Posts Tagged With: visit europe

Seven Sisters : Trek from Seaford to Eastbourne

March’15

A bunch of crazy people of a trekking group randomly meet from different parts of England to spend a day walking from one town to another crossing one of the most iconic natural landmarks of the country.

This is the account of a day long trek of the cliffs of Seven Sisters in East Sussex. And I was one of those crazy trekkers.

Seaford

We all met at Seaford station near the Martello Tower. Led by our guide Lana, we walked towards the seafront. Seaford is a lovely seaside town, east of Brighton and west of Eastbourne, right at the foot of the rolling hills of South Down in East Sussex. It has scenic beaches and is a perfect spot for lazy summers.

It was a cold, misty and cloudy day. Too add to the fun, it was quite breezy.

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A view of one of the beaches of Seaford in South Downs.

South Downs National Park:

Our walk commences into the South Downs National Park which is home to the white chalky cliffs of Seven Sisters with the dreamy blue waters of English Chanel washing their feet. The  The walking trails are clearly defined.

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Commencing the walk. The ascent to the cliffs was right in front of us.

Due to some parts of the South Downs being closed, we had to take a diversion, bit of a roundabout to Cuckmere Valley Park crossing beautiful scenery of Cuckmere Haven

And some stopped by Cuckmere Valley Inn for a quick refreshment

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The beautiful and cute Cuckmere Inn huddled among green bushes and trees.

Continuing our walk, we now approach the majestic chalky cliffs overlooking the vast expanse of the English Channel.

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The Seven Sisters

The Seven Sisters are seven cliffs. All of them have different names. They are in a nice sketchy pattern with gradually declining arches. The names of the cliffs from west to east are: Haven Brow, Short Brow, Rough Brow, Brass Point, Flagstaff Brow, Bailey’s Hill and Went Hill.(Source : http://www.visitsoutheastengland.com/places-to-visit/seven-sisters-p274481)

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Birling Gap : A beautiful spot with a restaurant of National Trust from where you can admire some really scenic views and click some envious shots.

Next few hours was trekking up and down all seven cliffs. My pace was falling, so were my legs. The views are worth every painful muscle.

Few shots along the way, a misty and cloudy day throughout with sporadic drizzles.

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These rocks seemed to have the side face of a haggard man. Rather many side profiles. Interesting work of nature

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We can see Beachy Head at a distance which is the highest cliff point. While it looks near, we have a good distance to walk upto it.

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There is a red lighthouse here, very similar to the cliffs of Dover. In contrast to the chalky cliffs and lovely blue waters, this is like a bright color brush stroke on a mundane painting.

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Beachy Head :Chalky Headland on English Channel. Also known as Suicide Point. (No wonder)

 

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The undulating terrain of the cliffs is its real beauty. A motor-able road for those who want to take it easy and chilled out.

 

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Another angle of the winding roads

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The sun is slowly settling down. There are breathtaking views as it plays a hide and seek behind the clouds.

As our lovely walk nears closure, we could get the first sight of the beautiful town of Eastbourne from the vantage point of the South Downs park. We have to walk all the way down to that road. As we walk we decide what to do next in the town, and needless to say the unanimous choice is to rest our limbs and treat our famished self at some very well known fish and chips local joints.

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Eastbourne. Very European, red roofs, terracotta shades and some lovely beaches.

Oh, what a day it has was. As I boarded my train from Eastbourne for a long journey of 2 hours back to my home at Reading, I relaxed and reminisced the day long walk , the strain in my calves and tingling numbness in my toes actually felt very rewarding. I would surely come back for another trip probably in summers when its less windy and we have more sun.

Vital Stats

How to reach Seaford or Eastbourne : Both these stations have railway stations which connect them to London and many other main stations. If you are coming from London, you can take trains from London Victoria to Seaford. There is a change that you have to make at Lewes. The change time is very short and you have to change platforms. So be quick. To book tickets and see timetables refer http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

When to visit Seven Sisters : Even if you are driving up to the South Downs National Park, it will be advisable to visit during summers i.e June-August time frame. If its too wet and windy, it may get difficult to walk around.

Where and What to eat : Both Seaford and Eastbourne are coastal towns and have a great selection of sea food delicacies at their local joints. We had fish and chips in Eastbourne at Qualisea Fish Restaurant which has been dishing mouth watering seafood delights since 1964.

 

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Categories: Chalky Cliffs, Cliffs, England coastline, europe, seven sisters, solo travel, travel, travel blog, travel europe, Uncategorized, visit britain, visit england | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Budapest by Night!

Its no Las Vegas, no Dubai, nor a Japanese spangled city.

This is the snazzy, flamboyant and ‘youthful’ historical city of BUDAPEST!

