Wawel Castle - a must seen place when visiting Krakow. The castle is located on a Jurassic limestone hill, right on the bank of the Vistula river overlooking old historic centre of Krakow. For the past centuries served as the home of Polish monarchs, place of royal coronation ceremonies, and a commentary. This is the most priceless complex of monuments in Poland from the Middle Ages until the 20th century. Comprises of the Renaissance Royal Castle, the Gothic Cathedral, Royal Tombs and fragments of medieval defense walls and living quarters. Additionally you can visit the Bell Tower - with a good weather Tatras Mountains are visible. Everything within medieval walls surrounding Wawel Hill. Beautiful place to have a nice and relaxing afternoon.
St. Mary’s Basilica
St. Mary’s Basilica is a monumental Gothic church built in the 14th century, located in the Main Market Square of Krakow. It is particularly famous for its beautiful wooden altarpiece carved by master Veit Stoss (pol. Wit Stwosz). Not to be missed. Real experience and a treat for people who love golden baroque churches with rich ornaments. On every hour, a trumpet signal - called the hejnał - is played from the top of the taller of St. Mary’s two towers. The tune breaks in the middle as a commemoration of the famous 13th century trumpeter, who was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before the Mongol attack on the city. Despite of the legend the trumpet’s tune is one of the most recognizable symbols of Krakow and states every hour as well as people gathered to hear it. Small fee is collected for visiting the church. Remember that it is forbidden to visit during masses. Also as in many other polish places of prayer it’s recommended to not wear sport clothes, shorts or naked shoulders.
Wieliczka - Salt Mine
Not far away (few kilometers) from Krakow, going to the east, there’s a town famous for its impressive salt mine - Wieliczka. Its touristic route leads through 20 chambers connected by 2-kilometer long galleries. Individual tourists are not obliged to book the tickets; also, there’s a possibility to buy the permission to photograph, which entitles to take pictures on the visited touristic route. The whole journey through the Wieliczka Salt – Mine lasts for about two hours and it really is an incredible attraction. It is easy to reach as the road is very well signed. There’s a lot of paid parking-spaces situated near the mine, which assures of popularity of this place.
Ojcow National Park
Ojcow National Park with its mere 21.5 sq. km, is the smallest of Poland’s twenty national parks, but it ranks among the most attractive recreational areas in Europe. Also it is just a 15 minutes’ drive–or 24 km–northwest of Krakow. What is more, few national parks in the world can boast so many picturesque and worthy architectural monuments as the Ojcow’s one has within its limits. This and the most scenic landscape with the plenitude of many-shaped limestone rocks, some tall for 50 m or more, such as the park’s trademark 25-m-tall ‘Hercules’ Bludgeon’, rather than wildlife bring in here roughly 400,000 visitors a year, the bulk coming between mid April and mid November. Also some 220 caves, often easily accessible, prove to be a magnet for many. The core of the Ojcow National Park consists in the Pradnik river valley with a road running along it as a backbone–most opportunely for motorists. The thing is there are too many of them, notably on weekends, so the two most convenient parking lots, at the village of Ojcow and by the Pieskowa Skala Castle, tend to be packed. Recommendable for families.
Museum of Auschwitz
Site of the Nazi notorious Auschwitz death camp is an hour’s drive from Krakow. Between June 1941 and January 1945 about one million men, women and children perished in the three Auschwitz concentration camps - Auschwitz, Birkenau and Monowitz – and their more than forty sub-camps. At its peak the whole complex was a deadly prison to some 150,000 inmates that were being either murdered outright or starved and worked to death. Today’s Auschwitz has been transformed into a museum and a mind-changing experience. Remaining of gas chambers and barracks where inmates were kept contain many interesting artifacts and tells plenty of stories. Every year some 500,000 visitors come to Oswiecim, an industrial town of 45,000, to see the Auschwitz. Half of them are Poles, and the rest mostly from the USA, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, and Israel. Over 25 million people have already visited the place. Visiting takes couple of hours and is not suitable for children under the age of 14 years old.