it is too old, you would get tired of walking, there is nothing unique (showing Royal castle), or it is too boring (showing the pope's visit), the food is fattening and Kazimierz (Jewish district) is too spooky
Kraków is the favorite city of mine in Poland. I have been more times to Warsaw and Poznań, but for me Kraków is the number one Polish city. It has the same quintessence, historical layers, central European cultural life, soul and vibrant life Prague and Budapest have. All 3 cities Kraków, Prague and Budapest are former Habsburg cities with that mix of National Polish, Czech Bohemian and Hungarian elements, Austrian elements, Jewish elements, Renaissance architecture, old Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, Classicist, Romantic, Jugendstil and Art Nouveau styles and 20th century architectures of the Interbellum (1919-1939) and communist era. These historical layers, that smell and taste of history, that living Central European identity and all that old and new Art, poetry, literature, academical university, theatre, Opera, festivals, student live, innovation, tourism and present day development in the same time is a shared experience of these cities. I liked both the old and new elements of Kraków and have only been one week there. No doubt the progress has developed the city further in the last 16 years I haven't been there.
Kraków had that special old typical Polish atmosphere I also witnessed in Warsaw and Poznań, but a lot stronger. The city at the Vistula River with it's medieval buildings at the Wawel Castle with the Wawel Cathedral, the old city centre nearby, and Kazimierz, which has become an important center of cultural life of the city. I remember going out during the day and in the evening and at night in Kazimierz, because you had pubs, theatres, a famous Jewish restaurant and night clubs there. In that nightclub we Dutch, German and Polish students of the Art Academie of Arnhem (I was an old student and could join them for a week) merged with Polish teenagers and people in their twenties and early thirties in that nightclub New Wave style with as a cult element old ads of communist era cars and other peoples republic Poland products. The nigh club was a sort of merger of a Hardrock Café, Western European style squat house Autonomen (Anarchist) Punk concert mini hall and an eighties disco. The Polish girls looked like Siouxsie Sioux (Susan Janet Ballion) of Siouxsie and the Banshees (1976–1996). I remember that they played New Order, the Cure and other New Wave music.
The girls in the New Wave nightclub in Kazimierz (disco with bar) looked like Siouxsie Sioux
They played this song of New Order in that New Wave club in Kazimierz
Ofcourse as a Warsaw-Joy Division-New Order fan I was pleased to hear that music there. We had fun with our mixed group of Dutch People, German students and Polish students and the young Kraków people. It was my third Central European Art Academy trip. Due to the Arnhem art academy teachers, students Fine Art, and their connections with the Kraków Art Academy and Polish artists there I was able to visit the Kraków Art Academy, Kraków studio's and Kraków galleries and the Kraków Modern art museum Bunkier (Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow MOCAK) next to the National Museum in Kraków. In 1994 I saw the Prague Art Academy and in 1995 the Budapest Art academy. In all 3 cities I saw the national galleries (Old art) and the Museums of contemporary art. I write the comparisson, because Kraków in my opinion has historical and contemporary meaning as a Polish intelligentsia, scientific, cultural, musical, modern theatre, architecture, Fine Art (contemporary art), administrative, touristic and innovative Financial-economical centre. At the outskirts of the centre of Kraków I saw impressive new research centres and economical commercial zones. I felt very at home in Kraków and was proud about the progress I saw there.
So Wrocław is a real Polish city now with the people from Lwów (Lemberg in German) live there. I hope that these people from old Lwów managed to install a city atmosphere there, in contrast with the rural, rather peasant like Warsaw (according to my mother), who said that the Polish capital after the war became a provincial town, since the real Warsaw people were either murdered or evicted. I remembered that I liked Prague and Budapest more than Warsaw, because the soul, spirit and uniquenes of these cities were still there. In Warsaw something of the human soul and spirit was broken by the Nazi atrocities during the war. Warsaw wasn't Warsaw anymore, but that spirit is restored and the memory of the original people cherished by the Warsaw Uprising and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (Polish: Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich). I loved the Warsaw I saw in August 2006. In understand my mother, whom old Warsaw was stolen from her by the Nazi's and communiusts. Maybe that is not uniquely Polish but it was a fact. In Amsterdam the original Amsterdam people moved out of Amsterdam for new houses or apartment blocks elsewhere and non-Amsterdam people moved in. Today Warsaw is a large, huge city again, with a real city population, decades of education and new academic and other more advanced classes. Or better said a better mix than in the post-war Proletarian communist Peoples Republic.
I have heard many good stories about Wrocław Jaga, secretely I think about it still as Breslau, a German city that was renamed, repopulated and called Wrocław. But Wrocław is good today in the documentaries, youtube video's and stories I heard about it. Wrocław today is an Academic university city with a student population of over 130,000, making it arguably one of the most youth-oriented cities in the country. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the University of Wrocław, previously Breslau University, has produced 9 Nobel Prize laureates and is renowned for its high quality of teaching. Wrocław was placed among the top 100 cities in the world for the Mercer Quality of Living Survey and in the top 100 of the smartest cities in the world in the IESE Cities in Motion Index 2017 and 2019 report.
The city is well known for its large number of nightclubs and pubs. Many are in or near the Market Square, and in the Niepolda passage, the railway wharf on the Bogusławskiego street. The basement of the old City Hall houses one of the oldest restaurants in Europe—Piwnica Świdnicka (operating since around 1275), while the basement of the new City Hall contains the brewpub Spiż. There are many other craft breweries in Wrocław: three brewpubs – Browar Stu Mostów, Browar Staromiejski Złoty Pies, Browar Rodzinny Prost; two microbrewery – Profesja and Warsztat Piwowarski; and seven contract breweries – Doctor Brew, Genius Loci, Solipiwko, Pol A Czech, Baba Jaga, wBrew, Wielka Wyspa. Every year on the second weekend of June the Festival of Good Beer takes place. It is the biggest beer festival in Poland. Every year in November and December the Christmas market is held at the Market Square.
From the Polish painter (artist) Piotr Gardecki I also know that Wrocław is a city of Fine Art, theatre, a cultural intelligentsia and that it was the Capital of Culture in 2016 together with San Sebastián. I have never been to Wrocław, nor to Gdańsk, Lublin and many other cities. I only know Warsaw, Poznań and Kraków. I like all three cities, but have a slight favor for Kraków. Warsaw and Poznań are important due to family history there, my grandparents, my mother and her older sister (my Polish American aunt) came from these cities and lived important parts of their childhood, teenage yearts, their twenties and thirties in these cities. My grandparents lived from 1945 until their deaths in Poznań for decades (forties, fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties, until my grandmothers death in 1987. My grandfather died in 1977). Poznań is very special to me, because I was there many times as a child and teenager in the seventies and eighties. Warsaw is more distant, an interesting place, but with Poznań I have a personal connection, like I have with some Dutch towns/cities where family members live that I visited often. A lot of memories of Poznań. I probably know Poznań better than Warsaw and Kraków. Have walked so many streets and boulevards there. Went a lot to the cinema, the zoo and parks, museums, churches and family homes there. It is like a whole artistic, romantic, Art House movie in my head. In the past I remembered the flavors, scent, smell, the colours, the people, the different streets and places, now they have faded away after many decades (in 1987 I was in Poznań for the last time. One of the first places in Poland I would like to visit Jaga is Poznań.