Wawel Hill

This hilltop location is enveloped in the heady atmosphere of Polish history perhaps more than any other site in the country. Its great castle was the seat of the kings for over 500 years from the early days of the Polish state, and even after the centre of power moved to Warsaw in the late 16th century, it retained much of its symbolic power. Today, Wawel Hill is the silent guardian of a millennium of Polish history, and one of the nation’s most popular drawcards for Poles and foreigners alike.

Plan on at least four hours here if you want anything more than just a glance over the place. In summer, it’s best to come early as there may be long queues for tickets later in the day. Buy your tickets at the Wawel Visitor Centre, which also houses a gift shop, post office and cafe. If possible, avoid weekends, when Wawel is besieged by visitors.