Wrocław and Kraków | A Journey into the Heart of Central Europe
Discover the history, culture and art of Southern Poland, on a journey (packed with tour highlights) as you take in medieval markets, elegant Renaissance style architecture and 19th Century Polish art.
Commencing in Wroclaw, a town at the crossroads of Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic, where you find the best of each reflected in its arts, architecture and cuisine, you will travel onwards to the medieval town of Kraków.
Having survived the sweeping tides of Prussian, Austrian and Russian invasion, Kraków with its 3,000 historical buildings (including some of Europe’s most magnificent cathedrals) showcases centuries of architectural styles. Its famous mediaeval market square with grand Renaissance Cloth Hall, lined with authentic horse drawn carriages, is a perfect picture of Kraków’s historic past.
You will stay in 4 star hotels* in evocative historic locations, that are both charming and stylish. All restaurants** included in the tour provide a wide selection of cuisine and drink in authentic surroundings.
*Please enquire about specific hotels. **Please enquire for more details about specific restaurants.
Expert guided city tour of Wrocław including Wrocław University, Cathedral Island, Wrocław Opera House and the historic market town centre
Private classical concert in the Oratory Marianum at Wrocław University
Expert guided tours of Wrocław’s National Museum and Panorama Racławice
Guided tours of Kraków Old Town and Jewish Quarter including a private tour of the Old Synagogue
Private classical concert performance by Krakow’s Royal Chamber Orchestra at St. Adalbert’s church
Aperitif with evening concert at Piwnica pod Baranami, a famous cabaret bar
Entrance and guided tour of Wawel Castle and Kraków Cathedral (includes entrance to the crypt)
2 x horse drawn carriage journeys in Old Kraków and the Jewish Quarter
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Day 1 Wrocław
Afternoon | Welcome Lunch with Tour Introduction followed by City Tour
Welcome lunch at the hotel with Tour introduction by your Expert, followed by a city tour.
The first step will be the Old Town Market Square dominated by the impressive 13th-century town hall which is bordered by a rainbow of beautifully renovated townhouse facades ranging in architectural style from Gothic to Art Nouveau.
Continuing onwards you will discover the Salt Square (Plac Solny), renowned for its traditional flower stalls, before strolling along Swidnicka Street. Used for centuries by merchants travelling along the Amber Road from southern Europe towards the Baltic Sea, Swidnicka Street was once the hub of commerce and trade in Wrocław.
Travelling onwards you will be guided through the Wrocław University Museum which includes the Aula Leopoldina, an elegant room lavishly decorated with sculptures and paintings of the secular late baroque period. Dedicated to the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, it is today used for university ceremonies and classical music concerts.
Next you take the lift to the terrace of the university’s ‘Mathematical Tower’. Located at a height of 42 meters it provides panoramic views of the Old Town and river Oder. At each corner of the tower there are sculptures representing the Universities prestigious faculties of Theology, Law, Philosophy and Medicine.
You will end your tour of the university in the Oratory Marianum for a private classical music performance. A beautiful Hall with excellent acoustics, the Oratory Marianum provides the ideal setting for enjoying classical music.
Leaving the university there is a short walk before crossing Piaskowy Bridge (Sand Bridge) to Cathedral Island (Ostrow Tumski). A picturesque ensemble of religious buildings including the Church of Saints Peter & Paul, the Church of the Holy Cross and the beautiful Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which is famous for its stunning stained glass windows and 16th century altarpiece, Cathedral Island is also the place from whence the city was born.
A special highlight of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, is the panoramic view from one of its towers. Here a lift will take you to the top where you’ll find a small exhibition in addition to wonderful views.
The last stop during this afternoon’s tour is Wrocław’s National Museum. Including collections of sacred objects from Wrocław and the Lower Silesia as well as artefacts that once belonged to German museums and the Lvov collections, which were conveyed to Poland from the Ukrainian Authorities in 1946, it is one of the most important museums in Poland.
Of particular interest is Jan Matejko’s painting, Vows of King Kazimierz. Painted between March and October 1893, it depicts the moment when King Kazimierz of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth made the Lwów Oath in order to incite the whole nation, including the peasantry, to rise up against the Swedish and Russian invaders. The Commonwealth forces finally drove back the Swedes in 1657 and the Russians in 1661.
After your visit to the National Museum you will be guided to the hotel for some time to relax.
Evening | Dinner together at Restaurant in Wrocław’s Market Square
Meals included: L, D
Day 2 Wrocław
Morning | History and Architecture of Wrocław
After breakfast at the hotel you will be guided on an architectural tour of Wrocław’s Market Square.
