Kicking it in Krakow

Krakow is one of my favorite places on earth. It is a medieval city full of young people. A wonderful, striking combination.
– Jonathan Carroll

I decided to head to Krakow on one of my last weekends in Poland. It is the heart of the country; the prettiest and most treasured city. Ask any local which is their favorite Polish city and it’s nearly always Krakow. This is a world class traveling spot with so many sights to see that if you decide to do a Eurotrip, this city is definitely worth stopping in.

The tower in the main square

Once the capital of Poland, Krakow is not a huge city but is jam packed with culture, night life and history. It lies along the Vistula river. English is heard as much Polish so there are no communicaton problems for any tourist. It is Poland’s number 1 tourist destination.

A smaller square in the old town
I found a little treasure

It is separated into 3 main attractions; the old town, the castle and the Jewish quarter.

The old town is based around a big main square that is outlined with cafes and restaurants. It is then framed by a park that circles the city. Interesting fact: the park actually symbolizes the city wall that once protected the city. All that remains now though is the Barbican.

On the right is the market block where cloth was sold in medieval times

Within the square (rynek in Polish) is St Mary’s Cathedral, the tower and the market block.

The castle is situated on Wawel Hill. Legend has it that a dragon once lived under the hill and terrorised the country side, eating all the fair maidens in the land. A young man named Krak destroyed the dragon, married the princess and eventually became king. This is apparently why the city is named Krakow. describes Wawel perfectly:

A symbol of national pride, hope, self-rule and not least of all fierce patriotism, Wawel offers a uniquely Polish version of the British Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey rolled into one. A gorgeous assortment of predominantly Romanesque, Renaissance and Gothic architecture dating from around the 14th century onwards, Wawel is the crown jewel of Kraków’s architectural treasures and required visiting for Poles and foreigners alike.

The cathedral that is situated next to the castle on top of Wawl Hill

The Jewish Quarter is quite picturesque with cafes and restaurants, interesting bookshops, atmospheric bars and souvenir shops. The area is called Kazimierz; it exudes bohemian charm and seems to be effortlessly cool. The district has both historical significance for WWII buffs and pumping nightlife for party lovers. “Alternative, edgy and packed with oddities, Kazimierz is an essential point of interest to any visitor.”

One of the restaurants in the Jewish district

The free walking tours are really worth doing as the guides give a lot of interesting information about the history and culture of the city.

This city is definitely worth visiting. I might have left a piece of my heart there. The more I travel, the more I seem to leave little bits of my soul everywhere. There’s a part of me in every city I have been to, and every city that I have been to is a part of me.

Following the tram lines into the Old Town

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