Kraków was the only major city in Poland to come through World War II essentially undamaged, and its assembly of monuments has since been hailed as one of Europe’s most compelling by UNESCO. The city’s Old Town (Stare Miasto) swarms with visitors in summer, but retains an atmosphere of fin-de-siècle stateliness, its streets a cavalcade of churches and palaces. A university centre, Kraków has a tangible buzz of arty youthfulness and enjoys a dynamic nightlife.
Kraków is bisected by the River Wisła, with virtually everything of interest on the north bank. At the heart of the Old Town is the Main Square, with Wawel Hill, ancient seat of Poland’s kings and Church, and the rejuvenated Kazimierz lying to the south.