Of all the East European capital cities I have visited, my favorite stands the Hungarian capital city. It resembles Prague in many ways; however I felt Budapest to be so congenial, a city that seemed to be speaking to me through its streets, the beautiful Danube, the different shades of its vast skies and its glittering nights.

Every traveler has to ‘consume’ Budapest at night. Its a Must. The city changes its mood, sheds its formal day clothing and starts the night long party. River Danube glitters with centuries old historical jewels on its banks. I spent three hours at nightfall sitting by the banks of Danube admiring, clicking and not getting enough of the lovely views. A dreamy hour of river cruise, what I would say was one of the best I have ever done. Here are my pictures of Budapest at Night, a must do!

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Iconic scene, most clicked and most loved. Chain Bridge on River Danube. In the background is the illuminated Buda castle.

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On the banks of Danube, a glittering monument

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St Stephens Basilica. A massive structure with busy eating joints around it.

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Hosok tere: Heroes Square known for its imposing statues and the column of victory. A UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Archangel Gabriel holding the holy crown of Hungary. Quite an impressive sight when you zoom in your lens.

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The left colonnade of statues of statesmen at Hosok tere

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And the right colonnade of imposing statues.

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The statues at the Basement of the victory tower of 7 chieftains.

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Back to Danube. In the background you can see the Mathias Church, the Fisherman’s Bastion, churches and the illuminated streets

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One of the most impressive structures of Budapest, The Buda Castle in the Castle District. The lit up castle was truly a fantastic site from the other side of Danube

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While Chain Bridge hogs all limelight, there are many more beautiful bridges on Danube. A night cruise will take you underneath many of them.

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And my favorite, The most beautiful monument in Budapest which dazzles both at night and equally at day, The Parliament. Gothic architecture at its best!

Note to Travelers

  • River Cruise on Danube can be purchased from any operator which you will find at all tourist spots. Some of them are operated by the City Sightseeing Tours which i took as well. Cruise prices vary according to timing and also according to the services. The one i took was at 10 pm and the duration was 1.5 hours. It costed 4200 HUF, around 12-13 Euros. They served a welcome drink (champagne) and another drink of your choice. There are options of dinner and music as well.
Categories: budapest, budapest at night, capital city, eastern europe, hungary, monuments of budapest, places to see in budapest, places to see in hungary, places to visit in budapest, river cruise, what to see in budapest | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The soulful town of Bangor, Northern Ireland

Sometimes the most blissful experiences in life are the simplest.

And sometimes impromptu!

For a change for this trip I was not Solo….And it was ‘We‘ who never planned, rather did not even know there is a place called Bangor that existed. Since we did not have much options in Belfast, because of a late start to the day, we reluctantly settled to take a short train journey to this almost unknown place….

And little did we know…..

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The port of Bangor

Bangor is a maritime sea town in Northern Ireland. Around 11-12 miles from the capital city of Belfast, Bangor was a historic coastal summer retreat for the English. Blessed with envious beaches, this town has been a haven for seafarers and sailors as well.

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The sails on the port. Check the Victorian houses in the backdrop

After a good walk around the port, we came to the pier. A £5 boating trip in the Atlantic Ocean! Well it wasnt really bad, rather quite lucrative. With a bright sunny day, this was going to be a fantastic ride.

Indeed it was….

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Views from the Boat ride in the Ocean

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The lovely blue swelled up Ocean, albeit quite cold.

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View of the Bangor town from the Boat. Lovely row of Victorian houses along the sea.

The Most Beautiful Walk in Northern Ireland : North Down Coastal Path

Standing on one side of the Bangor coast, confused whether to take a train back to Belfast or walk for sometime along the coast to explore.This is a long coastal path from Hollywood to Bangor. My legs were still strong and after settling for a nice whippy ice-cream, we decided to walk few miles down the coastal path.

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The starting of the coastal path from the Bangor town

Now in hindsight, I thank my stars that we decided to walk….

For me, this was the walk of my Lifetime….

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Views of the coastal walk

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The rocky coast of Bangor

And all the way we stopped to swallow a mouthful of the breathtaking scenery. What a lovely surprise Bangor turned out to be.

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Probably one of my most beautiful clicks

And we continue to walk…

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The rocks and the marine flora and fauna

Tired?? No certainly not…I was loving this walk and wanted to walk some more…so we continued…

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The green meadow walk alongside the Irish Sea

And as the evening was setting in, we enjoyed walking the beach. The beach is broken, somewhere more muddy, somewhere with more pebbles. Charles Dickens is believed to have relaxed and bathed on one of these beaches.

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The beautiful almost deserted beach

By now we had walked for more than three hours…

It was a heavenly walk. I have never in my life walked such a picturesque stretch of dreamy skies, shimmering blue sea, lush green meadows, a horizon to sit and gaze for a lifetime; walking beside someone I truly adore.

Travel gives us memories to cherish; To hold those priceless moments for a lifetime. A part of me is still in Bangor, walking that beautiful path; wishing it never ends.

