Krakow has been one of our latest trips for the summer of 2018. It honestly was not on our top 10 places to visit since we moved to England, but having a friend’s wedding to go to, made it on our list. We were so happy we had a meaningful purpose to go to Krakow, because we discovered how awesome it is!
While we were in Krakow, we did 3 separate side trips outside of the city. We did the Wieliczka Salt Mines, Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, and to Lake Morskie Oko. Here’s 3 full days around Krakow with all of these included.
We stayed in an Airbnb while in Krakow, with a whole apartment to ourselves for only $37 per night. Using Uber was our best friend while we were there too. Yes, there are plenty of trams to get you around the city, but the Uber prices were phenomenal. One thing we really enjoyed were the prices in Poland. The exchange rate makes it a budget-friendly place to travel.
Now we can get to some of the things we actually saw while in Krakow. Krakow was the capital of Poland at one time. Today the capital is Warsaw.
Our first stop was the Main Market Square. It is the largest medieval square in Europe. There are many sights to hit just here. All around the border are restaurants with outside seating, and horse-drawn carriages waiting to pick you up for a ride.
St. Mary’s Basilica
The most iconic church in the square is St. Mary’s Basilica.
Right in the center of the square is the famous Cloth Hall, which you can find all sorts of goods being sold and even some souvenir trinkets. There is an underground museum here on the history of Krakow.
Town Hall Tower
Another main point is the Town Hall Tower. It once was a massive Town Hall, but was demolished in 1820 to open up the square. All that remains is the Tower.
After enjoying the Main Square, Wawel Hill is within walking distance. On this hill sits a castle, cathedral, and a pretty sweet dragon den! Wawel was the former location for the Polish monarchy. The hill is of limestone and sits on the Vistula River.
You can tour inside the castle if you have time. We did not do this, but we did go up the Baszta Sandomierska Tower, which was one of the artillery towers of the castle. The cost was really cheap to go up and worth it just to get a cool view.
This is a unique Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral. It is free to enter but pictures are not permitted inside. You can pay for tickets to do a tour of the Royal tombs and a few other things inside if you wish. Inside the cathedral are an interesting combination of colors, but you must go see for yourself since we couldn’t photograph! It has served as the coronation site for Polish monarchs and has been a burial location.
Smocza Jama (Dragon’s Den)
This is a natural limestone cave inside the hill. The Wawel Dragon is in Polish folklore. A young prince named Krakus killed the dragon, and built his palace above the dragons den…that’s the gist of the story I got at least. As you exit the cave, there is a fire breathing metal dragon statue! It breathes fire about every 5 minutes so stick around to see it. It’s pretty cheap to enter the cave, and not what you would expect to find in the middle of a city.
After leaving Wawel Hill, we strolled down the Vistula River until we came upon the Jewish Quarter, called Kazimierz. It’s the trendy hip area to be with loads of cafes, restaurants, and food trucks on every corner. There’s one square in this area that had restaurants with outside seating lining the streets and live music playing. One night we had dinner at the Warsztat restaurant, where I found my favorite pierogies. Pierogi is a Polish dumpling with a variety of fillings. I can’t decide if it’s more similar to pasta or an Asian dumpling. It’s one of Poland’s famous foods. We tried them in various places throughout our days there. They can be sweet or savory. Common fillings are minced chicken and beef, potatoes with cheese, and mushroom and cabbage combinations.
Dinner with a View
On the evening of the wedding, the reception was at a restaurant called Vidok. It is a restaurant upstairs with an outside balcony, and a beautiful view of Wawel Hill and the Vistula River. If you want a romantic evening out, go there!
Our time in Krakow was exhausting with exploring the city, day trips outside of Krakow, and meeting up with great friends from the wedding, but it made it that much more special. I definitely would tell anyone to go visit Krakow. The prices make for a cheaper destination, most of the young people speak English, and there is so much interesting history to discover. Our Airbnb was close to the Schindler’s Factory, and one thing I regret is not making more time to be able to visit this museum. I can see us visiting again for a meetup with friends in the future though!
Don’t forget your travel insurance if you are planning a trip somewhere.
Have you been to Krakow? What were your favorite things to see or do here? Is Krakow on your list of places to see? Comment below and share with us!