I have a confession to make. I’m slightly obsessed with castles, and I knew that we had to visit Wawel Castle in Krakow. (Long term readers won’t be very surprised – I have form in this area – exploring them, staying in them, insisiting my family stop at them on car trips etc.)
Wawel Castle is a sprawling patchwork of history – personal and political stories that you can explore on foot. I learned that the Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Hill constitute the most historically and culturally significant site in the country.
My only disappointment with our city break to Krakow is that we hadn’t visited sooner. The medieval city had been calling our names for a fair amount of time, so one grey January day I seized the wanderlust zeitgeist and booked in a load of city breaks – including Krakow. Finally! As a result, this is my (entirely subjective) Krakow what to do list.
We visited in May as the weather should be fairly settled, and it’s the beginning shoulder season (compared to July/August when a lot of schools have their summer holidays) which means that tourist season hasn’t begun yet.
Europe to me is history pages that have come alive – ancient stone bearing scars and flowering gardens full of stories to come. But the simple question on most city trippers lips when they visit the Czech capital is ‘what are the best things to do in Prague?’
How do you encapsulate an entire city spanning more than a thousand years – during which time the city grew from the Vyšehrad Castle to the capital of a modern European state, the Czech Republic – in as little as a couple of days and just a few things to see? Honestly, I’m not sure you can really.
With a couple of nights to explore, every time that I investigated where to stay in Rotterdam the newly opened luxury hotel, The James, kept popping up at the top of all of my searches.
Whether it was fate or clever Google remarketing, I’ll never know, but it was such a lovely stay that I’ll chalk it up to fate. (Ps. that’s what I’ll blame all my future booking choices on I think – fates that have excellent taste in luxurious hotels.)
It isn’t often that you visit an incredibly popular tourist attraction and find an afternoon of peace. The Kinderdijk Windmills were designated a UNESCO world heritage site and I was visiting for the heritage – but what I hadn’t counted on was glorious sunshine and a quiet fishermans nook to spend an afternoon in.
Kinderdijk is situated in the Alblasserwaard polder at the coming together of the Lek and Noord rivers. To drain the polder, a system of 19 windmills was built around 1740. This group of mills is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands.