Even for those who know or care little about the country’s past, Poland’s ancient seat of royalty contains a vast wealth of treasures inside its heavily fortified walls that can’t fail to inspire. Made up of the Castle and the Cathedral, of which the former contains most, but by no means all of the exhibitions, Wawel’s must-see highlights include the opulent State Rooms, a tantalising glimpse of Poland’s very own crown jewels inside the Crown Treasury, the historical interiors of the Cathedral, and - weather permitting - a leisurely stroll around its courtyards and gardens. After the April 2010 Smolensk disaster, Wawel's Royal Crypts became the final resting place of President Lech Kaczyński and his wife Maria; their tombs are open to the public free of charge.
A full tour of Wawel is hard but rewarding work, and can take several days. Take note that due to the site's popularity, it is necessary to reserve tickets for the tours or exhibits you are interested in 2 or more weeks in advance; if not, make sure to arrive as early as possible or you may discover that tickets have sold out.