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The Best of Krakow

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Krakow's Guide to the Best in the City.

guide to the best of Krakow'The Best of Krakow 2019' guidebook contains information about the city's top attractions as well as best hotels, restaurants, and services, plus maps and hundreds of photos. It's the only guide to Krakow that includes GPS coordinates for your smartphone, handheld, or other satellite navigation device. Buy your copy of 'The Best of Krakow 2019'.

Krakow's musts 

1. Rynek Glowny Grand Square. 

street cafe at Krakow's central square
All roads lead to the Rynek Glowny square in Krakow. The immense central plaza has always been the hub of the city’s life. Krakow residents and visitors converge on its ten acres for business and for pleasure - to shop in numerous stores, to enjoy themselves in myriad restaurants, cafés and clubs, to see each other, to attend major events from traditional festivals to open-air concerts to political rallies.

2. Wawel Hill

Wawel Hill in Krakow, Poland
Wawel Hill basks in glory, fable, and the magic of things eternal. Also, historical significance and its world-class landmarks as well as accumulation of superb art and unparalleled curiosities make this place a must for a visitor to Poland.

3. Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka salt mine near Krakow in Poland
The subterranean world of labyrinthine passages, giant caverns, underground lakes and chapels with sculptures in the crystalline salt and rich ornamentation carved in the salt rock have attracted enthralled visitors for centuries.

4. Kazimierz Historic District

Kazimierz district with its mushrooming cafes and nightlife spots has become Krakow’s equivalent of London’s Soho, Paris’ Quartier Latin, and New York’s Village. Its recreated Jewish past and newborn reputation as a haven of artists and the young have made the rundown area near the Old Town trendy among tourists and the locals alike. Plus Kazimierz boasts several first-rate landmarks.


Premier landmarks and ancient monuments of Krakow

1. Wawel Cathedral.
Krakow’s monumental Gothic cathedral is the most venerated Polish church and one of the most interesting landmarks of Europe.

2. Wawel Royal Castle.
Krakow’s Wawel castle was a royal residence for eight centuries and the home to Poland’s three dynasties. Restored to its historical grandeur, the Royal Castle features first-rate period furniture and excellent works of art. 

3. Church of the Virgin Mary

Krakow's basilica of the Virgin Mary at the Rynek Glowny grand square
The imposing 14th-century basilica of the Virgin Mary at Krakow’s central Rynek Glowny grand square, the best known and liked church in Poland, has been traditionally the city’s showcase temple. Also, it boasts the world’s arguably greatest medieval altarpiece.

4. Collegium Maius, the Great College

Collegium Maius, the Great College of the Krakow University
Impressive Gothic Collegium Maius college is one of the world’s few medieval universities that have survived till now. In its long history it was familiar to many of Poland’s best minds, from Copernicus to John Paul II.

5. Barbican and city walls
Krakow’s barbican, the world’s biggest, is the crowning achievement of the medieval art of fortifying. Together with the nearby remnants of city walls it forms possibly the most comprehensive example of municipal fortifications in the Middle Ages that has survived in any of then European capitals.

6. Skalka sanctuary

Krakow's Skalka sanctuary
The scenic Baroque complex of the Skalka sanctuary, Poland’s oldest shrine, sits on the Wisla river bank half a mile downstream from the Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Cathedral. The place has attracted pilgrims for 900 years and doubled as the nation’s pantheon from the late 19th c.

7. Sanctuary of Divine Mercy
One of the world’s youngest Catholic shrines ranks among the most popular pilgrimage destinations, attracting millions of believers from all over the world to Krakow’s Lagiewniki district as the heart of the worldwide movement to worship Divine Mercy.

8. Tyniec Abbey
The spectacular Benedictine abbey in Tyniec upon the riverbank some 12 km upstream from the Wawel Royal Castle, on the western outskirts of today’s Krakow, boasts glorious and dramatic history of nearly 1000 years rich in eventful episodes.

9. Old Synagogue

Krakow's Old Synagogue
Krakow’s Old Synagogue ranks with the most ancient Jewish places of worship in Europe. For centuries it was central to the life of the former Jewish quarter in Kazimierz.

10. Bielany Monastery
Cameldolite monks subject themselves to the extremely severe rules of their order to live simple, peaceful, secluded life close to God in their beautiful Krakow hermitage atop Srebrna Gora (Silver Mountain), a ten minutes’ drive west from Krakow’s center.

