With a noble history dating back to the fourth century, Krakow has endured a long, and often difficult, history. But throughout the story of settlement and destruction, this enchanted city has evolved along the mighty Vistula River with the stunning magnificence of the Carpathian Mountains as its backdrop. If the legend is to be believed, it was founded by the defeat of a dragon - many visitors today still feel something mythical in the air of its medieval streets and market squares. From medieval tradition and Gothic splendor, the magnificent architecture of Krakow alone makes for a rewarding visit.
Start your walking tour of Kraków in the city's historic Jewish quarter, Kazimierz. Simply wander the narrow, shady streets and visit one of its many synagogues, such as the Temple Synagogue with its over 40 stained glass windows. If you would like a break from walking, head over to Meiselsa Street and the Center for Jewish Culture, which has a rooftop cafe with a glorious view. After that, walk down the same street to the river and continue along towards the Wawel citadel, comprising of a castle and cathedral. The gardens overlook the Vistula river and provide a great spot for soaking up some sun. Next, you can take the Royal Way, via Grodzka Street to the main square Rynek Główny, where you can visit the city's ancient market halls. Locals and experts recommend a visit to the medieval cellars under the square, especially on hot summer days. If you are interested in art, the Princes Czartoryski Museum houses famous works like The Lady with an Ermine, by Leonardo da Vinci. You can find this museum in the northeast corner of the Old Town, on Świętego Jana Street.
The city of Krakow is known for its hearty cuisine that heavily features bread and sausages. Food is an important part of the identity of the people of Krakow and traditional recipes are handed down through generations in each family. The national dish of Poland is pierogi which consists of small dumplings that are filled with a variety of fillings, including sauerkraut, mushrooms or sweet jams. Pierogi can be found in most restaurants in Krakow, and they are also a popular street food at the city's markets. The obwarzanek has become a food symbol of Krakow and these chewy bagels can be found on every street corner. Try a salt sprinkled obwarzanek for the perfect snack, while exploring the city. An authentic Krakow food experience can be had at Stylowa, which is located in the eastern section of the Old Town. Here, diners can enjoy traditional dishes of the region such as veal escalops with buckwheat. Those looking for a more luxurious dining experience should try Restauracja Wentzl in the middle of the Old Town. The restaurant serves local Polish ingredients cooked using classic French techniques. Vegetarians will find that most restaurants serve dishes that will suit their dietary requirements.