Krakow is a large city in Poland ( the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1059.) and its main tourist destination. According to legends Krakow was founded by a prince who defeated the dragon and built an amazing castle on the cave. With its numerous historic landmarks, it has traditionally been Poland’s academic, artistic and cultural leading center as well as one of the most important economic hubs. It is hard to deny that Krakow owns a special mythical atmosphere with a harmonious mix of its old and modern streets. It is worth mentioning that in 1978 Old Town and the district of Kazimierz in Krakow were the first to be placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Before we introduce the best places where you can stay in Krakow, let us figure out the top things to do and to see in Krakow.
1.What to do and to see in Krakow
1.Sightseeing Bike Tour
Tourists who prefer the active way of life will surely like this bike tour. It takes about 5 hours to ride through Krakow’s cobbled streets and visit the most interesting attractions, such as Schindler’s factory, Wawel Castle, the Jewish quarter, Jagiellonian University and more. The tour includes a guide who tells all interesting facts about the city’s rich architecture and history. You will also have the chance to have lunch at a traditional Polish restaurant which is included in the cost of the tour. Finally, the tour will end at your original departure point.
2.Take a Memorial Guided Tour
One of the main historical monuments that gather tourists from all over the world is Auschwitz – Birkenau Museum that was a former concentration death camp founded by Nazis in World War II. The museum is free, but your visit will be much more meaningful if you take a guide who will tell all the unfair and sad stories that happened there. Another memorial in Krakow is Ghetto Heroes Square. Near to Vistula River was located the Krakow ghetto that was liquidated in 1943. It was a large place called Plac Zgody, where many people tried to find some relief from the awful and disgusting conditions in the surrounding tenements. Many families were separated for the last time, the others were executed and such other tragic stories happened in this place. In 2005 the square was redesigned and 70 large chairs were installed there in memory of the victims of the ghetto. When you see these empty chairs you immediately recall the images of deportations and ruined lives.
In Krakow, like in any other city with the old history behind, there are a lot of museums. Do not be surprised to meet a museum related to Japanese culture in Krakow. Maggha is a Japanese art museum with 7000 pieces in the collection that includes ceramics, paintings, counting woodcuts, and samurai armor. It was opened in 1994 by the initiative of film director Andrzej Wajda. In the 1940s he was very impressed by Japanese art after viewing Feliks Jasienski’s collection. More than forty years later, after receiving a film prize he decided to donate the money to build a new museum for the collection.
Next in the list of museums is the Polish Aviation Museum, situated in the east of the old town. Museum was opened in the hangars of Poland’s former airport, closed in 1963. The Polish Aviation Museum is regularly regarded as one of the best in the world. It owns more than 200 aircraft, including helicopters, gliders, bombers, etc. But its main heritage is the rarest Polish pre-war aircraft like the PZL P.11 that is the only surviving piece in the world.
The last museum we want to introduce to you is the Stained Glass Workshop and Museum. It was founded in 1902 by the architect Stanislav Gabriel Zelensky who intended to create a gathering place for Poland’s successful glass painters. More than 200 stained-glass windows created here found their places around Krakow today, among which are windows of the famous Franciscan Church and Wawel. There are special guide tours in English that will bring you through amazing exhibitions of stained glass into the workshop where you will have an opportunity to see how this beauty is being created.
4.Be a Part of Krakow’s Active Nightlife
When you already investigated all the cultural and architectural monuments in Krakow, it is time to get to know this city from the other side. Nighttime activities here are no less interesting than the daytime ones, especially if you are willing to make new friends, try local dishes at traditional eateries and bars, participate in organised events and parties. The most popular parties in Krakow take place within the old town, where you will find all the best clubs. In these clubs, you will definitely meet native people who will treat you the most delicious scypek and pierogi (Polish traditional dishes) and ‘bison grass’ vodka.
Now, when we have already investigated the must visit and must do things, it is time to speak about where to stay in Krakow. For your comfort, we have singled out 6 best areas of the city.
2.Where to stay in Krakow
Stare Miasto, also famous as ‘old town,’ is the city’s central and most historic part. It is considered the most convenient location for tourists as most popular attractions are situated here. If you want to stay in this ultra picturesque and central part of Krakow, expect to pay more for accommodation.
Ludwinow is set on the banks of the river and represents the calm side of the city. This area is mostly appreciated by tourists on a budget, as prices for accommodations are manageable. The main activity in this area is hanging at the artificial beach.
Kleparz is a very comfortable area to stay in Krakow if you want to be in the heart of the city but less crowded. It is located directly north of ‘old town’ and is mostly a residential neighbourhood. This area will offer you insight into everyday life in Krakow.
Grzegorz can look rather grey and dull at first sight, but if you penetrate deep you will find its hidden gems. First of all, this area suggests a good selection of hotels and holiday apartments at a good price. Second, you will surely find a lot of traditional restaurants with guaranteed delicious food. And finally, an interesting flea market and botanical garden are situated in this area.
Kazimierz is the historical Jewish part of Krakow and one of the coolest areas for tourists. There are numerous boutiques, restaurants, cafes, galleries, and bars. It will take only a 20-minute walk from the Stare Miasto’s central square to Kazimierz, where you can discover the bohemian side of Krakow.
Podgorze is a residential area in Krakow with upbeat vibes. Here you can find enough activities to keep you busy and feel like a true citizen. If you do not mind living further from the center and be surrounded by locals, this area could be best for you.
We have also prepared a list of accommodations in Krakow and categorized them according to their prices.
3.Accomodations in Krakow
Trzy Kafki Private Rooms, located 400 meters from the Main Market Square, this accommodation offers its visitors classically furnished rooms with free WiFi and an electric kettle.
Cinnamon Hostel is located 2.4 km from Wawel Castle and 1.2 from the main square. It is a tidy hostel with free WiFi and self-catering.
Hostel 70s is situated 1.4 km from Cloth Ball and offers free WiFi, a tour desk and express check-in and check out.
Freedom Hostel a newly-opened hostel with a welcoming atmosphere is located a few minutes from the main market square.
Aurora Apartments – Old Town is a modern accommodation, located 1 km from Krakow Glowny Train station and is 300 meters from the ‘old town.’ It offers shared WiFi and self-catering.
Mirror Apartments is a well-furnished accommodation with free WiFi and beautiful views. It is situated 1.2 km from St. Mary’s Basilica and 800 meters from Wawel Castle.
Felix Hotel is a 2-star hotel in Krakow that offers its visitors rooms with a private bathroom and satellite TV and free WiFi.
Hotel Major is a 3-star hotel that is located near Balice Airport and 4 km from the Old City of Krakow. The hotel offers modern, functional, and brightly-colored rooms with air-conditioning, telephone, room service and free breakfast.
H15 Palace Hotel, a five-star hotel that is 100 meters from St. Florian’s Gate offers different facilities, including a bar, a restaurant, and a fitness center.
Balthazar Design Hotel is set 500 meters from Wawel Royal Castle and offers allergy-free rooms, check-in and check out, a restaurant, and free WifI.
Hotel Unicus Palace located 300 meters from St. Mary’s Basilica, this 5-star hotel offers a restaurant, fitness center, private parking, a bar and rooms with air-conditioning, minibar, refrigerator, flatscreen TV and room service.
Radisson Blu Hotel Krakow located just a 7-minute walk from The Royal Wawel Castle and Main Market Square is a luxurious 5-star hotel that includes in its properties a fitness center, a restaurant, a beauty studio and 8 professional meeting rooms.