If you love a travel destination that has plenty of history to dive into, then there are few places richer and more rewarding than Krakow, Poland.
Right on the border of the Czech Republic, it’s not the capital of the country, but it is one of the most famous and that’s mostly due to its proximity to a huge host of historic sites, including some that shed a sombre light on the darkest periods of Europe’s history.
A neighbourhood well worth hanging out at
UNESCO World Heritage sites—usually castles or buildings—are worth visiting. But, Kazimierz’s entire ancient Jewish neighborhood has been named one, so it’s worth visiting. Its galleries, coffee shops, bars, and museums highlight how this neighborhood survived and thrived after WW2.
They even throw a huge annual Jewish Culture Festival, which is a real triumph.
Take a walk around Old Town
After Mongol Invasions utterly ravaged the city, the planned city of Stare Miasto was put together and, to this day, is the oldest standing quarter in the city.
This city has beautiful architecture and city planning, including grand community squares and old churches, even if parkland has replaced its walls. One of Europe’s coolest “Old Towns” with many specialty stores and bakeries, so a perfect place to buy a souvenir.
Take a look into Europe’s darkest chapter
There are few periods of history quite as sobering as the rise of the Third Reich’s concentration camps. There have been other periods of discrimination, conflict, and genocide but few are so well preserved and so well documented.
An Auschwitz tour might not be everyone’s idea of a worthwhile trip, but it’s an important one. Much of the camp has been preserved, and displays at the museum give a harrowing look into the realities of concentration camp life.
Pay respect to the masters
The Czartoryski Museum is a fantastic place to catch some inspiring and jaw-dropping art, and the most famous art piece you’re going to see here, and in all of Krakow for that matter, is the Lady with an Ermine.
It’s free to see Leonardo da Vinci’s rare female portrait. Landscape with the Good Samaritan by Rembrandt and Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael are other museum items. The royal collections contain many Polish combat and castle artifacts.
Krakow will satisfy history buffs. It’s a popular tourist attraction featuring amusement, food, shopping, and more.