It’s possible that when you have the intention to visit Krakow for the first time you will not know exactly what to expect. Maybe you know that the city is one of the few in Poland that were not destroyed during the Second World War and the architecture of its buildings is one of the oldest in the country. Krakow is the largest medieval market across Europe, Main Square (Main Market Square – also the second largest market in Europe after San Marco, Venice). And last but not least, perhaps you know that Polish beer named piwo is one of the best in Europe. What you do not know is that the city of Krakow has a special vibe that makes it one of the most romantic cities on the continent.
Probably since the arrival the steps will take you to the huge Main Square. With a long row of stalls in the city center, the Wawel Cathedral spiral towering in a corner, fountains and outdoor cafes everywhere, the Square combines medieval style with modern. Like most squares it is also full of pigeons. And when horses and carriages that are used instead of taxis arrive here, all the birds are flying away at the same time, creating a dramatic atmosphere.
The route can begin with a visit to Wawel Castle, which lies near the center of Krakow, near Vistula River. The castle was built in the sixteenth century and is now turned into the National Museum. The Court offers a stunning image of ancient architecture of the building, and a tour around its walls and turrets offers fascinating views of Krakow.
One of the castle’s corridors is leading the visitors below ground, close to the water, near the Vistula River. The river crosses the entire city and you will encounter numerous parks across its banks, ideal for picnics or for enjoying a bottle of wine (alcohol in public is legal in Poland).
While admiring the Old Town, don’t miss the Lost Souls Alley: it’s a spooky place, where you have the chance to test your courage and nerves; see if you can deal with the ghouls and ghosts and if you can find your way back to the real life.
When the sun reaches the sunset, you can come back to the Square. Sit at a table in a café and order a glass of the famous Okoč Mocne beer (mocne means a high alcohol content). The market is still full of horse-drawn carriages, making their way through flocks of pigeons. From Wawel Cathedral you can hear the distinct sound of a horn.
Every hour sharp a bugle is playing from the cathedral bell tower. Its sound can be heard between 15 seconds and two minutes and reflect the mood of the bugler. At 6 o’clock in the afternoon, the tone is full of life. Take a walk at night in this place. The Square is empty, except for random couples strolling around. The bugle is playing again. The song is in perfect harmony: gentle and full of melancholy. It seems to embody centuries of emotions and desires that have leaked by through the ancient city of Krakow.
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