My favorite here is of cours the Wawel Castle and the Cathedral.
There is too the cash dispenser, souvenirs shops, cafe, restaurant, exhibition and conference centre, tourist service office, the royal garden, dragon`s den, tickets information, luggage rooms, toilets, telephone, post office and tourist centre. from the Royal Garden can you see great panorama for the Wisla river.
Churches as galleries of art ~ St. Adelbert's
St. Adelbert's church was open on this visit. We dutifully brought the prayer cards to lay in front of one of the saints for a friend back home. If the lower level is open, that is worth a visit as well. They have uncovered the earlier city levels to expose earlier centuries in Krakow. It's a city beneath a city. There is also a windowed sidewalk area beside the front door where you can look down into the earlier street below.
My husband and I are pictured in front of St. Adelbert's church on a previous visit. This is a 14th century church in the Market Square with the most incredible gold. Such a tiny place...with uncomfortable wooden benches for seating.
Someone must have an explanation for the patina of this gold. It's a very rich, more yellow colored gold than what we see in the U.S. Of course the color of gold varies around the world, but the older gold is also quite different. Sorry if I bore you, but little details like this fascinate me.
Please bear in mind that although some of Europe has smoke free policies, we did not find this to be the case in Krakow. It may be worthwhile doing some research into restaurants which have a non-smoking section before you visit although we found smoking was allowed in most places.
The cigarettes the Polish smoke are cheaper then the ones found in the UK but they are much stronger & evidently much cheaper. There are small kiosks scattered around where you can purchase your brand of cancer sticks. All the bars we visited were fairly smokey especially noticiable now we have the smoking ban in UK.
Also be sure to book a non-smoking room on a non-smoking floor in your hotel I must have forgotten to do this and it was evident that the room had been occupied by a smoker previously.
There are restrictions on smoking on trams and buses with large fines if you are found to offend. Legal smoking age is 18 years and it is an offense to sell to anyone younger.
This building was a pride of authorities during a communist era and was supposed to have all modern conveniences. But it had been built so long, that came out of date when it was finished. For years, both before 1989 and after it, it was one of the most expensive and respresentative hotel in the city. For example president of Russia, Mikhail Gorbatschov stayed there in 1990 - ugly houses in hotel's neighbourhood was covered with the plate fences then! A few years ago somebody discovered that hotel is slipping down to the river (Wisla). So it was closed and ... stays in this form up to now. There are many different conceptions what to do with it but it is still standing and nothing is going on. For a few months it was used as a huge hanger for a beer's advertising baner, now (March 2004) even it was disassembled. I guess that one day it becomes similar to the "sky-scrapers" which I have described in another "Local Customs" tip.
Cracovia Football Club
Cracovia Football Club est. 1906 (5 times Champion of Poland) was always the big rival of Wisla Krakow. I can say that citizens of Krakow were divided into fans of Wisla (1st team in Dec. 2004) and fans of Cracovia (5th team). And sometimes some of them even fight on the streets hmm... :-(
Now Cracovia is 5th the best Polish football team and has many fans.
The Krakow's tradition (a very good tradition) is the match between old rivals CRACOVIA and WISLA at midday (12.00 am) on... New Year's Day each year in Cracovia Stadium close to Cracovia Hotel (approx. 20-25 min. on foot from the Main Market), the players often seems to be amused especially when they play on the snow haha.