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Basic information

  • Area: 327 km² (126.3 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: +4812
  • Currency: Złoty (PLN)
  • Population (EST): 754,854
  • Official language: Polish
  • Time Zone: CET (UTC+1)

Krakow – Overview

Rising from the banks of the Vistula River are the towering turrets of Krakow, Poland’s second largest city. Steeped in a long and rich history, gorgeous Krakow was once a medieval metropolis, home to kings and considered the country’s capital. Having escaped World War II relatively unscathed and the subsequent communist rule, visitors can still marvel at a city adorned by beautiful Renaissance buildings and an array of majestic monuments.

For culture lovers the city abounds with and almost endless supply of magical museums. For a peek at something particularly unique, take a tour of the Pharmacy Museum which is one of the Krakow’s many hidden gems. For shoppers seeking trinkets and treasures, be sure to check out the assortment of antique shops scattered around the Old Town, or alternatively real thrills can be found at one of the weekend flea markets.

When weary, a visit to one of the city’s milk bars is a must. Cheap, cheerful and something of an institution, these cafeteria style restaurants serve up a hearty meals that satisfy even the most hungry of mouths. For less than a dollar dine on dishes such as Bigos (a tasty traditional meat stew) and Periogi (delicious baked dumplings).

Krakow’s party really starts after dark when a buzzing bar scene springs to life. Visitors should don their glad rags and dancing shoes and get ready to go out on what could easily be an all night adventure. This city has it all, from the glamour of a cosmopolitan cocktail to the smoky allure of bohemian basements.

Krakow enjoys a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from simple hostels and family run guesthouses to more luxurious hotels. If you are willing to splurge on something sophisticated head down to Hotel Copernicus. Nestled at the foot of Wawel Castle on one of Krakow’s oldest streets, the hotel is widely regarded as one of Poland’s premier places to stay. Elegant and enchanting, the hotel boasts a vast renaissance atrium, regal rooms and the surprise of a subterranean swimming pool. Alternatively those on a shoestring who don’t what to shirk on style should hot foot it down to Rynek7. This funky hostel features countless quirky corners and some seriously stunning views.

Krakow has a temperate climate that features very cold winters and warm summers. May to September is the most popular time to visit, when temperatures hover around 20°C and skies are clear and sunny. Be prepared for rain showers throughout the year. Winters however can be bitterly cold, when temperatures fall to freezing and snow fall is common – so pack appropriately.

Krakow has all the modern facilities needed to guarantee an easy trip, including numerous ATM machines, car rental companies and a tourist information office. Foreign currency can be exchanged at the airport on arrival or from one of the many exchange booths in the city – take care to know a rough current exchange and shop around for the best rates. The currency used is the Polish Zloty.