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Things to see in Cracow

Tourist Offices

InfoKraków Tourist Information Office

Address: Old Town, ulica Szpitalna 25 (kiosk on Planty), Cracow, 31 024
Telephone: +48 12 432 0110.
Opening times:

Mon-Sun 0900-1900 (May-Oct); Mon-Sun 0900-1700 (Nov-Apr).

Website: http://www.krakow.pl

There are several other tourist information centres in Cracow, including one in the Town Hall Tower on the Main Market Square (tel: +48 12 433 7310) and one on ulica Józefa 7 (tel: +48 12 422 0471) covering the Kazimierz district.

Tourist passes

The Krakow Tourist Card (www.krakowcard.com) is available for two or three days and entitles the holder to free travel on public transport (including bus 192 to the airport and to and from Wieliczka Salt Mine), free entry to 40 museums (not including those on Wawel Hill) and discounts on organised tours and at certain restaurants.

Attractions

Fabryka Schindlera (Schindler’s Factory)

Schindler's Factory opened in 2010 and has been hugely popular with visitors ever since. The state-of-the-art museum tells the story of Oskar Schindler (whose offices once stood on the site) and his employees during the Nazi occupation of WWII. It tells the story of life under the Nazis, of the fate of the Jews and the underground resistance to the occupation. Already one of the top attractions in Cracow, it's certainly worth a visit.

Address: Podgórze, ulica Lipowa 4, Cracow, 31 001
Telephone: +48 12 257 1017.
Opening times:

Mon 1000-1600, Tue-Sun 1000-2000 (Apr-Oct); Mon 1000-1400, Tue-Sun 1000-1800 (Nov-Mar); closed on every first Monday of the month.

Website: http://www.mhk.pl/branches/oskar-schindlers-factory
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Kościół Mariacki (Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady)

Kościół Mariacki is arguably Cracow's most important church. The most striking detail within this eye-catching, Gothic structure is Wit Stwosz's stunning wooden altarpiece, the largest in Europe. Dating from 1489, the Gothic altarpieces is opened at midday each day to reveal the intricate, beautifully carved scenes within, centred around the Dormition of the Virgin. Above the organ loft, the church also boasts excellent 14th-century stained glass as well as art nouveau glass by Stanislaw Wyspianski and Jozef Mehoffer. Outside, the taller of the two towers was once the city's watchtower and, every hour, a trumpeter plays the traditional Hejnał Mariacki (St. Mary's Trumpet Call) from one of the top windows, always cutting short the last note. This tradition is said to be to commemorate a trumpeter killed by a Turkish arrow while Krakow was under siege.

Address: Old Town, Plac Mariacki 5, Cracow, 31 042
Telephone: +48 12 422 0521.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 1130-1800, Sun 1400-1800.

Website: http://www.mariacki.com
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Rynek Glowny (Main Market Square)

Laid out in 1257, this is one of the largest and most beautiful market squares in medieval Europe. Occupying the centre of the square is the 15th-century Sukiennice (Cloth Hall), its vaulted, ground floor passages now filled with souvenir stalls. Along the sides of the building, pavement cafés draw locals and tourists alike. A gallery of 19th Century Polish art is upstairs, full of lavish, melodramatic paintings that are actually quite fun. The square is lined by grand old houses, and filled with the church of St Wojciech (Cracow's oldest) and the lone 15th century town hall tower. It's the towering twin spires of the Gothic Mariacki church, looming in one corner, that really dominate the square and catch the eye.

Address: Old Town, Rynek Glowny, Cracow, 30 062
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Katedra Wawelska (Wawel Cathedral)

Part of the Wawel castle complex, this cathedral was the coronation site and burial place of almost all of Poland's monarchs and rulers. It was built in the early 11th century by King Boleslaw the Brave after Cracow was made a bishopric, and substantially added to since. The relics of St Stanislaw, the patron saint of Poland, are kept here, as are the bodies of many kings, queens and national poets in many elaborate chapels built into the walls. Controversially, Poland's late president, Lech Kaczynski, who died in a plane crash in 2010, was laid to rest here in what had traditionally been a royal burial site. After admiring the architecture, visitors can climb the tower to see the 9,979kg (11-tonne) Sigismund Bell and enjoy fine views.

Address: Wawel, Wawel 3, Cracow, 31 001
Telephone: +48 12 429 9516.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0900-1700, Sun 1230-1700.

Website: http://www.katedra-wawelska.pl
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Stara Synagoga (Old Synagogue)

Old synagogues are extremely rare in Europe, and Krakow's oldest is one of the continent's most beautiful. Built in the late 15th century, the Old Synagogue was reconstructed in a Renaissance style by the Florentine architect, Matteo Gucci, after a fire in 1557. It was erected in Kazimierz, the town which housed a thriving Jewish community for centuries after Cracow refused them residence. The two merged in the 18th century. Beyond the impressive architecture, the Old Synagogue also has a photo exhibit on Jewish life in the city and its demise following the holocaust. There are now only two functioning synagogues in Cracow and both are located nearby: the Remuh Synagoga at ulica Szeroka 40 (with a haunting cemetery attached to it) and the Isaak Synagoga, ulica Kupa 18. Both located nearby.

