Kraków Travel and Tourist Guide

Kraków

Krakow Coat of arms - Krakow Travel GuideKraków Travel and Tourist Guide or Cracow, is located in Southern Poland, Małopolska on the River Wisla and has a population of about 762,448 (406,761 females) as of December 2016 people. It is known as the ‘City on the Vistula’, and is a popular tourist destination. It was the capital of Poland until 1609 when Sigismund III moved it to the present day capital of Warsaw.

Travel to this country and you will find that Polish people still see it as the Royal capital city of their nation as most of the Royals are buried in Kraków and is the centre for national culture with hundreds of unique old buildings, it’s music and historic past. It is one of only a few European cities to have survived unscathed the two World Wars of the last century. It is also one of the oldest places of learning with its university dating back over six centuries.

In 1978 UNESCO entered Kraków on the World Cultural and Natural Heritage listing and in 1995 it was one of eight European cities given the title, “European City of Culture 2000”.

I have never visited a place before that has so many churches with different styles of architecture.

The River Wisla or Vistula is the longest river in Poland and one of the major rivers of Eastern Europe. It has a length of 1,090 km (675 miles). It rises on the northern slope of the Carpathian Mountains in south-western Poland, and flows north, curving to the east and then to the west before exiting to the Baltic Sea via the Gulf of Gdansk. It flows through a number of Polish towns on its course including Kraków, Warsaw, and Torun with the major port of Gdansk laying to the west of its mouth. I took a stroll along the river bank in Kraków on a fine Sunday afternoon in early October and enjoyed every minute of it

Kraków Travel and Tourist Guide

Poland Travel Guide

This site is a travel and tourist guide about the country of Polska which is located in central Europe. You are very welcome to visit my site and I hope that you will enjoy the experience.

The guide is easy to use as each village, town and city has it’s own page with useful information for the visitor. Not all sections appearing on the left of our guide, on this place may have information as this is an ongoing project.

It may be the case that this location has not yet been reviewed and written about so if you can contribute any information about this place to improve Kraków Travel and Tourist Guide please send it to me.

Accommodation in Kraków

You will find the full range of accommodation in Kraków from the most luxurious five star hotels with up to date and modern amenities to pensions (a type of guest house or boarding house) and rooms or apartments at very reasonable prices. There are also many hostels for those on a lower budget.

If you prefer to stay in a more rural location there are a number of “Agro” style accommodation places on farms and in the countryside plus there are camp sites nearby.

If you see the accommodation you like or wish to know more about, please contact the provider directly.

If you wish to advertise your accommodation on Kraków Travel and Tourist Guide or elsewhere on the guide please get in touch with us.

Accommodation

Hotel Grodek

Hotel Gródek

Modern comfort in an historic setting – Described as one of the luxurious hotels in Krakow, Hotel Grodek (****+) can be found nestled on a quiet cul-de-sac, away from the sounds of roar of city traffic yet right in the heart of the medieval Old Town. Opened in 2007, Hotel Grodek is a marvellous fusion of old world charm and modern luxury.

Hotel Eva

Hotel Eva

This is a described as a four star hotel by some sites but I stayed at this hotel in March 2015 and it is not a four star, more like a 3 star. It is about a 25 minuet walk from the centre, just off the tourist map I got from the tourist information office.

I had a very pleasant stay as it is located on the banks of the river set back from the road. Do not be put off by the rough road leading up to the hotel, this is very common in Poland. The receptionist spoke English and was very pleasant. My room was overlooking the river and had two single beds that were comfortable, with TV, telephone and free Wi-fi having a decent signal. The price was about 100PLN including breakfast.

Name of Accommodation Address Type
Hotel Poland – Example ul.accommodation Hotel
Hotel Grodek Na Gródku 4, 31-028, Krakow Hotel ****
Hotel Eva ul. Księcia Józefa 24 A, 30-206 Kraków Hotel ***

Activities in Kraków

Poland is a country with a large variety of landscapes, a nation to experience all four seasons. This provides the visitor with many opportunities for adventure and different activities, whether you enjoy the mountains, lakes, rivers or the beaches you will find something that suits you.

If you see any activities in Kraków that you are interested in or wish to know more about please contact the provider directly.

