Poland’s second-largest city is one of the country’s oldest, and Krakow’s historic centre is now a Unesco World Heritage Site. From soaring gothic arches in 14th-century churches to relics of Krakow’s troubled 20th century, this is a city where ages of history dance alongside the lively rhythms of modern life. Ascend Wawel Hill for the castle, cathedral and panoramic views, or try a traditional bar mleczny (milk bar) cafeteria for hearty Polish food. Then head home to rest your feet at one of the best luxury hotels in the city.
A medieval building in the historic heart of Krakow, the eclectic Bonerowski Palace packs in seven architectural centuries. Several top attractions are right on the doorstep, including St Mary’s Basilica and the hi-tech Rynek Underground museum. The suitably palatial rooms are all canopy beds, polished wood and intricate floral prints. There’s a Roman-style spa on the fourth floor for relaxing in steam after a hard day of sightseeing and a bar in the basement for background jazz and cocktails.
On a leafy square near the Vistula River and Wawel Royal Castle, the 19th-century Bachleda opened in early 2019 as part of the MGallery Hotel Collection of uniquely storied boutique properties around the world. Wide steps lead up to an extravagant lobby in royal blue and copper with art nouveau details, orchids and monogrammed cushions. The rich colour scheme extends to the candlelit restaurant, brick-vaulted bar and mosaic swimming pool. It’s toned down a bit in the bedrooms: velvet fantasias of pale gold, silver and cream. The Gavi restaurant is a great place to sample trad Polish specialities, from tripe soup and borscht to lamb with juniper and buckwheat.
On the cobbled lanes of the Old Town, this five-star palace combines characterful features, such as tiled floors, wrought-iron balustrades and ornate fireplaces, with immaculate, contemporary luxury. Every dish in the restaurant is an artwork, from the layered granola-topped fruit purees on the breakfast buffet to fresh and elegant veg-based creations fusing culinary traditions for the a la carte menu. The brick-vaulted pool and spa includes a salt cave to mimic the effects of seaside air.
Opened in 2016 in a building two centuries old – former home of the artist Jan Matejko – the lively Indigo backs onto the Academy of Fine Arts, the heaped garlic and fungi of the old Kleparz market and an interactive bagel museum (for popular local snack obwarzanek krakowski). The 15th-century brick Barbican and curving park that surrounds the Old Town are a couple of minutes away. The maximalist bedrooms are all different, taking inspiration from Polish art and adding contemporary comforts like rain showers and coffee makers. Breakfast features oven-warm pastries, fresh juice and local cheeses while the trad-with-a-twist restaurant, Filipa 18, serves local seasonal produce from the neighbouring market, including venison with red wine or nougat with walnuts and chocolate.
Art deco painter and stage designer Zofia Stryjeńska is the inspiration behind the rich colours and bold patterns in the bedrooms at this stylish stay. Carpets and murals with folksy motifs in gold, green, turquoise and crimson contrast with clean lines and modern furniture. An international menu offers a few Polish specialities: think cabbage and mushroom dumplings with sour cream or vanilla-filled, sugar-dusted cream cakes (kremówka). The hotel is close to the river and the trendy bars of Kazimierz and views from the terrace reach as far as the Wieliczka hills, 15km beyond the city.
Kazimierz, between the old town and the Vistula River, is Krakow’s historic Jewish district, one of the city’s most happening areas. With 13 quirky bedrooms in a renovated 19th-century tenement block, dynamic, friendly staff and a modern art gallery in reception, the Dada Boutique fits right in. Decor draws on the avant-garde styles of the hotel’s namesake Dadaist movement, a surrealist school that championed irrationality. But it’s comfortable too: many of the rooms are spacious with state-of-the-art wet rooms and balconies with views of the courtyard garden.
Still not sorted your stay? Take a look at our list of the best places to stay in Krakow for every traveller and book the perfect stay with Culture Trip.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.