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At the heart of Europe and in the far south of Poland is the magnificent river-side city of Krakow, where history and beauty have been shaping the cityscape for centuries. The obvious attractions here fill the horizon with towers, turrets and time-weathered rooftops, though you don’t need to look far to find a vibrant and thoroughly modern scene amid the bars, cafés and restaurants of this friendly destination.
Poland’s second-largest city buzzes during the busy summer months, when long days and an abundance of sunshine attract visitors. The festive season is a wonderful time to see Krakow too as the central market square is transformed into a winter wonderland. Shop at the stalls, hear the choirs sing, and kick that winter chill into touch with a glass of steaming-hot mulled wine as the fairy lights and the stars twinkle overhead.
Whenever you visit, be sure to tour the fine Gothic churches of Krakow, the medieval old town in Stare Miasto, and the imposing Wawel Castle. Located on the banks of the Vistula River, this Gothic castle was once a seat of almighty power, though the nation’s authorities picked up and moved to Warsaw some 500 years ago. Nowadays, this imposing castle is home to a captivating collection of art.
Renting a car in Krakow gives you the freedom to explore these highlights at your leisure. Booking before you travel, as far in advance as possible, is the best way to secure a great deal. You can collect your pre-booked vehicle at the airport in Krakow or at a convenient location in the downtown areas of the city. Compare prices now by using TravelSupermarket’s innovative search tool.
When you rent a car, Krakow becomes an ideal base from which to see more of southern Poland...
For many visitors to Poland, a trip to Auschwitz is important. Some want to understand the atrocities of the Second World War, so many of which took place at this network of Nazi-established concentration and extermination camps, while many simply wish to observe and offer respects. More still visit to see the final resting place of family members. This haunting place rarely fails to make an impact on those who step inside the famous gates, whatever the motivation for visiting.
If you wish to drive from Krakow, it will take just short of two hours to reach the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum. The site is open year round with the exception of major holidays. At peak times it is necessary to join a tour group or hire a guide around the Auschwitz I camp, so check before you visit. At least three hours is recommended to tour the main areas of Auschwitz I camp and Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp.
A little closer to the city streets of Krakow, you can find the mountains, woodland and immense rock formations of Ojcow National Park. It takes 25 minutes in your hire car to leave the sounds of the city and enjoy the silence of this gorgeous patch of Poland. You could also pick up the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests, a marked path that takes you past 25 ancient castles and watchtowers, so called for their lofty position on the peaks. The trail starts in Krakow and ends in Czestochowa, which is a two-hour drive to the north – so you can tackle as much or as little as you like during your break in Krakow.
Of course this mountainous landscape becomes a pleasure playground when the snow throws a wintry blanket over Poland. The ski resort of Zakopane is one of the nation’s better known destinations. It can be reached within two hours by road from Krakow.