Old Town, Wawel Castle, districts of Kazimierz and Podgorze
We offer all day (approx. 8 hours) sightseeing of the most important and interesting spots of Krakow.
Krakow is a unique, beautiful city - captivating streets of the Old Town where tradition connects with modernity, horse-drawn cabs go next to trams and cars, the magnificent Wawel Royal Castle, mysterious and beautiful streets of the old Jewish district - Kazimierz and interesting district of Podgorze.
We will begin our tour from the remaining fragments of historical city walls - The Barbican and the St. Florian's Gate. The Barbican, built in the 15th century, the masterpiece of medieval military structures, was a part of the complex network of fortifications and defensive city walls. The St. Florian's Gate, built in the beginning of the 14th century, is a former main entrance gate into the city of Krakow.
Walking down the Florianska Street we will reach the Main Market Square (Rynek Glowny). This exquisite square, surrounded by splendid historical townhouses and mansions is one of the largest and most beautiful medieval squares in Europe. It is also the best example of perfect medieval city planning.
In the middle of the Main Square there is an exceptionally ravishing building with precious neo-Gothic arcades - The Cloth Hall. You can see interesting guild emblems, and armorial bearings of Polish cities on the inside walls. The Cloth Hall it was originally trade pavilion and until now you can find and buy there folk-style art, amber jewelry and souvenirs.
Afterwards we'll see the Gothic-style Town Hall Tower, built by the end of the 13th century, exquisite and captivating Romanesque church of St. Adalbert that dates back to the 11th - 12th century and St. Mary's Basilica which is famous because of the monumental High Altar - beautiful and unique wooden masterpiece of the Nuremberg master Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz).
Afterwards we will see historical buildings of the oldest university in Poland - the Jagiellonian University: Collegium Maius where Copernicus once studied, Collegium Minus, Collegium Novum and Collegium Iuridicum.
Walking down the Grodzka and Kanonicza Streets, some of the oldest streets in Krakow and some of the most ravishing ancient streets in Europe, we will reach the Wawel Castle on the hill above Vistula river. After visiting precious arcaded bailey we will see the royal chambers. It's worth to mention the Room Under the Heads, also called the Room of the Envoys, one of the finest royal chambers with beautiful ceiling, the Senator's Room, the largest chamber where balls, court ceremonies and the Senate meetings were held, and a unique collection of 16th century Flemish Arras tapestries.
We'll also visit the majestic Wawel Cathedral where royal coronations were held, the Royal Tombs - the final resting place for many Polish monarchs and famous Polish people, and the biggest bell in Poland - the famous Sigismund Bell from the 16th century.
Afterwards we'll visit the district of Kazimierz - a beautiful and exquisite place, formerly an independent medieval town and afterwards an important centre of Jewish culture.
The district takes its name from Casimir the Great (Kazimierz Wielki) - one of the most important king in Polish history who is remembered as a king who preferred negotiations to wars with neighbors, who settled new towns, strengthened the country, and invited Jewish settlers to Poland. Kazimierz was one of the towns settled by the king to boost commerce.
Nowadays, the district of Kazimierz is an exceptional place with its architecture and very unique social and cultural life. Polish and Jewish history and culture coexist here. The unique atmosphere dominating here makes Kazimierz the heart of Krakow's night life and a place appreciated by artists and lovers of antiques and flee-markets. There are great number of craftsmen's workshops, galleries and antique shops. Every year various concerts and festivals take place in the district of Kazimierz. The most famous are: the Jewish Culture Festival, the Soup Festival and the St Joseph Street Festival.
We'll see here precious old townhouses, charming narrow streets and market squares, beautiful old churches, synagogues and historical Jewish cemeteries. We will walk Meiselsa street, Szeroka street, Miodowa street, etc. We'll see, apart other things, the Tempel Synagogue, the Kupa Synagogue, the Isaac Synagogue, the Wysoka Synagogue, the Old Synagogue, the Renaissance Remuh Synagogue and the historical Jewish Remuh Cemetery. These are the oldest and some of the most important places for the Jewish life and heritage in Poland.
Another interesting place is the Gothic town-hall of Kazimierz on the Wolnica Square. The building houses the Ethnographic Museum with excellent display of folk-culture of Malopolska (Little Poland) province with a special focus on the Krakow region.
From Wolnica Square we'll direct our steps to the Marshall Pilsudski Bridge - a well preserved steel framework bridge from 1933. After crossing the Vistula river we will enter the Podgorze district.
Similarly to Kazimierz district, Podgorze also was an independent township in past - it became part of Krakow in 1915. Therefore, it also has its old town-hall, and a market square. Just by the square we can see a marvelous, neo-gothic St Joseph Church, beautifully located just at the foothill of Lasota Hill. We will climb the hill through Bednarskiego Park - an impressing, big green area just above the old Podgorze. At the top of the hill we will see a small, 1000 years old Romanesque St Benedict Church, that is open just one day a year - on the first Tuesday after Easter. Just by the church we can observe a marvel of military architecture - the St Benedict Fort, the only of its type preserved in Poland and one of a few in Europe. Also from the Lasota Hill we will have a close look at Krakus Mound - a man-made mound that dates back to either 7th century, or, as some state, is a 2500 thousand years old Celtic mound. On our descent from Lasota Hill we will go near Podgorski Cemetery, which probably is the oldest preserved Christian cemetery in today's Krakow. Walking down the Limanowskiego street we will see 19th century townhouses of Podgorze and we will reach the Heroes of the Ghetto Square (Plac Bohaterow Getta). It is a place commemorating the tragedy of Krakow Jews, moved to the Ghetto created by the Nazi Germans in 1941, and mostly exterminated in concentration camps. Just by the Square we will visit the "Pharmacy Under the Eagle" (Apteka Pod Orlem) - a place where a heroic Pole, Tadeusz Pankiewicz organized a point of help for Jews in the Ghetto.
Our last destination of the tour will be the Oskar Schindler's Enamel Factory. The main spot in the world famous Steven Spielberg movie "The Schindler's List" and located nearby in the old Zablocie district, it was the place of hope for survival for the Jews from Krakow Ghetto, as it offered the only alternative to being sent to the concentration camps. Nowadays, the building is hoped to be transferred into the Holocaust Museum.