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The sun about to kiss goodbye on the Bangor beach

The sea hath its pearls,
The heaven hath its stars;
But my heart, my heart,
My heart hath its love….

———-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Little Secret; Big Surprise : Gdansk, Poland

Poland was never on my list of ‘To be visited countries’, however my work gave me this glorious opportunity quite a few times, and what more can I say now, I love this country more than any other in Europe.

If you are not able to pronounce ‘Gdansk‘, its acceptable, neither was I. G-dansk or Danzig in German is a small port city on the Baltic sea-coast. Along with its picturesque neighboring cities Gydnia and Sopot, they form the famous ‘Tri-City‘ which is the next most upcoming hot spot for multinational organisations. With its modern infrastructure and lots of skilled workforce, we too went there as part of a project for my organisation.

I stayed here for two days. As part of my work I attended a job fair at Gdansk University, meeting a whole lot of professionals from other organisations and a bright young generation of students who on an average speak 2-4 languages. Our morning started with a quick visit to the beach. The questions in my head ‘Whats there in Gdansk’ were answered as I was stunned by the beauty of its coastline.

The Beaches!

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Gdansk Beach early morning

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And a pic in the evening as the sun goes down

The city comes alive during summers when it starts buzzing with tourists. A much cheaper and affordable beach holiday destination compared to its neighbours. My visit was during March which was pretty cold.

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Gearing up for the oncoming Summers. A beach shack under renovation.

Old Town

Like any other European City, the nucleus of the City is the Old Town which is a legacy of the heritage of the country. Gdansk old town is quaint and picturesque lined with old rustic buildings, churches and narrow cobbled streets. Couple of hours is good enough for a tour. And i would insist as always, to reserve your time for enjoying and clicking after dark.

Gdansk old Town is in the Tentative List to enter the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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Old Town, Gdansk

Town Hall

The towering spire of the Town Hall is visible from quite a distance. Gleaming in the setting sun. this clock tower was re-built after it was ruined in the World War II. I didn’t get a chance to visit inside, however I have read about its ornamental painted ceiling and other spectacular exhibits.

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The Main Town Hall

St Mary’s Church

You would be surprised to know this; St Mary’s Church, in this small city is the largest brick church in the world. The church is massive and certainly an architectural marvel. Located in a congested area, I couldn’t find any spot from where i could click a full photo of the church.

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St Marys Church

The Church has modest interiors at the first look, however a walk around would unearth a beautiful ornate organ…

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View of the organ

….And many rare Gothic and Baroque paintings in the Church as well.

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A painting and exhibits on one of the walls of the Church

The Green Gate

Paraded by the Polish Kings, the Royal Route is an architectural delight, starting from the Upland Gate to the Golden Gate thru the Long road which is lined with beautiful monuments and ends at the Green Gate.

Green Gate has now become a tourist spot, famous for its four arches. It houses a museum too. If you are in the center of the Old Town you cannot miss it.

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The Green Gate

Streets of Gdansk Old Town

Gdansk is a small town out of a Russian Fairy tale. It has lovely streets that you can incessantly admire and photograph.
Small town with colorful buildings and of course the old world charm.

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One of the streets in Old Town of Gdansk

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Another beautiful street at nightfall

River Motlawa

Gdansk perches on River Motlawa. Lined with old houses, few modern buildings and eateries, it does give it a little dreamy Parisian feel. One of my favorite views of the sketchy buildings on the banks of the river.

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On the banks of River Motlawa

Food

A seaside place has the advantage of treating you with fresh catch. Gdansk like other Polish cities was a delight for food specially meat lovers. We ate at a small restaurant called Big Apple. There is McDonalds, Istanbul Kebab shops and many other fast food joints as well if you want to go with the usual.

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Wild Rice with salad, fried meat liver, fish in a white colored curry and boiled vegetables

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That a giant salmon fillet with carrots in a white curry, tomato flavoured rice, fried meat livers and carrot juice..

Ulica Mariacka

More popularly known among the tourists as St Mary’s Street. Words would be less to describe the enigma of this street which is truly timeless. This is an old secluded street which has attracted lovers and artists for last many years.
Flanked by eateries and museums which are really as small as your washroom, this street was re-constructed after the World War II. A Must click at nightfall. My favourite recommended Must See Destination for All.

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Ulica Mariacka, From St Mary’s Church to Motlawa River

Note for Travelers

How to reach Gdansk – Fly to Gdansk from Warsaw or other European destinations. It has a full fledged airport. You can reach here by train as well from major destinations like Warsaw or Berlin. I traveled from Warsaw to Gdansk by Train and it costed 150 PLN and was about 3 hours.

Where to Stay in Gdansk – Many hotels are there in the city. You could book something a little closer to the beach if you are camping here in summers. I stayed in Golden Beach Resort which was 10 minutes walking distance from the Gdansk Beach.

