31-586 Kraków, Poland
tel. (+4812) 6445932
fax (+4812) 6446141
Krakow welcomes their visitors with mild summers and moderately severe winters. The average annual temperature is 8-9°C (about 47°F), the lowest temperatures are experienced there between mid-January and mid-February, whereas mid-June and August belong to the hottest and sunniest months in the year, with an average temperature in June of 20°C (69°F).
Regulations for Foreign Visitors to Poland
There are many countries whose citizens can visit Poland as tourists without visas. These include all European Union countries.
Visa free travel to Poland is available to citizens of many countries outside the European Union.
Detailed information on rules covering entry and stay in Poland can be obtained from Polish embassies and consular offices. Kindky check with your local Polish Embassy.
The local currency is the Polish zloty (pronounced ['zwɔti]); literally meaning "golden". Currency code is PLN.
Money is best exchanged at bureaux de change and banks. There are also ATMs everywhere to withdraw cash, and in many shops and restaurants you can pay by card.
Liability and Insurance
The Meeting Secretariat and organizers cannot accept liability for personal accidents or loss or damage to private property of participants and accompanying persons, either during or indirectly arising from the CIPP XIV.
Air travel to Krakow
Krakow’s John Paul II International Airport of Balice is situated conveniently on the outskirts of the city, just 15 km (about ten miles) from its center.
The Krakow international airport is Poland’s second busiest after Warsaw and may receive 1.3 million passengers a year.
Krakow's John Paul II International Airport has regular direct air connections from and to major European hubs such as Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Rome, and Vienna, as well as Athens, Barcelona, Belfast, Bergen, Bologna, Bristol, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Helsinki, Leeds, Liverpool, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Newcastle, Oslo, Prague, Stavanger, Stockholm, and Stuttgart among others. Transit connections via Warsaw link Krakow with Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Miami in the USA, and with Bangkok, Cairo, Damascus, Dubai, Istanbul, Kiev, Larnaca, Lvov, Lyon, Minsk, Moscow, Nice, Beijing, Riga, St. Petersburg, Vilnius many other destinations.
There are also domestic flights to and from Poland's capital city Warsaw and such Polish cities as Gdansk, Poznan, Szczecin, and Wroclaw.
The Krakow airport in Balice has just two terminals: one meant for international flights, the other serving domestic passengers. Shuttle buses connect both terminals.
- Info Service Phone: +48 801 055 000 / +48 12 295 58 00/ +48 12 639 39 89 / +48 12 341 39 89
- Website: http://www.krakowairport.pl/en/
- By bus: Krakow Airport to Krakow Glowny. Regular Daily Bus: Lines 208 & 292. Night Line 902. Approx. Every 20-60 minutes. 30-40 min duration depending on traffic. Approx. Cost: PLN 4 one way.
- By Taxi: About 20min duration. Approx. cost airport-city centre: PLN 100.
For additional information about How to get to Krakow Airport you can check the official website
About the city
Less known than Prague, Krakow is one of the jewels of Central Europe and this beautiful Polish city has no reason to be envious of its Czech equivalent. Krakow the capital of the hearts of Poles is full of churches, museums and palaces in a great range of styles, from Gothic to Baroque. And not wanting to spoil anyone from having some fun, this student city has an impressive number of cafes and delightful restaurants.
The charms of old Krakow
We begin with a nice surprise: Krakow can be visited on foot. Walking in the centre, which is almost entirely pedestrian, proves to be very pleasant. Any walk in the old part of Krakow must begin with Rynek Glowny, the Market Square, which is the largest medieval square in Europe, with its 200 metres wide area. Today, while the market is no longer held, there is at any time of the day, a lot of animation because of the many cafes that surround it. One can even have a quick bite to eat in one of the wooden chalets in the square. On Rynek Glowny stands the Old Cloth Hall dating from the fourteenth century and the church Notre-Dame-Sainte-Marie, one of the symbols of Krakow. It conceals a monumental retable, a masterpiece of the fifteenth century by Veit Voss.
Then you need to wander through the streets of Old Krakow, built on a checkerboard plan in the thirteenth century. A festival of Gothic architectural beauties, Renaissance and Baroque, Krakow is a pure concentration of Middle European art, masterfully demonstrating the full membership of Poland in Europe. Do not miss the Planty, pleasant gardens that surround the old town, the Florianska gate … vestige of the ancient walls of Krakow, and the Museum of the Czartoryski Princes (currently under renovation) where you can see the famous “Lady with an Ermine” by Leonardo da Vinci.
