Kracow : Poland

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What it's Like to Retire in Kracow

Considered by many to be the most beautiful city in Poland, Kracow lived up to its reputation in a recent visit. Following a master plan laid out upon the outline of a medieval walled city, it is compact and charming. Gigantic Wawel Cathedral and the Royal castle are perched upon an outcropping overlooking the Vistula River. Beautiful baroque (and older) churches abound. There are many parks that encircle and go through this city of about 780,000. The cathedral was where local hero John Paul II was installed as Cardinal, prior to him being elected as Pope. There are giant squares surrounded by lovely old buildings. The town center is walkable, including the old Jewish neighborhood immediately adjacent, which is a popular bohemian style place to explore.
 

Where to Retire in Kracow and Home Prices

In general most people live in apartments. The cost is living, including housing, is less than in most of the rest of Europe.
 

What is special about Kracow

Named one of the most “Underrated Cities in the World.” Its Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wonderful museums, the philharmonic, coffee shops. The town is exceptionally beautiful; the Rynek Gówny is the largest medieval market square in Europe, and the Wawel Cathedral and Royal Castle overlook the Vistula River. Copernicus, the discoverer of our solar system, as was as Pope john Paul II, attended Jagiellonian University here. The university is one of Europe's oldest as has a huge presence with tens of thousands of Students. The Polish people are friendly and proud of their heritage, despite having been conquered so many times, most recently by Germany on WWII and Russia until 1989.
 

What is not special about Kracow

This is a tourist town so in the summer that can be overwhelming. Traffic is bad because the road ring is not yet complete. The political atmosphere is difficult, as the current president has curtailed the judiciary as well as the state run media, and is staunchly anti/immigrant. Poland is a relatively new democracy so most of the citizens are hopeful that the future will be freer.
 

Who will like retirement in Kracow

Retirees from the European Union or who are Polish American might be interested in retirement here because of the low cost of living, good bus and tram systems, and the beauty of the place. People with no ties to Poland might find it friendly but challenging - Polish is a very difficult language .
 

Local economy is driven by

Tourism, the University, and government are big parts of the local economy. Cost of living is low. You can have a great meal with wine at a top restaurant for $35.
 

Climate and Physical Environment

Kracow is in southern Poland in the foothills of the Tatia Mountains. This is Northern Europe so temperatures are on the cool side year round, although recent summers have been hot. Average July temps range between 55-75 (F.) and in January between 22 and 34. Poland has a small coastline on the Baltic Sea. Germany is to the west, Hungary to the south, and former parts of USSR like Latvia and Estonia to the east. The country is huge, roughly the size of Texas.
 

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

There are many bookstores and concerts. The Philharmonic has a regular schedule. There is public art such as the statue “Eros”, donated by the famous sculptor Igor Mitoraj and located on the Rynek G?ówny Square. There are a number of museums. The National Museum displays paintings by Rembrandt, Leonardo Da Vinci,as well as famous Polish painters. As a tourist town there are countless restaurants where the level of cuisine is very high, such as evidenced at Babcia Malina, Nota Pesto, Wierzynek and Wesele. Jagiellonian University is one of the oldest universities in Europe. In 2000, Kraków was named European Capital of Culture. In 2013 Kraków was officially approved as a UNESCO City of Literature.
 

Crime

Local residents say there is an epidemic of bike stealing and petty thefts, although violent crime is rare.
 

Medical facilities

Most employers provide health insurance for their workers. The University has a Medical School so the city offers some of the best health care in the country.
 

Transportation

Kracow has a very efficient system of busses, trams, and trains that allow you to get from the surrounding towns like Wieliczka (home to a 500 year old salt mine) to the city center. Many people rely on their cars, however, so there are big traffic jams at rush hour. The Kracow airport and the downtown airport is modern with domestic and international connections. The conveniently located central railroad station is one of the nicest in the world with great shops and restaurants.
 

Valuable Links

Wikipedia page on Kracow
 

What people are saying about Kracow

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