If you are looking for Old World charm with a touch of the modern thrown in, Krakow is the city for you to visit.
Located on the Vistula River in a valley at the foot of the Carpathian Plateau, Krakow, Poland used to be the country’s seat of power in the 11th – 17th centuries. It was a fortfied city, its walls with 55 towers offering safety and security to the people. Its rare cultural heritage, connecting tradition to modern times, embody all things Polish. Krakow was the center of knowledge during the Renaissance. Scholars and artists from all over the world flocked to the city to try out new ideas and study different cultures.
There are lots of architectural monuments around Krakow, housing more than 2 million artifacts. You can still see some preserved parts of the old wall to this day. Due to this huge collection of historical and cultural wealth, the city became one of the 12 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Walking down the streets of Krakow Old Town will show you all that you need to escape the stresses of everyday life. Get your cultural fill from the art galleries and local exhibits. If you are a foodie, you can go on a gastronomic trip at the many cafes, pubs and restaurants around town. Polish cuisine is known for being a hodgepodge of Armenian, Hungarian and Jewish cuisines, to name a few. Try some kielbasa or borscht, topped of with some pączki for dessert.
The climate in Krakow is temperate. The frequent changes in weather is due to the friction of the humid air from the Atlantic Ocean and the dry air from the east. The average temperature is 6º – 10º C all year long. If you choose to go during summer, July is the warmest month. January is the coldest month of the year.
Places to see in Krakow:
Main Market Square – The largest medieval town square in Europe. It was designed to attract traveling merchants to sell their goods in Krakow.
St. Mary’s Basilica – A Gothic church built in the 14th century known for its wooden altar carved by Veit Stoss. Every hour, a trumpet signal is sounded from the top of the taller of the two towers to commemorate a 13th-century trumpet player who was shot in the throat while signaling the Mongols’ attack on the city.
Sukiennice (Cloth Hall) – A Renaissance trading hall, it was the source of exotic products from the East such as silk, wax, leather and spices.
Where to stay:
Krakow Bed & Breakfast – A 15-minute from the railway station and 15 meters from the Market Square, this B&B offers affordable and clean accommodations. You can choose from 33 rooms, with or without bathrooms, single, double and triple, breakfast included. Extra beds are available if needed. Maximum capacity is 70 persons. No curfew, guests have their own keys, and there is someone at the front desk 24 hours. There is free Internet access. You can arrange for trips to the salt mines, Auschwitz and other destinations. If you are traveling in July, avail of their 10% discount on all rates.
Angel House – A combination of a B&B and a boutique hotel, Angel House has five uniquely designed rooms. It has all the modern amenities: king-size bed, en suite bathrooms, TV, and high-speed Internet connections. Overnight rates vary in seasons.
Hotel Copernicus – Touted as Krakow’s premiere hotel, it boasts of a world-class restaurant and top-notch service. Staying here does not come cheap. You have to send an online request for a price quote to get an idea about the rates. It’s right beside the Wawel Royal Castle, and that’s why it’s worth spending a good sum here.