Krakow is a city in southern Poland which is part of the EU and Schenghen community. Krakow offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;
Krakow Old Town, UNESCO world heritage site
St. Mary’s Basilica, Krakow Cloth Hall and the Main Square
Horse drawn carriage tours of Krakow
Wawel Castle and Cathedral
Day trip to Auschwitz concentration camp
Day trip to Wieliczka Salt Mine, UNESCO world heritage site
Day trip to Ogrodzieniec Castle
Finding a place to stay in Krakow is easy, there are over 2000 options, mostly very good value. Krakow is famous for it’s cheap beer and alcohol, so you’ll have no problem finding bars.
Main Square, Krakow Old Town
The old town of Krakow is a UNESCO world heritage site. At the center of the old town you’ll find the main square of Krakow. On this main square you’ll find may of the points of interest of the city including, St. Mary’s Basilica (above left), Krakow Cloth Hall (above right) and the Adam Mickiewicz Monument which makes a perfect meeting place.
If you are visiting Krakow with a loved one I’d recommend a romantic horse drawn carriage tour of the city, prices and routes are negotiable and they leave from the main square.
You can walk everywhere in the old town of Krakow and you’ll pass endless beautiful buildings, almost all the points of interest of the city. I took a picture of the building above but have been unable to identify it. If you know which building in Krakow this is, please let me know in the comments!
To go to the Wieliczka Salt Mine (UNESCO world heritage site) you’ll can find a tour or you could visit independently by taking a train to Wieliczka Rynek Kopalnia station.
To go to the Auschwitz concentration camp, I’d recommend a tour, there are many tour agents in town, shop around for the best price.
Auschwitz Ovens, Poland
During the second world war Hitler was on a mission to kill all Jews. Around Europe he opened killing centers, often referred to as extermination camps or death camps, where he would send Jews to be killed. Auschwitz is one of Hitlers killing centers, it’s a site of the holocaust, the biggest mass murder in the history of mankind. About 1 million Jews were killed at Auschwitz alone, mainly in gas chambers on route to Auschwitz but they were killed using a number of other methods too including ovens (above).
You’ll see pictures and videos of prisoners arriving at the camp a lot of them had been promised worked and had no idea they were going to be murdered. Something that stood out to me was all the prisoners shoes, they had been kept and there were rooms full of thousands of shoes.
Those who have read the Diary of Anne Frank will know when she was discovered in Amsterdam she was brought to Auschwitz concentration camp.
Auschwitz II Quarantine Camp, Poland
Many brought to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp were kept in cramped dormitories (above). The conditions in the dormitory were damp, with lice, rats, and no washing facilities. This part of the camp is known as the quarantine section.
A lot of people visit the Auschwitz concentration camp so be prepared for crowds, especially during the summer. Remember how fortunate you are to be in a position to be annoyed by other tourists, the prisoners of the 40’s would have loved to have been in this position.
The movie Schindlers List was filmed at locations in Auschwitz, as well as Krakow city. If you are interested in the history of Auschwitz concentration camp then I recommend watching this movie.
Train from Krakow to Kiev – changing from Standard to Russian gauge tracks.
Tracks in Europe are standard gauge which is 1435 mm. Tracks in the former Soviet Union countries are Russian gauge which is 1520 mm. For this reason when the train reaches the border of Poland and the Ukraine it must be lifted up and the bogie changed to fit on the Russian gauge tracks.
Whilst the bogie was being changed immigration of Poland and the Ukraine came onto the train and checked documents. Poland is part of the EU but the Ukraine is not, to enter the Ukraine no visa is required, a 30 day stamp is given.