Krakow – The Historic City That Prides itself on Modern Culture

by Gavin Darvell

Krakow, the former capital city of Poland, that now shouts it out loud and proud that they are the countries’ cultural capital. A Modern-day hotpot of old-style architecture and upbeat, student-led culture.

Arrive in Krakow and you’ll soon see a city that blends the perfect mix of the past and the present. Look around, which you must do, and you’ll see Gothic and Renaissance masterpieces and Europe’s largest market square. There’s no doubting its vibrancy but also, as you’ll discover a city that has a troubled past and isn’t afraid to remember it. Poignancy goes together with the bohemian elegance this city conveys. Bewitched you will be. 

Where should you go, and what are the best things to do in Krakow? Summer, winter, autumn or spring, there are plenty of exciting and thought-provoking options to suit all. 

Around the City

Wawel Castle in Krakow

As mentioned, Krakow is a city with rich architectural delights and exploring the cobbled streets; you’ll soon recognise you’re in one of Europe’s gems. Krakow’s history gives this place its essence. From the reign of the Tatars to the Polish Kingdom and Nazi occupation, they have preserved each period so that as a visitor, you never forget. 

Places like the National Museum, Wawel Castle and St Mary’s Basilica are perfect examples. There are others but we’ll look at those in more detail later. Even standing in the main square, you’ll get not only magnificent views but a genuine sense of the ambience and atmosphere as people go about their daily business. 

Wieliczka Salt Mine

These legendary salt mines are something special. It really transports you to a whole new world, underground! Endless corridors twist and eventually lead to chambers of stunning beauty. The Kinga Chapel, being one example. Otherworldly is probably the best way to describe it! You’ll also learn the history, see the old mining tools that helped to extract the salt. It’s a visual, historical experience that is a feast for the eyes and the mind.


There’s no getting away from the fact that you’ll find Auschwitz, the camp that has become the symbol of the holocaust, close to Krakow. There is no need to go into the details, as you really have to visit to understand. A visit here is about learning and remembering. Yes, it will upset you. In fact, it’s spine chilling even, but it’s an important place to visit and to pay your respects. 

Schindler and the Jewish heritage

Old Jewish Quarter in Krakow

Another place to pause and remember is Schindler’s Factory, which takes you back to Krakow’s Nazi occupation. You’ll read stories and see illustrations that chronicle the events. It’s a harrowing but an essential visit as is exploring the Jewish heritage of the city. Pick a tour and you’ll learn more about the area and the history that never fades. 

It’s a side of Krakow that is as important as the upbeat, cultural experiences you’ll have. 

From being transported in a Travi to sitting in the square sipping a cup of coffee and munching on something delicious in a growing culinary scene. Krakow has that perfect blend of history to uncover and beauty to see. There’s no doubt you’ll come away having a mix of emotions but incredible memories. 

Have you been to Krakow? Where would you recommend visiting? 

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