Krakow, Poland was not originally part of my European travel plans, but I had two unused train travel days on my pass and had had enough of Vienna. So I took the night train to and from Krakow for a weekend visit.
Per Wikipedia, Krakow is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. It sits on the Vistula River and dates to the 7th century. Krakow was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1596 and remains one of the leading centers for academic, cultural, and artistic life in central Europe.
It is also one of the few European cities that escaped extensive destruction during World War II. I found the architecture to be fairly interesting in the same vein as that in Vienna. However, the city is not nearly as beautiful as Prague. The city appears to be a big party town as the beer is dirt cheap and I saw crowds of drinkers bar hopping late at night when I was returning to my hostel from seeing a Brad Pitt movie at the local art house cinema.
Krakow has very nice parks and some of the largest and most beautiful trees I’ve seen in any city. It certainly would be livable city particularly if you enjoy the cool shade of inner city parks.
Additionally, if you have a couple of extra travel days and can get to Krakow, then the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi Extermination Camps are not to be missed. I will cover it in another post.
Overall, I felt that the city was nothing special and for those planning a central European trip, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest are the cities I recommend unless cheap beer is at the top of your list of priorities. However, the Auschwitz-Burkenau concentration camps are highly recommend although depressing and disturbing.