Krakow is a charming city conveniently located on the southern part of the country. In total, I've spent more than 2 weeks here.
But despite the long time, I couldn't do as much as I'd like as my stay here coincided with the awful weather in May 2019. It was raining for days with cold temperatures. This is not the time when people can go out and explore the city.
Just like in most places in Poland, transport is readily available. The bus station is next to the train station and they are next to the old town. There is a shopping mall there also, making the waiting a lot more pleasant. Buses and trains go frequently and to most parts of the country.
One thing I liked in particular is the green belt around the old town. It is a park that goes where the city walls were, so no matter which direction you go you'll find some greenery soon.
Also, the river is right next to the old town and all along it there are promenades and cycle ways. Parks are numerous in other parts also, making Krakow an easily walkable city.
To cut back on this charm, Krakow became a party destination lately. You can see a lot of party groups and drunk men later at night, and as a result everything is a bit crowded and expensive in the center. Also watch out for your things when you go out, some places are not conducting honest business.
On the bright side, the city has a long and interesting history. And to get to know it there are several walking tours available covering different topics. I highly recommend attending a few.
Look out for the tram! It has the right of way and it goes through the old town. Watch both ways when you walk over the rails.
There are several things that are "the main attractions" in Krakow. These are: Auschwitz concentration camp, Schindler's factory, and the Wieliczka salt mine.
Because of this, they are packed with people and it's a challenge to visit them. In the hostel, every morning about a third of people got up at around 6 to catch the morning tour to Auschwitz as that was the only time slot they could book. And even that is quite expensive.
The funny thing is that the admission is free to the museum but you need to register in advance. And, surprise, there are no slots available for weeks. That's why most people attend organized tours as you don't need a place booked well in advance. And also getting there and back is covered this way.
Schindler's factory is the same story, just it's much closer to the city. Make sure to go as early as possible if you don't want to stand in the line for a long time.
The Wieliczka salt mine is a bit farther out, but there is transport going there.
Situated on the southern tip of the old town, the Wawel castle is impossible to miss. It offers a great view on the Vistula river and the city. And as usual, there is a museum inside.
But there is a strange aspect of the hill. There is a dragon standing in front of its den, breathing fire from time to time.
Just outside the city, the Zakrzowek lake and its surrounding area offers an awesome walking destination. It is well within walking distance, and the picturesque lake is surrounded by cliffs and hiking trails.
While technically it's prohibited to swim in the lake, many locals habitually disregard this. As I've heard the closing is only temporary and the city might develop it into a safer place and officially open it to the public. But even if you don't swim it's a great hike to go along the river and around the lake.
It is a 35 meters high artifical mound west of the city. It is a memorial place, accompanied by a museum and a fort around them.
But the view is the main thing here as it is just the right distance from the city. There is an admission fee, and it's a few kilometers from the center, but well within walking distance.
A small place somewhat hidden behind a gate next to the Jagellonian University, the Professors' garden is a quiet and small park with some information tables.