City and scenery make an ideal combination
Those people who haven’t yet booked a summer holiday will no doubt be trying to decide whether to risk the British weather and spend the summer at home or whether to look further afield in Europe. A combination of city and scenery is always a popular choice, providing the buzz and interest of the city and also the peace, quiet and relaxation of a rural retreat.
A holiday combining a few nights in Krakow with up to a week in the mountain resort of Zakopane is the ideal solution for those who like a mixture of activity and relaxation on holiday. Zakopane, located in the Tatra Mountains of southern Poland, is reached by a scenic coach (2 hours) or train (3 hours 20 mins) journey from Krakow. Zakopane is known as the “winter capital of Poland” but this attractive town welcomes visitors all year round and is a superb base for keen walkers. Visitors can enjoy strolling around the town with its unique style of architecture, called Zakopane style, which was first created by artist Stanislaw Witkiewicz at the turn of the 20th century. Food fans will enjoy trying the traditional restaurants, many of which often feature live music performances from folk bands wearing regional costumes.
Krakow is currently a very popular city break destination amongst the British market. For many people, one of the main reasons for visiting Krakow is the opportunity to visit the notorious Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Perhaps one of the most sombre places that most people will ever visit, Auschwitz lies a short drive away from Krakow, making it an easy full day excursion (about 6 hours in total).
Another very popular excursion from Krakow is to the Wieliczka Salt Mines, located on the outskirts of the city. One of Europe’s oldest industrial enterprises, the mines have operated continuously since the 13th century! While salt is no longer quite as valuable as it once was, the mine has become both a historical monument and an art gallery, displaying the development and success of mining technology over nearly nine centuries through fascinating historical landmrks and rock salt sculptures.
Krakow itself has plenty to offer the tourist, whether your preference is to wander around the beautiful mediaeval buildings of the OldTown or just to relax over a coffee in the Market Square. Well worth a visit is the elegant Sukiennice (Cloth Hall), packed with colourful booths displaying Polish specialties such as amber jewellery, painted wooden eggs, embroidered blouses and crystal glasses.
Visitors to Krakow should also make a point of visiting Kazimierz, Krakow’s former Jewish quarter. This area is today Kraków’s most exciting district – a bustling, bohemian neighbourhood packed with historical sites, atmospheric cafés and art galleries. The popular Jewish Culture Festival starts on Friday 27th June and will fill Kazimierz’s streets and cafes with music and cultural events.