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City Breaks Krakow

If you’re looking for a city break with the right blend of culture, nightlife and quaint surroundings, Krakow is hard to beat. While you can see traces of the city’s WWII history, Poland’s former royal capital is also a celebration of the present. Step onto Europe’s largest medieval town square, explore regal Wawel Castle, and take it all in from a quiet café. Come evening, you’ll have your pick of cabaret bars, theatres, clubs and restaurants.

30 °C

Best time to visit: June and July

2.5 hours

Fly to: John Paul II International Airport Krakow-Balice, around 11km from central Krakow. 

Alternative transport: Cross the English Channel by Eurostar and book onward travel across the European mainland, which is well connected by rail.

From royal Renaissance architecture to one of Europe’s oldest industrial enterprises, there’s more to this city in the south of Poland than meets the eye. Here are our top recommendations for activities in Krakow, to help make your trip unforgettable.

One of the most important places to visit on your city break in Krakow is Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Europe during WWII. Pass the sign reading ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ (work makes you free) to see unsettling scenes including barracks, ruined crematoria and gas chambers.

Visit a European industrial enterprise that has been in operation since the 13th century. If history piques your interest, Wieliczka Salt Mine should feature high on your list of places to visit in Krakow. Take the tourist route passing 20 pristine chapels, underground lakes and traces of historical mining operations.

Admire a collection of art and antiques fit for a king, in one of the most interesting places to visit in Krakow. On the left bank of the Vistula River, Wawel Castle reigns over the city from atop Wawel Hill – also home to the city’s blue and gold ceilinged cathedral. 

Make the most of your city break in Krakow by venturing a little further south. Hailed as the ‘Winter Capital of Poland’, Zakopane is situated in the Tatra Mountains. A haven for skiers and snowboarders, the resort has slopes to suit all abilities as well as exciting, annual ski-jumping contests.

KRAKOW IS BEST FOR...

History enthusiasts: Explore the damage done to Poland during WWII – a stark contrast to the bright, optimistic city you see today.

Art lovers: Discover impressive displays of fine art within Krakow’s museums, including Wawel Castle and Czartoryski Museum.

Culture vultures: Come in the summer for the Jewish Culture Festival, or catch the latest Polish movies at the Krakow Film Festival in May.


FAST FACTS

Language: The language spoken in Krakow is Polish

Currency: The currency used in Krakow is the Polish zloty (zl)

Local time: Krakow is 1 hour ahead of GMT/UK time

Fly to: John Paul II International Airport Krakow-Balice, around 11km from central Krakow. 

Alternative transport: Cross the English Channel by Eurostar and book onward travel across the European mainland, which is well connected by rail.

Flight time from UK: 2.5 hours

Tourist Information: Further Krakow tourist information can be found at www.poland.travel/en-gb/

Visa & Health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/poland for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to Krakow.


WEATHER AND CLIMATE

Temperature: Poland has a temperate climate. The average temperature in July is 19(°c), which can rise to as high as 30. 

Best time to visit: If you like to see the sights with a healthy dose of sunshine, head to Krakow in July. The best time of the year for winter sports is between January and March.


GETTING AROUND

Bus/tram: Krakow’s reliable bus and tram service gets passengers from A to B, 5am to 11pm. Some buses also run later into the night. Single tickets are available from street kiosks.

Car/taxi: It’s better to avoid driving yourself around Krakow, as it’s not that easy to get around – especially since much of the Old Town is a car-free zone. Call a taxi to minimise the motoring hassle.

Bicycle: Take in more of Krakow, from the seat of a hire bike. Giving you freedom to choose where and when you go, cycling is a great way of keeping active on holiday.


EVENTS

Musical Easter: Krakow’s Misteria Paschalia Festival celebrates Easter and Holy Week each year, with a show-stopping programme of Renaissance and Baroque music performed by some of the world’s most admired musicians. 

Celebrating Jewish culture: The Jewish Culture Festival, held each summer in Krakow, is filled with concerts, workshops, lectures, film screenings and visual art presentations representing contemporary Jewish culture.

All about film: Held over seven days each May, Krakow Film Festival is one of the longest running of its kind in Europe. Watch filmmakers compete across a range of categories, with accompanying exhibitions, concerts, open-air screenings and filmmaker meet-and-greets.


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