Activities in Kraków

Site seeing Tours
The centre of Kraków is where most of the sites to see are located so many of them are easy to reach by walking. In fact, there are a number of tour companies offering these in different languages, or you can just obtain one of the many tour guide books and wander around the city on your own, which is what I prefer to do.
Name of Activity Address Class
Auschwitz Tours No address Site seeing tours

Attractions in Kraków

Kraków has some wonderful attractions for the visitor like in the Old Town, you can find Wawel Castle and the Gothic Cathedral on Wawel Hill (the name of a lime hillock) which may be as old as 50,000 years. There are many fine museums to visit but as I discovered they are closed on Mondays. The Market Square, which has been there for seven centuries, in the Old town is a great place to experience the atmosphere of Kraków.

Poland is a country with a large variety of attractions for the tourist to visit, a place to experience all sorts of interesting sites to see. This provides the visitor with many opportunities for learning about Polska, whether you enjoy the many monuments, historic churches or buildings, history of places, or more modern attractions, you will find something that suits you.

If you see an attraction you like or wish to know more about please contact the organisation for further information.

Attractions in Kraków

Barbican

The Barbican (in Polish Barbakan krakowski was constructed in 1489 to 1499 as part of the defence walls of Kraków and as part of the preparations for the unsuccessful expedition to Moldavia.

It was financed by King Jan Olbracht and also included a mote about 6 metres deep with a varied width of between 3 and 24 metres. it is a cylindrical brick structure, a ’roundel’ with an inner courtyard and interesting turrets and the design was based on Arab models allowing defenders to train their fire on the flanks of any attacker.

It is a fortified outpost and gateway that leads into Kraków’s Old Town (a central historic district of Kraków). The fortified wall connected the Barbican with the Florianska Gate and is 3 meters thick in some places.

In 1957 Habsburg troops tried to destroy the Barbican when they were claiming the Polish crown and later the Swedes on invading Poland attacked the walls. In 1806 when the demolition of the city walls was started by Emperor Franciszek ll the Barbican was saved by Feliks Radwanski, a professor of the Jagiellonian University.

It is now open to the public during mid April to mid October.

Basilica of the Holy Virgin Mary

The Basilica of the Holy Virgin Mary (Polish: Kościół Mariacki) is a church in the main market square (Polish: Rynek Główny w Krakowie, also Rynek Krakowski – Kraków Market Square) in the centre of Kraków.

Situated on the north eastern corner of the Main Square, it is a brick Gothic church having Baroque chapels and altars and was originally built in about 1222, the early 13th century as a Romanesque church which was destroyed by the Tartars, The present building was re-built in the 14th century, 1287 to 1320. Standing about 80 metres or 262 feet tall, it is particularly famous for its wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz).

There are frescoes by Jan Matejko and stained glass windows by Stanislaw Wyspianski and Józef Mehoffer. The vestibule was constructed from 1750 to 1753 in the shape of a tomb. In the naves of the church there are a number of richly ornamented chapels that were funded by wealthy noble families. No visit of Kraków’s largest church is complete without climbing the 239 steps up the tower and viewing one of Poland’s most beautiful and historic settlements.

The twin towers are not the same height or in the same style with the higher being 80 metres and the lower 69 metres. The higher one was part of Kraków’s defences owned not by the church but under municipal management. It was used as a lookout tower and if the horn was sounded the gates to the town would be closed to approaching enemies. It was given a gilded crown, 4 metres in diameter in 1666 and the gilded ball further up the tower is said to contain the written history of Kraków.

On every hour, a trumpet signal called the heynal (hejnał) is sounded from the top of the taller of St. Mary’s twin towers. The plaintive tune breaks off in mid-stream, to commemorate the famous 13th century trumpeter, who was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before the Mongol attack on the city. Since that day, the Hejnal has been broken off at the same note on which it was broken off by the Tatar arrow in honour of the trumpeter who gave his life for the city. At noon the hejnał is heard across Poland and abroad as it is broadcast live by the Polish national Radio 1 Station.

The Basilica of the Holy Virgin Mary also served as an architectural model for many of the churches that were built by the Polish diaspora abroad, particularly those like St. Michael’s and St. John Cantius in Chicago, designed in the so-called Polish Cathedral style.

The church is familiar to many English-speaking readers from the 1929 book ‘The Trumpeter of Krakow’, by Eric P. Kelly. St. Mary’s Church is also an active place of religious worship, and Catholic Masses are celebrated there each day in the native language and Latin.

