"Beautiful Krakow" Krakow by GentleSpirit

Krakow Travel Guide: 4,500 reviews and 10,636 photos

I spent 4 wonderful days in Krakow early in September this year. The weather was great, warm and generally sunny. Based on what I had read in the forums and guidebooks I knew Krakow was going to be a real pretty smaller city. When I read how people kept talking about what a great place it is to hang out in I sort of wondered.

Krakow itself has plenty of sights and things to keep you occupied for a few days. I got to see a lot, got to relax and really enjoy this wonderful city.

If you feel there isn't enough to hold your interest in the city itself (there is plenty!) you will want to make sure to allocate enough time to see some of the great daytrips near Krakow, chief among them the Salt Mines and Auschwitz. Also nearby is the city of Wroclaw, which Poles tend to say is one of the most beautiful cities in all of Poland. Though it is a very long daytrip, you could certainly go hiking in the Tatras National Park and pay a visit to the unforgettable Morskie Oko. Going up to Morskie Oko would make for a very very long day trip from Krakow, but you could certainly just enjoy Zakopane for the day.

A city rich in history

Krakow, like Prague, was left relatively unscathed by World War II. Similarly, it has a relatively compact historic center where you will do most of your sightseeing. I personally had a great time seeing the wonderful religious art in this city, especially knowing how central religion has been in the Polish national identity.

There is also Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter, which was very very interesting. I would definitely recommend seeing Schindler's List before going there as all of the tours through Kazimierz refer to the movie a great deal. For those with an interest, there is always Auschwitz, which is not too far out of the city. I personally didn't go to Auschwitz.

A few must-sees in Krakow

Rynek Glowny- the main square
St. Mary's Basilica- magnificent Gothic church right off the main square
Kazimierz- the Jewish Quarter and the Schindler Factory
Wawel Castle- especially the courtyard

Krakow is a hard place to describe succinctly. It has the great historic things, is known as a center for the arts and education in Poland. It has some of the most important religious sites. Really, though all those things were important and interesting, I found Krakow a great place to relax. I found the city easy enough to navigate and it was very nice to be able to go around town and see all the sights without the mobs of tourists and lines. I was a bit surprised by how well most Poles can communicate in other languages and I got in some real nice, long discussions. I found the Poles to be rather more outgoing, very hospitable and very warm.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Rynek Glowny, Polish food, very laid back, great religious art
  • Cons:often considered a "party" town
  • In a nutshell:This city is best enjoyed slowly
  • Last visit to Krakow: Sep 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (35)

Comments (13)

  • Maurizioago's Profile Photo
    Apr 7, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    I hope to go back to Krakow soon.

    Ciao!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jun 30, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    Val, it would be great to pay a visit to Krakow some day...Thanks for your advice!)

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    May 20, 2013 at 3:42 AM

    A lot of great updates since I last visited your Krakow pages. I also stopped in at one of the "tourist info" places only to find it was a tour business, but they also provided me with the answer I was looking for.

  • stevemt's Profile Photo
    May 13, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    Hi, loved reading your Krakow pages. They bought back a lot of memories as I was there for the Euromeet a few years back. Would love to go back again some day

    Regards

    STEVE

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    May 5, 2013 at 6:10 AM

    I always enjoy a page on Krakow. Hope you'll stop in at mine. It's a great city with so many things to discover. Three trips was not enough. Never enough.

  • slothtraveller's Profile Photo
    May 3, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    A great account of Krakow, Val. This a city that is most definitely on my list of must-sees. The Polish cuisine sounds like my cup of tea too!

  • wise23girl's Profile Photo
    Feb 1, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    DAO had given me a medal in the hope we would be able to make the Krakow trip

  • wise23girl's Profile Photo
    Feb 1, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    Well I missed the Meet in Krakow and was sorry as I would love to have visited.

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Oct 14, 2012 at 4:51 AM

    When it was announced that Krakow would be the venue for that year's VT Meet, I was a little skeptical as I didn't know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed our time there. I love perogies, so I sure had my fill of them. One of the few disappointments, was how many buildings were under scaffolding, including the Cloth Hall. Bummer!

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Great tips and photos. I love the old European architecture.

GentleSpirit

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