Cornering Krakow

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The top stop in Poland is Krakow. And enjoying a drink on its marvelous main market square, you'll know why. The biggest square in medieval Europe remains one of Europe's most gasp-worthy public spaces.

Knowing this is one of Europe's least expensive countries, I choose the fanciest café on Krakow's fanciest piece of real estate and ordered without even considering the price. Sinking deep into my chair and sipping deep into my drink, I ponder the bustle of Poland, just a decade and a half after it won its freedom.

Krakow is the Boston of Poland: a captivating old-fashioned city buzzing with history, intriguing sights, colorful eateries, and college students. Even though the country's political capital moved from here to Warsaw 400 years ago, Krakow remains Poland's cultural and intellectual center. Flat and easy to navigate, Krakow is made for walking. A greenbelt called the Planty rings the Old Town, where the 13th century protective walls and moat once stood (a great place for a stroll or bike ride).
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