Mariacki Church (Kosciol Mariacki)

Plac Mariacki 5
31-042 Kraków
Telephone: (012) 422 55 18
Fax: (012) 421 07 85

Cloth Hall (Sukiennice)

The Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) in Kraków is possibly the world’s oldest shopping mall and has been in business in the middle of Kraków’s central Grand Square, Rynek Glowny for the past 700 years.

Located in the centre of the Main Square it has been reconstructed many times and is now very different from the original building. It was once a street crossing the market from north to south with shops on either side and in the past was a major centre for international trade.

The brick Gothic Sukiennice was destroyed during a major fire in 1555 and was rebuilt in the Renaissance style by Italian architects, Jan Maria Padovano, Santi Gucci and Jan Frakstijn. Similar loggias and decorations to those used for the Wavel court arcades have been added to the building.

Dworzec Glowny

This is the main railway station in Kraków and is located in the centre next door to the bus station, pronounced, dvo-zsets gwoov-nih. It is often known by a shorter name: Krakow Glowny.

This impressive building and strangely attractive relic of the Habsburg Empire welcomes visitors from all over Poland and the rest of the world, via the airport, on a daily basis.

Florianska Gate

The Florianska Gate in Kraków (Polish: Brama Floriańska w Krakowie) was the main gate and was built about the 1300s as a rectangular Gothic tower at the end of the 13th Century.

Named after St. Florian, it is one of the best known Gothic towers in Polska and became an important feature on the Royal Route, Sukiennice to the Wawel. The roof was constructed in the Baroque style in 1660 by Jan Zaleski. Inside the gate is an altar to the Holy Mother of Piaski and on the first floor is a chapel built in 1885/86 by Wladyslaw Czartoryski.

History of the gate from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Florian’s Gate was built about the 1300s as a rectangular Gothic tower of “wild stone part of the fortifications that had been developed by Prince Leszek II the Black, who had issued a permit for erection of defences in 1285. The Gate was manned by the Kraków Furriers Guild in anticipation of Turkish attack on the city. According to records, by 1473 there were 17 towers defending Kraków; a century later, there were 33. Also, in 1565–66 a municipal arsenal was built next to the Florian Gate.

The Gate tower is 33.5 meters tall. The Baroque metal “helmet” that crowns the gate, constructed in 1660 and renovated in 1694, adds another meter to the height of the gate. It is the only gate, of the original eight built in the Middle Ages, that was not dismantled during the 19th-century “modernization” of Kraków. The adjoining walls and two additional, smaller towers have been preserved and today host street displays of amateur art available for purchase.

The south face of St. Florian’s Gate is adorned with an 18th-century bas-relief of St. Florian. The tower’s north face bears a stone eagle that was carved in 1882 by Zygmunt Langman, based on a design by painter Jan Matejko. Inside the gate is an altar with a late-Baroque copy of a classicist painting of the Piaskowa Madonna.

At St. Florian’s Gate begins Kraków’s Royal Road. Through it once entered kings and princes, foreign envoys and distinguished guests, and parades and coronation processions. They travelled up ulica Floriańska (St. Florian’s Street) to the Main Market Square, and on up ulica Grodzka (Castle Street) to Wawel Castle.

By the beginning of the 19th century, Kraków had begun to outgrow the confines of the old city walls. The walls had been falling into disrepair for a hundred years due to lack of maintenance after the Partitions of Poland. The stagnant moat fed by the Rudawa River was a dump for illegal garbage and posed health concerns for the residents. Such dire circumstances inspired Emperor Franz I of Austro-Hungary to order the dismantling of the city walls. However, on January 13, 1817, Professor Feliks Radwański of Jagiellonian University managed to convince the Session of the Senate of the Republic of Kraków to legislate the partial preservation of the old fortifications—St. Florian’s Gate and the adjoining Barbican.

Monument of the Battle of Grunwald

The monument of the Battle of Grunwald (Pomnik Grunwaldzkl) was funded by Ignacy Paderewski in 1910 to commemorate the event that happened some 500 years earlier when Polish and Lithuanian forces defeated the Teutonic Knights.

There were close to 150,000 patriotic polish inhabitants who attended the unveiling from Kraków and the surrounding area.

At the beginning of World War ll it was vandalised and later blown up but it was decided to reconstruct it in January 1945. For many years a memorial plinth was erected on the site and it was not until October 1976 that a new monument by Marian Konieczny replaced the plinth.

