Rynek Glówny (Market Square)
- Type: Cafes, Sightseeing, Neighborhood/Area
- Time to Spend: More than Full Day
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Rynek Glówny is the biggest medieval market square in Europe and the highlight of any trip to Kraków. It is the geographic center of the Old Town, the symbolic center of the city and, more than likely, the center of most of your trip plans.
The square is mostly about atmosphere -- it is alive and bustling with locals and travelers alike, coming and going. There's no need to make concrete plans in Rynek Glówny, in fact, you might prefer to just sit at one of the several patios with a hot coffee or a cold beer and people-watch.
The appeal of Rynek Glówny can be found in other areas as well. The unsymmetrical towers of St. Mary's Basilica overlook the square, so if you're looking to get a culture fix, you can take a quick break and duck inside. If you need to buy some souvenirs, Cloth Hall is an easy option as it is also located in the square. Wawel Hill and the impressive Wawel Cathedral are just a 15-minute jaunt away.
While most of the restaurants directly on the square serve overpriced, mediocre food, there are several just off the square that offer fine dining at a value, like the exceptional Ancora. There are also a lot of good café options nearby, like the intimate Siesta (try the house coffee, Siesta Cafe, with the caramel sauce -- you won't be disappointed).
If you've been traveling for a while and want to do a mellow night at the movies, check out the ARS Cinema. It is right off the square and usually has a nice selection of English movies for travelers who haven't learned Polish yet. Make sure to show your student ID for a nice discount.