Emerging from World War Two with almost 80% of the city destroyed, Warsaw has arisen like a phoenix; first from the ruins and then from the clutches of the Soviet Union. Poland’s capital has rapidly transformed into a vibrant Eastern European hub, flush with musical festivals, street art and cutting-edge museums documenting an unsettled past. From the cobbled alleys of the Old Town to the city center skyscrapers, Warsaw is still evolving and there’s a young, positive spirit in the air. If you’ve been before, go again – it won’t be the same.
A sprawling modern city, Warsaw caters to every traveler – whether you prefer the personal service of a boutique hotel in the Old Town or the privacy of an apartment in the creative district of Praga. Stay within walking distance of exciting Warsaw attractions with a room in the city center, or soak up the quieter atmosphere in the park district of Lazienki.
Warsaw boasts an incredibly diverse shopping experience, from the vintage shops of the Old Town to bold fashion statements like the designer VITKAC center. Look out for the buys that Poland is known for: quality vodka, Balkan amber and distinctive ‘peacock eye’ pottery. Warsaw’s markets should also be on your shopping check-list; try Kolo Bazar for characterful traders and rare oddities.
Don’t underestimate Warsaw’s culinary scene; nowhere is the city’s sophistication and modernity more apparent than in its restaurants, cafes and eateries. Look for restaurants recommended for their excellent service to ensure your culinary experience is top-notch, and it’s worth splurging for one night and trying a gourmet eatery like Atelier Amaro. For Polish cuisine of a more affordable and traditional vein, wander around the Old Town and find a restaurant there that takes your fancy.
Thanks to a rich history and culture there are a host of sights and attractions to be explored in Poland’s capital. Take a stroll around the Old Town or head south to immerse yourself in palaces and gardens. Wander the art galleries in Praga or step back into the past at the Fotoplastikon before exploring Krakowskie Przedmiescie and soaking up the architecture. For something a little more modern, get hands on in the Copernicus Science Museum.
The accommodation in Krakow is a varied as its culture. Stay in historic old and luxurious hotels or get a cheap night’s sleep in a comfortable hostel, perfect for backpackers. As the former capital of Poland, hotel prices are above the national average, yet it is a city well worth its price when you explore its historic streets which have celebrated over 750 years’ worth of history and culture. You still won’t be hard pushed to find a great deal. If visiting in the summer, don’t forget to book ahead as it’s the city’s busiest time.
Shopping in Krakow is rather varied. When you imagine shopping in this Eastern European city, medieval style markets in town squares spring to mind, selling quirky items perfect for souvenirs. Markets are still a central point to lots of areas in the city. Flea markets are a great place to visit for trinkets, memorabilia and odd war items. There are also large glass shopping malls offering the latest in designer fashion.
Polish cuisine has become very eclectic; its central European location means many other countries feature heavily in its cuisine now such as German, Hungarian, Russian and Austrian. Meat, especially pork features a lot in the food, as do eggs and cream, making it rather rich. Many restaurants offer Jewish-inspired dishes too which are a must try. Other European food here is also very popular, especially Italian.
As Poland’s second largest city, it is also one of the oldest too. Settlements here date back to prehistoric times, but the earliest proven date is the early 13th century. Surviving German occupation and the Second World War, much of Krakow’s history is still very much evident today, particularly in the Old Town area of the city. The city was also one of the first sites to be awarded the UNESCO World Heritage status in 1978, giving it another reason to visit.
Krakow is one of the oldest cities in the whole of Poland and is actually the capital of the area known at Little Poland. The oldest settlements date back to pre-historic times. With many monuments that survived the Second World War, Krakow is brimming with history. It’s also one of the areas where Jews lived in ghettos and concentration camps during WWII. Today you can learn more about the events of the past, and appreciate the plight of a city that has risen to become a cultural gem in the patchwork of Europe.
From icy subterranean chapels to hidden Art Nouveau cafés, Krakow’s historical sights are vibrant reminders of its past. Book a Krakow hotel and use this guide to discover the city’s story.
A Warsaw city break offers a great opportunity to explore Eastern Europe’s historical and cultural powerhouse. With crumbling socialist factory buildings transformed into cutting-edge, modern art spaces, book a Warsaw hotel and experience the renaissance of one of Europe’s most fascinating capitals.
A holiday in Poland offers a vivid panorama over the Eastern Europe’s past and present. The country’s medieval and Hanseatic cities, artistic, studenty neighbourhoods and lush southerly mountain ranges offer an amalgam of modern and traditional that rivals former Eastern Bloc countries.
A city break in Krakow unveils royal history and unspoilt Gothic architecture. Book a Krakow hotel to get to the heart of the Old Town and experience a buzzing nightlife in a city enjoying a rebirth.