Attractions of Lesser Poland
The royal city of Krakow
Everyone should get to know the most interesting monuments and tourist attractions of Krakow. Main Market Square – an ideal place to start sightseeing, St. Mary’s Basilica, Cloth Hall, Wawel Royal Castle and Cathedral, Wawel Dragon and Dragon’s Den, Kazimierz – the artistic district of Krakow, Barbican and Krakow’s Planty, Jagiellonian University, Basilica and Franciscan Monastery, Father Bernatek Footbridge, Kościuszko Mound, Krakus Mound and Wanda Mound, numerous museums (including the National Museum, the Princes Czartoryski Museum, the Krakow Museum of the Home Army, the Krakow Museum of Polish Aviation) and many other places.
It is worth starting your sightseeing tour on the Main Square, considering how many attractions there are in this place. The St. Mary’s Basilica dominates the market square. The origins of this church date back to the first half of the 13th century. On the market square there are the famous Sukiennice, a popular place of trade, where we can find works of art, souvenirs, as well as delicacies of the region.
Leaving the Main Market Square, you have to walk along the beautiful Floriańska Street, which connects the Market Square with Brama Floriańska. The beautiful history of Krakow has been recorded on this street. Here you can admire old tenement houses preserved in excellent condition. In one of them, one of the famous Polish painters, Jan Matejko, was born and worked.
The Wawel Hill offers countless sightseeing opportunities. There are as many as five permanent exhibitions and three seasonal exhibitions available for tourists. Permanent exhibitions are available all year round. Here they are: State Royal Chambers, Private Royal Apartments, Crown Treasury and Armoury, Oriental Art. Seasonal routes: Dragon’s Den, Sandomierska Tower, Wawel buildings and gardens, Lost Wawel. An additional attraction is the Royal Cathedral. Place of worship of St. Stanislaus, which is clearly associated with the independent and united Polish State. On its premises there are: Chapels – Vasa, Potocki, Świętokrzyska and Zofia, the Cathedral Museum, the Zygmunt Bell, Royal Graves, the burial place of the Presidential Couple Lech and Maria Kaczyński. Wawel Castle was the princely and royal seat and the political center of the Polish state from the 11th to the 16th century. It was erected on the left bank of the Vistula River, south of the chartered town. The Wawel Hill, located among meadows flooded by the waters of the Vistula and Rudawa rivers, was perfect for a defensive seat. The eastern part of the hill, slightly higher, was built up the earliest, but wood and earth fortifications covered the entire hill.
At the foot of Wawel, the Vistula flows, and near its shore there is the majestic Wawel Dragon – a sculpture by Bronisław Chromy. Behind the dragon there is an entrance to the Dragon’s Den, where the famous Krakow inn used to be located.
Near the Old Town there is a city park – Krakow’s Planty, located in the place of the former defensive walls surrounding the Old Town. The remains of the fortifications are the Barbican, which currently houses a museum. Planty is the perfect place to relax for a while. At Jagiellońska Street, there are historic buildings of one of the oldest universities in Poland, the Jagiellonian University. Collegium Maius is where the museum is now located. One of its attractions is the famous chiming clock.
Kazimierz is a former Jewish district known as the artistic part of Krakow. There are centuries-old Synagogues and churches, art galleries, exclusive boutiques, restaurants, cafes and bars.
The Father Bernatka Footbridge is a pedestrian and bicycle route connecting Kazimierz with Podgórze. The footbridge is 145 m long and is called the Bridge of Love, because couples in love attach padlocks with initials here, and throw the key into the Vistula.
In the western part of the city there is Mount St. Bronisława, on which the Kościuszko Mound was erected. Next to the Mound, there is Fort No. 2 „Kościuszko”, which houses exhibitions related to the life of Tadeusz Kościuszko, as well as the many years of Poles’ struggle for independence. In total, in Krakow, we will find five mounds – Kościuszko, Piłsudski, Krakus, Wanda and John Paul II.
Ojcowski National Park
The smallest of all 23 national parks in Poland. The landscape of the park is made up of numerous rock formations from Upper Jurassic limestones, white and light gray in color. Caves are an inseparable element of the lime sculpture.
Tourism in the park takes place only on designated trails. They lead through the most attractive areas where you can see rock formations, such as: Krakowska Gate, Hercules’ Club, Deotyma’s Needle, the longest caves here – Łokietka (320 m) and Dark (230 m).
