Krakow is one of Europe’s most interesting old cities. It is Poland’s second largest city and the country’s main tourist destination.
The city remains the cultural capital of Poland. Its seven universities and nearly twenty other institutions of higher learning make Krakow the country’s principal centre of science and education.
Krakow is known for its well-preserved medieval core and Jewish quarter. Old Town – ringed by Planty Park and remnants of the city’s medieval walls – is centred on the stately, expansive Rynek Glówny (Market Square), the site of Cloth Hall, a Renaissance-era trading outpost and St. Mary’s Basilica, a 14th-century Gothic church.
Important as a crucial centre of business, culture, and education, Krakow is also famous for its myriad restaurants and nightspots.
Krakow’s modern and constantly expanded John Paul II International Airport, Kraków-Balice, is the second largest airport in the country. Situated 11 km to the west of the city, the airport provides direct domestic and international connections to many cities in Europe.
The broad network of railway connections offers fast and comfortable travel by train: you can reach Warsaw in 2.5 hours and Gdańsk in 6 hours. Other cities which can be reached by train include Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, Berlin and Budapest.
Krakow is serviced by an extensive network of tram lines and buses, which make moving around the city (and the neighbouring Wieliczka) fairly easy. If you have a car it is a good idea to leave it outside the city centre and use public transport. Maps of public transport are available on the website of the Municipal Transport Enterprise (the MPK), as are the timetables, which can be also found at the bus stops. See www.mpk.krakow.pl
There are several different types of tickets and passes available, but all tram and bus tickets must be validated in a ticket machine immediately on boarding a bus or a tram. Be warned – there are frequent spot checks.
Krakow is a captivating place both to travel to and to live in. Over the past decade there has been a steady increase in foreigners, business travellers and tourists alike looking for – and often finding – something truly special in the city.
The city’s rich cultural and social environment, the beauty of its central historical district, accessibility, good hotels and profusion of restaurants and cafes makes Krakow a superb location for congresses and conferences. Not only that but it is cost effective too. Every year plenty of events take place here from smaller business meetings to academic seminars and large conventions.
Venues suitable for 800+ delegates include the Jagiellonian University Auditorium Maximum and the impressive Krakow Congress Centre. For a team building or training session for about 50 people we would suggest either the Qubus Hotel located next to the city’s historic district, Kazimierz, or the centrally located Radisson Blu. Venues for small meetings for 10 include the Hotel Pugetow or the Hotel Farmona.
A social programme for business visitors to the city could include the magnificent 14th century St Mary’s Basilica, the Auschwitz Jewish Center (advance booking is recommended) or Wawel Cathedral. Wawel Royal Castle, the medieval seat of Polish Kings which houses the national art collection, is a quirky and unique place to visit.
To occupy and interest delegates one afternoon, we would suggest a visit to The Market Square of Krakow (Rynek Glówny) which is one of the city’s main attractions and no wonder – it’s one of the largest in Europe! Here you’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, clubs and all the culture you can soak up, including several museums right on the square.
There are a wide variety of restaurants to suit all tastes in Krakow. For a private dinner for 10 people we would recommend either the unusual Palc w Paszkowka, located 25km away from the city, or the luxurious Hotel Stary in the centre of Old Krakow. For 50 people we suggest the Novotel near Wawel Royal Castle or the nearby Michelin Guide recommended Hotel Copernicus. For an unusual and more modern venue try Andels Hotel.
For dinner at a traditional Polish restaurant try the oldest restaurant in Krakow – Wierzynek, which dates back to 1364. Other recommendations include Wesele on the Main Square or nearby Resto Illuminati.
The recently opened Golden Tulip is already one of the most popular hotels in Krakow. The hotel is located right in the city centre of Krakow, only 300 metres from the Main Square and all its major monuments: St. Mary’s Basilica, Cloth Hall, Town Hall Tower. Only a few minutes’ walk through the ancient streets separates the Hotel from the Wawel Royal Castle and the former Jewish district of Kazimierz, currently a favourite meeting place of Krakow.
Pod Różą is the oldest hotel in Krakow. It is situated in the heart of the historic Old Town. Since the 17th century it has played host to numerous international luminaries. In 2005, following extensive refurbishment, Hotel Pod Różą became one of the finest hotels in Poland. Once again famous guests such as Lech Wałęsa, José Carreras, Roman Polański and Burt Lancaster, have flocked to stay there.
One hotel that offers the ‘complete package’ of excellence in accommodation, service, food and facilities is the Niebiski Hotel and Spa. Located on the banks of the Vistula river in the centre of the picturesque Salwator district, this hotel overlooks the beautiful Wawel Hill and has excellent business facilities.