Monday, 13 March 2017

48 Hours In Krakow Poland

Krakow in Poland is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in Europe. As well as being an affordable city it has a wide variety of historical landmarks, cultural attractions and modern vibrancy. 




For it is here, you can find the amazing architecture from the Floriańska Gate to the Krakow Barbican, absorb the history of Wawel Castle and see the bustling Main Square called Rynek Główny. Mix this with sublime local foods, a low cost of living and an enchanting myriad of cobblestone streets and you have an excellent tourist destination.


The Kraków Barbican

Here are my suggestions on how to spend 48 Hours in Krakow, Poland.

Day 1 – Welcome to Krakow

Breakfast 

Try one of the many cafes serving breakfast at a great price. A traditional Polish breakfast consists of bread, cheese, ham, and eggs although as Krakow is a very cosmopolitan city you will find all of your usual breakfast options here and even a full English breakfast if you are looking for one. If you are staying near the Galeria Krakowska shopping centre, I recommend breakfast at the Sweet Life American cafe, for muffins, cakes, bagels and croissants served with a smile.


Early Morning – Take a free walking tour

A statue of Pope John Paul II outside Wawel cathedral

There is so much to uncover when you visit Krakow and many attractions which are easy to miss, so I recommend taking a free walking tour of the city centre. This is not only a great way to get your bearings on arrival but also ideal for gaining a little more understanding of the history of this beautiful Polish city. You will find out how in medieval times the Main Square was a busy market with many horse-drawn stalls. See the Wawel cathedral and the statue of Pope John Paul the second, who is highly revered by many Polish people, even those that are not religious for putting Poland on the map, so to speak. At the end tip what you think the tour is worth.

Walking tours in Krakow depart the main square each morning and take you through Floriańska Gate and a number of local attractions before concluding at the impressive Wawel Castle.

Mid-morning – Visit Wawel Castle

Inside Wawel castle

Simply not to be missed the majestic Wawel Castle is a truly grand experience. Home to haunting dungeons, many ancient artefacts and an enchanting spiral staircase, you can even climb to the top of a bell tower to take in the view over the city. Taking a stroll through Wawel Castle can feel like stepping back in time, to a period when medieval soldiers and kings were walking in your own footsteps.


Just outside the main entrance of Wawel Castle is an excellent museum which has a beautiful collection of ancient swords, manuscripts and medieval attire to admire. Also, don't miss the Dragon's Den, a cave that you walk through that is home to a mythical dragon.

Lunch – Experience a “Bar Mleczny” or Polish Milk Bar

While many traditions have left Krakow since the time of communism, there are some local customs which still remain.

The Polish Milk Bar is a traditional café which offers local cuisine at an affordable price. You will find many locals, students and backpackers in these cafes. Offering a wide variety of Polish foods such as mushroom and meat pierogi, goulash or pan fried vegetables,  traditional milk bars are the best way to enjoy a local lunch in Krakow at a reasonable cost. They are however renowned for their 'abrupt' service. Try out Milkbar Tomasza for a slightly sanitised version of a milk bar run by Irish people in the Jewish quarter.

Late Afternoon – Floriańska Gate and St Mary’s Church


Floriańska Gate

Having explored Wawel Castle and eaten local food, head back across to the Floriańska Gate and the Krakow Barbican, a fortified outpost once connected to the city walls. Admire the stunning architecture and the artwork that is displayed by many local artists next to the old city walls. If you are lucky you may see one of the traditional horse and carts that transport visitors around the city centre.

Further along on the corner of the main square, you will also find St Mary’s Basilica as this tall Gothic church pieces the skyline above Rynek Glówny. Keep an eye out for the trumpet player who appears in the window at the top of the tower but also, make sure you venture inside to witness one of the most impressive structures you are likely to encounter in Krakow.

Dinner – Old Town Restaurant And Wine Bar


Pierogi

Krakow restaurants are synonymous with quality and overall value, and although you may not realise it, the standard of restaurants here are just as good as all the main capitals of Europe. 

Take the Old Town Restaurant and Wine Bar, for example, great service and a mix of European and local food such as pierogi and borscht,  it really was a lovely experience. We both had a two-course meal with cocktails and it came to £35. A complete and delicious bargain.  As you finish they give you some Polish schnapps to finish your meal. Cheers or Na Zdrowie!

Day Two – The Jewish Quarter (Kazimierz)

Morning – Start early in Kazimierz


A home in Kazimierz - plaque in memory of a family killed in WW2

Rise early and either enjoy breakfast at your hotel or head straight for Kolanko in the Kazimierz district of Krakow for a delicious buffet. For just 20 zloty, you can enjoy a wide range of breakfast items here, from fried eggs and toasted baguettes to cornflakes, muffins, bacon and sausages.

