The gem of southeastern Poland, Krakow emerged from the destruction of World War II very well preserved. Today, with its Old Town bounded by a greenbelt and crowned by a hillside castle and cathedral, it's a compact collection of alleys, with enough medieval and baroque architectural treasures to touch the most hardened heart.
A piercing sense of history is right beneath the surface in Krakow, especially in the historically Jewish Kazimierz district, located south of the Old Town. Yet despite all the overwhelming gorgeousness, Krakow manages to avoid being a museum-piece of a city. Along one alley, find a strikingly hip café; elsewhere, modern shopping centers and cutting-edge galleries take up space. Though Krakow will likely always be appreciated for its history, it's also clearly a living, breathing city, with possibly the best selection of restaurants and watering holes in all of Poland.