Our plane in its approach of the Krakow-Balice airport did fly over Krakow. I could easily distinguish the Wawel hill and the green belt of the Planty gardens around the old town, something unique in the European urban scheme.
The stroll along these gardens is especially agreeable as the Planty is bordered by a number of historical buildings such as churches, cloisters, Jagiellonian University colleges, a theatre and on the north the Barbican and Florianska tower and medieval walls.
Actually the Planty was once the moat at the feet of the fortifications. The fortifications were dismantled around 1807 and transformed in a public park in the 1820s. The first trees were planted in that period.
There have been several stages in the development of the Planty. Romantic in the second half of the 19th c. then a naturalist and Art nouveau period, places for social meetings (benches, cafes); a stage-landscape period during the interwar and also years of negligence (WW II and after). Restoration and embellishment started in the 1990's.
Nowadays every inhabitant of visitor can only be pleased with the Planty extending over 21 hectares and divided into 8 gardens.
This lovely park transects the city. There are numerous paths, benches and bagel stands amongst the planted trees and flowers. Its a nice place to take a morning stroll or later in the day.
A quieter place than the hubbub of the city proper.
There are these lovely flowered trees which are great for photography (see photo) and for birdwatching as well.
The Planty is a ring of green space around the Old Town of Krakow. When the Austrians took over in 1806 they dismantled the medieval fortifications, though some parts of the wall remain. There is a lovely path, lots of great places to relax. Benches, gardens.
Note- for those of athletic bent. Locals do NOT go jogging here! You will see people walking, and some people on bikes, but nobody goes jogging here!
To walk around the Planty would probably take about 40 minutes (if that)
The Planty is a ring-shaped city park which surrounds the Old Town. It was planted in the 19th century on the site of the former moat and medieval city walls, after these were dismantled because of their very poor condition due to the lack of maintenance after the Partitions of Poland. The park is dotted with monuments and fountains, and is a lovely spot for a stroll. If you circle the city completely you will have walked 4 kilometres. It’s a popular jogging spot too, but if you favour a more leisurely form of relaxation its many benches are great for people watching while resting your feet from all that sightseeing. Business people hurrying to work; pensive priests and nuns (a common sight in Krakow); dog-walkers and pram-pushers; playing children and kissing couples; tourists with cameras and locals with shopping bags ... much of Krakow’s life during the warmer months takes place here in these gardens.
The Planty is apparently divided into eight separate gardens, though I could spot neither signs to tell me which I was in, nor any clear distinction as I moved from one to the other. But each is named for a nearby building, giving you at least some idea of which is which: Wawel Garden, University Garden, Palace of Arts Garden, Florianska Garden, Barbican Garden, Railway Station Garden, Gródek Garden and Stradom Garden.
Although I (as a history-person) would have loved to see Krakow in its walled state, I must admit that replacing the walls with a 'green belt' was an excellent idea.
Not only is the Planty a lovely place to wander, with flowers and tees and birds and memorials...but it is also an excellent 'landmark' for the first-time visitor. If you reach the Planty, you know you've left the Old Town...and you know you can simply follow it round until you get to wherever you want to re-enter the centre.
Watch out for cyclists though!
And watch out, after dark, for the inevitable homeless, alcoholics and street people you'll find in any large European city (or any city, I suspect). The Planty is a good spot to sit, or sleep, or drink. As a single female I would not feel comfortable wandering through the Planty after dark, although passing through from the Old Town to elsewhere, or vice versa, would not be a problem.
Planty is the wonderful green space that effectively encircles the Old Town. On most maps it appears to be fortified walls. Appropriately, they once were. A series of towers and walls were surrounded by a moat in the Medieval ages. In the late 1700’s Krakow was part of the Austrian Empire and Emperor Franz Joseph I ordered that they be dismantled. There are still 2 large sections left at the Barbikan and Floriañska Gate. The locations of the other old towers are all marked with metal plaques (pictured) with their names and stories. Some of the foundations still exist in Planty.
The social life of Planty includes pleasant musicians, flower sellers, dog walkers, runners and walkers enjoying the greenery. There are litter bins throughout, many historical statues/monuments, art and excellent walking paths.
A word of caution. Planty has many friendly/quiet drunks and is patrolled by the Police. However, it would not be the best place to walk solo at night because of visibility. Stick to the lit main streets that surround Planty.
The Old town is encircled by a stretch of green park called Planty, which used to be a moat.
The Old town is about 800m wide by 1200m long so it is easily walkable and it is very pleasent to walk to your destination via Planty especially in the Auntumn with all the changing colour leaves. We were told that its not a great idea to walk through Planty at night time as there are a lot of drunk vagrants in the park.
The jewish town Kazimierz is also walking distance of the old town & we felt very safe walking on the roads at night.
Planty is a ring of parkland that encircles the Old Town. Its walkways and benches offer views of many fine buildings, and the verges are peppered with statues to heroes of old.
The gardens came about as a result of the dismantling of the medieval fortifications, a move that had been set in motion by the Austrians in 1806. Following the Napoleonic Wars, Krakow enjoyed a brief period as a free city, and a grand project was launched to beautify the area. Gardens were laid out and a ring-road was placed beyond them.
A walk around the entire length of the gardens would take about forty minutes at a relaxed pace. It is a good way to get a feel for the city.
Copernicus was a very significant personality of Poland and a student of Jagellonian University. Thats not miracle, that his sculpture is standing next to new Jagellonian University building, at Krakow's old town park.
Old city walls were mostly demolished at the beggining of 19th century, and some empty place left without building around old town. Parks started to be planted in 1820 with lots of sculptures, flowers - really worth a visit. What is more, I suggest you to make a trip specially around these old town parks to see where old town wall and towers stayed and how park looks like.
The Planty gardens form a sort of horseshoe round the old city of Krakow, following the line of the city walls (no longer visible, except as footings). They date from the 1820's, and have lawns, trees, shady areas, benches, statues, monuments and water features (though not many flowers). They make a really pleasant walk (especially on a hot day) and are worth exploring just for themselves.
Don't worry to miss out on green. All around the old town a park encircles the area with lots of shady trees.
Around wawel castle (especially on the river side) there are also parks, mainly larger grassfields with views on the river.