The Historic Centre of Krakow
I spend several days in Krakow in the summer of 2013. This wonderful city with some remarkable monuments.
On a hill towering the city you will find Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral. Consider several hours to visit the several sites here. The history of this hill is deeply intertwined with Polish history. It was the seat of the monarchy and a centre of christianity. A dark moment was during WW2 when German headquarters was set up in this castle.
In the cathedral you will find many tombs of Royals and the most elaborate chapels. You can also climb the tower which gives a wonderful view (behind bars) over Krakow.
From here you can see the jewish district Kazimierz, which was the place of many atrocities during WW2. On the other side of the river I have visited the former factory of Oskar Schindlers (form the movie Schindler's List). You can really get an idea here how live was in Krakow in the 1940'. We visited first this museum and a day later we went to Auschwitz. It was a good thing to do the visits in this order.
Pride of the town in Saint Mary's Church on the market square. Especially the interior and above all the blue ceiling is not to be missed. The cloth hall is a wonderful market hall on the square from where you should make some small tours walking through this wonderful city. Don't miss the theatre, the city gate and take extra time to visit the Jagiellonian University and the statue of Copernicus.
Also do remember that this was the seat of the cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the later pope John Paul II. You will find his portrait everywhere around town.
Our hotel had some bikes for rent and we took the bikes to explore the city. Which is an easy and good way to visit Krakow.
In the area around Krakow you will find many other world heritage sites. The must see Auschwitz former concentration camp, the Wieliczka and Bochnia Saltmines, the Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and the wooden churches and Tserkvas churches.