Once a major industrial and commercial centre, renowned for its university and cultural life, Wrocław has a tumultuous history having changed hands on many occasions. Finally, after six centuries under foreign control, the city returned to Poland in the aftermath of World War II. The post-war reconstruction of the city was painful and difficult, nevertheless, the most important historic buildings were faithfully restored.
During today’s guided walk you will take in many of the city’s old churches (including the late Renaissance Church of St. Elizabeth), walk along Market Square with its fine burgher houses and enter the beautiful Gothic Town Hall as well as view the Neoclassical Old Stock Exchange.
Afternoon | Lunch followed by Visit Racławice Panorama, Private Guided Tour of Wrocław Opera House, Dinner in the Old Town
Next you will visit the Racławice Panorama, an immense 19th century painting which depicts the The Battle of Racławice.
Built in the form of an unbroken circle and using a special kind of perspective as well as special lighting and artificial terrain effects an almost 3 D effect is produced to create a feeling of reality. The artists aim was to transport the viewer back in time to this momentous event.
A stay in Wrocław is not complete without a visit to the Wrocław Opera House which dates back to the first half of 17th century. Its greatest years were at the end of the 18th century, when five of Mozart’s operas were staged here between 1787 and 1795.
During your private guided tour of the Opera House, you will discover its history as well as marvel at its 19th century interior design within the 700 seat auditorium.
Evening | Return to the hotel before dinner in the Old Town
Meals included: B, L, D
DAY 3 Wrocław - Kraków
Morning | Time at Leisure in Wrocław
Following breakfast at your hotel you will have time at leisure to explore Wrocław.
Afternoon | Lunch at Leisure | InterCity Train Transfer to Kraków | Welcome to Kraków Dinner
Lunch at leisure, before you will be transferred to Wrocław train station for the InterCity train to Kraków.
Upon arrival in Kraków train station, you will be transferred to your hotel in central Kraków. After time to freshen up you will dine in one of Kraków’s most renowned restaurants.
Evening | Welcome to Kraków Dinner
Meals included: B, D
DAY 4 Kraków
Morning | The Art, Architecture & History of Kraków
Today, you will explore Kraków’s Old Town.
Commencing at the Barbican, a masterpiece of medieval 15th century military fortifications, there is a short walk to St Florian gate. Part of the medieval city walls, St Florian Gate kept the marauding armies of the city’s enemies at bay for centuries.
Next you arrive at the spectacular Krakow Market Square (Rynek). Built in the first half of the 14th century and renovated in the 16th century when the Renaissance style Cloth Hall was constructed at its centre, it is the largest market square in Europe. You will be able to take in the magnificence of its houses and palaces which have been recently restored.
After having time to browse the Cloth Hall’s market stalls, you walk on towards the town hall tower, before entering the St Mary's Basilica (Kościół Mariacki), a Gothic church known for its breathtaking altar piece by Veit Stoss, one of the greatest wood-carvers of the late Gothic age.
Afternoon | Lunch followed by Ride in Horse-drawn Carriage | Visit of Collegium Maius and Church of St Anne | Private Chamber Performance by Kraków’s Royal Chamber Orchestra in Church of St Adalbert | Polish Cabaret Experience with Aperitivo
After lunch at an authentic Old Town restaurant, you will travel in elegant style, riding in a horse-drawn carriage to the 15th century Collegium Maius, the oldest building of the 650-year-old Academy of Kraków (Jagiellonian University). It was once where Nicolaus Copernicus, the man whose scientific theories were the catalyst for what was to become known as the Scientific Revolution.
During your guided tour of the Collegium Maius, you will discover a treasure trove of Scientific instruments (most notably within the Copernicus Room), which illuminate on the transformation from the Mediaeval to the Modern age.
One of the most fascinating objects is an Astrolabe dating from the 11th century. Used during classical antiquity, the Islamic Golden Age, the European Middle Ages and the Renaissance, for locating and predicting the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars and determining local time, it is a milestone in scientific progress.
Other places of note include the Green Room where you will find an original piano of Frederic Chopin, the Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era and the Great Hall, a splendid room, used by the city’s Senate during the ceremonies at which honorary degrees are conferred.
Continuing onwards you will visit the Gothic church of St. Anne, considered a leading example of Baroque ecclesiastical architecture before arriving at the Romanesque church of St Adalbert. Located on the south eastern corner of the Market Square in the Old Town, St Adalbert’s history dates back almost a 1000-years. A mix of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture it is one of the oldest stone churches in Poland.
A special way to enjoy the church is to attend a performance of Kraków’s Royal Chamber Orchestra. Consisting of the city’s most illustrious musicians, the internationally renowned graduates of the Academy of Music, the Royal Chamber Orchestra performs music of impeccable taste, boundless imagination and remarkable technique.
