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The best hotels in Krakow, Poland
The second largest city in Poland after Warsaw, Krakow is the oldest city in the country. Located on the banks of the River Vistula, it in fact dates back to the 7th century and was already a busy trading centre by 965 AD. Since then. It always held a prominent position in the country's economy and learning. Capital of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland until 1569, it served as an important centre of learning throughout the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Enlightenment, and its universities hold high places in world rankings even today. Unfortunately Krakow's history has not always been so happy. Invaded by the German troops during World war II. It became the headquarters of the German General Government and the Jewish community was first forced into what is still called the Krakow Ghetto, one of the largest of its kind, and then sent off to nearby concentration camps like Auschwitz and Plaszow. Krakow has nonetheless picked up the pieces and moved on during the post-war era. Reaffirming its role as an academic and cultural leader, the city now boasts one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites - namely, the Old Town - and tourists flock there to admire landmarks such as the Royal Castle, Wawel Cathedral, and the Jagiellonian University, one of the oldest in Europe. It certainly helped that one of the best-loved popes from recent years - Karol Wojtyla or Pope John Paul II - was archbishop of Krakow as this brought an even greater spurt of tourism to the city. If you want to visit Krakow, we suggest you book a hotel from the ones on the list provided below. Hotels will in fact provide greater comfort and safety than other types of accommodation, as well as privacy and a trained staff to cater to your every need.
The weather in Krakow allows for a pleasant holiday all year long. Summers are in fact hot but not particularly humid, and temperatures rarely exceed 25Â°C even during the warmest months (July and August). Winters too, while cold, are not exceedingly so - the coldest months are January and February yet even then temperatures rarely go below 1.5Â°C at least during the day. The weather is however quite changeable as the city is located near the Tatra Mountains which can cause a foehn wind to blow and quickly raise the temperature. If it's festivals that determine your holiday more than the weather, you still won't be disappointed with your choice of going to Krakow as the city hosts many and varied events. If you are interested in Jewish culture and heritage then you won't want to miss the Jewish Culture Festival between June and July or the Bajit Chadasz ("New Home" in English) in November, both featuring concerts, workshops, traditional cuisine, dancing, and lectures (although please note that the former is larger). If you are more interested in films then come in May for the Krakow Film Festival, in April for the Off Camera International Festival of Independent Cinema, or in November for the Etiuda&Anima, featuring short films and animations. More interested in music? The Coke Live Festival in June has boasted big names like Kanye West, 50 Cent, and Muse in the past, and it is definitely a good event to attend. If you're visiting during the summer, also consider the Krakowskie Noce ("Krakow Nights") going from May to September, when one night a month features a special event and includes free museum admission, theater performances, concerts, and poetry readings. And if you are looking for something special in your gift shopping, then why not visit in December? The oldest Christmas Market in the country is held on the main square every year from late November to early January.
Yet what else is there to see in Krakow? The most popular sightseeing activity is going on a guided tour of the city, whether walking or gliding down the river, so as to take in all the many buildings and landmarks featuring half a dozen architectural styles. If, however, you want a more detailed visit, then some of the most popular attractions are: - Auschwitz-Birkenau. As improper as it is to talk of these camps as an attraction, it is the destination of many of the tourists coming to Krakow. Located only 50 miles west of the city, near the town of Oswiecim, they are easy to reach although you should allow a full day for both the commute and the visit. You will in fact be able to tour both Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau, where the atrocities committed not 75 years ago will really hit home. - The Market Square. Called Rynek Glowny in Polish, it dates back to the Middle Ages and it is the biggest square of its kind in Europe. The centre of the old Town neighborhood, it is the symbol of the city and something you should definitely not miss as there is no other place in Krakow that has the same kind of bustling energy and atmosphere. - Wawel Cathedral. Located at the top of Wawel Hill, the cathedral is one of the main attractions in the city and it houses the tombs and burial chambers of nearly every Polish king and queen, as well as other important historical figures. - St. Mary's Basilica. Called Kosciol Mariacki in Polish, this Gothic church dates back to the 13th century although it was destroyed by the Tartars and had to be rebuilt a century later. The main feature of the Basilica is the wooden altarpiece depicting biblical scenes like the Ascension of Christ. - The Wieliczka Salt Mine. A UNESCO Would Heritage Site, the mine has not been used since 2007 except as a tourist attraction. It is particularly popular especially due to St. Kinga's Chapel, a life-size underground temple entirely carved out of salt.
What to see in Krakow?
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