The city on the Vistula, which had been Poland’s capital for five centuries, includes ¼ of Poland’s museum resources. A trip to Kraków is a meeting with the most splendid time in our history. Kraków’s Old City along with the Wawel Hill and the district of Kazimierz was entered into 1978 UNESCO Heritage List. It is worth mentioning that this prestigious status was given to as few as 12 other most precious venues in the world, including the Egyptian pyramids and the Great Wall of China. Today, the list includes over 900 names.
They include: Main Market Square (with the Cloth Hall, St. Mary’s Church, Church of St. Adalbert, Town Hall Tower),
area around the Main Market Square (with Barbican, Floriańska Gate, Słowacki Theatre, Holy Cross Church, Piarist Church,
Museum of Czartoryski Princes, the Church of St. Anne, Collegium Maius, Dominican Church and Monastery,
Franciscan Church and Monastery, the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, St. Andrew’s Church), Wawel Hill
(with Royal Castle and Cathedral), Kazimierz – the former Jewish district (with Old Synagogue, Remu Synagogue and Cemetery,
Issac Synagogue, Tempel Synagogue, Church of Corpus Christi, the Church of St. Catherine and Margaret,
Paulite Church “On the Rock’), Podgórze and Nowa Huta districts.
Visitors who wish to get familiar with the most important historical objects of Kraków can choose from many options and suggested walks that are available at:
Today, Kraków is the most cultural of Polish cities. It is the international showcase of Polish historical heritage,
also famous as an example of successful investments, such as the new museums which have been opened in recent years
(in 2010, 5 out of 10 of the most important museum events took place in Kraków), new stadiums, the Congress Centre
and the sports hall. This impetus goes in hand with the development of cultural life; in recent years,
Kraków’s festivals have become internationally recognized. “Misteria Paschalia”, “Sacrum Profanum” and “Opera Rara”,
the best Polish theaters compete in the festival, and the “Festival of Polish Music”, the “Selector Festival”
filling the space of Tauron Arena Kraków during its gigantic spectacles and “Unsound” – a musical journey from Baroque
to the 21st century, impressive and attracting audiences of several thousand.
Kraków, the city of writers, hosts the largest Book Fair in the country, along with literary festivals, such as the “Czesław Miłosz Festival” and “Joseph Conrad Festival”. This is also the location of the theatrical review “Boska Komedia”, and the “ArtBoom Festival” boldly introduces modern art into the historical tissue of the city centre. The “Off Camera” festival, the “Kraków Film Festival” and “Film Music Festival” attract cinema lovers, who soon come back to shoot their films here. Blending in the tradition of Kazimierz and the multi-cultural Galicia Festival of the Jewish Culture, Dance Trance during Wow-Nigth – a New Year’s Eve party at the Main Market Square – all of these events confirm the fact that Kraków provides varied and unique experiences all year round.
It is easy to reach Kraków – it has always been located at the junction of important trade routes,
at the crossroads of cultures and political influences; nowadays, it is considered the most important
tourist destination in Poland. A network of railway, road and the airline connections, along with Balice – the second
largest airport in the country with respect to size and number of passengers – make Kraków one of most accessible cities
in this part of Europe. Further amenities – starting with the A4 motorway through attractive connections with the
rest of the world provided by low-cost airlines and up to a special railway line transporting visitors from Balice
to the city centre and a well-developed municipal transportation network – open up numerous opportunities
for tourist who come here from all parts of the world. Their stay in Kraków may differ, not only in relation
to the purpose of their trip, but also in relation to the weather, day of the week and season of the year
(in winter, the temperature in Poland sometimes drops below -20℃, and in summer
the temperature is often higher than 20℃).
It is worth remembering that Kraków is the capital of Małopolska – a partially hilly upland region with numerous spa, recreational and agritourism locations. Both in the summer, and in winter, a visit to the city can be easily combined with a trip to the mountains.
Kraków has at its disposal the best tourist base in Poland, adjusted to the needs of visitors and representing
various degrees of affluence. In the very centre and within its vicinity, there are several dozen high standard
hotels, including those belonging to the largest international networks. On the other hand, there are many
cosy facilities located next to Main Market Square, which allow you to begin sightseeing immediately after breakfast.
An extensive offer of highly popular hostels and apartments – especially in the district of Kazimierz – allows visitors
to find an inexpensive offer at any time of year.
Free internet is available in almost all of these places – similarly to numerous cafes and restaurants in Kraków – whereas in selected areas of the city, it is possible to utilize free-of-charge Internet provided by the local government of Kraków (“hotspot Cracovia”). Additional help with independent sightseeing is provided by free mobile applications (for devices with GPS and with Bluetooth technology). They also play an important role at the innovative route in Poland – the Royal Way for Handicapped Tourist – equipped with amenities for tourists with movement disabilities, as well as the blind and visually impaired. All services of this type are available in at least two languages (Polish and English).
It is worth adding that, on account of the unprecedented concentration of tourist attractions, the distances among a majority of them (in the Old City and the Kazimierz district) are within walking distance; if necessary, an extensive tram network ensures the possibility of quick transfer from one point to another – during rush hours, this means of transportation is probably quicker than a taxi. Ticket sale machines located at key tram and bus stops also provide tourist information, up-dated on an on-going basis.
Tourist Information Centres offer abbreviated versions of guidebooks, containing practical advice, telephone numbers, addresses and maps of the city with tourists routes marked.