Poland’s most important tourist city is rich with treasures for the visitor. Here’s my list of the best places to see and things to do in this most interesting place. Check out my photo album which will soon follow.
1. Wander Old town Square – Rynek Glowny is one of the largest and finest squares in all of Europe. The people of Poland are fun-loving and friendly, and the square is always alive with life.
2. St Mary’s Church – This brick church is fairly unassuming on the outside, but its interior is rich in both color and detail. The altarpiece is especially interesting. Listen for the bugler who recreates a momentous time in the history of the city with his abbreviated song.
3. Shop for bargains in the Old Cloth Hall – The large building in the center of the square has been converted to shops and craft displays. Wander through for bargains or just the ambience.
4. Wawel Castle – The classic castle on the hill, this complex includes the cathedral and other buildings. Note the tapestries in the castle and the Sigismund Chapel of the cathedral.
5. Stroll the Streets of the Old Town – Krakow’s old town is pleasant to walk and loaded with history and interesting architecture.
6. Excursion to Auschwitz – This most notorious Nazi prison camp processed hundreds of thousands of Jews, gypsies, and other "enemies" of the Reich. The final resting place of many of Poland’s Jews is just a few miles out of town.
7. Climb Town Hall Tower – For incredible views of the square below and the entire Old Town, climb this fifteenth century remnant of the town hall (the building itself no longer exists).
8. Check out the Florian Gate and Barbican – The only remaining gate of the original city is next to a defensive bastion known as the Barbican.
9. Visit the Kasimierz Neighborhood – This section of the city is notable for its Catholic Quarter with numerous churches and its Jewish Quarter with several synagogues.
10. Excursion to Wieliczka – These salt mines, just ten miles southeast of the city, are a World Heritage Site. Be sure to check out the Chapel of the Blessed Kings, an underground church made entirely of salt.