Krakow and Surroundings
From a Stone Age settlement to a major political centre (and former capital of Poland) -with the largest medieval commercial square in Europe- Krakow has now evolved into a global hotspot boasting both contemporary and medieval sites.
With one of the oldest universities, the first ever UNESCO World heritage sites (the remarkably preserved ‘Old Town’ and Wawel Royal Castle), it’s no surprise that the city attracts on average 13 million visitors annually!
Things to Do Around Krakow
1) Wawel Royal Castle
First and foremost, a visit to the Wawel Royal Castle (the 1st ever-world heritage site) is essential to appreciate the cultural and historical underbelly of Kraków. This popular site is in fact an architectural complex: a collection of prominent buildings of varying architectural styles such as the Wawel Cathedral, St. Michael’s, and St George’s Chapels, along with exhibitions boasting priceless jewels and armory.
2) Wawel Cathedral
Located within the Wawel Castle complex, you’ll find this gothic-style cathedral packed in next to Sigismund’s Chapel, and the Vasa dynasty Chapel. Originally built in the 11th century, it has been reconstructed several times, not only reflecting various architectural styles but the opulence of preceding Polish royals. Indeed, you can discover much from visiting the crypts beneath and observing the tombs of many Polish kings, national heroes, and revolutionary contemporaries.
3) Rynek Główny (Main Square)
Known as Rynek Główny in Stare Miasto ‘Old Town’, this famed market square measuring 200 by 200 meters, has claim to being one of the largest in Europe and has been a cultural epicenter of Kraków since the 13th century. There you can find the Renaissance Cloth Hall, the 14th-centuryth century Gothic Basilica of the Virgin Mary, and many picturesque, neatly ordered townhouses.
4) Smocza Jama (Dragon’s Den)
Not far from the Wawel Castle complex you’ll find the age-old ‘Dragon’s Den, a limestone cave in Wawel Hill. Outside stands a fire-breathing statue of Smok, a testament to Kraków’s cultural identity and passion for folklore. Legend has it that the dragon (Smok Wawelski) was slain by King Kracus, the mythical founder of Kraków.
5) Sukiennice (the Cloth Hall)
Originally built in the 13th century, then rebuilt and finalized in the 16th century, the Cloth Hall is another very important symbol of architectural heritage. Formerly one of the most important institutions for trade, this ‘pearl of renaissance’ now offers art, souvenirs, and historical artifacts. See the Rynek Underground, medieval market square (Rynek Główny), Gallery of Polish 19th Century Art, Jan Noworolski’s Café and try to spot the hanging Iron Knife.
6) Tyniec Abbey
Perhaps take a little excursion out of the ‘Old Town’ to Tyniec, a dreamy fairy-tale-like village belonging to Krakow. Situated atop a cliff on a limestone canyon by the Vistula River, this Benedictine Abbey still serves as a monastery, with guided tours, a museum, and concerts in the summer. It is easily available by bus from the historic center!
7) Kościuszko Mound
This 34-metre-high mound was compiled in honour of the Polish national Hero Tadeusz Kościuszko, a figure during Polish resistance against Prussia and Russia, with his remains interred beneath, finalised in 1823. One of four ceremonial mounds in Krakow – an old Cracovian tradition-, and well worth the climb for panoramic vistas of Krakow, the Vistula River and Tatra Mountains.
8) Kazmierz former Jewish Quarter
Formerly a separate (14th century) city from Krakow Old Town, this quarter previously served as refuge to the Jewish community fleeing persecution. Despite it being tragically eradicated during World II after 500 years of autonomy, the Jewish community reclaimed Kazmierz and the Jewish Cultural Festival was born (1988) a 9-day festival that runs annually, celebrating their cuisine, music and art. Thanks to its rejuvenation, Kazmierz is one of the most exciting, ‘it’ places to visit in Kraków, home to many indie galleries, vintage clothing stores, alternative bars, live music and chic coffee shops.
9) The Barbican
One of the best preserved and formed part of the city’s defence, the Barbican serves now as impressive theatre, not only worth visiting for the open-air shows and exhibitions, but also to marvel at Krakow’s military history.
Our Cultural Activities
A guided tour of the city is included in the price of each one-week course in Krakow.
Two-week courses include an additional guided tour of the city.
Further information on our activities will be provided after the confirmation of the course.
About the Training Centre in Krakow
All our teacher training courses in Krakow will take place either in the Morning (9.00-13.45) or in the Afternoon (14.00-18.45) depending on classroom and trainer availability.