One of your obvious starting points in town is Wawel Hill. A dragon once inhabited the cave beneath the castle. And if you don't believe this, have a look at the bones chained by the door of cathedral. No, they're not a giant duck - how dare you entertain such a thought! They belonged to an especially mischievous dragon. Thankfully, the beast was slain by a clever cobbler who left a spicy surprise for the beast. He filled a sheep's carcass with sulphur, sowed it up using his shoe-making skills, and then left the morsel outside the dragon's lair. Next morn, the dragon woke up, gobbled up the bait, and promptly exploded, he being a fire-breathing fellow.
There are many legends relating to Wawel Castle, but first let's single out the main sites of interest. The hill has provided a home for royalty since the thirteenth century. Much of the castle that you see today hails from Poland's Golden Age, the Renaissance. The magnificent arcaded courtyard dates from this time. Aha, we'll have to slip in another legend here, otherwise you might think that everyone's lost their marbles. Well, those funny looking fellows you see prostrating themselves against the wall; they believe that a magic Chakra stone is lodged beneath the castle. Legend tells that Lord Shiva scattered seven magical stones across the world, and one fell right here. This being a Catholic country, you might think that the locals wouldn't indulge such a story. But you'd be wrong, most of the Chakra pilgrims are devout Catholics.
You can have a wander around the castle interiors, the tickets are not expensive. That said, a lot of the best stuff was taken when Poland was itself gobbled up in the late eighteenth century. The Prussians swiftly melted down the crown jewels and much more. However, music lovers might check to see if there are any concerts during the evening, which would be the best way to enjoy the interiors. Here you'll be surrounded by the famed Flemish tapestries, a favourite of the ill-starred King Sigismund Augustus.
The Cathedral is also a must see. It's no gargantuan edifice like Notre-Dame. But it's a time capsule of Poland's history. What's more, there are some utterly beautiful works of art, most of which can be found in the side chapels. The chapels belonged to either monarchs (who were elected after 1569) or Poland's grandest aristocratic families. The silver sepulchre in the centre of the cathedral holds the remains of St. Stanislas, whose life almost exactly mirrors that of the English Saint Thomas a' Beckett. Kings were crowned at the foot of this shrine. And speaking of Kings, almost all of Poland's monarchs were laid to rest in the crypts below the castle. There you'll also find the tombs of many Polish heroes, including poets, generals and men of state.
Last but not least, if you're here with children there's only one way to leave the hill - through the dragons lair. Head west from the cathedral until you meet the balustrade overlooking the river. On your left is a small, domed structure that will lead you down into the realm of the beast. Once you come out the other side you'll meet the monster himself - OK it's a statue, but like any self-respecting dragon, he does breathe fire.