Medieval charms abound in the Krakow city centre. Once the seat of Poland’s government, today Krakow is among the country’s greatest tourist mainstays. From the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Krakow Old Town to other central attractions on Wawel Hill, there is no shortage of history and culture in this southern Polish city.
The prime draw to central Krakow is the historic Krakow Old Town, a remarkably well-preserved medieval stronghold. The Main Market Square is one of Europe’s largest, surrounded by seemingly endless restaurants, bars, hotels and attractions. Top landmarks include St. Mary’s Basilica and the Town Hall Tower. Beyond the UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Town, the Krakow city centre’s greatest attraction is Wawel Castle. The 14th century fortification looks over the Polish city from its hilltop while visitors come pouring in. The Wawel Cathedral was the coronation site of Polish monarchs and houses many royal tombs.
Krakow is well connected to other European cities. Its international airport is the second largest in the country with routes to London, Barcelona and Rome. Trains from Prague, Budapest and Vienna stop at a railway station just outside the Old Town, and there are several cross-continental buses serving the city.
Tourism in Krakow tends to focus on the city’s 16th century Golden Age, but it’s important not to forget all of Poland’s history. The city passed hands between Russians, Prussians, Swedes, Transylvanians, French and Austrians over the years before Nazi Germany’s infamous seizing of Poland in World War II. Both the Plaszow and Auschwitz concentration camps are located near Krakow.