An equestrian sculpture of King Wladyslaw Jagiello stands on the top and the Lithuanian Prince Witold is on the front dais, a raised platform, with the defeated Ulrich von Jungingen, the Teutonic Grand Master at his feet.

Planty and Slowacki Theatre

The Planty, a park and the Slowacki Theatre (Planty l Teatr Slowackiego) in Kraków is to be found in the green belt that surrounds the historical centre.

The park was created in 1822 replacing the defensive walls and moat with an area of 21,000 square metres, 52 acres and a length of 4 kilometres or 2.5 miles. It consists of a chain of thirty smaller gardens designed in varied styles and adorned with numerous monuments and fountains.

The park forms a scenic walkway popular with Cracovians and in summer you can walk through tree-lined paths and enjoy the flower beds. This is a park that circles the centre of Kraków so it is a bit like the underground Circle-line in London, if you miss your stop you can walk around it again, if you have the time that is, until you get to the turning you want.

The Slowacki Theatre is famous through-out Poland and is considered to be an important European example of theatrical architecture. A competition was held to find a designer and a local man by the name of Jan Zawiejskiwas chosen. Construction started in 1891 and the opening was held on 21st October 1893. Their website is in Polish.

Wawel Hill

The most visited famous historical monument in Poland and Kraków is Wawel Hill, pronounced Vavel, situated on the banks on the longest river in Poland, the Vistula.

A castle, cathedral and the residence of Polish Kings for over 500 years where the first settlement on Wawel Hill, the Wislan, dates back to the VIII century. In the tenth century Wawel became the seat for several Bishops of the early Christian Church and a pre Roman Catholic place of worship, Church of Our Lady Mary was built.

The Roman Gothic styled castle and cathedral was constructed for King Boleslaw Chrobry at the beginning of the eleventh century and these were reconstructed under King Alexander Jagiellonczyk at the beginning of the sixteen century, when a number of chapels were added to the cathedral. Between 1517 and 1533 another reconstruction was carried out by King Sigmund Stary when the Renaissance arches and arcades were created in the courtyard.

In 1609 King Sigismund the III moved the court permanently to Warsaw and by 1611 the capital of Poland was no longer considered to be Kraków and so Wawel lost the official residency of Polish Kings.

If you visit Wawel you will have to pay for each different area including: – the Representative State Rooms, Royal Private Apartments, Crown Treasury and Armoury, and the cathedral. There are guided tours available.

Name of Attraction Address Type
Advertise your attraction here ul.attraction Castle

Geography of Kraków

Kraków lies in the southern Poland, on the Vistula River (the Polish pronunciation is Wisła), in a valley at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, 219 m (719 ft) above sea level; half way between the Jurassic Rock Upland (Polish: Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska) to the north, and the Tatra Mountains 100 km (62 mi) to the south. These chain of mountains constitutes a natural border with Slovakia and the Czech Republic, further westwards about 230 km is the border with Ukraine.

There are five nature reserves around Kraków, with a combined area of ca. 48.6 hectares (120 acres). Due to their ecological value, these areas are legally protected.

Bielańskie Skałki – Forest reserve with an area of 1.73 hectares, created to protect the spontaneous processes of forest succession on a rocky bioscience, formerly devoid of forest area. Located in Bielańsko-Tyniecki Park.

Bonarka – area: 2,29 ha; – Nature reserve Bonarka was established in 1961. The quarry is arranged as a didactic locality and has an educational trail. Abrasion surface developed on Upper Jurassic limestones covered with Upper Cretaceous marls.

Panieńskie Skały – area: 6,41 ha; – a Jurassic gorge with limestone outcrops, natural beech wood and oak-hornbeam wood. Maiden Rock Nature Reserve founded in 1953 is one of the natural corners of Kraków to be found in the Wolski Forest in the west of the city. Easily accessible and is good for a walking trail leading to the Mound. The reserve protects primarily limestone rocks of various shapes and sizes in the lower part of the gorge called the Trimmed Wolski.

Skałki Przegorzalskie – area: 1,38 ha; – Object of protection: a rock with xerothermic vegetation.

Skołczanka – area: 36,77 ha; – Object of protection: horst limestone hill with diverse bio-coenoses, stations with xerothermic-type fauna (including rare and endangered insect species).