After the concert, there is a short walk to Piwnica pod Baranami, the legendary cabaret cellar bar, for a pre-dinner aperitif. Founded in 1956 by the renowned eccentric, Piotr Skrzynecki, a renowned choreographer and cabaret impresario, it is famous throughout Poland for its Jazz, tango, art exhibits and other events. It holds a special place in Cracovian hearts, as a place where artists and intellectuals met to “resist” the oppressive Communist regime.
Return to the hotel to freshen up before dinner
Evening | Dinner in an authentic Old Town restaurant
Meals included: B, L, D
DAY 5 Kraków
Morning | Tour of Wawel Hill including Wawel Castle and the Jewish Quarter
This morning you will visit Wawel Hill, where you will explore the royal Wawel Castle and Kraków Cathedral.
Filled with priceless art, valuable period furniture and rare ancient objects, Wawel Castle’s stately halls and chambers were once home to three Polish monarchal dynasties. It also holds an unparalleled collection of 16th century tapestries, perhaps the most spectacular of which is Tommaso Dolabella’s Battle of Lepanto. Depicting the scene when the fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of European Catholic states decisively defeated the fleet of the Ottoman Empire on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece, it is awe-inspiring in its scope and detail.
Kraków Cathedral or as it is officially known, the Royal Arch Cathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus on the Wawel Hill, is where Polish kings were once crowned and buried. With its 18 chapels and crypt, which contains the tombs of 41 monarchs and national heroes, including Jan III Sobieski, the Polish king who defeated the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna in 1683 and Poland’s most celebrated military leader, Tadeusz Kościuszko, it holds a special place in Polish national history.
Also worth noting is the cathedral’s giant bell. Cast in the year 1520 and named Zygmunt after Sigismund I, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, it is the largest in Poland, weighing in at nearly 11 tons with a diameter of over 2 metres.
Afternoon | Lunch followed by Horse-drawn Carriage Ride to Jewish Quarter* for a Tour of Kazmierz District
After lunch your horse drawn carriage awaits to take you on a charming drive through historic Kraków before arriving in the Kazimierz District (Jewish District).
Walking through the districts’ maze of narrow streets, along past its old market square and town hall, you are plunged into a world that evokes Old Jewish Kraków.
You will have the opportunity to take in sites such as the Remu’h Synagogue, which is dedicated to Rabbi Remu’h, a reputed miracle worker as well as visit his cemetery, which commemorates the tragic fate of Kraków’s Jews during World War II. You will also experience a private guided tour of the Old Synagogue, one of the most precious landmarks of Jewish architecture in Europe.
The Kazmierz district was also setting for Steven Spielberg’s movie Schindler’s List*
Evening | Dinner in an authentic Jewish restaurant
Meals included: B, L, D
*If you would like to arrange an optional visit to the newly opened Schindler Factory, please advise at time of booking.
Day 6 Kraków
Morning | at Leisure
Afternoon | Farewell Kraków Lunch in Old Town
After breakfast enjoy time at leisure before a Farewell Lunch in Kraków Old Town.
Meals included: B, L
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5 nights in 4-star hotel accommodation with breakfast
5 dinners & 5 lunches
The services of an English-speaking Expert in Polish Cultural History throughout duration of tour
The services of a professional UK Tour Manager throughout duration of tour
Train travel from Wrocław to Krakow and all other transfers as stated in the itinerary
All activities and tours as described in the itinerary
Cancellation, medical and travel insurance
Local Expert Guides
Our Local Expert Guides are experienced licenced tour guides with special access to museums, art galleries and other cultural institutions.
Professional and gifted communicators with unparalleled local knowledge, each one specialises in bringing the past to life.
For more information about our Expert Guides, please contact us on 020 8877 2883 to speak with a Grand Cultural Tours representative.
Hand-picked 4 star hotels in Wroclaw and Kraków, selected for their location and high quality accommodation and service levels.
Passports and Visas
For general information regarding passport validity for UK citizens, please refer to the Foreign Office website.
A Visa is not required by UK citizens to enter Poland.
Foreign Office Travel Advice including Health & Safety Information
Click here for Foreign Office travel advice for Poland (for UK nationals).
Click here for general Foreign Office travel advice.
Travel insurance is a pre-requisite for participating in the Wroclaw & Kraków Tour. If you do not currently have travel insurance and would like to contact our partner travel insurance company, please click here for more details.
The currency of Poland is the Zloty. Click here for Foreign Office money advice.
Click here for the BBC's Kraków weather page.
Poland by Adam Zamoyski
Dates & Prices
|Start Date(s)||Price excluding flights*||Single supplement|
* Please click here for more information regarding flights for this tour.