SIGHTS OF KRAKOW
Krakow has plenty of atmospheric squares.
Although the Auschwitz concentration camp is located in Oświęcim, about 50 km from Kraków, for many it is the main reason to travel to Kraków. Auschwitz is most conveniently reached by bus from Kraków, but also by train, which is about two kilometers away. Auschwitz consists of two parts of Auschwitz I and the Auschwitz II Birkenau, a couple of kilometers away. There is a shuttle bus between the camps.
You can go on tour without a guide or on a group-led tour. Auschwitz I is better preserved than Auschwitz-Birkenau and most tourists visit Auschwitz I. However, Auschwitz-Birkenau is wider and in many ways more stagnant, so if you have enough time, you shouldn’t miss it either.
Royal splendor on Wawel Hill
Wawel Hill is the most popular tourist attraction in Kraków and you should head there in the morning, as some destinations in the area are only visited daily. Wawel Hill is located just outside the old town and entrance to the area costs a few euros.
The main attractions of Wawel Hill are the Royal Castle, where it is possible to visit both the Representative Premises and the private residences of the Royal Ones, as well as the Cathedral and its Royal Tombs. There are also a couple of museums in the area.
The medieval old town is one of the best preserved in Europe
Kraków’s Old Town is centered around Rynek Główny Square, in the middle of which rises the Renaissance Verka Hall. There are many souvenirs in the hall, among other things. At the edge of the square rises the famous St. Mary’s Church. There are also many other beautiful churches in the Old Town.
Krakow’s medieval Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been very well preserved. In most parts of the old town you can only walk, as driving is forbidden.
Kazimierz Jewish District
Kazimierz is steeped in the history of Polish Jews. The Jewish district of Kazimierz is located just outside the old town and, in addition to its own feet, is easily reached by bus and tram.
Jews were forced to move from Krakow to Kazimierz in the 15th century, and later the area became the home of Jews deported from other parts of Europe. During World War II, Jews were transferred to the Podgórze ghetto and concentration camps, and the area was deserted for decades.
Today, Kazimierz has several museums telling the history of Jews and the region, as well as many synagogues. Kazimierz has a very special atmosphere and architecture, where you can also sample traditional Jewish cuisine.
The Wieliczka salt mines take you deep underground
The Wieliczka salt mines, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are also a tremendous experience. The mines can be explored on guided tours and the entrance fee is just under 20 euros. Visitors get to see only about a percent of the total area of the mine, but that share is already huge.
For those who are in a cramped place, a visit to the mine cannot be recommended, as the journey takes you to a depth of hundreds of meters underground. The most amazing experience is the chapel built in a huge underground hall, all the objects of which, including crystal chandeliers and statues, are built of salt.
THE BEST OF KRAKOW
Trams and buses take you outside the old town
Public transport in Krakow is working well and the use of buses and trams is clear. Krakow’s city center and Old Town are reasonably small, so walking is the most convenient way to move from place to place. However, it is convenient to go to the Jewish district of Kazimierz, for example, by tram.
The Old Town is surrounded by a park area and the street at its edge surrounds the Old Town. Perceiving the center of Krakow is easy. Traffic is Poland’s biggest safety risk, so a holiday in Krakow is worth considering twice to get behind the wheel of a car. The roads are quite in poor condition and narrow, and the traffic culture differs from the Finnish one, as traffic rules are often followed only loosely.
Traveling by taxi is really cheap in Poland, but when choosing a ride it is worth noting that there are also a lot of unofficial taxis in Krakow. You can get the safest taxi ride just by jumping on an official taxi.
There is plenty to see in Kraków’s Old Town.
The main attractions of Krakow
- Old Town
- Wawel Castle
- Kazimierz Jewish District
- Wieliczka salt mines
The best day trip destinations
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