The western part Kraków, along its northern and north-western side, borders an area of international significance known as the Jurassic Bielany-Tyniec refuge. The main motives for the protection of this area include plant and animal wildlife and the area’s geomorphological features and landscape. Part of Krakow is located within the ecological ‘corridor’ of the Vistula River valley. The corridor is of international significance as part of the Pan-European ecological network. The centre of Kraków is situated on the left or northern bank of the river.

Climate

Kraków has a oceanic climate according to the Köppen climate classification system, one of the eastern most localities in Europe to do so. A mere 100 km north-east of Kraków (east of Tarnów, and north of Kielce), the January mean dips below −3 °C (27 °F) and thus becomes continental (Dfb) in nature. Average temperatures in summer range from 18 °C (64 °F) to 19.6 °C (67 °F) and in winter from −2.1 °C (28 °F) to 0 °C (32 °F). The average annual temperature is 8.9 °C (48 °F). In summer temperatures often exceed 25 °C (77 °F), and sometimes even 30 °C (86 °F), while winter drops to −5 °C (23 °F) at night and about 0 °C (32 °F) at day; during very cold nights the temperature drops to −15 °C (5 °F).

In view of the fact that Kraków lies near the Tatra Mountains, it can be affected by a local micro climate and a wind known as the Halny, a foehn wind that blows in southern Poland and in Slovakia in the Carpathian Mountains. The most turbulent Halny blows in the area of Podhale, from a southerly direction, streaming down the slopes of the Tatra Mountains. In Slovakia, on the other side of the mountains, it comes from a northerly direction. Halny is a warm wind storm that blows through the valleys. It can be disastrous; ripping off roofs, sometimes may cause avalanches and strange as it may be, according to some people, can have an influence on a persons mental state!

Halny occur in October and November, sometimes in February and March but rarely in other months, when the temperature rises rapidly, and even in winter it may reach up to 20 °C (68 °F).

History of Kraków

Kraków, on the Vistula has been at the forefront of European and Polish national culture dating back for six centuries, a centre of science, trade and the arts having survived the rigours of wars and foreign powers and now on the UNESCO map.

In the early part of the Middle Ages Cracow was the seat of the Slav tribe of Vistulanians. It is considered this is when two mounds were erected, Krak and Wanda during the 7th century. Prince Mieszko I in the late 10th century annexed Cracow including the land of the Vistulanians and bought them under the control of the Piast dynasty.

Around 1000 a bishopric was established in Kraków and construction of the first cathedral was started. In 1038 Prince Casimir the Restorer decided to make the place his capital.

In 1257 and after the ravages carried out by the Tartars in 1241, Prince Boleslaus the Chaste granted Kraków a Royal Charter and drew up the plans which are still there to this day, being a regular grid of streets with a central market square (Reynek). During the 13th and 14th century’s the city walls made from brick and stone were constructed incorporating Wawel Castle.

During the reign of King Casimir the Great from 1333 to 1370 both Kraków and Wawel Castle have been rebuilt using a Gothic style. The borough of Kazimierrz, just south of the city was created by the King and he also founded Cracow Academy in 1364 which was the predecessor of the oldest university of Poland known as Jagellonian University.

Many Renaissance buildings have been constructed in the 16th century by the outgoing kings of the Jagellon dynasty and Kraków flourished. Under the Vasa dynasty the Baroque style was the order of the day, especially during the reign of King Sigismund III Vasa.

1609 under Sigismund III Vasa, saw the end of Kraków as the capital of the kingdom as he moved it to Warsaw, yet it continued to be the place where Polish Kings had their coronation and were buried and retained the title of the Royal Capital City.

The Swedish army sacked Kraków in the middle part of the 17th century and again in the early 18th century and in 1734 the last coronation in Wawel Cathedral of Augustus III of the Saxon Wettin dynasty took place.

1772 saw the arrival of the First Partition of Poland which placed Kraków at the southern end of the country and in 1794 after the Second Partition there was a national insurrection started in Kraków by a man called Tadeusz Kościuszko but it was suppressed and the Third Partition in 1795 saw Kraków become the property of the Austrians.

Kraków was awarded the status of a free city in 1815 after the defeat of Napoleon by the Congress of Vienna. Shortly after this the remains of Tadeusz Kościuszko and Prince Józef Poniatowski were placed in a crypt at Wawel cathedral and a mound 34 meters in height erected in honour of Tadeusz at St Bronisława’s Hill.

