Kazimierz, Krakow's historically Jewish neighborhood, is a quaint warren of tiny alleys and cramped streets southeast of Stare Miasto. For our purposes, we situate Kazimierz south of ul. Dietla, west of ul. Starowislna, and north and east of the winding Wisla.
From the 15th Century until the Holocaust, Kazimierz was home to tens of thousands of Jews. Amazingly, several synagogues in the neighborhood survived World War II. These, along with some churches and the Old Town Hall, form the core of Kazimierz's traditional tourist draws.
Stare Miasto forms the heart of Old Krakow. Encircled by a greenbelt park and bookended by Wawel (Castle) Hill at its south and the Florian Gate at its north, Krakow's Old Town is dizzyingly full of sights. At the center of Stare Miasto is Rynek Glowny, or the Main Market Square, the biggest medieval city square in all of Europe. Stare Miasto is so chock full of historically significant buildings that it feels a bit like an open-air museum.
Among the many highlights: St. Andrew's Church, a Romanesque church that dates back to the 11th Century, Rynek Glowny's magnificent 16th-century Cloth Hall, and the Wawel Castle and Cathedral. There are plenty of swank cafes and folksy restaurants to provide a break from the tourist action. Many of Krakow's hotels can also be found in Stare Miasto, in particular north of Rynek Glowny.
Krakow's more modern face can be seen in the districts west of Stare Miasto. The neighborhood is far younger than Stare Miasto or Kazimierz, though a fair number of attractive 19th-century buildings also crop up. What's more, construction sites make it clear that this area of the city will continue to transform in the coming years.
Bustling ul. Karmelicka is a lively artery, with an interesting range of retail on offer. The district is wonderfully situated near the action, though is likely not where visitors will want to spend most of their time in Krakow.