When it comes to traveling, I generally find that people fall into one of two categories, people who want to travel the world and people who want to travel just Europe. I definitely fall into the latter. As a history graduate and someone that has a natural interest in the second world war, Europe absolutely fascinates me. The culture is beautiful, the cities are so romantic and the history is rich and entrenched, a story around every corner. Yet, when you think of traveling Europe, it’s likely that you won’t be thinking about my favorite city. I can probably predict the cities that you are envisioning – Paris, Rome, Budapest, Bruges, Amsterdam; chances are that Krakow won’t appear on that list. It’s safe to say that Poland is a little known tourist hotspot but it’s reputation is definitely growing and the tourism sector is booming in this lesser known city.
I’ve been to Krakow three times and it’s still my favorite European city. I’ll definitely be visiting again and in this post I’m going to tell you 4 reasons to visit Krakow that would make you consider visiting too.
4 Reasons To Visit Krakow This Year
1. It is beautiful, potentially the most beautiful city in Europe
Unlike Warsaw, which was destroyed by the second world war, Krakow has largely remained architecturally intact and maintains that old city feel, something you quickly learn by walking around the city. At times, it can feel as if around every corner there is a breathtaking beautiful building to admire and that’s before you even lay your eyes on the beautiful town square. In the center, sits the old market hall, gothic and beautiful; around it lies a plethora of gorgeous cafes and buildings. The atmosphere is incredible with street artists, horse-drawn carriages and music everywhere you turn. It really has that European cafe culture feel and I could sit in that square for hours. 2. It’s dripping in history
The entire continent has layers and layers of history to reveal and Krakow is no different but the second world war is definitely a particularly interesting period in it’s history. While the city was largely unaffected by the large scale air bombardments, the population was damaged and the Jewish community was almost wiped out. At one time in the Krakow story, the city was the place for Jews to be based, both culturally and economically but the second world war left many families destroyed. Around the city, there are remnants of the past; scenes that depict what once happened.
There’s the decimated graveyard where gravestones were smashed to pieces but have since been poignantly used to rebuild the boundary wall or the numerous synagogues that are no longer used. For those with a particular interest, there’s the Schindler factory and Auschwitz which is only a bus ride away. The location of the Holocaust atrocities will be too much for some people but for those interested, they truly are life changing and harrowing experiences.
3. It’s so cheap
It doesn’t matter how many times someone tells you, it’s hard to appreciate how cheap Krakow is until you actually visit yourself. Yet, it’s not just cheap; you honestly get really good value for money. The food is outstanding and yet in reality you’re paying next to nothing for it.
4. It’s up and coming
Now is definitely the time to visit Krakow because it’s an up and coming city and before long the city is going to be a tourist central. I went to Krakow first in 2010 and my most recent visit was last year. So, I myself have seen the overnight boom in popularity. Beautiful, cheap and cultured; is it really any wonder why it’s set to be a hotspot?
Have you ever thought of visiting? If not, will these 4 reasons to visit Krakow convince you to visit?