the city, as well as admire the Sigismund Bell, weighing around 10,000kg.

The main Market Square, Rynek Glowny, is an enormous ten-acre square containing stunning Renaissance and Gothic architecture, the perfect location to grab a coffee and take in the breathtaking Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), built in the 15th century. The ground floor shopping centre is the perfect place to pick up gifts and souvenirs, while a fantastic array of Polish art can be found upstairs in the Malopolska Contemporary Art Collection.

One of the most underrated tourist attractions is Krakow Zoo, just 10km west of the centre. Set in 500 acres of woodlands, it is not only the perfect day out for families, but it is the ideal day trip if you are looking to escape the busy city.

The Krakow Card is a great way to see more and pay less. Available for two or three days, it offers free bus and tram travel around the city, as well as free entry to around thirty museums.

Eating and drinking in Krakow

Traditional Polish cuisine flows from a variety of diverse influences usually featuring a profusion of local herbs and unusual spices. Hunting was once a favorite Polish pastime, which has made game dishes like ‘Krakow duck’,served in a mushroom jus, a traditional favorite.

The country is full of quality mineral waters, and it has outstanding fruit crops which produce delicious juices. Tea is the everyday drink and is usually quite weak served with sugar and a slice of lemon but rarely milk. Polish vodka is the staple alcoholic drink and is relatively potent, with 40 to 45% alcohol content.

Krakow climate

Krakow has a temperate climate, with average temperatures in January hovering around 0°C and winter months seeing the city blanketed in snow. The spring is ideal for touring the city, with mild temperatures, and the summer provides warm and dry weather, with the top July temperatures being around 24°C.

When to go to Krakow

As Krakow is a year-round destination, you will find plenty of other tourists whenever you decide to visit. However, you can beat the majority of crowds and still enjoy relatively good weather by visiting from mid-May to June, or at the start of autumn from late September to October.

Flying to Krakow

Flights to Krakow land at John Paul II International Airport which is conveniently located 11km from Krakow. There are regular shuttle buses that run into the city, or you can hop on a train and be in the heart of the city in just 15 minutes.

 Krakow Deals

Hotels in Krakow

Car hire in Krakow

Images by DoctorWho2 / Dinoboy