A pleasant walk through Krakow's history. To hear fascinating stories on the city past we recommend this stroll to be accompanied by a tour guide.
One might almost think the kings of old knew how popular Krakow would become several hundred years hence when the Royal Route was established, as it allows the visitor to see a great number of Krakow's most famous sights along the course of a gentle walk covering not much more than a kilometre.
Starting from Plac Matejki (Jan Matejko Square) outside St Florian's church, you can look south and see the historic Old Town in front of you, with the first point on the Royal Route - the Barbican - directly ahead. Past the Barbican we go through Florianska Gate, which is now the only remaining part of the old city wall still standing. Onwards and down Florianska Street, lined with shops and where you'll find the art nouveau Jama Michalikowa Café and the Pharmacy Museum. As you near the bottom of Florianska you'll see the asymmetric twin towers of St Mary's church, arguably Krakow's most famous landmark, and by the time you reach them you'll be in the Rynek or Main Market Square, the largest in Europe.
Continuing in the same direction takes us down the eastern side of the Rynek, past the tiny and partly submerged St Adalbert's church - Krakow's oldest - past the famous Wierzynek restaurant and into Grodzka Street. Grodzka Street crosses All Saints' Square where within easy reach are the Dominican church, the Franciscan church and the Wyspianski centre celebrating Krakow's 19th century renaissance man.
A little further down Grodzka and you turn briefly right and then left into Kanonicza Street, considered by some the most beautiful medieval street in the world. The future Pope John Paul II kept rooms here, which are now part of the Archdiocesan Museum. When you reach the end of Kanonicza you are at the foot of Wawel Hill, site of the Royal Castle and Krakow Cathedral, and the culmination of the Royal Route.
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"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things " - Henry Miller