Walking through the old Royal Route, along the streets, Florianska and Grodzka you go past beautiful homes, churches and palaces ... A Special mention for the “Place Mary Magdalene” which overlooks the Baroque church of Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul, preceded by statues of the Twelve Apostles, adjoining the Romanesque church of Saint Andrew dating from the eleventh century.
The Wawel, The pantheon of Poland
The City of John Paul II, Krakow has a special place in the hearts of the Poles. It is here that the first king of Poland was crowned Boleslaw the Brave in 1025. Krakow was the capital of Poland until the sixteenth century. Above the old town, at the end of the royal road stands the Wawel Hill. It is the cradle of Poland.
Wawel Cathedral, rebuilt in the fourteenth century in the Gothic style, has seen the crowning of all the Polish kings. It now houses the mausoleum of kings and great men of Poland. In short, a national pantheon one visits with due reverence. Besides many masterpieces - of which the King Sigismund Chapel is a perfection of the Renaissance style - the cathedral also houses the Sigismund bell which is rung only during the important events of the country.
Wawel Castle, rebuilt at the beginning of the fifteenth century by the architects Francesco Florentino and Bartolomeo Berecci evokes the splendour of the Italian Renaissance palaces, such as the impressive arcaded courtyard. A Royal palace until the transfer of the capital to Warsaw in 1596, it has experienced many vicissitudes related to the tragic history of Poland. Looted, turned into barracks or storage, it has now been immaculately restored. In the royal apartments, you can enjoy a particularly fine collection of tapestries from Flanders and a painting by Rubens and which fortunately escaped the rapacity of the occupying forces in Poland.
Kazimierz, Jewish and trendy.
A few minutes walk from Wawel between the Vistula River and the old Krakow, another place to fall in love with: the Jewish quarter of Kazimierz, which became attached to Krakow only in the sixteenth century. Jewish, or rather what remains of the 80 000 Jews who lived there before the Second World War, the Jewish population of Kazimierz today can be counted in just hundreds, among whom used to be inhabitants Roman Polanski and Helena Rubinstein. Left in abandon by the communists, Kazimierz has these last ten years known a major process of revitalization. Its synagogues, only one of which now serves as a place of worship, have now been restored.
Spielberg's film, “Schindler's List”, which took place here and in the neighbouring district of Podgorze, also contributed to the renaissance of Kazimierz. Many “Schindler Tours” are organised on the site of the film set, and which also bear witness to the tragic history of Polish Jews. Each year sees an important Jewish Culture Festival, which celebrates the memory of Kazimierz.
Kazimierz has become the most lively district of Krakow, at once bohemian and trendy making it an adorable place to visit. There are countless bars, cafés, restaurants and nightclubs for revellers. Kazimierz still retains its social mix, as the former handicraft workshops have still kept their shop fronts on the street. On Sundays, the Nowy Square, a Mecca for nightlife, hosts a friendly flea market. In the centre there are kitchen stands that serve quick snacks to be enjoyed Polish style. In Szeroka street, that looks more like a square, the traditional Jewish restaurants, while having a definite tourist appeal, face onto the synagogues. In summer, the terraces are the most appealing for sipping a beer while sampling “pierogis”, those delicious Polish dumplings.
The Salt Mines and the model communist city.
If you have the time, there are two interesting excursions to take on the outskirts of Krakow: the salt mines of Wieliczka and the communist "model city" Nowa Huta.
It is hard to believe, but the area was, 13 million years ago, covered over by the sea. In receding, it deposited salt, which for centuries was the country's wealth. The Wieliczka salt mines were operated as from the thirteenth century and are to be found 10 kilometres from Krakow. They extend over 30 kilometres and reach a depth of over some 300 metres. They are now listed by Unesco
The first three levels, open to the public, permit one to realise how harsh were the working conditions in the mines. During the visit there are some divine surprises, including a statue of Copernicus and a huge underground cathedral in salt. Quite awesome to perceive!
Of a completely different sort, Nowa Huta is well worth a visit. Its name meaning "new foundry," this Communist "new town" was built in the 1950s around an Industrial steel complex (now owned by Arcelor Mittal). Housing up to 150,000 people, this city, a model of triumphant socialism is a testament to Stalinist architecture closer to the “cage for the proletariat” than to the radiant city. However, large parks surround large uniformly grey blocks of buildings and the local churches that played a significant role in the anti-Communist struggle led by Solidarnosc. Another page in the history of Krakow to discover, so opposed in allure to the splendour of the historic centre.
Krakow Tourist Office -- http://www.krakow.pl/english/
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