In 1846 the Austrians abolished the free city status and turned Wawel Castle into a military barracks and built several lines of defences around the city. At the end of the First World War in 1918, saw Poland regain it’s independence along with Kraków.

Poland was soon overrun by the Nazis at the start of World War II and they installed harsh conditions on the Polish people, many were sent to their deaths in the extermination camps not far from Krakow at Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration and Extermination Camp just outside the town of Oświęcim as well as other places under the Germans control. The Jews at Kazimierz were wiped out, women men and children slaughtered by this evil dictator and his rotten followers. Towards the end of the war the Nazis were preparing to blow up Krakow but due to the speed of the advancing Soviet army under the command of Marshal Koniev Kraków was spared and was captured on the 18 January 1945 with little damage.

Museums in Kraków

Polska is full of history and the Polish are great lovers of knowledge of the past so you will find many museums in the country.

Poland has a long history and has been an important trading route that has been invaded by many different groups over the past 1,000 years. Museums are a great way to explore the nations history about the inhabitants of the land in the past, their lives and customs.

Some of the museums shown below may have an article about them here on Kraków Travel and Tourist Guide. Follow the link for the article. For the rest, if you see something you like or wish to know more about please contact the museum directly as we take the attitude that their own website will have more up to date details on what they offer than if we were to include it here.

What ever museum you run, if you wish to advertise it on Kraków Travel and Tourist Guide or elsewhere on the website at no cost please contact me.

Museums in Kraków

Czartoryski Museum and Library

The Czartoryski Museum and Library was founded in Puławy in 1796 and is now in Kraków. It is described as being one of the oldest museums in the country. The exhibits on show at the present time include those from a private collection of Princess Izabela Czartoryska.

During the November uprising of 1831 the collection, which was then housed in a museum in the city of Pulawy, was seen as being under threat and was moved to Paris, France. Some of the items were lost but most survived the uprising.

The collection, due to the efforts of Prince Wladyslaw Czartoryski, was eventually moved back to Poland to a museum at Kraków in 1876 and housed at the Arsenal in the Old Wall which was converted into a museum. Prince Wladyslaw continued to add items to the collection over the following twenty years, until his death in 1894.

The exhibits were saved again from destruction during World War ll. Sixteen cases packed with the most precious objects were transported and stored in Sieniawa. A number of the others that were stored in the cellars were looted by the Germans. Many of the items went to Dresden, where a Dr. Posse who was Hitler’s plenipotentiary, decided that all objects were to be part of the Führer’s own collection at Linz. Sadly the then curator of the museum died in a Nazi concentration camp later in the war.

After the war in 1950 all the exhibits were returned to Poland and were given State protection with the collection being incorporated into the National Museum of Kraków.

A New Beginning: – In 1991 the Czartoryski Foundation was created which now looks after the collection.

There are paintings from Europe covering the 13th to 18th centuries including examples of skilled craftsmanship, trophies won in battles of King Jan lll Sobieski’s victory over the Turkish army at Vienna in 1683. The most important painting housed is the ‘The Lady with an Ermine’, by Leonardo Da Vinci.

The museum also contains an Ancient Egypt exhibition.
Address: – 31-017 Kraków, ul. Św. Jana 19 – telephone: 012/422 55 66

Historical Museum of Kraków

Historical Museum of Kraków (Polish: Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa) at the Krzysztofory Palace in Kraków, opened in 1899 as the division of the Old Records Office of Kraków.

It was not until 1945 that the present-day museum was granted the status of an independent institution.

The Museum’s main location is a Baroque Krzysztofory Palace, owned between 1640 and 1649 by the Crown Court Marshal Adam Kazanowski who also commissioned its construction. The palace was designed by joining three Gothic houses in the Main Square. The first major upgrade of the palace was done by the architect Jakub Solari from 1682 to 1684. One of its unique features is the fine stucco work by Italian architect Baldassare Fontana working in Kraków at the time.

The Historical Museum is made up of several divisions, which preserve and display artefacts of the history of the city, including the history of Jews: at the Old Synagogue which is the oldest Jewish synagogue in Poland, constructed in the 15th century, and can be found in the old town district of Kazimierz – Szeroka street. Here you can discover the history and past culture of the Jewish people that have lived in Krakow. With lots to see such as handicrafts, graphics, paintings from the past showing the every day life of the Jews living and working in Kraków.