– Language spoken is Polish, a fair understanding of English is selective. The currency used is Polish Zloty.

Categories: baltic sea coast, basilica, cathedral, cathedrals of europe, catherdals of poland, church, gdansk, must visit in gdansk, old town, places to see in gdansk, poland, streets, travel europe, travel gdansk, travel poland, visit gdansk, visit poland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wavel Castle, Krakow – Walking in the footsteps of Polish Kings

A hot sunny afternoon today and I have been dreaming since last night about being one of the Polish queens walking the Royal route alongside my King in the timeless streets of Krakow. Well sounds preposterous and very bloggish to write some invented crap like this. To be honest I do take my historical travels seriously. Okay!! After these possibly ‘LOL’ statements, I need to really say that I couldn’t help writing this tripping specifically on Wavel Castle; it was indeed one of the most impressive fortress I have visited till date in Europe.

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First sight of Wavel Castle

The mighty Wavel Castle situated on Wavel Hill in Krakow is built in Gothic style. Cited in many records are evidences of earliest settlement on Wavel Hill in Paleolithic age, hence human establishments and trade grew around it. For many centuries this was the royal residence of the Polish Kings. Today this is a symbol of Polish Heritage and a reflection of its rich culture.

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The edifice of the Wavel Castle from mthe riverside

Me and my friend just had an hour in between work which was our lunch break; we decided to munch something on the way as we both wanted to tour the castle. Staying close by was a boon; we grabbed a ‘zapiekanka’ each and walked up the gentle climb to the castle entrance.

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Entrance to the castle. Rather this is the view while we exit.

The giant doors admit everyone in and you can tour the grounds and get great views of River Vistula and a part of Krakow without any entry charges.

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One such view from the grounds of the Castle

As we walked to the main square inside the castle compound, I was suddenly taken aback by the beautiful architecture of the buildings inside, the multiple domes, sculptures, the whole ambience glistening in the sun looked quite a fascinating sight..

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The inside view of the Castle Compound

The Castle compound houses the Wavel Cathedral, Museums, Royal Crypts, State Rooms and Royal Private Apartments, Sigismund Bell. You can take anywhere from an hour to maybe a day to take a tour of the Castle. With the crunch of time we had, we decided to tour the major and most talked about corners of the Castle and the first one being the Wavel Catherdral

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Wavel Cathedral and the domes of the Royal Crypts. The golden dome undoubtedly stands out.

The interior of the Cathedral was stunningly jaw dropping. Its rich golden gilded pillars and altar, silver statues and exuberant tapestries, all spelled luxury and wealth of the Polish Kings. This is supposed to be the third Cathedral as the previous two were destroyed. There are more than 15 chapels inside the Cathedral which are all ostentatiously decorated. Photography is not permitted inside. This is definitely a must visit monument in Krakow.

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The front of The Wavel Cathedral

From the Cathedral, there is an alley leading to the inside of the Castle. The beautiful creamy Castle Courtyard is flanked by stately rooms. There is also an exhibition in one of the ground floor rooms which houses the world famous painting ‘Lady with an ermine’ by Leonardo da Vinci; one of the three of of his oil paintings in the world and a close cousin of Mona Lisa in ‘being mysterious’.

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The Castle Courtyard

Next me and my pal made our way up through a dark cellar with rustic narrow wooden steps to view the Sigismund Bell. The Bell is up at the top of the Tower and its quite a gruesome climb up but an interesting one. While you climb up the dark woody staircase you will cross few huge iron bells as well.

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Bells on the climb to the Bell Tower

Finally after all the sweat and strained knees, we reach the belfry of the tower. Hanging from the wooden ceiling is this giant intimidating bronze monster, Sigismund Bell, supposedly weighing 13 tonnes. This bell rings till date on national days and important festivals and the gong is heard as far as 50 kms. A true testimony of Polish heritage.

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The Sigismund Bell

It was truly rewarding to have walked the path of the Polish Kings all the way from the Wavel Cathedral to the Stately Apartments and Courtyard and then shed some sweat on our ascent to the Bell Tower. Before we take a flight down the steps to the Castle grounds, captured some lovely views of Krahow City from behind the ‘bars’ at the Belfry.

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The chariming city of Krakow as seen from the Sigismund Bell Tower at Wavel Castle

*Note to Travelers*

– Tickets to the Wavel Castle can be purchased from the Wavel Castle Office.

– The entry to the Castle Apartments, Bell Tower, Royal Crypts, Exhibition is all through the Wavel cathedral which shall be your entry point to explore all the spots.

Categories: castle, castles of europe, cathedral, cathedrals of europe, catherdals of poland, churches of poland, travel europe, travel krakow, travel poland, visit krakow, visit poland, wavel castle, wavel cathedral | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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