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The cosmopolitan Warsaw and beautiful, medieval Kracow are Poland’s two most popular cities to visit. But where should you go first? Read on to discover the reasons why you should visit the country’s capital and leave Krakow for another time.
While Kracow is great for getting immersed in Polish history and traditions, it also boasts a much more touristy vibe than the capital. The city attracted over 10 million tourists in 2015 alone (while Warsaw got 8.5 million). Warsaw has definitely got a more local and authentic feel to it (if you explore it beyond the Old Town).
While Kracow retained most of its pre-war beauty, Warsaw suffered major damages during the Second World War which fuelled challenging reconstruction projects and more experimentation when it comes to architectural styles.
Undeniably, Warsaw is Poland’s museum capital with a great choice of venues dedicated to documenting the country’s turbulent history, culture and diverse art. Must-see museums include the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw’s Rising Museum and the Chopin Museum.
Warsaw also remains Poland’s best foodie and shopping destination. Offering everything from traditional Polish cuisine (such as Restauracja Polska Różana), fine dining restaurants and international food festivals, to trendy Polish designer boutiques (such as Mokotowska Street), quirky design shops and vast shopping malls, where you will find literally everything.
If you’re looking to get some time away from the city during your stay, Warsaw is perfectly located to visit the beautiful Masuria Lakeland region. The area is Pole’s favourite out of town escape, especially during the summer season, when the weather permits all manner of outdoor activities including sailing, water skiing and kayaking.