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The minute you arrive in Krakow you will be instantly immersed in history. One visit is never enough to see everything this fascinating city has to offer...
You can see from the minute you arrive that the city instantly surrounds you in history, thanks to the number of original buildings still found there. If you don't have access to a vehicle, many of the best attractions and sights can be reached on foot.
Starting from the heart of the city travelling out you can see how the changing architecture displays perfectly the way the city has changed and expanded over the years.
The Old Town is a great place to explore, discovering stunning Gothic churches, as well as many renaissance and Baroque buildings restored to perfection. In this extremely cultural part of the city you will find palaces, chapels, theatres and mansions as your backdrop. The Old Town is now very arty and the streets are awash with colour, art and intricate stained glass windows. If you need to pause and have a much earned rest, head to the famous Rynek Glowny main square, where you can relax over a coffee at one the many cafes and watch the world go by. The square is of course home to the stunning St Mary's Church and Watch Tower as well as the Cloth Hall building.
The city is a photographers dream as everywhere you turn you'll find a beautiful building or work of art. Kazimierz is a great example, as the old Jewish quarter offers picturesque streets and breath-taking renaissance architecture. Founded back in the 14th Century, the district hasn't changed too much despite the devastation of World War Two.
If World War Two history interests you then you shouldn't miss the amazing museums at both the Oskar Schindler Factory and Aushcwitz. Both sites are devoted to the stories of the many Jewish and Polish people who lost their lives during the war, with Aushcwitz showing visitors the exact site of the concentration camps. Schindler's Factory tells the story behind Oskar Schindler and the many Jews he saved by moving them out of Kazimierz. Both museums can be quite an emotional experience for those who visit, but definitely one that shouldn't be missed.
Elsewhere you can discover the opulence and beauty of the Royal castle at Wawel Hill. The Castle consists of magnificent state rooms, private royal apartments of the royal family and Wawel Cathedral. Get to the bottom of the old Polish legend of the Wawel dragon which is said to live just below the castle. Open daily there are many tours to follow to discover the castles rich history and, if nothing else, you shouldn't miss the amazing views out over the River Vistula.
Other attractions that are worth a visit include the old salt mines at Wieliczka, which started life in the 13th century and continued to produce table salt up until 2007. The mine is now a popular attraction, where you can escape down into corridors and tunnels to find amazing statues and even a lake over 400ft underground. Alternatively, spend an afternoon in the curious Museum of Pharmacy where you can discover a rich history of medicine through the ages from ancient apothecary shop recreations to row after row of traditional herbal remedies. Perhaps you'd like to hire a car and visit Poland's capital, Warsaw.
Krakow is very easy to reach, and you'll be able to begin your holiday as soon as you arrive at the airport. Here are your options...
Krakow flights are best taken to the local airport, Krakow Airport KRK, which can be found just 11kms west of the city itself.
With many low cost services to the city, there is plenty of choice for non-stop flights from the UK.
Ryanair flies to the city from Leeds Bradford, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, East Midlands, Birmingham and Stansted. Easyjet operates from Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Gatwick and Southend, and Jet2 has a flight from Newcastle.
You can also fly to Krakow from various UK cities via European hubs such as Amsterdam and Frankfurt, as well as on Polish Airlines via Warsaw.
You'll want to get to your accommodation as quickly and as easily as possible once you land so you can start exploring. Here are your options...
Krakow airport is located around 11km west of Krakow's centre. It's served by three bus services, the 208, 292 and 902. Details of timetables and destinations can be found on the Krakow airport website. Bus stops are located near the T1 and T2 terminals.
You will also be able to get taxis from Krakow airport. You will be charged a flat fare up to 24.9km, after which point you will be charged according to the taxi meter.
Historic Krakow has plenty up its sleeve to tempt visitors, but whereabouts should you choose to stay?
Cosmopolitan and vibrant and with a rich cultural heritage, Krakow has a variety of accommodation to suit every budget, from hostels and atmospheric small hotels, to more exclusive and high-end offerings.
If you're looking to immerse yourself in the history of the city, the Old Town is a good place to base your stay. Here you can visit attractions such as Wawel Royal Castle, the main market square, gothic churches and museums and galleries. Those looking for a bit of retail therapy should head to Cloth Hall.
The trendy Kazimierz area is another option for your stay. This was formally the Jewish Quarter and booking a walking tour here will allow you to find out all about the area's turbulent history, as will a visit to the Schindler Factory. Restaurants, bars and galleries abound here and you will find a variety of accommodation to choose from.