Through the ages, the shifting borders and national boundaries left a common culture in Eastern Slovakia and South Eastern Poland, on either side of the Carpathian Mountains. Under the old Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1867-1918, the regions were unified. While exploring the Tatry Mountains in Slovakia or rafting down the Dunajec River you will see Poland a stone’s throw away just as your ancestors did. Why not visit?
Consider beautiful medieval Krakow with its lively ten-acre Market Square, Renaissance Cloth Hall, and Wawel Castle on the banks of the Vistula River and you understand why Krakow is the perfect choice.
Krakow lies a short, 2 hours, drive north of the Slovakia border. It was an important medieval trading and academic center for today’s regions of Southern Poland and Eastern Slovakia. Because of this prominence, Krakow today is a bustling city of winding streets filled with exquisite architectural monuments chronicling this history.
The decision to end the 2014 tour in Slovakia’s cousin city is also practical:
1) Krakow has a large International Airport with easy access to the US or other European Cities. (You may also find the flight less expensive then returning from Vienna).
2) Avoiding the long drive back to Bratislava or Vienna gives the group more time to explore Bardejov and Slovakia’s Pieniny Mountain region (2 hours from Krakow) and the trans-Carpathian region.
3. It gives people an option to extend their visit in Krakow or other parts of Poland. Our trip will include a morning city tour of Wawel Castle and important sites in the old city, with afternoon free time for further exploration. Krakow easily warrants extending your visit another day or two to visit some of the nearby sites: Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps; the Wieliczka Salt Mines; the Cathedral and residence of Pope John the Second, who was the Archbishop of Krakow when he was elected Pope; the Black Madonna of Czestochowa; Oskar Schindler’s Factory and many more important sites.
4) For those continuing on with the Prague three-day extension tour, the van will leave directly from Krakow with stops at interesting locations in the Czech Republic. (We will also help people arrange travel to return to Bratislava, Vienna or other parts of Slovakia if desired)
We hope you’ll join us for the 2014 Slovakia Heritage Tour and discover the Krakow connection for yourself.