Mid-morning – Oskar Schindler Factory


A tank inside Schindler's factory

This incredible museum is on the site of the former factory of Oskar Schindler during WW II.  Feeling a great deal of sympathy for the plight of the Jewish population, Oskar Schindler began harbouring such locals and giving them woek in his factory which was then a production line for metallic items such as pots, pans and even bullet casings. Few places in Europe can capture such an emotional story and the museum consists of many interesting exhibits from this troubled period to accompany the story. You may have seen the film Oscar-winning film Schindler's List which is based on his life. If not, please do as it is a thought-provoking and moving film and offers an insight into Krakow in WW II.

Lunch – Eat in the Jewish Quarter

For a traditional and quick lunch try one of the local delicacies - a Zapienkake in Kazimierz. This open-faced baguette is topped with melted cheese. garlic and mushrooms, and is available from many street vendors in Kazimierz. 

Afternoon – Take a free walking tour of Kazimierz


Kazimierz, otherwise known as the Jewish quarter

Take a free walking tour of the Jewish quarter to gain a brief insight into what happened in Kazimierz during the second world war and how life has changed since this awful period. Check out the local market at Plac Nowy and possibly the most stunning structure in all of Krakow, the Corpus Christi Church; a free walking tour of this area should take no more than two hours and makes for a great way to walk off an enjoyable lunch.

Late Afternoon – Visit the 'cloth market' for souvenirs

Rynek Glowny, or the Main Square

Before you even think of leaving this remarkable city, you must check out the 'cloth market' on Rynek Główny Square.  Amber jewellery, wood carvings, paintings and hand-made clothing are just a few of the wonderful souvenirs to be picked up here. 

Dinner – Restaurant Bianca

For an excellent Italian restaurant just off the main square try restaurant Bianca. High up on TripAdvisor this cosy restaurant serves refined Italian food at surprisingly great prices. Service is excellent too. Highly recommended.



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So this is my 48 hours in Krakow, a city that is well worth visiting. Let me know if you have been to Krakow and have any recommendations or if you would like to visit in the future.

MummyTravels
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35 comments

  1. wow! Can't believe how much you managed to pack into this 48hour trip!

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  2. My friend is from Poland and I love the food, she is always saying I should go and visit, a beautiful place

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    1. It was much more cosmopolitan than I expected too.

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  3. I would LOVE to visit Krakow, it looks like a beautiful place to visit. Your photos are lovely and it sounds like you had a great trip! xx

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  4. I have Polish heritage but I'm yet to go to Poland! It's disgraceful, something I need to put right. This is really thorough information on what to see and do, thank you.

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    1. Hope you get the chance to visit one day.

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  5. Poland is not a country I've thought about visiting, but my husband and I plan on visiting more European cities over the next few years. We love these kinds of breakways, and this sort of post really helps people to plan.

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    1. It's a quick journey on the plane from the UK and very affordable when you get there.

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  6. I've never been to Poland but would love to visit Krakow one day and as I have Jewish heritage I would really love to visit the Jewish Quarter.

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  7. I'm Polish, and I've been in Kraków few times. I absolutely love your guide. It's surprising how many interesting places you could see in 48 hours only:) I'm glad you liked your trip!

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  8. Krakow is one of my favourite cities! Glad you got to try pierogi (my childhood favourite!)

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  9. It looks like such an interesting place. My husband and I were thinking about long-weekend breaks in Europe so I think this needs to go on the list!

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  10. It is amazing how much you can do in 48 hours. I love the sound of a free walking tour and the cafe sounds fab too x

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  11. I would love to visit Poland. You did a lot in 48 hours.

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  12. What beautiful photos! Looks like such a lovely place to visit, glad you enjoyed your stay x

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  13. I visited Krakow last year and loved the city. The town and castle were beautiful and the food was so good. I really want to discover more of Poland. #citytripping

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    1. I couldn't believe how good the food was.

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  14. Can't wait to visit Poland later this year! We will be stopping in Warsaw for 2 days and I hope to see most of this!! #CityTripping
    (www.caliglobetrotter.wordpress.com)

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  15. I would love to visit Krakow for sure, with £19 one way flight why not. That Pierogi looks yummy!

    Julie Syl Kalungi

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    1. That is very cheap for flights! Unfortunately as I live in South Wales I can never find flights that cheap locally.

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  16. Steve really want to go to Krakow and it does look amazing I have to say Mel x

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  17. The Kraków Barbican is very impressive. I have always dismissed Poland as a holiday destination but it looks very interesting

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    1. It is really interesting Kara, I was surprised what a lovely destination Krakow was.

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  18. This looks like an amazing place to visit. Definitely one to add to my bucketlist and love the fact thats its cheap whilst you are there as so many tourist places are crazy expensive

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    1. It's so cheap you shouldn't keep it for your bucket list.

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  19. Great guide. I'd really like to explore Kraków! Good to read the food is of a high standard too. Thanks for linking #citytripping

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  20. I loved Krakow, even though it was very crowded when we visited, as it had thousands of visitors waiting for the Pope to arrive. The Wawel castle is gorgeous and such a good place to escape the crowds. #citytripping

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    1. Oh gosh, probably not the best time to visit unless you were there for the Pope Vlad :)

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