Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland, dating back to the seventh century. It is located on the Vistula River and is the second largest of the country's cities. Beautiful architecture, extensive collections of artworks and ancient charm await those who travel to this well-preserved city. It is also one of the more affordable places to visit in Europe, with tourists able to find cheap cuisine, local beers and holiday apartments without having to look too hard.
Krakow is located in Lesser Poland, a historical region in the south of the country. It was the capital of Poland between the 11th and 16th centuries and remains one of the most significant centres of academic, cultural and artistic life. The city itself is home to about 760,000 people and some 7.3 million tourists passed through in 2009. Most come to sense centuries' worth of history, while many also make the short journey to the former Nazi concentration camp at nearby Auschwitz.
Krakow has much to offer visitors, including a large number of historical monuments. Here are some attractions that should definitely make the short-list:
Market Square - The main square is located in the centre of the city's Old Town. Dating back to the 13th century, it is the largest medieval town square in Europe and is surrounded by historic buildings, including townhouses, palaces and churches. The impressive Renaissance-style Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) cannot be missed in the centre of the square, while the Gothic towers of St Mary's Basilica tower above the square.
Wawel Castle - This Gothic castle was built in the 14th century and is of great cultural significance. Poland's kings lived in the castle for centuries, but it is now a leading art museum, featuring paintings, sculptures, tapestries and much more.
National Art Museum - This museum houses approximately 780,000 objects of art, ranging from classical archaeological pieces to modern art.
Wieliczka salt mine - The salt mine was built in the 13th century and produced salt until 2007. It now features statues, chapels and even an entire cathedral carved from rock salt. The mine is located in the town of Wieliczka, not far from Krakow, and attracts approximately 1.2 million people each year.
Most international visitors arrive in Krakow via the John Paul II International Airport, which is located 11km away from the city. The journey from the airport to the city is easy thanks to direct trains which take just 15 minutes to cover the ground.
The most pleasant times of year to visit Krakow are widely felt to be spring and autumn. At these times the weather is mild, but the city is not completely overrun with tourists. Those visiting in the winter months will find the city cold but beautiful.
If you're planning a trip to Poland, why not take a look at our holiday apartments in Krakow? We offer high quality accommodation in key central locations that is often much more affordable than staying in a hotel.
The accommodation Krakow offers varies apartments in its type, Location and price.
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