One of Europe's finest examples of historical architectural beauty that ranks alongside Austria's Vienna and Italy's Florence, the once regal capital of Krakow has retained much of its ancient charm.
By far the most exuberant attraction is the huge Rynek Glowny, or Grand Square, which has long been the heartbeat of the city's Old Town district. Stretching over ten acres, the square is an unavoidable must-see for any tourists visiting Krakow.
Krakow hostels in and around the Grand Square maintain some of the city's historically social charm as well as reflecting some of the finer points of gothic architecture. The 13th century grid of streets surrounding it alone offer no end of hidden cultural treasures, from cafes to museums.
In the square itself the tower of the St Mary's Basilica dominates the skyline and the neighboring St Wojciech Church. Built in the 14th century, its exterior is dwarfed in stature by the immense interior altarpiece, complete with ancient religious carvings.
Rising beyond its once functional beginnings as a centre for industrial trade, the Sukiennice or Cloth Hall building is one of Krakow's most distinguished and recognisable landmarks. The huge covered floor was once an international market for the textile trade.
St Wojciech Church is a diminutive, yet significant piece of architecture, finding its own small corner in the expanse of the Grand Square. Often one of the first ports of call for tourists with an interest in history, it is one of the oldest churches in the country, built in the 11th century.
The Grand Square also plays host to a variety of restaurants, bars and cafes, offering tourists rare, yet beautiful surroundings (compared to their Krakow hostels) in which to enjoy their food or coffee during the summer.
There are also seasonal events hosted in the square, although the highlight is without a doubt the New Year's Eve party - one of the most significant in the Polish calendar.
Before settling down and becoming a copywriter for HostelBookers. Paul Scottyn did a backpacking tour of Poland, he checked out a variety of the country's budget accommodation, including a number of most Krakow hostels .