Address: Kazimierz, ulica Szeroka 24, Cracow, 30 527
Telephone: +48 12 422 0962.
Opening times:

Mon 1000-1400, Tue-Sun 0900-1700 (Apr-Oct); Mon 1000-1400, Wed-Thurs and Sat-Sun 0900-1600, Fri 1000-1700 (Nov-Mar).

Website: http://www.mhk.pl/branches/old-synagogue
Admission Fees:

Yes (free on Mondays)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Muzeum Sztuki Wspolczesnej w Krakowie (Museum of Contemporary Art)

Next door to Schindler's Factory is the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAK), one of Cracow's newer attractions. Unveiled in 2011, the modern, imposing museum is a marvel in itself, and once visitors have admired the aesthetics outside, they will find a host of exhibitions that showcase everything from aspiring young Polish artists to international names within.

Address: Podgórze, ulica Lipowa 4, Cracow, 30 702
Telephone: +48 12 263 4000.
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 1200-1900.

Website: http://en.mocak.pl
Admission Fees:

Yes (free on Tuesdays)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Zydowskie Muzeum Galicja (Galicia Jewish Museum)

The Galicia Jewish Museum is a celebration of Jewish culture in Galicia, the former province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in which Cracow is located. The museum commemorates the victims of the Holocaust and, occasionally, curators invite concentration camp survivors in to talk about their experiences. The photo exhibition that captured Poland's once thriving Jewish community is particularly impressive.

Address: Kazimierz, ulica Dajwor 18, Cracow, 31 052
Telephone: +48 12 421 6842.
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1800.

Website: http://www.galiciajewishmuseum.org
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Manggha (Centre of Japanese Art and Technology)

This modern structure is strikingly different from Cracow's many historic buildings, and Manggha remains just as unexpected inside. The museum has one of Europe's finest collections of ancient Japanese art, ceramics, weapons, fabrics, scrolls and woodcuts. It features some 7,000 pieces collected by Feliks Jasienski (1861-1929), who adopted the pseudonym "Manggha" after discovering Japanese art while studying in Paris in the 1880s. The pseudonym is a transliteration of the Japanese "manga", the title of Hokusai's famous series of sketches.

Address: Dębniki, near Wawel, ulica Konopnickiej 26, Cracow, 30 302
Telephone: +48 12 267 2703.
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 1000-2000.

Website: http://www.manggha.krakow.pl
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie (National Museum)

The fame of Poland’s visual artists may not have spread too far internationally, but in this fine museum, built between the wars, you’ll discover a hive of invention and wit. Among a round-up of Polish art from the late 19th century onwards, look out for hallucinogenic art nouveau works by Stanisław Wyspiański. Also striking are the witty, cubist-influenced paintings and portraits by Witkacy. If you prefer military history to art, the building also houses a large collection of armour and weapons, dating from the 12th to the 20th centuries.

Address: Czarna Wies / Błonia Park, aleja 3 Maja 1, Cracow, 30 062
Telephone: +48 12 433 5500.
Opening times:

Tue-Sat 1000-1800, Sun 1000-1600.

Website: http://www.muzeum.krakow.pl
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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Palac Bonerowski

In the 16th century, Palac Bonerowski was the opulent abode of a wealthy, aristocratic family called the Boners (no chuckling at the back). Today the former royal residence is one of the finest, most lovingly restored hotels in Cracow. Located directly opposite the Main Market Square, Palac Bonerowski sits within a UNESCO World Heritage site and has some of the best views in town. Inside, the elegant rooms are still fit for royalty, and there are period features aplenty.

Hotel Polski

This slice of local history has been operating as an inn since 1815, making it one of the oldest hotels in Cracow. Modern amenities aside, guests could be forgiven for thinking they've stepped back in time; the hotel retains its decadent, 19th-century charm with beautiful antique furniture and period features. Add to that the stunning, Old Town location and exemplary service and you have to surmise this hotel will be good for another 200 years.

Hotel Mikolaj

Nestled down a quiet side street near the Main Market Square, Hotel Mikolaj is a tranquil retreat in the centre of this lively city. The refurbished town house has 10 cosy rooms, including suites which come with a kitchenette and lounge. If you don't fancy the short stroll into town for dinner then the hotel boasts an in-house restaurant, which serves Polish and international fare over two atmospheric levels.

The Piano Guest House

Enter The Piano Guest House and you follow in holy footsteps; Pope John Paul II visited twice when he was vicar of the parish in the 1950s. Today, this beautifully preserved, Viennese-style town house (which has been in the same family since 1886) is something of a diamond in the rough, although the legendary hospitality, beautiful breakfasts and the property's raconteur owners more than compensate for the scruffy neighbourhood.

The Secret Garden Hostel

The Secret Garden Hostel covers all bases, offering guests a choice of dorm rooms, luxury doubles and apartments within staggering distance of the lively Jewish quarter, Kazimierz. Private rooms are simple and contemporary with wrought-iron furnishings, colourful walls and vibrant bed spreads making for a clean and comfortable stay. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable and, although the buffet breakfast is a fairly basic, DIY affair, you really can't grumble for the price.

Hotel Amadeus

Located within the labyrinth of Santa Cruz, Hotel Amadeus is set in a classically-furnished, 18th-century manor house and has music as a theme. Several instruments, including a grand piano, are available for use by guests. Rooms are small but attractively furnished, with antique furniture and original patterned tile flooring. The hotel's rooftop terrace opens up to a panorama of Seville’s historic centre and is an excellent spot to enjoy breakfast.