Cost: ££ – can visit on a budget
Rating: 8/10 – way beyond expectations – an unexpected gem
Trip length: 3/4 nights is perfect
Flights were actually quite expensive – £185 per person (1 x hold luggage between 3). We flew out with RyanAir and back with EasyJet. Always check SkyScanner for best deals 🙂
We stayed for 4 nights in an incredible AirBnb in the centre of all the action – Beautiful Sunny Penthouse Apartment! It cost £536 for 4 nights in August (/4 = £134 per person). It has 3 bedrooms (1 with a double bed & 2 with a single bed + a bed set up on the floor!) If you want your own room, best split between 3!
It was spacious, clean and beautifully laid out. There is a decent sized roof terrace (which we enjoyed sunbathing and eating breakfast on) with a table, chairs and BBQ.
Currency is the Polish złoty. A difficult one to work out: 10 złoty is around £2 / £10 is about 48 złoty. Most food / drink is cheap in Krakow so as long as you have a rough idea of the conversion you shouldn’t go too wrong!
We walked for the majority of the time. However, if you prefer to get around in a car then Uber is ridiculously cheap. Krakow also has a lot of public transport options – buses, trams / the metro – take your pick!!
What we did…
1 – Main Square
The large medieval town square was just a 5 minute walk away from our AirBnb.
St Mary’s Basilica (below) is a gothic church which was built in 1666 and stands on one corner of the square. We didn’t go in but apparently it’s beautiful inside and you can climb to the top to see the view for a small fee too!
Town Hall Tower (below) is a 70m tall 13th century gothic tower! Again, you can go in and up for a nominal fee.
Krakow Cloth Hall is another focal point in the main square. It’s a market arcade and considered the ‘world’s oldest shopping mall’, still featuring many small shops and food stalls. Definitely worth walking through it 🙂
2 – Wawel Castle
It’s a castle on a hilltop and is the symbol of the independent Polish state. It consists of many different structures and the grounds are incredibly well kept and beautiful to walk around. It’s free to go into but of course you can book a guided tour if you would prefer.
3 – Auschwitz
Still can’t comprehend the incomprehensible but as harrowing and upsetting as Auschwitz is, everyone should try to see it!
We booked a SeeKrakow guided tour (£35 per person) which picked us up and dropped us back in Krakow! I’d advise booking in advance as the only availability when we booked was a 6am pick up. Having said that, it was probably better to visit in the morning and have the afternoon back in Krakow. DEFINITELY get a guide and make sure your tour includes Auschwitz-Birkenau too (which was the larger camp).
I won’t say too much about it – Auschwitz is Auschwitz – but I would certainly urge you to see it for yourself. ‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it’
4 – Kościuszko Mound
This was a little walk away from the centre of Krakow and is a hill which was erected by Cracovians in memory of Polish national leader Tadeusz Kosciuszko. It looks steep but is actually a very easy climb and when you’re at the top you have beautiful views of the city!
There are many pretty squares, churches and buildings you will discover as you explore.
The Jewish Quarter (Kazimierz) is very trendy and packed with nice restaurants, quirky shops and pop-up food stalls!
There are many places to eat in the Main Square, however, whilst you get a nice view, it’s very touristy and the food isn’t the best.
Trezo Restaurant (pics above) in the Jewish Quarter was delicious! High quality food at a reasonable price. There was live music playing as we were eating which was a nice touch!
Pizzeria Trzy Papryczki (pics above) was also a fantastic find in the Old Town close to the main square! It has a pretty outdoor area which is perfect for sitting in the sun. The pasta was delicious – much better than the likely microwaved pasta you’ll eat on the main square!
Enoteka Pergamin (pics above) was recommended by our AirBnb owner as a great wine bar very near (basically opposite) the apartment. It’s a casual wine bar with space to sit outside. Be aware that the staff recommend the most expensive wines so check the prices before you order!
We also had the most incredible pizza with garlic dip at a little restaurant we stopped in on our way to climb the mound. I think it was Pizza Fresco!
We spent around £320 per person but were there for 4 full days and we drank and ate a lot!!! You could probably jam-pack a trip into a short weekend if you needed to. We had a very leisurely time and spent half days sunbathing on our terrace so if you’re visiting in the winter you may struggle for things to do (although we didn’t do the Salt Mines / Schindler’s Museum – they come highly recommended too!)
Overall I thought Krakow was incredible. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was surprised at how beautiful and full of life the city was – it truly is a hidden gem.
Auschwitz obviously wasn’t an enjoyable experience but it’s something I believe everyone should see once in their lifetime.
Cost per person for 4 nights