St John Paul II, the pope formerly known as Karol Wojtyla, is a star in Poland, and whether you’re Catholic or not, visiting places important in his life provides an intriguing introduction to Polish culture and history. This 2-day tour uses Krakow as a base to explore Wadowice, the childhood home of the man who would become a pope and a saint, and Czestochowa, home of the revered ‘Black Madonna’ painting at the Jasna Gora monastery.
ItineraryDay 1: In the Footsteps of John Paul II from KrakowPass By: Cracow Tours, Krakow, Lesser Poland Province, Southern PolandSituated by the Vistula river, Krakow is the cradle of Polish culture anda characteristic urban phenomenon. It is the former capital of Poland, the place of coronation and later the burial ground of almost all Polish monarchs. For a long time it has been attracting scholars with the oldest university in the country, artists with the cultural climate and pilgrims with the sanctuaries and holy relics. Since the beginning, Kraków has also been enticing tourists with its atmosphere, monuments, and recently also the memory of Pope John Paul II.The legendary founder of the city was Prince Krak, the vanquisher of the Wawel Dragon (the effigy of the beast stands at the foot of Wawel Hill). Remnants of the oldest history of the city have been preserved in two mounds dating from the 7th century called the Wanda and Krak mounds. The first historical information about Krakow is contained in a 10th-century note of Ibrahim ibn Jakub. In the book of Muhammad al-Idrisi (dating from the 12th century) Krakow is described as a “beautiful and large city with many houses, residents, markets, vineyards and gardens.” At the beginning of the 12th century Gallus Anonymous depictedKrakow as a thriving metropolis and wrote in his Chronicles: “Krakow, the capital city, excels all Polish cities.” Krakow was founded according to the Magdeburg law (by Bolesław V the Chaste) on the 5 June 1257. district) was inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Cultural and Natural HeritageSites in 1978 as the first of its kind.It is important for the residents of Krakow to cultivate their traditions such as the annual nativity crib contest or the Lajkonik wandering in the octave of theCorpus Christi (June) from Zwierzyniec to the Main Market Square.Among the many eminent people connected to Krakow are the Pope John Paul II; the Nobel Prize poets Czesław Miłosz and Wislawa Szymborska; the founder of the avant-garde theatre Cricot-2, Tadeusz Kantor; the playwright Stanisław Mrozek; Stanislaw Lem – the legend of Polish fantasy writing; Stanislaw Wyspianski – a painter, poet, playwright, designer and the author of works such as the stained glass decorating the Franciscan Church; and Dr. Feliks “Manggha” Jasinski– the benefactor of the Japanese collection displayed currently in the Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology funded by Andrzej Wajda. Stop At: Sanctuary of Divine Mercy, Krakow, Lesser Poland Province, Southern PolandThis is one of the most important sanctuaries in the world: every year millions of pilgrims from various countries arrive here to contemplate Divine Mercy by the grave of Saint Sister Faustina and the Jesus, In You I Trust painting.Duration: 30 minutesStop At: Sanktuarium Swietego Jana Pawla II, Krakow, Lesser Poland Province, Southern PolandThe modern church is a specific place of devotion to St John Paul II in Kraków, as the precious relics of the saint are stored here.Duration: 30 minutesStop At: Kalwaria Zebrzydowska Santuario, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Lesser Poland Province, Southern PolandKalwaria Zebrzydowska park is a Mannerist architectural and park landscape complex and pilgrimage park, built in the 17th century as the Counter Reformation in the late 16th century led to prosperity in the creation of Calvaries in Catholic Europe.The park, located near the town of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, which took its name from the park, was added in 1999 to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.Duration: 30 minutesStop At: Family Home of John Paul II, Wadowice, Lesser Poland Province, Southern PolandA modern exhibition featuring mementoes and a variety of multimedia exhibits constructs the life story of the Polish Pope.Duration: 1 hourNo meals included on this day.No accommodation included on this day.Day 2: Pieskowa Skala Castle and Czestochowa the 'Black Madonna' Day Tour from KrakowStop At: Our Lady of Czestochowa / The Black Madonna, Czestochowa, Silesia Province, Southern PolandJasna Gora Sanctuary in Czestochowa It is the holiest place of Poland and one of the world’s most iThe Monastery of Jasna Góra in Częstochowa, Poland, is the third-largest Catholic pilgrimage site in the world. Home to the beloved miraculous icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa, the monastery is also the national shrine of Poland and the center of Polish Catholicism.Duration: 2 hoursStop At: Jasna Gora, Czestochowa, Silesia Province, Southern PolandJasna Gora Sanctuary in Czestochowa It is the holiest place of Poland and one of the world’s most iThe Monastery of Jasna Góra in Częstochowa, Poland, is the third-largest Catholic pilgrimage site in the world. Home to the beloved miraculous icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa, the monastery is also the national shrine of Poland and the center of Polish Catholicism.Duration: 2 hoursStop At: Zamek Pieskowa Skala, Suloszowa, Lesser Poland Province, Southern PolandThe scenic valley of the Prądnik is dominated by Pieskowa Skała Castle, one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Poland.Duration: 30 minutesNo meals included on this day.No accommodation included on this day.