Top museums in Krakow

1. Wawel Royal Castle

2. Gallery of the 19th-Century Polish Art in the Cloth Hall. 

3. Museum of Archeology, 3 Poselska street at Planty gardens. 

4. Palace of Bishop Erazm Ciolek, 17 Kanonicza street. 

5. Krakow National Museum, Main Gallery at 1, 3 Maja street. 

6. Schindler's Factory, 4 Lipowa street street. 

7. Museum of Aviation, 39 Jana Pawla II street. 

8. Rynek Underground beneath Rynek Glowny central square (entrance at the Cloth Hall opposite St Mary's church). 

9. Old Synagogue, 24 Szeroka street.

10. The Hipolits' House, 3 Plac Mariacki square.  

Krakow's greatest treasures. 

1. The Virgin Mary's altarpiece by Veit Stoss in the basilica of the Virgin Mary at Rynek Glowny central square. 

Veit Stoss Altar in St. Mary's church in Krakow, Poland

2. Leonardo da Vinci's 'Lady with an Ermine' in The Czartoryskis' Museum at 19 s. Jana street and Pijarska street

Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci

3. Sigismund chapel of the Wawel Cathedral. 

King Sigismund's Chapel of the Wawel Cathedral in Krakow, Poland

4. Wawel arrases, the royal tapestries in the Royal Castle. 

5. Sigismund the bell in the Wawel Cathedral. 

6. Wyspianski's window in the basilica of St. Francis, Franciszkanska street at Planty gardens. 

7. Swiatowit idol in the Museum of Archeology, 3 Poselska street at Planty gardens. 

8. Our Lady of Piasek in the Carmelite church (Kosciol Karmelitow) at 19 Karmelicka street. 

9. Kmita's chasuble in the Cathedral Museum on Wawel Hill. 

10. Ice-age hairy rhinoceros in the Museum of Natural History at 9 sw. Sebastiana street. 


The best sightseeing walks in Krakow. 

1. Royal Road through the Old Town. 

2. Planty garden ring, round historic Krakow. 

3. Across Kazimierz historical district. 

The most interesting day trips. 

1. Calvary sanctuary in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska

the sanctuary of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska

UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. 42 baroque churches and chapels make up Europe's largest Calvary sanctuary 33 km southwest of Krakow. The complex, famous for its miraculous image of the Virgin Mary and Holy Week’s festivals, dates back to 1600.

2. Auschwitz-Birkenau
Gory site of the Nazi infamous Auschwitz death camp in Oswiecim, an hour's drive west from Krakow, is left largely intact as a monument in memory of over million people who perished here from 1941 to 1945 and testimony to genocide. 

3. Tatry Mountains

Morskie Oko lake in the Tatra Mountains, Poland
The alpine range of Tatras, some 120 km south of Krakow, has been mostly turned into a national park long ago. Stunning views, pristine nature, and nearly 250 km of hiking trails. Plus winter sports galore as well as rock climbing, cave exploration, paragliding, etc.

Krakow's top three traditional festivals 

1. The long Christmas in Krakow

2. Midsummer Fiesta of Garlands on the first Saturday after June 24. 

3. Lajkonik parade on the next Thursday after Corpus Christi Feast. 

Best value hotel in Krakow. 

1. Hotel Amadeus at 20 Mikolajska street /five stars/

2. Hotel Royal at 26-29 sw. Gertrudy street /three stars/.

3. Hotel Europejski at 5 Lubicz street /three stars/. 

The best restaurants in Krakow, various categories. 

1. Albertina Restaurant & Wine at 3 Dominikanska street with the Polish modern cuisine.

2. Pod Aniolami at 35 Grodzka street with the old Polish cuisine. 

3. Wiezynek at 16 Rynek Glowny central square the Polish cuisine.

4. Tradycyja at 16 Rynek Glowny central square the Polish and Italian cuisine.

The best services and shopping in Krakow. 

Best amber: Boruni at 60 Grodzka street and Amber Museum at 2 Sw. Jana street.

Best shopping mall: Galeria Kazimierz at 34 Podgorska street. 

Basic Krakow info for visitors

Best tours of Krakow

Top activities in Krakow

Hotels in Krakow

Hostels in Krakow and other low-cost accommodations

Dining guide to good restaurants in Krakow

Shopping in Krakow

Gift Ideas
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Krakow Galleries
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Buying real estate in Krakow


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