Attractions and Apartment Rentals in Krakow

Krakow Travel Blog

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Often described as the “cultural capital” of Poland, Krakow (sometimes spelled Cracow) is one of the largest and most historic cities in the country.  Nestled between the Carpathian Mountains and the Vistula River, the former Polish capital attracts over seven million visitors each year, many to its numerous museums and public art galleries.  With over two million pieces of registered artwork, Krakow’s creative history is apparent both in exhibitions and the spectacular Gothic and Renaissance architecture that survived WWll intact.  Krakow is over 750 years old and as the Royal capital of Poland for over 500 years the city has a rich history showcased throughout many attractions.

 

Considered a symbol of Poland’s national identity, Wawel Royal Castle is at the top of most visitors’ must-see lists.  Perched atop Wawel Hill, the original residence and chapel was built in the 11th century but was destroyed by a fire around 1500.  Built as a replacement, the present Renaissance Castle is divided into nearly a dozen separate museum exhibitions, including a limestone cave called The Dragon’s Den (Smocza Jama), the Royal Gardens, the State Rooms, the Wawel Cathedral and the Royal Tombs.  Wawel Castle is located in the central historic district of Krakow, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978, and also home to the Old Town District.

 

Surrounded by a defensive wall that was flattened in the 19th century and replaced with grass and trees to become Planty Park, Old Town encompasses many other popular attractions, including Main Square, the largest medieval town square in Europe.  Covering 10 acres, Main Market Square features landmarks such as the gothic St. Mary's Basilica whose towers loom over the city, the Sukiennice Cloth Hall, one of the most famous cloth halls in Europe and perhaps the oldest type of shopping mall in the world, and what remains of the Town Hall, the Town Hall Tower.  Krakow’s Barbican is the gateway to Old Town, one of only three fortified outposts remaining in Europe, and includes St. Florian's Gate, a focal point of the area.  Many tourists tour Old Town by horse-drawn carriage.

 

Within walking distance of Old Town and Wawel Hill but a separate city until almost 1800 the former Jewish district, Kazimierz, has become one of the most chic parts of Krakow.  Full of restored Synagogues and museums, including the Old Synagogue which is one of the most important symbols of Jewish architecture in Europe, Kazimierz is also known for excellent nightlife, dining and shopping.  About an hour outside Krakow, accessible by train, is Auschwitz death camp, the largest and most gruesome Nazi concentration camp.  During WWll over one million people were executed at Auschwitz and now nearly a million tourists visit the museum each year.

 

Ideal for short-term city breaks, Krakow apartment rentals are an affordable alternative to hotels.  Growing in popularity throughout Europe, self-catering apartments provide an authentic travel experience for families, couples or business travelers desiring independence and privacy.  For more information on  self-catering  KrakĂłw Apartments, visit www.europenethotels.com/krakow. For more information on Krakow visit: www.guardian.co.uk/travel/krakow.

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photo by: EmyG