Rivalling Prague’s beauty, the home of Copernicus and Pope Jean-Paul II, 6,000 historic buildings, one of Europe’s finest medieval squares and Poland’s capital for 500 years.
Krakow is without doubt one of the most beautiful cities, ranking with Prague and Vienna as one of the real architectural gems of central Europe and its historic centre is a UNESCO world heritage site. The city first came to prominence nearly 1,000 years ago when it became the royal capital of Poland. It remained so for 500 years, spanning both the Middle Ages and Renaissance period. The castle evolved to become the sumptuous Royal Palace and was the centre of ancient trade routes to the orient and Baltic. This, together with salt (that vital commodity, which it possessed in abundance) ensured its immense prosperity, and the result is the amazing collection of palaces, aristocratic buildings and works of art that you see today. The city reached its zenith during the 16th century when learning and science prospered and over the centuries influence from Prussia, cities from the Hanseatic League and absorption within the Hapsburg Empire have all left their classic and architectural influence, contributing to the masterpiece that is now Krakow.
Centred in a magnificent medieval square, the second largest in Europe, the statistics are staggering – over 6,000 historic buildings and monuments, 18 museums, 2.5 million works of art, one of Europe’s oldest universities and over 140 churches – many of them stunningly decorated in their own right. Spared any significant war damage, today the city is a delight to explore. Krakow is far from just a collection of buildings, its atmosphere is vibrant, alive and timeless with the past and present beautifully intertwined.
Poland and Krakow in particular have always been very religious and it is impossible to mention the city without including the Catholic Church. In 1978 the unknown Archbishop of Krakow was elected Pope John Paul II, the highest office of Catholicism, in what was at the time officially an atheist country. There is no doubt this fact unified the country, helped the Polish people to throw off the yoke of communism and led to a surge of self-confidence and optimism that is so evident today.
The city also boasts a great cultural past, which is hardly surprising from the country of Copernicus and Chopin. During the evening there could be nothing better than to attend one of the numerous classical music concerts that are held in churches throughout the city.
- Three nights at an excellent quality, centrally located four-star hotel, with breakfast
- Guided walking tour of the medieval city and Poland’s former capital
- Visit to Wawel, the castle district, one of Europe’s most striking royal residences
- Visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau (included but optional)
- Optional tour of the cathedral-like salt mines
- Escorted by an experienced tour manager
- Return flights and transfers included
- Selected departures from May to December 2019 & March to December 2020
- The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at a supplement of £109 per person. The price includes return flights to Krakow, three nights with breakfast as mentioned, all local accommodation taxes, return airport transfers and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager throughout.
- Included excursions are a guided sightseeing tour of Krakow, visit to the castle district and a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with entrance
- Not included: Optional trip to the Salt Mines £25 approximate cost, payable locally.
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