Kraków is one of the oldest cities in Poland, with evidence showing settlements there since 20,000 BC. Legend has it that it was built on the cave of a dragon whom the mythical King Krak had slain. However, the first official mention of the name was in 966 by a Jewish merchant from Spain, who described it as an important centre of trade in Slavonic Europe. In 1241, the city was almost entirely destroyed by Tatars. It was rebuilt to a design that remains largely unchanged to the present day.
Krakow is the most popular tourist destination in Poland. Most of the popular tourist attractions are located in the Old Town.
Wawel Castle (Zamek Królewski na Wawelu) - Wawel is the name of a lime hillock situated on the left bank of the Vistula at an altitude of 228 metres above sea level. This is a symbolic place of great significance for Polish people. The Royal Castle and the Cathedral are situated on the Hill. Polish Royalty and many distinguished Poles are interred in the Cathedral and royal coronations took place there. It's considered to be the most beautiful castle in Central Europe, besides the Hradcany in Prague.
Rynek Główny (Main Market Square) - A fine medieval square at the heart of the Old City, festooned with churches, restaurants and bars. It is the biggest medieval marketplace worldwide with more than four hectares of area and eleven streets beginning here.
St. Mary's Church (Bazylika Mariacka) - The first St. Mary's Church was built in 1220. The façade consists of two unequal towers. The tune (hejnał) is played from one of the towers every hour and on Polish Radio at noon. Inside the church, the east wall is taken up by the altar of Veit Stoss (1477-89). It is the largest piece of medieval art of this kind. There is also an altar with a stone crucifix by Veit Stoss. The wall paintings are by Matejko, Wyspianski, and Mehoffer.
Planty Krakowskie - Planty park surrounding the medieval city. It was set up in the 19th century in the place of torn down town walls.
Depending on your level of fitness, you can see the whole of the city centre without needing any transport. There are some beautiful walking routes, try the Royal Way or the Planty park that surrounds the old city all the way from Florian’s Gate to Wawel castle. It is very relaxing. There is also a well cared for river banks next to the castle just to stroll around.
Also the district of Kazimierz is very interesting. The synagogue of Remuh, for example, was built in 1557 and, also if it’s not so well-conserved and the entrance costs 5 zloties (maybe too much), it has a great atmosphere with its old walls and its ancient vestments. Beside it, there is its cemetery. It was created in in 1511 and has been restored recently. The atmosphere is very melancholic there, and it deserves a visit.
The district of Nowa Huta was built during the Communist Era, and was made for the people working in the huge steelworks (5 times larger than the Old Town of Krakow) that are located there. The architecture of the district is typical socialist; huge buildings surround green parks. The district now is poor, and you can touch the real uneasiness of those times there.
Travellers who come to Krakow often visit Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. Not many know that in Krakow there also was a Nazi concentration camp located in Podgórzedistrict. You can also consider visiting Schindler Factory while being around.
Source: Wikipedia; We Travel Guide