Krakow, also known as Cracow, is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Poland. Located in the southern part of the country, Krakow is filled with history, culture, and art. Here are 10 places to visit and 5 places to avoid when in Krakow.
1. Wawel Castle
The Wawel Castle is one of the most iconic landmarks in Krakow. This medieval castle was built in the 14th century and served as the residence of the Polish kings for centuries. Today, it is a museum that houses some of the most precious treasures of Polish art and history.
2. Main Square
The Main Square, or Rynek Główny, is the heart of Krakow. It is one of the largest and most beautiful town squares in Europe and offers a stunning view of the historic architecture of the city. The square is surrounded by restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops.
3. St. Mary’s Basilica
The St. Mary’s Basilica is a beautiful Gothic church located in the Main Square. The church is known for its striking blue ceiling and the stunning altar and stained glass windows.
Kazimierz is the Jewish quarter of Krakow and was once a thriving center of Jewish culture and identity. Today, it is a trendy neighborhood filled with cafes, bars, and restaurants. It’s also home to many of Krakow’s historic synagogues.
5. Wieliczka Salt Mine
The Wieliczka Salt Mine is a historic salt mine located just outside of Krakow. It dates back to the 13th century and was in operation until 2007. The mine is now a popular tourist attraction and is famous for its underground chambers, salt sculptures, and beautiful underground lake.
6. National Museum
The National Museum in Krakow is one of the largest museums in Poland. It houses an extensive collection of Polish art, historical artifacts, and archaeological finds. The museum has several branches around the city, but the main building is located on the Main Square.
7. Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory
Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory is located in the district of Zabłocie. The factory was made famous by the movie “Schindler’s List” and now houses a museum dedicated to the history of Krakow during World War II.
8. Planty Park
Planty Park is a beautiful park that surrounds the Old Town of Krakow. The park was once a moat that protected the city, but was transformed into a public park in the 19th century. The park is now a popular spot for locals and tourists to relax and enjoy the greenery of the city.
9. Cloth Hall
Cloth Hall, or Sukiennice, is located in the Main Square and is one of the most recognizable buildings in Krakow. The hall was once a trading center for cloth and other goods, but now houses souvenirs shops and local vendors.
10. Schindler’s Factory Museum
The Schindler’s Factory Museum is located in the district of Podgórze. The museum is dedicated to the history of Krakow during World War II and tells the story of Oskar Schindler and his humanitarian efforts to save Jewish lives during the Holocaust.
Places to Avoid
While Krakow is generally a safe city, there are areas that tourists should avoid:
1. Nowa Huta
Nowa Huta is a district located on the outskirts of Krakow. While it’s an interesting example of a socialist realist architecture, it’s also known for high crime rate and drug issues.
2. Krakowska Street
Krakowska Street is a busy street that connects the city center with the suburbs. While it’s not necessarily dangerous, it’s not the most attractive area of Krakow and is mostly filled with traffic and commercial buildings.
3. Plac Nowy
Plac Nowy is a square located in the old Jewish quarter of Kazimierz. While it’s an interesting and lively spot, it’s also a place where pickpocketing and petty crime can occur, especially during crowded market days.
4. Smocza Street
Smocza Street is a narrow street located in the district of Podgórze. It’s mostly known for its bars and nightlife, but it’s also a place where tourists should be cautious and aware of their surroundings.
5. Train Stations
The main train station in Krakow, Krakow Glowny, is generally safe. However, it’s still a place where tourists should be vigilant and aware of pickpocketing and other petty crimes.