PLP – Krakow and its beautiful old town
About the city
Krakow or « krakuf » in Polish is one of the biggest cities in Poland. It is a students city (about 180’000) during all the year. Krakow is the county town of « Voïvodie of little Poland » at 300 km from Warsaw. The city is close to the Vistule, the main river « rzeka » of Poland.
Dating back to the VIIth century, it is one of the oldest and the most important cities in Poland, the architectural heritage of which is very well kept. The historic city is situated at the foot of the hill of Wawel.
It’s the cultural and scientific center of the country with the University of Jagellonne of Krakow the second oldest in all Europe. The historic center of Krakow is registered in UNESCO.
There is a Legend about the foundation of the city based on the hill Wawel. Krakus a fictive king is said to have built the city over the cave from the dragon Wawel after he is said to have killed him. The Wawel’s castle presents a video on this topic.
How to get around there ?
There is a wide network of public transport in Krakow, it’s really easy to move from place to another. You can take a lot of different trams « tramwaj » and it’s completed by bus « autobus ». Every touristic places is served by those two types of transport.
Local trains connect the city with the suburbs. The largest part of the historic center of the city was transformed into a pedestrian zone leaving a place with carriages on horseback, with cyclo-taxis and with battery-driven vehicles intended for the visit of the city.
The main train station is located inside the old town, it’s really simple to travel to other capitals in Europe like Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, etc.
You also can take the airplane to come to Krakow with the Jean-Paul II airport located 11 km from the city.
What to see ?
Krakow is the starting point of excursions towards salt mines to Wieliczka, wooden churches, the Tatra Mountains, Czestochowa and the old concentration camp of Auschwitz.
Those trips are outside the city, but you can visit many monuments like the old town, the royal castle and the basilic cathedral Saints-Stanislas-et-Venceslas of Krakow. There are some great museums in the city : The National Museum « muzeum », the Czartoryski museum (Léonard de Vinci, Rembrandt), the royal castle of Wawel.
The Tatras Mountains are amazing, if you need a place to quit the cities during your trip it’s a really good place for a trek.
The salt mine are impressive, my favorite part of my trip in Krakow. You can make a guided tour in English, French, Spanish, German, Russian and Polish. You can also make other tours such as a speleologic tour or a team building tour.