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Poland

Is Krakow a good city break?

In March 2020 (Literally just before the whole world went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, so we were very lucky)! We had a wonderful trip to Krakow in Poland for 4 days.

This was somewhere that had been on our list for a while due to how cultural and beautiful the city is and an interest in the history of the city and Poland.

We want to share with you what we got up to on our trip and answer some questions you may be thinking!

How many days do you need in Krakow?

We spent 4 days here which was plenty of time to cover everything that we wanted to do.

Day 1

The flight to Krakow from Birmingham airport took around 2 hours and 20 minutes, so just a short flight and we arrived in Krakow around lunch time.

We had pre-arranged a taxi from the airport to our hotel and we booked this via our hotel.

Our hotel was so close to the main Krakow square, only a couple of minutes’ walk, and it was so stunning. We absolutely loved the style of our hotel room which had gorgeous exposed brick and a really cosy feel. We would 100% recommend this hotel – Aparthotel Stare Miasto.

Although we don’t usually spend much time in our hotel as we like to get out and explore as much as possible, we always like to book somewhere that’s nice, preferring to spend a little more on the hotel than just a basic budget one, however saying this, the Aparthotel Stare Miasto was still very reasonably priced.

We were unable to check in when we arrived at our hotel as our room wasn’t ready yet, but we were able to drop off our bags ready to go and explore for the day.

The rest of our first day was just a general day of exploring the main square and the local area which is so beautiful. The architecture in Krakow is stunning, a mixture of Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic buildings.

Some of the most popular sights to see in Krakow include the Wawel Royal Castle and St Mary’s Basilica.

Krakow is a great city to just walk around and take in the sights and there are also so many restaurants and cafés to eat and relax after all the walking and exploring.

Day 2

Day 2 was our first full day in Krakow.

We started by having breakfast in a fab pancake café called Pancake House, so good!

Then we headed across the river to the Ghetto Hero’s Square. Whilst this isn’t an attraction you will spend hours at, the time you do spend is well worth seeing this wonderful tribute. The poignant Ghetto Heroes Square commemorates the thousands of Krakow’s Jewish community who were forcibly moved and incarcerated within the Podgórze ghetto.

The weather wasn’t great on this day, it was quite dull and rainy, so we decided to do some indoor activities. Firstly, we headed to the Krakow pinball museum, Which sounds random but was a lot of fun! The entry price is 40 zloty each, but this gives you unlimited play for the whole day and you can go and come back as you wish as you have a wrist band.

The museum is an interactive exhibition of over 60 pinball machines and 35 arcade games, so plenty to do! We stayed here for around 1 hour, but you could spend longer as food and drinks are also available here. 

Once we had finished at the pinball museum, we headed to Krakil – museum of Illusions. The museum was a lot of fun with lots of interesting and unusual things to see and we would recommend it on a rainy day when you are looking for indoor activities.

After a day of sight-seeing and museums we headed to the Hard Rock Café for dinner that evening. (If you’ve read any of our other blog posts you’ll know that we LOVE a Hard Rock Café and are building up our collection of one’s that we’ve been to all over the world!)

Day 3

The day that we had planned for day 3 was the day that we were most looking forward to of the whole trip, which sounds strange considering where we were going, but it was somewhere that we had both wanted to visit for such a long time and have such an interest in the history of it.

On our third day we went on a trip to Auschwitz/Birkenau.

What Auschwitz means

Auschwitz was a Nazi concentration camp for Jews in southwestern Poland during World War II. Auschwitz was the largest of the German Nazi concentration camps and extermination centers. Over 1.1 million men, women and children lost their lives here. Visiting Auschwitz was so educational and felt to us a way of paying respects to all of the people who lost their lives here.

We pre-booked our trip before we visited Poland via ?? and this trip included travel there and back and a guide and cost ??. The journey from Krakow main square to Auschwitz took around 1 hour and 10 minutes. 

Where is Auschwitz?

Auschwitz is in a small town in southern Poland called Oswiecim. 

We had a really lovely and knowledgeable guide on our tour and we would recommend doing a guided tour as you learn so much that you may not learn if you just visited yourself. We won’t speak about too much of what we saw here as we don’t want to ruin it for anybody who might be thinking of visiting, but we do have some images to show.

Auschwitz is an emotional and difficult place to visit but somewhere that we would 100% recommend going to if you visit Krakow. It’s important to remember what happened there and visit somewhere that was such a huge part of history.

The trip was a full day trip and when we arrived back in the Krakow main square, we were lucky to catch a beautiful sunset.

Day 4

On our 4th and final full day in Krakow we headed out for a run by the river Vistula. It was a lovely warm and sunny day and it was a perfect start to our final day!

Then we headed for breakfast at one of the restaurants in the main square. There are some amazing little restaurants in the main square with outdoor seating and outdoor heating and blankets so it gives a really cosy feel.

After this we went on our final activity of the trip which was visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mine. We pre-booked this before our trip. It took around 25 minutes to get there from the Main Square and we had travel included.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine reaches a depth of 327 meters, and extends via horizontal passages and chambers for over 287 kilometers (178 miles).

The mine features an underground lake, exhibits on the history of salt mining, and a 3.5-kilometer (2.2-mile) visitors’ route (less than 2 percent of the mine passages’ total length) including statues carved from the rock salt at various times.

In 1978 the Wieliczka Salt Mine was placed on the original UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

A walk on the Tourist Route lasts about 2 hours.

The salt mines are super interesting and we would definitely recommend visiting if you are in Krakow.

Is it safe in Krakow?

We felt extremely safe in Krakow, we walked around the city quite late at night and did not feel unsafe at any point. 

Is Krakow cheap to visit?

We stayed in the main square which is not very cheap, but the further out of the main square you go, the cheaper the prices get. We went to quite touristy spots where prices are always increased so we did not find that any of the parts of Krakow were particularly cheap that we visited but they were not expensive either compared to some cities we have been to.

Is Krakow a good holiday?

Overall we had an amazing time in Krakow and we would say it is one of our favourite places. The city is clean, the people are friendly and the buildings are beautiful. There is lots and lots to do and great food and restaurants. We would highly recommend putting Krakow on your list of places to visit.

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