Did you know that Krakow is one of the most affordable travel destinations in Europe?I didn’t either! With its awe inspiring city and enticing mixture of historical attractions, cultural experiences and modern day influence, it’s a city that begs to be visited for so many reasons.
It’s here, in the heart of Poland, you’ll find ancient facades towering above cobblestone streets and modern coffee shops next to antique churches and inviting food markets. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?
Take for example Rynek Główny, the main square in Krakow. You can almost picture images of vibrant street vendors and horse drawn carts as they go about their business during medieval times (or that might just be this writers’ imagination). Today this square is still the focal point of the city but it’s home to a very modern people and a vibrant atmosphere which blends seamlessly with the surrounding historical landmarks.
A MUST FOR BREAKFAST:
Hidden away from the bustle of the main square, Charlotte on Plac Szcezepanski is a quaint café and the perfect place to start the morning. Their signature breakfast (Snjadanie Charlotte) is a healthy offering of fresh breads served with a croissant and selection of local jams.
Trip Advisor claims this as the #1 bakery in Krakow – see more.
Each morning on the main square, you will find a number of flag bearing locals offering a free tour of Krakow (you generally tip after the tour).
Taking you through the main square and past the old city walls, these free walking tours will take in a number of fascinating attractions such as the original home of Pope John Paul II before ending at the imposing Wawel Castle. That being said, you will also have an option at this point to explore the castle and then continue your walking tour to the Oskar Schindler Factory.
Having explored the dungeons, bell tower and artifacts inside Wawel Castle, rejoin your walking tour and move away from the old town toward the Jewish Quarter in Krakow.
This fascinating museum highlights the events during Nazi occupation in World War II when the infamous Oskar Schindler saved thousands of Jewish locals from being sent to concentration camps. Once the production line for many different metallic objects, the factory is now home to an incredible array of exhibits and artifacts, as well as a very touching account of what happened in Krakow during this important period.
The Jewish Quarter is a short distance from Schindler’s Factory and an idyllic place to sample some traditional food for lunch. Known as Kazimierz to the locals, this area has been revived since the terrible war which tore it apart and is now a popular destination for food enthusiasts.
Although just about anyone can appreciate the incredible food in Krakow and while street vendors are an affordable option, Pierozki u Vincenta is a remarkable experience should you be able to afford it. From delicate dumplings filled with fresh garlic and mushrooms to the infamous Zapienkake, a baguette with melted cheese, meats and other toppings – there are many options which promise a memorable lunch.
There is a tramline which runs directly from the Jewish Quarter back to the old town but why bypass all the beautiful architecture along the way? Walk off the food and finish your afternoon in the main market on Rynek Glowny Square which will be in full swing by the time you return.
This market is ideal for picking up all kinds of souvenirs or memorabilia from oil paintings and knitted gloves to sparkling jewelery and hand-made wood carvings. As most hotels are situated around the main square in Krakow, you should have a short stroll back to your hotel.
Here are a few places to enjoy a fabulous meal after a long day of walking…
- Przystanek Pierogarnia – Extremely small and traditional, this is the type of local eatery many people seek but never find. It is worth the effort and the food, especially pierogi’s are mouth-watering.
Address: Bonerowska 14, Krakow 31-030, Poland
- Morskie Oko – Very traditional food in the heart of Krakow for anyone who cannot make a trip to the highlands to sample some authentic Polish cuisine.
Address: Szczepanski 8, Old-Town, 31-011
- Szara – Family owned and located in the centre next to the main square, Szara is slightly more expensive but worth the extra cost. Beautiful interior to this restaurant and the menu is a mix of Polish and French foods.
Address: Rynek Glówny 6, 31 042 Kraków
WHERE TO STAY
- Flamingo Hostel (& Private Rooms) – This hostel offers a great budget option for travelers who want a room without paying the full price of a hotel. Friendly staff and easy for meeting people, Flamingo hostel is a great budget place to stay in Krakow.
- Stary Hotel – Situated next to the main square, Stary Hotel is a very old house which was converted into a beautiful boutique hotel and has an astounding reputation despite the small size of the hotel.