Krakow - The Jewel of Central Europe

3 nights starting from
£999

  • Wonderful churches, including 14th century St Mary’s, packed with artistic treasures

  • The Wawel with its Royal Castle and Cathedral

  • Fabulous Museums – the Cloth Hall, National Museum and more

  • The Nowa Huta suburb of Krakow

Krakow is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, home to a succession of artists and architects over centuries who have all contributed to its cultural heritage. Largely spared from any destruction, it boasts the best-preserved collection of historic buildings in Poland. This tour, in the company of renowned author and art historian, Andrew Spira, looks at this cultural legacy in detail in a host of churches, museums, galleries, palaces and civic buildings.

Available Departures

From

26 - April - 2023 £ 999.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

London Gatwick

Departing: 26th April 2023 at 11:45

Returning: 29th April 2023 at 14:20

ITINERARY

Day 1: Fly from London Gatwick to Krakow and transfer to your hotel for a three-night stay.
Evening welcome drink and lecture ‘Slavs of the West: the historical and cultural background of Poland’ and dinner with wine at a local restaurant or the hotel.

Day 2: Full day Krakow.
A full day guided tour packed with highlights including the National Museum, Poland’s largest museum, which houses a superlative collection of Polish art, the European Culture Centre, Europeum, attached to the National Gallery but with a collection of European Art. Added to these two fine museums are the gorgeous Churches of St. Francis of Assisi and St Anne, Basilica of the Holy Trinity and St. Mary’s Basilica, which reflect Poland’s strong Catholic tradition. Finally, to Jagiellonian University, the 13th oldest university in the world, dating back to 1364 and its oldest building, the Collegium Maius, with its atmospheric courtyard. Second lecture, ‘Krakow: science and art, medieval and modern’ and dinner with wine at a local restaurant or the hotel.

Day 3: Full day Krakow.
We continue our exploration of Krakow’s myriad of treasures today including St Florian’s Gate and Furrier’s Tower, part of the city’s defences dating from the 14th century, the Princes Czartoryski Museum and the Bishop Erazm Ciołek Palace, which now houses the Krakow National Museum. After lunch (not included) we visit Wawel Cathedral, the official seat of the Archbishop of Krakow it is a national sanctuary and has served as the coronation site of many Polish monarchs. Next onto Wawel Royal Castle and its State Rooms, the first site in the city to be granted World Heritage status. It now houses an art museum with an important collection of Italian Renaissance art. Finally, our last visit of the day is to the atmospheric Jewish district of Kazimierz, whose story was so movingly told in Spielberg’s superb film, Schindler’s List. Evening free.

Day 4: Nowa Huta suburb and transfer to the airport.
Our last visit is to the Nowa Huta (New Steel Mill) suburb of Krakow, built in the 1950s as a “socialist realist” settlement to service the massive steel works and a showpiece to Stalinism, before transferring to the airport for the return afternoon flight to London Gatwick.

NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 25 passengers.

INCLUDED

  • Return flights from London Gatwick to Krakow
  • Three nights’ bed and breakfast at the four-star Grand Ascot Hotel based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • Welcome reception
  • Two lectures
  • Two dinners with wine at a local restaurant or the hotel
  • Transfers, tours and entrance fees
  • Andrew Spira throughout


NOT INCLUDED

  • Double for sole use supplement
  • Holiday insurance
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
  • Porterage and gratuities 

HOTEL

Grand Ascot Hotel

Modern four-star “boutique” hotel located in the heart of Kraków, on a quiet street within walking distance of the main sights.  The hotel, ranked 14 of 299 hotels in Krakow on tripadvisor with a 4.5 star rating, houses a lobby bar, stylish restaurant, fitness room, sauna and stylish rooms with all modern facilities including TV, safe, free wifi and hairdryer. 

Grand Ascot Hotel Website

MORE INFO - Please click here to see full details of this tour 

Andrew Spira

Andrew Spira graduated from the Courtauld Institute of Art before completing a MA degree in Museum and Gallery Management at City University, London. He worked at the Temple Gallery, London (specialist in Byzantine and Russian icons), and as a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum where he specialised in 18th century British Art and Design, and Metalwork. He also specialises in Russian art, publishing ‘The AvantGarde Icon: Russian Avant-Garde Art and the Icon Painting Tradition’ in 2008 (Lund Humphries). For 20 years he has been taking tours to cultural sites in western Europe, Russia, Armenia and Georgia. He was Programme Director at Christie’s Education for 10 years before going part-time to focus on his current research project - on personal identity and the way it is reflected in the material culture of western Europe from the Middle Ages to the present day.

 

Administation
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Overall Impression

We particularly liked our hotel - convenient location, attentive staff, comfortable beds. We also found the visit to Nova Huta (which sounded like a filler in the brochure) extremely interesting. Our local guide, Monika, was very hardworking and conscientious. The only thing we did not enjoy was the meal out at a 'characterful local restaurant', but that may be because we are too spoilt to like traditional Polish food.

Review by Perkins who travelled 08-May-2019


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Overall Impression

As i wear two hearing aids, the lack of in the ear headphones made it virtually impossible to hear the guide unless I stood right next to her. I was disappointed that we were not given a list of all the participants to help remembering names. The hotel was within easy walking distance of the Market Square, quiet, clean and offered an excellent spread for breakfast. Having the talks on the history of Poland from Andrew Spira was excellent. The guide certainly knew her stuff but tended to talk a bit too much in my opinion. I wouldn't have missed this opportunity to visit Krakow - it's a fascinating city.

Review by Valentine who travelled 08-May-2019


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Overall Impression

I would just like to say that there was a LOT of walking on this trip, and I felt very sorry for those who had even slight walking problems. More advance warning might be good. Also, could the trip to Nova Huta be omitted in favour of a little time for personal exploration? Finally, our lovely guide Monica hardly stopped talking for 5 mins over the whole period, so a few handouts would have been helpful to give her -and us - a break. Generally, an inspirational holiday THANKYOU!

Review by Steavenson who travelled 08-May-2019


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Overall Impression

Energetic but comprehensive and enjoyable tour. The salt mines were amazing. Although all the group managed to negotiate that visit very well, I feel in retrospect that access to the mines and the length of the visit should have been highlighted.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 08-May-2019


Administation
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Overall Impression

Local guiding very intense- perhaps more relaxed itinerary and delivery of information ?

Review by Bryson who travelled 03-April-2019


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Overall Impression

A short break between museums might be better. Visiting a Jewish Quarter on Friday late afternoon is not ideal! Rather too much detailed information from the charming Tour Guide. Tour Manager's talks were excellent. Unfortunately we did not receive a detailed itinerary with timings. Criticisms above are minor and overall the holiday was a very enjoyable experience. Thank you.

Review by Ireland who travelled 03-April-2019


Administation
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Overall Impression

Tour very good and lots to see, the pace was sometimes exhausting. 1/2 day for own 'experiences' could be a good 'to catch one's breath'.

Review by Goodhew who travelled 03-April-2019


Administation
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Overall Impression

Andrew's lectures were excellent and we would have liked more input from him during the day. The local guide was knowledgeable but gave far too much information. Did not enjoy the armoury department of the National Museum. Two museums in a row was too much, would have liked a break inbetween and comments on the architecture. We loved Krakow.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 03-April-2019


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