Kraków is a city in southern Poland, 220 miles south of Warsaw and 65 miles north of the border with Slovakia. Poland's second city stands on the Vistula River in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. The old centre stands to the north of the river and was one of the first World Heritage Sites to be designated. The city escaped serious damage in the Second World War and is often judged one of the most beautiful in Europe. Its international airport is seven miles to the west. Hiring a car from Kraków means you'll get so much more from your visit, and you'll find the road network a mix of old and new. Some historic narrow streets may be difficult to negotiate – but many of the trunk roads are wide and modern.
One of the largest medieval town squares in Europe, the 13th-century Rynek Glowny, forms the heart of Kraków. This vast space is surrounded by old townhouses, palaces and churches. In the middle of the square is an ornately decorated Renaissance cloth hall. Around Rynek you'll also see the Town Hall Tower, the 1,000-year-old St Adalbert's church and the gothic St Mary's Basilica. Rent a car in Kraków, and you'll be able to explore further afield in the former royal capital. In fact, at the Royal Wawel Castle, a 16th-century palace that is a national landmark for Poles, you'll see the old state rooms and private apartments of the Polish monarchy. Kraków's Old Town is ringed by the enormous Planty Park and surviving sections of the medieval city walls. The impressive park is 2.5 miles long and consists of a series of 30 linked gardens. In the old Jewish ghetto, Kazimierz, there's a mix of poignant reminders of the remains of pre-war synagogues and the signs of lively modern renewal. Wherever you go in Kraków, look out for art galleries and old churches. And this is such a sociable city, expect to find hundreds of restaurants, cafes and bars too.
Opening hours:Mo-Su 0700-2330
Address:Ul. Kpt. M. Medweckiego 1
Opening hours:Mo-Fr 0800-1600, Sa 0800-1200, Su on request
Address:Al. Focha 1