The 1,000-year-old former capital of Poland, Krakow is the only large urban area in the nation that escaped World War II without serious damage. (The retreating Nazis wired the city so they could blow it up with dynamite, but the Polish resistance cut the wires.) Coupled with Krakow's physical beauty is its standing as the country's cultural center, making it a truly must-see destination.

You can take a fast train between Warsaw and Krakow—it makes the 155 mi/250 km journey in a little more than two hours. If time permits, drive there from Warsaw; though the journey can take as few as four hours, allow the better part of a day so you can stop and soak in the beautiful farmland, rivers and towns along the way.

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