Krakow

Welcome to Krakow

Its beautifully preserved Old Town is famous throughout the world, but Krakow is no medieval theme-park. The nightlife here is among Europe's most vibrant, while the thriving art and music scene showcases Poland's best creative talent. And while Krakow has only recently started taking food seriously, you'll find some outstanding restaurants too.

A day here could start with a stroll along the Old Town's winding streets, taking in must-see sights like Wawel Castle and St Mary's Basilica. Lunch might be the ubiquitous pierogi - or perhaps some authentic Polish pancakes - in one of the intimate cafés nestled behind, and below, the main square. The afternoon could be spent exploring Kazimierz's vintage boutiques and antiquarian bookshops, before relaxing in one of its legendary candlelit bars.

Expect to find reminders of Poland's tumultuous past everywhere, from imposing statues of nationalist poets to gaudy postcards of Pope John Paul II - former archbishop of Krakow and a key figure in Poland's struggle for democracy. The Nazi occupation has unsurprisingly left its scars on the city too, particularly in the former Jewish district of Kazimierz.

But Krakow has always looked outwards, enthusiastically absorbing foreign influences and ideas. Despite its sometimes tragic history, it refuses to remain stuck in the past - it's a city confidently looking to the future, continually confounding expectations.

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Quick facts

  • Inhabitants in Poland:
    38.2 million
  • Inhabitants in Krakow:
    760,000
  • Official language
    Polish
  • Currency
    PLN, Złoty
  • Time zone
    Central European Time (UTC+1)
  • Emergency number
    112
  • Constitution
    Parliamentary republic
  • Country phone code
    +48
  • Country code
    PL
  • Local transportation
    Tram, bus