The history of the theatre: at the House under the Cross, and history of the Shooting Fraternity: at the Celestat.

What to See

The Museum holdings include sixteenth through twentieth century maps, paintings, prints, photographs, guild objects and works by Kraków artists and artisans, as well as portraits of nobility from the sixteenth to the twentieth century; fourteenth through twentieth century weapons; a collection of sixteenth through twentieth century clocks; famous Kraków nativity scenes (szopka); artefacts related to theatre; Judaica; items commemorative of the Polish uprisings of the nineteenth century and of World War I and II.

The Museum also houses a permanent exhibit of the History and Culture of Kraków, a collection of the militaria (projectiles, firearms, defence and sharp weapons), clocks and watches. The Town Hall Tower found in the Main Market Square is the venue of the photographs of the Market Square exhibition.

Since 1999, the Barbakan was placed under the Museum’s jurisdiction and is one of the best known examples of medieval defence structures in Poland, whose interior is made accessible to tourists each summer.

Thanks to Wikipedia for most of the information above, about the Historical Museum of Kraków

Name of Museum Address Type
Czartoryski Museum and Library 31-017 Kraków, ul. Św. Jana 19 National
Historical Museum of Kraków Pałac Krzysztofory,
Rynek Główny 35, 31-011
Regional

Places to Eat in Kraków

There are numerous cafes and restaurants but as with most tourist cities the prices can be quite high. I choose some of the cafes away from the centre to get a real taste of Polish food.

What Wikipeda says about Polish Cuisine

Polish cuisine (Polish: kuchnia polska) is a style of cooking and food preparation originating from Poland. It has evolved over the centuries due to historical circumstances. Polish national cuisine shares some similarities with other Central European and Eastern European traditions as well as French and Italian similarities. It is rich in meat, especially pork, chicken and beef (depending on the region) and winter vegetables (cabbage in the dish bigos), and spices.

It is also characteristic in its use of various kinds of noodles the most notable of which are kluski as well as cereals such as kasha (from the Polish word kasza). Generally speaking, Polish cuisine is hearty and uses a lot of cream and eggs. The traditional dishes are often demanding in preparation. Many Poles allow themselves a generous amount of time to serve and enjoy their festive meals, especially Christmas eve dinner (Wigilia) or Easter breakfast which could take a number of days to prepare in their entirety.

The Polish national dishes are bigos; pierogi; kielbasa; kotlet schabowy (type of breaded cutlet); gołąbki (type of cabbage roll); zrazy (type of roulade); roast (Polish: pieczeń); sour cucumber soup (Polish: zupa ogórkowa); mushroom soup, (Polish: zupa grzybowa) (quite different from the North American cream of mushroom); tomato soup (Polish: zupa pomidorowa); rosół (variety of meat broth); żurek (sour rye soup); flaki (variety of tripe soup); and barszcz among others.

If you see something you like or wish to know more about please contact the place to eat directly as we do not take commission and we take the attitude that their own website will have more up to date details on what they offer than if we were to include it here.

If you wish to advertise your place to eat on this Kraków Travel and Tourist Guide or elsewhere on the guide please contact me.

Places to Eat in Kraków

Gospoda Koko
Recommended by my host (always ask for good places to eat) you will find this one at ul.Gołebia just off the Rynek (market square). I had a soup and main course (pork chop and rice with cabbage) and beer all for 19zl. The place is on several levels, I opted for the lower basement. The place was full of students, hardly surprising at those sort of prices. Great place and fantastic value for your money.
Staropolske
I decided to try one of the eating establishments on the main square, the Rynek Glowny 44. It had live polish music which many do not but I am sorry to say it went rather down hill from there on. They had an English menu so I ordered Salmon with a baked potato. What I got was a smallest piece of salmon with chips and on enquiring to the waiter, I was told they were not chips but baked potatoes! So much for the English menu. I also ordered a small beer and the lot came to 58.97zl Not recommended by me (or my host), I should have asked my host!
Aquarius
Aquarius Restaurant is located on the River Vistula, Poland’s longest river, and my visit was on a very sunny and warm day in March 2014. I had a pork slice with baked potatoes (wedges) and a small salad and a pot of tea. The bill came to 45pln. Not the greatest meal I have had but it was OK.
Places to Eat Address Category
www.gospodakoko.pl ul.Golebia, 31-007 Krakow Pub

Tourist Information in Kraków

This web site will eventually have tourist information on most of the places in Polska. Being a web site you will be able to access the information on most digital platforms, including your laptop, personal computer or a mobile phone.

