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Krakow: Europe's Hidden Gem

Aleksandra poses for a picture in the city square of Krakow

Krakow: Europe's Hidden Gem

KRAKOW IN A NUTSHELL

A beautiful and culturally-rich city, Krakow is one of the gems of Central Europe! Polish people are very humble and polite—there’s no huffing and puffing when you speak English to them. They welcome tourists with warmth and open arms! Plus, our food is hearty, natural, and unbelievably cheap—you can easily find places with three courses, beer, and dessert for less than £5 per person! It makes it very easy to have fun and really indulge in the things that you might normally reserve for special occasions. And when the night comes—the city center is actually waking up!

PLACES TO SEE:

Krakow’s main square (RYNEK GLOWNY) – As the heart of the Old Town, Rynek Glowny is also the biggest market square in Europe. You can find plenty of small breakfast cafes, lunch restaurants, and evening pubs.

Wawel Royal Castle – Krakow’s castle sits at the top of Wawel Hill and is visible from almost anywhere in the city. It is to Krakow as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris—an impressive and truly worthy icon. You can stop by and admire its great architectural treasures for free, but make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the dragon that lives in a cave at the foot of the hill (and yes, it is a statue, but it catches real fire, circa every 20 minutes). Read about the legend here.

Auschwitz concentration camp – In addition to putting the Holocaust fully into perspective, it also sheds light on WWII as a whole. A visit to Auschwitz will force you to consider how lucky we all are to live in the modern world, and appreciate that we are free. A significant and life-affirming experience, it’s a crucial stop for any visitor.

Tip: To save money, take the bus and skip the guided tours. Informational signs posted all around the site allow you to experience the camp in solitude and at your own pace.

Wieliczka salt mines– It is the largest tourist attraction in Poland, registered on the UNESCO list, and a great attraction for visitors of all ages. They have crafted expeditions suitable for a range of skill-levels and interests, where dedicated guides take you through the hardest adrenaline-packed routes with great underground views!

THINGS TO DO:

  • Eat authentic Polish food – Enjoy ‘90s freestyle dining in BAR MLECZNY (milk bar) or more restaurant style in POD WAWELEM.
  • Drink vodka at a proper vodka bar (go to PIJALNIA PIWA I WODKI or WODKA CAFE BAR). There are plenty of nice places serving flavored vodka for just £1. Also, enjoy great drinks and craft beers along the main square and Jewish Quarter. Recommended: KAZIMIERZ (this is more hipster-style one).
  • Party night out – There are plenty of great places just around the main square, so go check them out!
  • Guided horse and cart ride – For about £20, you can take a horse and cart ride through the city streets up to the Wawel Royal Castle. Your guide will talk you through all of the important buildings along the way and it really is a fantastic way to familiarize yourself with the city. Plus, you’ll feel like royalty!
  • Just walk it! – The best thing in every city is to get lost and discover even more beautiful places to see. So just let the city guide you and I am sure you will love it!

DISHES TO TRY:

  • PIEROGI – Polish dumplings filled with meat (PIEROGI Z MIESEM) or potatoes and cottage cheese (PIEROGI RUSKIE), but you can find places that have a vast choice of other, also sweet, fillings.
  • KOTLET SCHABOWY – A tenderized pork schnitzel dipped in egg and flour and coated in breadcrumbs. Served with dill and scoops of creamy mashed potatoes.
  • BARSZCZ – Beetroot soup thickened with sour cream and served with hunks of bread.
  • KIELBASA – Delicious sausages served with fried onions and dill.
  • PLACKI ZIEMNIACZANE – Potato pancakes served with a rich beef goulash.
  • ZAPIEKANKA – Long baguette cut in half and topped with cheese, mushrooms and your choice of topping (the best ones are in the heart of KAZIMIERZ district!).

USEFUL PHRASES:

  • HI – CZESC (cheshch)
  • YES – TAK (tahk)
  • NO – NIE (nye)
  • PLEASE – PROSZE (prosheh)
  • THANK YOU – DZIEKUJE (dsyenkooyeh)
  • SORRY – PRZEPRASZAM (pshehpraasham)
  • ONE BEER PLEASE – JEDNO PIWO PROSZE (yedno peevoh prosheh)
  • CHEERS! – NA ZDROWIE! (Nah zdrovyeh!)
Krakow
  • 'Enjoy ‘90s freestyle dining in Bar Mleczny'

  • Aleksandra
  • 'Pod Wawelem'

  • Aleksandra
  • 'Drink vodka at a proper vodka bar (go to Pijalnia Piwa I Wodki)'

  • Aleksandra
  • 'or Wodka Cafe Bar'

  • Aleksandra
  • 'Also, enjoy great drinks and craft beers along the main square and Jewish Quarter.'

  • Aleksandra
  • 'Kazimierz (this is more hipster-style one).'

  • Aleksandra
  • 'As the heart of the Old Town, Rynek Glowny is also the biggest market square in Europe.'

  • Aleksandra
  • 'Wawel Royal Castle'

  • Aleksandra
  • 'A visit to Auschwitz will force you to consider how lucky we all are to live in the modern world'

  • Aleksandra
  • 'Wieliczka salt mines – It is the largest tourist attraction in Poland'

  • Aleksandra

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