Forget Prague, Budapest and Wroclaw – Krakow, Poland’s fourth largest city, should be your next city break in eastern Europe. It’s less crowded, quite the looker and great-value to boot. Here are the top things to do during a visit.
Hunt for gnomes
Venice has canals, New York has skyscrapers – and Krakow has dwarfs. Well, that’s the frequently used translation, but they look more like gnomes. The city authorities commissioned the first pair in 2002 to commemorate the anti-communist Solidarity movement, and the little statues were so darn cute that soon everyone wanted in on the action. Businesses from banks to hotels commissioned bespoke ones to sit by their buildings and there are now an estimated 400-plus dotted around Krakow. The tours in Krakow SeeKrakow board has even created a map to help tourists catch ’em all, Pokemon style.
Take in Krakow tours
Part of the legacy left by Krakow’s stint as a European Capital of Culture is the whizzy National Forum of Music, an incredibly high-tech concert hall. The sound is amazing, but it’s worth a look for the architecture alone: designed by Kuryłowicz & Associates Architecture Studio, the rust-coloured and glass curved box was inspired by the body of a stringed instrument.
And with tickets available from 35 PLN (£7), it would be a shame not to experience it first-hand.