On the Vistula River, Krakow is Poland's second-largest city and for all intents and purposes perhaps the country's cultural hub. John Paul II (the city's airport is named for him) was Krakow's archbishop before he became Pope, and this city is a city of spires, with more than 120 churches present. The city's Old Town and Historic District has been listed by UNESCO and is a major tourism attraction. Meeting venues in Krakow reflect its long history.
Seven miles west of the city is the John Paul II International Airport Krakow-Balice (KRK). No airlines have direct service from the U.S., but convenient European stopovers include Dublin, London and Frankfurt.
There are currently no dedicated convention venues in Krakow, although a conference center is in the planning stage. Hotel venues in Krakow are a combination of the international and national. The former category includes the 232-room Sheraton Krakow, which has 12 meeting rooms; 196-room Radisson Blu, which has eight meeting rooms, and 154-room Holiday Inn Krakow City Center, which has five meeting rooms. Excellent boutique choices include the 29-room Copernicus (named for the famous Polish astronomer), which has the Fireplace Hall for meetings, and 18-room Wentzl, which is the only hotel on Main Market Square (Rynek Glowny w Krakowie), one of the Old City's main people-watching spots; adjacent is the sibling Wentzl restaurant, one of Krakow's most-celebrated eateries.
There should be no surprise that there are many wonderful event spaces in a city that dates to 966. The Archeological Museum, but it was built in 1850, is close to Main Market Square and has a function room for up to 100 persons and garden grounds that can host events of up to 1,000. The ornate Juliusz Slowacki Theater's origins are from the same century, from 1893 to be exact. It can host dinners for up to 120 persons in the lobby and vestibule, while the maximum number of persons it can cater to is 600 for receptions. Also in the Old City is the Krzysztofory Palace, a beautiful building that contains the Royal and Baltazar Fontana rooms that together can sit 80 persons for dinner. Impressive is the city's Tadeusz Kosciuszko Mound, which commemorates the Polish military general who played a large part in the American Revolution. A walk to the top of the mound results in great views and lost calories, but dinners for up to 150 persons in the adjacent fort's stately confines will put them back on; its courtyard can host dinners of up to 230 persons.
Dining venues in Krakow welcome groups. The spectacular Jan Noworolski Cafe in the Old City has four rooms named for colors (blue, brown, celadon and green) that can host a combined 120 persons, while very close is Wierzynek, which has nine rooms, including one called the Imagination Chamber. On Main Market Square is Cafe Sukiennice, while, despite it being outside of the Old City, U Ziyada is in the fairytale Przegorzaly Castle and has two rooms for groups, the Cafe and Restaurant rooms, with space for up to 300 persons. Also in Krakow's Old City is Pod Aniolami, which dates to the 13th century and can host as many as 120 persons.