Following in the footsteps of John Paul II
Arrival in Krakow. Airport transfer to the hotel. Dinner with folklore dances show and lesson in a typical Polish restaurant in the Old Town.
Breakfast. Walking tour of the Old Town (UNESCO) – we discover the treasures of the former capital of Poland and the city beloved by John Paul II. Starting with the Wawel hill with an impressive castle and the cathedral (where he was ordained as bishop), we’ll follow the Royal Way to admire the beautiful tenement houses and churches and reach the Market Square – the largest medieval market place in Europe! Before getting there we’ll see the Krakow Archbishops Palace, a place where the Polish Pope was living for many years. We’ll stop for a while in the Market Square to listen to the bugle call played by a trumpeter from St. Mary’s Church tower, visit the church (with the famous wooden altar) and the Cloth Hall – a perfect place to buy some souvenirs from Krakow. During the tour you’ll also visit the university quarter with Collegium Maius – the oldest building of the Jagiellonian University. John Paul II was studying here .
In the afternoon – a walking tour of Kazimierz – the old Jewish quarter – a must see for anyone who is coming to Krakow. The history of Kazimierz dates back to 1335 when it was founded as an island town by King Kazimierz the Great. During over 500 years it was housing the Krakow’s Jews and became a major European centre for the Diaspora. When strolling along the narrow streets, you’ll feel the unforgettable and unique atmosphere of this quarter with its synagogues and museums, numerous cafés, restaurants and art galleries. During the tour we’ll visit the Remuh Synagogue and old cemetery and fascinating photo exhibition in Galicja Jewish Museum. Dinner with klezmer music concert and overnight.
In the morning – visit to the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki. Saint Faustina Kowalska lived and died here. In 2002 John Paul II consecrated the newly built church and during the consecration mass he entrusted the whole world to Divine Mercy. We continue to Wadowice – the birthplace of John Paul II. In Karol Wojtyla’s hometown we’ll see the house where he used to live and visit the basilica where he was baptized. Next we travel to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska (UNESCO). The sanctuary in Kalwaria (established in 17the century) is one of the most famous pilgrimage places in Poland. The Pope visited it very often as a young boy, priest and bishop to pray when strolling along the Paths of Calvary. The last point of the tour will be Lanckorona – a small, picturesque town with its landmark - steep market square surrounded by wooden arcaded houses of the 19th century.
In the afternoon - guided tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mine (UNESCO). The mine, one of the oldest in the world, is visited every year by over one million of tourists from all over the world. During the tour you’ll admire 20 salt rock chambers (with a magnificent St. King’s chapel), underground saline lakes, numerous salt sculptures and impressive timber constructions.
Dinner and overnight in Krakow.
Breakfast. Departure for Czestochowa – the most famous Marian sanctuary and pilgrimage place in Poland, where the miraculous icon of Black Madonna is kept.
In the afternoon we travel to Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum (UNESCO). Located about 70 km from Krakow, this former Nazi concentration camp is one of the best known places of genocide in the world. About 1,3 million people lost their life there. Nowadays the preserved Memorial consists of two parts Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II – Birkenau. The site is a key place of memory for the whole of humankind for the holocaust, racist policies and barbarism […] and a sign of warning of the many threats and tragic consequences of extreme ideologies and denial of human dignity (UNESCO WHL, Statement of Significance). John Paul II visited the former concentration camp during his first pilgrimage (as a Pope) to Poland in 1979.
Dinner and overnight in Krakow.
Breakfast. Full day tour to Podhale Region and Zakopane – the winter capital of Poland. The town is located at the foot of Tatra mountains – the highest mountain range in Poland. It’s famous for the traditions of the Gorale (the highlanders) – people living there, unique architecture style and of course stunning views of the mountains. This region was beloved by John Paul II and the person of the Pope is commemorated in many places there. After reaching Zakopane, we’ll use a funicular to ride up the Gubalowka Mount – you’ll never forget the breathtaking scenery that can be seen from there. Then the tour continues with highlights of Zakopane – the old cemetery, Villa Atma, the Papal Sanctuary of the Holy Virgin of Fatima at Krzeptowki (built as a votive offering for saving Pope’s life after the assesination attempt in 1981) and beautiful wooden Jaszczurowka Chapel (one of the best examples of the local Zakopane style in arts and architecture). We won’t miss Krupowki – the most famous street of the town and the best place for souvenirs hunters. On the way back to Krakow, we’ll visit Chocholow – a village looking like an open-air museum, famous for numerous 19th century wooden houses and the Sanctuary of our Lady Queen of Podhale in Ludzmierz, visited numerous times by the Pope.
Airport transfer and departure from Krakow.