Begin your trip to Krakow with car hire offered by Online-Car-Hire.
We offer online bookings providing discounted car hire at Krakow airport.
All of our car rental suppliers employ specialist staff at the end of the telephone waiting to answer any extra queries that you may have before or after completing your car hire booking.
For your information the airport at Krakow is situated about 11 km from the centre of Krakow.
Cracking Krakow. A formidable and popular tourist destination with a brilliantly preserved medieval Old Town. A top sight seeing spot during the Summer, Krakow unfolds as a winter sports centre during the colder months. A city capable of servicing an all year round tourist market, it comes as no surprise that Krakow performs to an audience of seven million visitors a year.
One of the only cities in Europe that avoided World War Two bombing, everything you see as you traverse the cobbled streets is likely to be the genuine article.
Situated on the banks of the River Wisla in the forested foothills of the mountainous Tatra region, it is reported that Krakow began existence in the 4th century although the first actual official entry of its beginnings was stated as the 8th century. Krakow was more than Poland’s cultural capital up until 1596, it was the political and administrative capital of the country. This coincided with Polish royalty taking up residence in Wawel Castle in 1038.
Labelled by many as “the Prague of Poland”, it is hugely gratifying to hear of a city that boasts the original features that have embellished the sights of the city for seven centuries. What you see around you of the Old Town today remains the same as it was following the Tartar battles of the 13th century. The historic Old Town, known locally as the Stare Miasto is not surprisingly, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Old Town, established by the Polish monarch Boleslav Vth in 1257 is very much the medieval city centre that you see in front of you today. The street grid system complete with giant square at its core, is a perfect example of street planning expertise of the time.
At the centre of proceedings is the Main Market Square, otherwise known as Rynek Glowny, one of the biggest medieval market squares in Europe. This lively scene provides an excellent introduction to Krakow as well as the perfect spot for a spell of people watching. The Square, initially constructed in the year 1257, packed with atmosphere is often alive with the sights and sounds of dancers and violinists.
Following the direction of the walls of the Old Town you will find the Planty, a pretty park providing a more natural environment from which to travel around the city’s inner territory.
With many of the Old Town’s points of interest within an easy walk of one another, sightseeing in Krakow couldn’t be easier. An added benefit in the old city is that the streets are pedestrianized. For fun, why not jump aboard a rickshaw? If you need to travel further a-field, you will find the taxis in Krakow very reasonable.
Some of the more popular attractions and points of interest around town are noted for their accessibility from the city centre. As you would expect of Europe’s City of Culture 2000, there are one or two highlights about the place. In Poland’s cultural capital, you will undoubtedly enjoy the fruits of the National Museum which can be found in the centre of Market Square. The stunning Cloth Hall at its heart was built from 14th century materials in the 19th century. While here, a short stone’s throw away is that of the Stwosz wooden altar found at St Mary’s church. Also here are Europe’s oldest university the 14th century Jagiellonian institution, Poland’s oldest synagogue and Ethnographic Museum.
The magnificent eleventh century Wawel Castle upon Wawel Hill, its neighbour the Gothic Cathedral and the palace are irresistible for unique reasons. The former houses some pretty impressive tapestry collections, the Czartoryski Palace for its European art collections while the Cathedral is of particular interest for its tombs of Polish royalty.
While in Krakow, one hour’s drive from the city centre is the Holocaust Museum at Auschwitz. The site, a UNESCO World Heritage site attracts about five hundred thousand visitors a year, all who have their own personal reasons for experiencing the concentration camp responsible for the deaths of one million human beings from 1941 to 1945.
A thirty minute bus ride from the city centre will bring you to the popular subterranean world of the Wieliczka Salt Mine. This stunning myriad of salt crystal sculptures, winding passageways and magical internal lakes will transport your imagination to another world. This is another of Krakow’s UNESCO World Heritage site jewels and one that has captured the imagination of the country’s endless visitors. While exploring these atmospheric chambers you will be fascinated at the ancient mining equipment that was used here. Today, a venue with a difference, why not experience the excellent acoustics for yourself?
Finally, all the usual festival goers and new kids on the block too, might be interested in the Festival of Jewish Culture (held during June), the International Festival of Short Feature Films (held in May/June) and the Jazz Festival (held in October). Make a note in those diaries.
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Krakow John Paul II International Airport
(Kraków-Balice International Airport) is situated in the village of Balice which is about 11 kilometres from the city. The journey by road should take about thirty five minutes.
If travelling by car, the centre of Krakow is easily accessible by four main roads reaching the airport via the A4 motorway.
To reach Krakow-Balice Station you need to walk about 200 metres from the terminal. This should take about five minutes.
A free shuttle bus service operates to and from Krakow-Balice Station the journey from which to the city centre is about fifteen minutes.