Krakow, Poland

Living in Krakow

Iyna Bort Caruso

Krakow, Poland’s historical capital, now reigns as its artistic and academic hub.

Because of its multitude of cultural offerings, some even refer to it as the New Prague. A well-educated workforce and business-friendly environment has transformed the city situated on the banks of the Vistula River into one of Eastern Europe’s economically attractive urban centers.

Krakow dates back to the 7th century. The main market square of Rynek Glowny is among the largest medieval plazas in Europe. It is central destination for locals as well as visitors from Western Europe, Russia and the United States. A short walk away is the city’s greatest landmark and a symbol of Polish identity, the Wawel Castle, once a royal residence and now a world-class art museum.

The city largely escaped major damage in World War II. As a result, Krakow has become a showcase for the evolution of architecture and urban planning over a period of centuries. Medieval, renaissance and baroque styles dominate its skyline of ancient towers and church spires.

It has also evolved into an important Polish real estate market with strong international interest from English and Irish buyers. Krakow is divided into 18 districts. The priciest properties are in historic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its immediate environs.

Other prestigious areas are near Kościuszko Mound, a man-made monument a thousand feet above sea level that offers panoramic views of the city, as well as by Wolski Forest, a lush expanse of nature preserves and hiking trails. Single-family homes are prized although luxury apartments near Blonia Park, a meadow frequently used for concerts and large outdoor gatherings, also fetch top dollar. 

Residences in Krakow’s parklands on the city’s western fringes are highly desirable. Wola Justowska is situated in close proximity to Old Town, yet has a suburban tranquility.

The former Jewish quarter of Kazimierz has become a prominent tourist destination. Once the center of the city’s Jewish life, historic synagogues and other important religious sites are now intermingled among edgy cafes and galleries.