Basic 9-Day Itinerary

World Youth Day 2016 – Krakow, Poland

July 24 – August 1, 2016

Official WYD dates and calendar are subject to Vatican scheduling.

7 Nights in Krakow, Poland 

Sunday, July 24, Day 1:
Depart USA

We depart USA en route to Krakow, Poland, with meals and beverages aloft.

Monday, July 25, Day 2:
Arrive & Transfer to Krakow

We arrive and are met by our representative of Catholic Travel Centre. We proceed to Krakow where we have some time to rest from our journey. Tonight we enjoy dinner at our hotel. (D)

Tuesday, July 26, Day 3:
Krakow – Opening Ceremony & Mass

Krakow – one of the great cities of Europe, rich in culture and history, and the former archbishopric of Pope John Paul II. This is our home for the next week!

This morning we enjoy a tour of old Krakow, the most charming old city in all of Poland. We begin our walking tour in the Jewish Quarter at Kazimierz, and then proceed to St. Stanislaw on the Rock Church, where the first bishop of Krakow was martyred and whose relics now rest at the Krakow Cathedral. We continue on to Wawel Hill to visit the Cathedral.

We make our way to Kanonicza Street, pausing at the address where Pope John Paul II resided while he served as Archbishop of Krakow. We pass by the Jagiellonian University and come to the main market square, one of the most scenic public squares in all of Europe. Our visit includes the Mariacki Church and the walls that protected the city in the days when Krakow served as the home of the Polish kings. This afternoon we participate in the official opening of the World Youth Day in Krakow. (B)

Wednesday, July 27, Day 4:
Krakow – Catechesis & Youth Festival

Today is filled with World Youth Day activities, with catechesis in the morning and youth festival activities for the remainder of the time. (B)

Thursday, July 28, Day 5:
Krakow – Catechesis & Youth Festival

Today is filled with World Youth Day activities, with catechesis in the morning and youth festival activities for the remainder of the time. (B)

During these days in Krakow, working along with the official schedule of events, we can organize various excursions, customized for your group. Or you may wish to add a day to your itinerary to include some of these sites. Here are some ideas for places you may wish to visit:

  • Divine Mercy Shrine in Lagiewniki, Krakow
    The Sanctuary is situated in the buildings of the monastery of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, which was founded for girls and women in need. St. Faustina Kowalska lived here. As a result of Our Lord’s revelations to Sr. Faustina, devotion to Divine Mercy has grown worldwide. She was canonized in the year 2000. Pope John Paul II was a frequent pilgrim to this shrine. In this place, the Pope solemnly entrusted the world to the Divine Mercy.
  • Salt Mine in Wieliczka
    A visit to the Salt Mine is an underground journey through the labyrinth of corridors, chambers, and drifts. The history of the Wieliczka salt mine dates back to the 13th century, and the mine continued to produce salt until 2007. Today, it is the largest mining museum in the world, where you can admire equipment and mining technologies dating back to the Middle Ages. Visitors are led through the numerous chambers, and are shown underground lakes, caves, and mine corridors lined with salt sculptures. The biggest attraction is the Chapel of St. Kinga – a place of worship carved from salt rock, in its entirety, by the miners. At the end of the tour, you reach 442 feet below sea level.
  • Auschwitz – Nazi Concentration Camp of World War II
    This is an obligatory destination for every citizen of the world:  the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Every year, millions of visitors walk through the gate bearing signage: “Arbeit macht frei” (Work makes you free). Only here you can imagine the scope of the Holocaust. Auschwitz-Birkenau was built and operated by the Third Reich as a concentration camp for Polish political prisoners in areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II. From early 1942 until late 1944, it became a focal point for the extermination of nearly 1.5 million prisoners, about 90 percent of whom were Jewish.
  • Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec, Krakow
    According to the local tradition, the Abbey was founded in 1044 and played an important role in the history of Poland. It has always has been a place of prayer, work, and cultivation of Christian culture. For 800 years, in spite of different storms of history, the monks continued to live here. When Poland was taken off the map of the world for 123 years, the Abbey was closed down. The last monk died in 1844. But it was not the end. Life returned to Tyniec in 1939. Today it is again the great place where monastic rhythm goes along with welcoming all visitors who want to stop over for reflection and refreshment. The monastery houses a museum and shop featuring Benedictine products and the possibility to tour the Abbey.
  • Wadowice – Hometown of Pope John Paul II
    “Once again, during my service to the universal Church in the See of Saint Peter, I come to my native town of Wadowice. With great emotion I gaze upon this city of my childhood years, which witnessed my first steps, my first words… The city of my childhood, my family and home, the church of my Baptism … I wish to cross these hospitable thresholds, bow before my native soil and its inhabitants, and utter the words of greeting given to family members upon their return from a long journey: “Praised be Jesus Christ!” From the homily of John Paul II, Wadowice Wednesday, 16 June 1999.There is a museum of Blessed Pop John Paul II located in this, his hometown. We can also enjoy the famous “kremowka” – the favorite cream cake of the beloved pope.

Friday, July 29, Day 6:
Krakow – Catechesis & Youth Festival

This morning is devoted to catechesis, and this afternoon is devoted to praying the Stations of the Cross, a World Youth Day tradition. (B) 

Saturday, July 30, Day 7:
Krakow – Pilgrimage to Prayer Vigil with Holy Father

Today we make our pilgrimage walk to the site of the Closing Mass. Tonight we participate in the Evening Candlelight Vigil with the Holy Father and hundreds of thousands of our fellow pilgrims from around the world. (B)

Sunday, July 31, Day 8:
Closing Mass for World Youth Day 2016

This morning we awake and celebrate the Closing Mass of our World Youth Day Pilgrimage. We return to our accommodations.

Monday, August 1, Day 9:
Return USA

After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our return flight to the USA. (B)

(B) Breakfast
(D) Dinner