This is another surprise on the list. This is the kind of city that doesn't stick out in your head, but really, it's a great city. This city is like your friend who isn't very good looking, but has a great personality with great stories to tell. Frankly, I don't care much about Polish history...but the history of this city is second to none. The reason for this...WWII. Auschwitz and Oscar Schindler...does actual history that you can see get better than this? That many cities that I visited can give an experience like Krakow- start the day with a affordable meal at McDonald's, then a heart-wrenching experience in Auschwitz, followed by a light-hearted tour of an old, historic salt mine, then stuff your gut with hearty Polish food, and finally some very good beer in one of the best bars I've ever seen. All for about 50 euros?! That's 2 tours with transportation and a ton of great food. I'm all about having experiences, and Krakow is full of them.
And that's not even mentioning the fantastic people in Poland. Nowhere did I feel more welcome. If you get a chance to hang out with some Poles...do it. They are down-to-earth and willing to have some fun. They are just very good and interesting people.
WWII, Holocaust, and Communism! Did I just put an exclamation mark after those 3 words?
Not overly ornate. But still nice.
3rd on my best cuisine list: http://noahschlueter.blogspot.com/2010/03/best-cuisine-3.html
Central Europe...what do you expect?
"It" Factor: 4
After seeing Schindler's List, this was a must-see for me.
I'm including Auschwitz and the Salt Mine. Other than this, I don't know if they have much to offer. But those 2 are great.
Return Factor: 4
There was a Communism Tour and the Oscar Schindler tour which I'd love to see. I'd also just love to spend more time here.
Cliche Factor: 4
It's not one of those grand European cities.
Public Transport: 2
Tough to navigate. Not everything is written in English.
Tourism Industry: 4
Small city. Day tours make it huge.
Bang for the Buck: 5
Just like all the Central/Eastern European cities.