Tourist organisations are welcome to contact me for details on how to display their information on this travel information guide.

PTTK – Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society is a non-profit tourist information organisation that you will find in many places in Poland.

It is one of the oldest tourist societies in Europe and was was created by the merger of two societies: Polish Tatry Society (1873) and Polish Country Lovers Society (1906).

Official Tourist Information Centres in Poland are divided into 1*, 2*, 3* and 4* Certified and Non-Certified. All Certified Tourist Centres provide information in one or more foreign languages and have an expanded range of services as compared to the Non-Certified.

Visitors to Kraków can pick and choose from the city’s various tourist offices, sometimes situated just a stone’s throw away from each other. They are run either by the Krakow municipality’s official Festival Bureau or by private businesses or by tourist organizations. Their staff speak at least English and offer general tourist information about the city.

Tourist Information in Kraków

Krakow Information Points
INFO KRAKOW are information points where you can learn about tourist attractions of the city and region, check cultural events, find accommodation, buy tickets, pay for a guided tour and get free promotional materials.

 

Name of the institution Address
InfoKraków – Cloth Hall Rynek Główny 1/3 31-042 Kraków
InfoKraków – CORT ul.Powiśle 11 31-101 Kraków
InfoKraków – Józefa Street (Kazimierz District) ul.Józefa 7 31-056 Kraków
InfoKraków – Kraków Airport (international terminal) Medweckiego 1 32-083 Balice
InfoKraków – St John Street ul.Świętego Jana 2 31-018 Kraków
InfoKraków – Szpitalna Street ul.Szpitalna 25 31-024 Kraków
InfoKraków – Wyspiański Pavilion Plac Wszystkich Świętych 2 31-004 Kraków
Name and Website Address Telephone Category
InfoKraków Cloth Hall, Rynek Glówny 1/3 12 433 7310 Official Tourist Office

Transport in Kraków

Kraków is a major rail junction, with connections to many other places of central and eastern Europe. There is an international airport, Kraków-Balice John Paul II International Airport a short distance away.

Here are some useful travel websites to help you find your way to this place.

Transport in Kraków

Regional Bus Station in Kraków

The Company Malopolskie Dworzec Autobusowy w Krakowie Sp. z o.o. was created on 28 October 2003. Its shareholders are: the Malopolskie Province, Kraków City Commune and Motor Transport Company (PKS S.A.) in Kraków.

The Małopolska Province, under the “Malopolskie Province Development Strategy”, adopted by the Regional Council, defined “better transport access in the entire region”, including the construction of “an efficient internal transport system”, as one of their key priorities. One of the elements of this realization was the objective of a new bus station in Kraków.

The Station has 32 departure platforms on a two-level construction with independent entries, and a station building – the Station’s base. The Regional Bus Station took over the services for passengers in Kraków, provided so far by PKS S.A. in Kraków.

Name Classification URL
e-podroznik.pl Bus & Train Timetables www.e-podroznik.pl
Krakow Airport Airport www.krakowairport.pl/en
Przewozy Regionalne Railways www.przewozyregionalne.pl

Websites of Kraków

If you have a website that is an official one linked to this place, or you administer a local community or an important trade site please contact me as I may be interested in including it on Kraków Travel and Tourist Guide

Websites of Kraków

Tourist Information Address Classification
Krakow   Krakow
www.krakowpost.com ul. Łódzka 12, 30-434 Kraków Local English Newspaper

Adverts

If you would like to advertise here please send us an email.

Regional Links

Province

The Małopolska Voivodship (Little Poland) was created in 1989 and is located in the south of Poland.

Province

 

Places in Province

The cities, towns and villages of the region of Małopolska.

Places in Province

Map of Krakow

 

Kraków - old town hall tower in market square

Krakow - Jagellonian University

Krakow - River Vistula

Krakow

Kraków Travel and Tourist Guide – Cracow – Małopolska – Accommodation and tourist information on Poland Travel Guide

Tatra Mountains in southern Poland