Hello fellow travelers!
I am sure you have heard about Krakow , that beautiful city of Poland , that seems to be getting a lot of fame lately , you get to see it more often on Insta and you are kind of wondering if it is really worth a visit . And here i am , to tell you that is TOTALLY worth of your time and in fact that is a short guide to your visit to Krakow.
I am lucky enough ( since i am half polish) , to have been in this city more than once , and in my opinion Krakow is the most beautiful large city of Poland ( i find it more beautiful than Warsaw ) , because she has kept all the medieval beauty that the capital unfortunately lost during the WW2 bombings .
You can get there , by plane from most big cities worldwide , or by train if you live near by or just visiting other polish cities . From Warsaw for example , it is a short 3 hours route and the train ticket is super cheap ( about 15 euros , if you book it online).
Now , lets see why Krakow should get in your bucket list asap!
Krakow’s fairy tale old town
Nothings beats , waking up in the morning and looking at all these bright colors of the old town , trust me! Accommodation is quite cheap in Krakow , so you can easily find a central beautiful room and feel like you went back in time ! I stayed in the most beautiful apt , with the comfiest bed just 3 min from the main square and i payed less that 40 euros per night . Nice!
Get lost in the alleys , observe the beautiful architecture , have your coffee in the main square Rynek Glowny , one the largest medieval squares of Europe and wander around the central market Sukiennice, the ideal place to buy your souvenirs or just have a good time. In the basement you can find the entrance for the old catacombs , now converted into a very interesting museum.
Krakow to do
See in person Holy Mary’s Church , one of the most important cathedrals of Poland , in which the Pope John Paul the second , performed as a vicar for a long time , before becoming the well known Pope. In Krakow , you will see that people feel extra proud for providing the first Polish Pope , and if you are into religious stuff , there all a lot of excursions and tours about his life and more.
If you suddenly hear a blare , raise your head towards one of the two towers of the Church . Every hour , this sad song is played from a man , in memory of the trumpet player who got deadly hit by a Mongolian arrow , whilst he was warning the city of an invasion. This ritual is so important for polish people , that you can hear the noon blare , on the polish national radio every day!
Inside the temple , lays a huge piece of art , the known Gothic tibial carved by Wit Stwosz somewhere near the 16th century.
Climb the Wawel Castle
On top of the hill , you can see the magnificent Wavel Castle built during the days , when Krakow was Poland’s capital city! Entering the castle’s walls , you will walk on paved alleys and you will end up in front of Wavel’s cathedral , in which many kings , presidents and well-known writers have been buried.
On the back side of the Castle , you will find a huge spiral staircase , which the myth claimed ,leaded to the Wavel Dragon ,a bad dragon, who used to eat all the citizen’s animals , until one day one brave man managed to kill him by making him drink a lot of water from the near by , Vistula River. Pretty lame story , but it is worth the climbing , since you get to touch the enormous bell , that brings luck and good fortune!
Have fun in Kazimierz
Ex Jewish Quarter , one of World’s Heritage Sights and nowadays center of hippy cafes and restaurants is the Kazimierz District . If you want to have fun , experience the urban nightlife and have some great food this is the place to be ! If it feels familiar , it is because you have probably seen it in “Schindler’s List “, the famous movie !
With regards to restaurants in the specific area , bear in mind that they are booked most of the time , so make a reservation soon enough! If you are a solo female traveler , be careful of a lot the drunk polish people ( common sight) . They mean no harm but they might get a bit provocative.
Start your day at Charlotte
You can find Café Charlotte , some meters before the Old Town entrance and trust me it is a place you cannot miss ! Choose a comfy spot in the basement , right where all the breads and croissants are being baked , order an omelet and try their homemade marmalade ! Everything is delicious , we personally ended up eating our breakfast there every morning of our stay.
Milk Bar is also I new trend , I guess I have to go back and try it!
Visit Auschwitz and Wieliczka Salt Mines
Since you have made it to Krakow , it is inexcusable to not visit the Auschwitz -Birkenau Camp , the largest Nazi’s concentration camp in Europe . It is not a fun trip , you will not have a great time but traveling is more than beers and dancing . Is living self- shaking experiences , and this day trip was , for me ,the strongest most powerful experience ever. Everything I had ever read and seen in movies was becoming a living reality right there in front of my eyes .
We choose to go along with See Krakow
Read more about my Auschwitz experience HERE
Read more about the Salt Mines HERE