Krakow: the perfect place for a longer vacation!

bird’s eye view of the Wawel Royal Castle
When going on vacation, do you want to combine active sightseeing with a bit of laziness and relaxation? Do you like to become familiar with the latest trends in contemporary art, are you a classic monuments lover, do you explore different corners of the world and their unusual cuisine, or do you perhaps like to spend your free time by the water or in a park or simply enjoy strolling around the city, avoiding beaten paths and discovering new places along the way? Krakow –the perfect place for a longer summer vacation– offers you all of this. In the capital of Małopolska, as in a kaleidoscope, you can find something different each time you look, depending on the time, place, and circumstances.

You like it the classic way

 

If it is really hot –or the opposite: rainy– outside, you can opt for visiting one of Krakow’s museums. You can take shelter from high temperatures or rain but, first of all, you can count on a large draught of history and aesthetic experience. Lovers of historical knowledge and traditional art should definitely visit the National Museum (NMK) and the Cloth Hall, the former merchant stalls’ building. Its upper floor currently houses the 19th-century Polish Art Gallery, a branch of the National Museum with its impressive collection. Following the same path, you should not overlook the Princes Czartoryski Museum which, after many years of thorough renovation, has been made available to visitors again. True gems of world art wait there for everyone interested. It is precisely there that you will see Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine, Rembrandt van Rijn’s Landscape with the Good Samaritan, along with many other masterpieces. The next obligatory step after those visits will be the former seat of Polish kings (until 1795): the Royal Castle and Wawel Hill. What mustn’t be missed here is the unique royal tapestry exhibition, open only until 31 October. Their story sounds like an adventure film plot. They were hidden from the Swedes, stolen at the behest of Tsarina Catherine, and smuggled away in a Vistula barge three days before the Germans’ entrance into Krakow in 1939. Evacuated to Romania on 18 September, then successively to France and –via England– to Canada, they finally returned to Poland. All the tapestries ordered by King Sigismund Augustus and preserved in Poland are on display at the exhibition All the King’s Tapestries. Homecomings 2021–1961–1921 at the Wawel Royal Castle.

 

You like it trendy

 

If history and contemporary art make your heart beat faster, we invite you now for a longer walk down the old town’s magical streets, through the old Jewish district of Kazimierz, crossing the bridge over the Vistula river and through the Podgórze district straight to Zabłocie, a post-industrial district, very fashionable in recent years. Located here, one next to the other, are the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art and Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory Museum. Zabłocie is an area of hip places where you can get a good snack at a food truck, but also modern, fashionable restaurants with menus prepared by renowned chefs. The Kazimierz district is also a good spot for grabbing a bite from a food truck. Virtually every street also has restaurants with a very wide choice of menus.

 

You like being active

 

Everyone deserves a rest after such a tourist marathon, and what is the best place for it if not nature? There is a park in the very centre of the city, the Planty, which surrounds the entire Old Town. In total, it covers 21 hectares and is 4 kilometres long! Stands of old trees, well-kept alleys, benches, nearby cafés and restaurants all create conditions that really favour relaxation. However, if you would like to take a break from urban hustle and bustle, your options include kayaking on the Vistula River, visiting remote nooks of the city on two wheels, relaxing and swimming in natural water bodies (Bagry Reservoir, Przylasek Rusiecki) or doing yoga in the park (Bednarski Park, Polish Airmen Park, Henryk Jordan Park).


You like walking off the beaten track

 

Not everyone feels attracted by typical city sightseeing. If you too belong to that narrow group, and you chose Krakow, you’ve hit the bull’s eye! It is a city with extremely diverse offers, from traditional tourist programmes to unconventional ways of spending free time. Look around... what do you see? Nothing? Look again! Focus on details! Krakow is famous for its modernist tenement house emblems with original details and decorations. A trained eye will spot the emblem of a rabbit, a Chinese dragon, a wrestler, a woman with children or a catfish. To admire the modernist reliefs of tenement houses built in the early 20th century, we are taking you outside the very centre of Krakow to the Zwierzyniec and Krowodrza districts. Have you ever heard of mounds, seen such structures? In the capital of Małopolska, we have as many as 5 in different parts of the city. One of them, the Piłsudski Mound, is the largest in Poland! The mounds were raised as a form of commemoration and tribute to historical figures.


You like culture

Good music, nice company and fun outdoors are always associated with summer and good memories. This is precisely the reason why the city has programmed the Krakow Culture Summer, which will take place in the Henryk Jordan Park on 6-29 August. The event focuses on diversity, reflected in the repertoire of groups including the Krakow City Cultural Centre, Sinfonietta Cracovia, Cracovia Danza, Bagatela, Ludowy, and Groteska theatre companies, as well as the Piwnica pod Baranami cabaret. Musical attractions, in turn, will be provided by flagship Krakow festivals: Unsound, Summer Jazz Festival, Audio Art Festival, EtnoKraków/Rozstaje, Film Music Festival and the Wianki music festival.

Too much for one vacation stay? That well may be… but all of this is all possible in Krakow!


 

 

 

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