Kraków/Old Town

Sukiennice at night

The Old City of Kraków, referred to in Polish as Stare Miasto, forms the historical kernel of this vibrant Polish city and is the first target for most travellers to the city, with regard to accommodation, eating out, entertainment, and attractions.

Understand

Orientation

The area of the Old City is bounded by the ring of lightly-forested parkland, known as the Planty, that used to mark the Old City walls and moat. The Wawel, the long-fortified hill at the southern end of the Old City, overlooks the River Vistula, and forms an integral part of this district. The centre of the Old City (and of Kraków itself) is the Rynek Główny (Main Market Square) from which all the main streets radiate.

In this article also the area known in Polish as Śródmieście (Inner city) is covered. It was developed behind torn down medieval city walls on the grounds of surrounding villages and towns and today together with Old City forms the I district of Kraków. Śródmieście is bordered by a ring road al. Trzech Wieszczów from the west and rail tracks from the east.

InfoKrakow Tourist Information Offices

See

Major attractions

Wawel Castle courtyard
The town hall tower
Medieval Barbican

Squares

St. Mary Magdalene Square

Churches

Monasteries

Palaces

University Buildings

All over Old Town you can find campus parts of the second oldest university in this part of Europe: Jagiellonian University. You are free to enter (and leave) all buildings at your leisure (mind the students milling around every day of the week).

Parks

The Planty park

Museums and Galleries

  • Czartoryski Museum, ul. św. Jana 19. Art collection of 18th century Polish magnate family. "Lady with an Ermine" (also known as the Polish Mona Lisa) by Leonardo da Vinci and "The Landscape with Good Samaritan" by Rembrandt van Rijn among others. Currently closed for renovation; the Da Vinci is on temporary display at the Wawel Castle, quite strikingly in a room by itself (admission 10 zł, free on Sundays - but you still need to have a ticket). Be aware that there is a limited supply of tickets to see it every day (you'll see how many remain on displays in the ticket hall), each with an assigned time of entry.
Inside the Gallery of The 19th-Century Polish Art in Sukiennice
  •   Jan Matejko House (Dom Jana Matejki), ul. Floriańska 41. 10.00 – 18.00. Atelier of the best known 19th century Polish painter. 8 zł, 4 reduced.
  •   Józef Mehoffer House (Dom Józefa Mehoffera), ul. Krupnicza 26. We - Su: 10.00 – 16.00. Atelier of one the best known Polish painters with great garden and a cafe. 6 zł, 3 reduced.
  • Szołaysky House (Kamienica Szołayskich), ul. Szczepańska 11. 10.00 – 18.00. Temporary exhibitions of Polish art, mainly relating to the period of Young Poland. There's also a collection of works by Stanisław Wyspiański. 8 zł, 4 reduced.
  • Krzysztofory Palace (Pałac Krzysztofory), Rynek Główny 35. The main building. Usual historical museum stuff: armour, swords etc. Every year after Christmas there is an exhibition concerning local tradition: Krakow szopka (characteristic nativity scene where historical buildings of Kraków are used as backdrop for the Nativity of Jesus.)
  • Rynek Underground (Podziemia Rynku), Rynek Główny 1 (entrance in Sukiennice opposite the fountain). 10.00–20.00/22.00; closed every first Tuesday of a month. Shows relics of structures hidden under the current Market Square surface. 17 zł, reduced /group 14.
  • Town Hall Tower (Wieża Ratuszowa), Rynek Główny 1. 10.30–18.00; April - October. Great view over the Market Square. 7 zł, reduced 5.
  • Barbican, City Defense Walls, the Celestat. History of city's fortifications and defenders. The Celestat is a genuine headquarter of one of the oldest, existing continuously for over 700 years rifle-clubs. Combined ticket valid for a week: 6 zł, reduced 4.

Do

Theaters

Cinemas

Buy

The Rynek and the surrounding streets have fashionable clothing stores.

Bookstores

There are also several interesting antique book shops in the centre.

Eat

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Cafes

The cafe tradition of Kraków reaches the Battle of Vienna in 1683, when the Polish hussars returned with a lot of conquered Osman Coffee. Some of the most famous cafes are:

If you're looking for a more American coffee experience, check out Coffeeheaven (Karmelicka 5 and Galeria Kazimierz) or Tribeca Coffee (Rynek Główny 27).

Bars

Clubs

Dance venues are scattered around Old Town and located mostly in Kraków's medieval cellars. Streets with higher density of these establishments include Szewska, św. Tomasza and Szpitalna streets.

There is an unusual attraction - Tram Parties. Lots of people drinking and dancing in a tram that rides around the city, later (after 11PM or so) everyone moves to one of clubs.

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Kraków offers a large number of two and three star hotels, priced at €25-40 per night. The most expensive of these hotels are actually in the Old Town proper.

Splurge

Connect

Half of bars and cafes have WiFi, just ask for the password while ordering.

Main library on ul. Rajska has free WiFi on the second floor.

There are few Internet cafes:

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 07, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.