Krakow, Poland’s second largest city, lies in the south of the country and is formed of a number of districts, the most historic and significant, the Old Town region, lying in the very heart of the city.
There’s much to see and do in the city which is one of the nation’s oldest settlements, evidence showing forms of life as early as 20,000 BC. In the early 1900s, the city was a culturally and historically significant location, though, the Second World War did a great deal of damage as German forces destroyed many of the monuments and many ancient artefacts and relics were lost.
The popular areas for tourists lie in the Old Town but the district of Kazimierz may be worth a visit with its ancient temples and graveyards. Just west of Krakow lies Oświęcim, a small town which many visitors to Krakow are likely to visit as it is home to the Auschwitz concentration camps.
The Old Town
The biggest attraction in this popular region of the city is Wawel Castle, an important building linked with the royalty of the nation and a place where many coronations have taken place. Nearby is the Town Hall Tower, a large Gothic-Renaissance structure that, though mostly destroyed, offers great views over the rest of Krakow.
There are plenty of medieval squares in the Old Town, the main marketplace lying in Rynek Główny which sits at the very heart of this ancient region. Surrounded by significant buildings and archaic churches, it holds the largest medieval marketplace in the world. At the southern end of the square lies St. Mary’s Church, built in 1220, which is home to some of the greatest, oldest pieces of medieval artwork in the country.
For culture, the National Museum is worth a visit and is free for entry every Sunday. There are many branches to the museum, dedicating themselves to a variety of eras and significant painters of the time.
Those looking for something slightly more contemporary are in luck as Galeria Krakowska, Krakow’s local mall, sells an array of souvenirs and gifts within its many shops.
Festivals & Food
There are plenty of colourful festivals to celebrate in Krakow, prompting many to consider it as a great holiday destination, providing your Bupa travel insurance is fully secured. The Jewish Culture Festival is one of the biggest culture festivals in the world and features concerts, workshops, dance and music.
Much of the culture in the country is influenced by other European nations and this includes the cuisine. Wierzynekis a popular stop on the main square, serving some good food which features some Polish specialties, such as obwarzanek and oscypek, types of bread and cheese. Żurek is a type of popular soup in the country and is usually included on a selection of menus around the city of Krakow.