We decided to travel to Krakow over Easter in 2016, and had a very enjoyable few days there. Since it was Easter, some places were closed and we did not manage to go to any museums. However, we walked a lot around the Old Town, Kazimierz and Stare Podgórze. There was a lot to see and we were able to experience the Easter holiday festivities, including a concert in the Saints Peter and Paul Church.
In addition, we took trips to Auschwitz and Birkenau, and to the Wieliczka Salt Mine by car. These are all historical and fascinating places, though of course also very sad. In fact, some friends asked why we would want to spend holidays going to former concentration camps. For me, it was to learn more about the history, and remember those who lost their lives there. I will write more in separate posts about each visit.
This short guide for travel to Krakow is meant to help with planning a visit, and I hope you will have time to explore some more. I would like to go back and see more of the city.
- Old Town Centre and main square
- St. Mary’s Basilica
- Wawel Royal Castle and Cathedral
- Saints Peter and Paul Church – we saw a wonderful concert here for Easter
- Rynek Underground Museum
- Old Synagogue
- Remuh Synagogue
- Tempel Synagogue
- Kraków Barbican
- Kotlarski bridge
- Jewish Ghetto Memorial in Plac Bohaterów Getta
- Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory, across the river. Historic factory which was the subject of the film Schindler’s List
- Apteka pod Orłem- Old Pharmacy museum
- National Museum in Krakow
Before you go
- Krakow is a good place to stay if you want to see Auschwitz and Birkenau, or the Wieliczka Salt Mine
- Krakow in Polish is spelled Kraków and pronounced krakuf
- The Old town is a UNESCO world heritage site
- Many places accept credit cards but smaller places may only accept cash. Also tips are better in cash
- Tipping is optional but appreciated, usually around 10-15% for good to great service
- Check the public holidays, as some tourist sites and shops will be closed, such as on Easter
- VisitKrakow.com is a useful site for information
- You will need to book in advance for some places like Schindler’s Factory
- John Paul II International Airport Kraków-Balice is located to the west of the city
- The train is convenient and cheap and more information is available on the airport website. However, after midnight you will need to either take the bus or a taxi
- Walking around the city centre is easy
- For getting to the areas further outside of the centre, there are buses and trams. Routes can be found on the Jakdojade transport website
- We stayed at Hotel Kazimierz I in the Kazimierz area. It was very comfortable and central for visiting the tourist highlights
- The breakfast buffet was amazing with a variety of sweet and savoury dishes
- In March, 2016 the prices were very reasonable even over the Easter holiday
We found Restauracja Sąsiedzi close to our hotel. The menu sounded good and traditional, and we were not disappointed. Pierogi and steak with potatoes was a very filling meal.
Ariel Jewish restaurant is in a very cute square within the Dzielnica Żydowska (Jewish Quarter). We tried some very traditional foods including Gefilte fish. The ambience was cosy and cute.
Restauracja Wierzynek is a beautiful, historic restaurant in the centre of Krakow. We looked inside but did not get a chance to sample this elegant menu. I would like to try it next time.
In the area near our hotel, we tried the Polish-style pizza from Zapiekanki Królewskie. It reminded me a lot of the “French bread pizza” found in the USA. There were many different toppings including meat, cheese and even tuna. They are great for a quick snack! Also, they are usually open late.
Słodki Wawel bakery was just one of the dessert places we tried during the trip. They had so many beautiful cakes, chocolates and macarons that it was difficult to choose. The decor is traditional and elegant, and we enjoyed sipping tea with our cakes.
Over Easter, we saw a lot of foods at the market in the central square. Of course, there were plenty of chocolate eggs, Easter cakes and kiełbasa sausage. The Oscypek smoked cheese also seemed to be very popular, cold or grilled.
Q: Do I need a tour guide?
A: No, it is easy to get around the city and find places of interest
Q: Do people speak English?
A: Most people speak some English. The exception may be at the local market
Q: Is it a walkable city?
A: Yes it is walkable especially around the Old Town
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