Biking and horse riding tourism (carriage) as well as educational paths are also available.
The Prądnik Valley offers tourists interesting architectural monuments.The Castle in Ojców – actually the ruins of a former stronghold, standing on top of a hill. Museum in Ojców – a natural history museum dedicated to the Ojców National Park. Chapel on the Water in Ojców – a characteristic building, located by the main road. Castle Pieskowa Skała – a beautiful, Renaissance castle with a well-kept garden. Historic mills – e.g. Tarnówka Mill in Grodzisk or Boroniówka.
Abbey in Tyniec
The Abbey in Tyniec is the oldest existing monastery in Poland, continuing the Benedictine tradition. Starting from the 1st half of In the 11th century, over the next centuries, it served as an important center of missionary activity, liturgical and cultural life.
The Tyniec abbey was established as part of Casimir the Restorer’s reconstruction of the state and church structures of the Piast monarchy, ruined as a result of the invasion of the Bohemian prince Bretislav and the pagan rebellion. It is a valuable document of the Romanesque architecture of the 11th century and a place associated with top-class works of artistic craftsmanship and the art of book illumination.
The equipment of the monastery, dispersed in the 19th century, is also of exceptional artistic rank. Some of the surviving and identified vestments and liturgical books are unique and belong to the greatest and oldest treasures currently kept in Polish collections.
Lankorona is located about 40 km from Wieliczka. It is a town with a very rich history, dating back to the Middle Ages, to be exact, 1361. It was here that Casimir III the Great came to hunt and he founded the local castle, located on the top of the Lanckorońska Mountain.
Its location makes it extremely attractive in terms of views – in good weather you can admire, among others, Babia Góra or the peaks of the Tatra Mountains.
Lankorona impresses with its buildings and location. The 19th-century, often wooden and atmospheric houses at the market square are delightful. Wooden, one-story houses with arcades and porches with balustrades are covered with shingles.
The market square rises up towards the church with a late-Renaissance main altar, a Baroque baptismal font and a painting depicting the Baptism of Jesus, as well as a Rococo side altar.
In Lanckorona, for several years now, in mid-December, the festival of angels has been held. Then the Market Square becomes an angelic open-air for many costumed people who take part in taste fairs, concerts or workshops.
Local craftsmen trade in their products in the city, these are mainly ceramic products. Here you can buy beautiful bowls, plates, cups and other decorative and practical products for your home.
Extermination camp in Auschwitz (Oświęcim)
It is a shocking testimony to history and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The National Museum and Memorial located here is full of evidence of the cruel conditions, events and rules prevailing here, such as gas chambers, torture devices, barracks, barbed wire fences, photographs, documents, clothes and personal belongings of those imprisoned.
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial has been dedicated to over a million victims. This place attracts more and more tourists every year, not only from the country, but from all over the world. The Memorial and Museum covers the area of two preserved parts of the camp: Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. To get a full picture of the events, it is necessary to see both parts, which are about 2 km apart.
The place is located about 70 km from Krakow. There are many ways to get here, including car, bus or train.
The Lipnica Murowana Commune is a picturesque place located in Lesser Poland. Beautiful landscapes, hospitality of the inhabitants and the overwhelming peace of the idyllic countryside make this commune an ideal place for a family holiday.
Lovers of long hikes will be delighted with the walking and nature paths and marked trails. A great attraction for people interested in history is the necropolis of soldiers – War Cemetery No. 299. The area of the commune is located in the Wiśnicko-Lipnicki Landscape Park, which hides a lot of attractions in the form of monuments of inanimate nature – „Kamienie Brodzińskiego” and „Skałki w Chronowo” or a nature reserve – „Stone Mushroom”.
The commune has many valuable monuments, which include old wooden churches, statues of patron saints and cemeteries from the times of World War I.
Start your tour from the charming market square, which exudes a historic atmosphere from the Middle Ages. It is worth paying attention to the figure of St. Szymon, which guards Lipnica, the statue of Władysław Łokietek, located right next to the parish church of st. Andrew the Apostle and the figure of St. Floriana.
An example of beautiful construction in the neoclassical style is the Ledóchowski Manor House in Lipnica Dolna,
In order to learn about the traditions and valuable souvenirs from the area of Lipnica, you should go to the regional chamber.