My wife and I visited Krakow in August of this year and were very impressed by the city and its culture. Unlike Warsaw and most of the rest of Eastern Europe, the historic center of Krakow was not destroyed during WWII. As a result, the architecture you see is original and not rebuilt. Krakow has the oldest and best preserved medieval market square in Europe. It is also the historic capitol of Poland and the gastronomic center of the country.
Here are some suggestions:
Where to Stay
I don't have any recommendations here. Our hotel was centrally located, reasonably priced and clean; however, it was missing too many amenities to recommend.
Things to See
The Wawel- The walled castle and grounds on the Wistula river where the Polish Kings and heroic figures are buried. Very picturesque.
Old Town- There are a lot of shops, restaurants and outdoor cafes to visit.
Rynek Glowny- This is the medieval square in the center of the Old Town. In the middle of the square you will find the yellow Sukiennice (cloth hall) with every sort of souvenier. Also on the square in St. Mary's Cathedral with the famed "trumpeter of Krakow" who plays the "hejnal" every hour. He stops abruptly in mid note just as the original trumpeter did hundreds of years ago when he was struck in the throat by an arrow after warning of an approaching Tartar attack.
Jewish Quarter- The best preserved Jewish quarter in eastern Europe.
Auschwitz- About an hour outside of town.
Nowa Huta- Ever wonder what Communism was really like. We did not take this tour but it sounded interesting. Nowa Huta is a workers factory suburb outside of Krakow. This tour will drive you there in an Eastern Bloc Trabant auto, take you to the factory and unchanged 1970's era communist apartment. Tour includes a "tasty socialist appetizer".
Where to Eat
Chlopskie Jadlo- Some of the best food we had in Krakow. They serve upscale peasant food. Go to the one in the Jewish Quarter on Agnieszki street.
Ariel- This Jewish restaurant had very good food.
U Pani Stasi
Klezmer Hois- They have nightly Klezmer music (a mix of Jewish folk music and 1920's Jazz). Also a good restaurant. Make a reservation. Another place for Klezmer music is Ariel.
Bodegas Marquis Vinoteca- On Slawkowska street. Not a wide selection of wine but if you are jonesing for a glass this will satisfy.
CK Browar- One of the better cellar pubs in the city.