Guest post by thadeus_d3
Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
Krakow is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. In my opinion, it’s right up there with Paris, Rome, Prague and Budapest. Krakow is much smaller than those cities and is an amazing value destination. It has everything on my “list”. Great architecture, history, food, walkability and it’s very inexpensive. We stayed outside the city center and our 20 minute Uber ride was ~$4. The Polish beer and Wódka was excellent. You could spend 3 days and see everything in the city with a day trip to Auschwitz.
- Stare Miasto
- Smok Wawelski
It was my first time doing a free walking tour and I really enjoyed it. We went through a company called Cracow Free Tours. The tour took 2.5 hours and we visited most of the tourist sites (Wawel Castle, Grodzka Street, Cloth Hall, St. Mary’s Church, St. Andrew’s Church). Very interesting and informative. A list of stops can be found on their website.
After the tour, spent some time at the Vistula River to relax and visit the famed fire breathing dragon (Smok Wawelski). We made our way to Kazimierz (also known as the Jewish quarter). This area is known for having lots of synagogues, but it’s also a trendy area that’s full of art galleries, quirky shops and bars. We stopped at a local favorite, called Alchemia for a few Tyskie beers before heading across the street for Zapiekanki. Zapiekanki is arguably the most popular street food in Krakow. It’s basically an open-face sandwich made of half of a baguette and topped with sautéed white mushrooms, cheese and other ingredients (you pick). It’s toasted until the cheese melts. Did not disappoint. We made our way back to old town to see the historic buildings at night. Lastly, we visited Wódka for a flight of flavored vodkas. All flavors were fantastic and each shot is ~$1.
Day 2: Auschwitz day trip
We woke up very early to take the 90 minute bus ride to the Auschwitz concentration camp. It’s advisable to preorder tickets online. You could easily spend a full day at Auschwitz and Birkenau. It’s a somber visit, but it’s something that I felt we had to see. It’s one thing to read about it, but it’s another thing to see it with your own eyes. The atrocities committed by the SS are heartbreaking. It’s something that sticks with you. Upon leaving Auschwitz, the bus in the main parking lot was full, so we decided to take a mini bus (actually a large van) back to Krakow. Big mistake. We waited about 25 minutes before the van finally left and it made a lot of stops along the way back. Instead of taking 90 minutes, it took closer to 2.5 hours. Take the bus back to Krakow. Once we reached the Krakow bus station, we took an Uber to Przystanek Pierogarnia, a pierogi restaurant recommend by Beau. It’s a very tiny place, but the pierogis were absolutely amazing.
- Kraków Old Town
- Podziemia Rynku. Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa
- Krakow Pinball Museum
Our day started at old town (Rynek Glowny). We wanted to revisit most of the stops from our walking tour. This would allow us to take more photos and move at our own pace. We went inside St. Mary’s church to see the famed wooden altarpiece. Next, we went to the Market Square and Cloth hall to get tickets to the Rynek Underground Museum. The museum was fantastic and had many high tech exhibits that kept the kids interested. We made our way to the Krakow Pinball Museum. For $30, our family of 4 had unlimited all-day access to over 50 pinball machines and arcade machines. My kids loved it. The museum also has free wifi and a bar. We eventually left for dinner and returned to the museum for the rest of the evening.
We had an evening flight, so we packed in the morning and made our way to old town in the afternoon. The city started setting up decorations and shops for the Christmas market, but we didn’t get a chance to see it completed. After walking around for a bit, we visited Polakowski. Polakowski is a restaurant that our Uber driver suggested. It serves traditional Polish dishes cafeteria style. It was some of the best food of the trip. The Ruskie pierogies, potato pancakes, pork schnitzel, bacon soup and beetroot soup were all great. We had 2 soups, 4 main entrees and 4 beers for under $20. This was the perfect way to end our trip.
Traveled in November 2017