I was seriously so excited when my dear friend Molly offered to write a post for the travel blog! Molly has been living in Vienna for 5 years working as a teacher at the American International School – Vienna and, as a result, has been able to hop all over Europe on weekends and vacations. All of that to say that I’m always living vicariously through her travels and her stellar review of Kraków has immediately moved it to the top of my list! Read on for all of her recs + tips.
If you like a small European town full of culture, history, good food, nightlife, and beauty – put Kraków on your list!
The small city of Kraków, Poland holds a very special place in my heart. Since moving to Europe in August 2017, I have had the opportunity to visit Kraków three times – twice for work as a co-leader for a field trip with high schoolers and once for leisure with a friend. Every time that I am in Kraków, I feel a sense of peace. It is a quirky, magical, and unique city with so many stories around every corner.
Wrapped by a horseshoe of trees, the old town (Rynek Główny), is full of history, architecture, good food, and a fun nightlife. You often see stag and hen parties bar hopping.
Outside of the old town you can find the same things offered in the districts. From the Wawel Royal Castle to the Jewish Quarter (Kazimierz) to the old Jewish Ghetto (Stare Podgórze) to the Krakus Mound, there is much to offer with every kilometer (or mile) walked.
Another special aspect to Kraków is that it is less than 70 km from the small town of Oświęcim which is the home to the memorials and museums of the holocaust (Auschwitz-Birkenau). There are MANY tours (private, small or large group) available for purchase in Kraków with transportation included. The most popular tour includes a visit to both Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II on the same day as they are less than a 10 minute drive from each other. While this visit is full of somber and may feel heavy on a holiday, it is a must see for all human beings (in my opinion).
Another popular stop is to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine which is just southeast of Kraków. This salt mine (135 meters in depth) is an experience and one that you will be talking about after visiting. You won’t believe the history that was and the current events that are happening in this underground city of salt!
Overall, please consider putting Kraków on your travel list. From a stag party or hen do (many are held here!) to a low-key long weekend away, this place is for you!
Kraków is great for a long-weekend getaway (2-3 days)! There are cafes that I’m sure you can work from, but honestly there is much to see and explore so it’s nice to unplug, sit in the old town, and just unwind.
Staying by the old town is the best!
Try some culture staples: pierogies, kielbasa, vodka, obwarzanek!
With Poland having a heavy history, there needs to be consideration. However, today’s Poland is about remembering the past and doing good for the future. Since Krakow is a popular tourist destination, English is spoken. When I travel, however, I like to at least know and use the phrases of “thank you”, “please”, “you’re welcome” in the local language.
As far as dress goes – I’d say a modest dress especially if visiting the holocaust memorials. Anywhere else; the dress is a little bit of everything.
Kraków is very safe! I have been there with one friend and then chaperoned 30 high school students. We felt safe being in a large group as well as allowing students to explore on their own in smaller groups. I would feel safe walking around the old town on my own as a woman.
Train: Main station is Kraków Glowny
Airport: John Paul II Kraków-Balice International Airport
Kraków is very walkable! There is public transportation, but I have never used it.
Wifi is common in restaurants and bars.
The tap water is safe to drink!
Have some cash, but a majority of places take cards! There are ATMs available in the city with low rates. I typically pull out money to help with budgeting since the currency is different. Know the exchange rate ahead of time! As of October 27, 2022, the exchange rate is 1 USD = 4.74 PLN
Have a few days that you need to fill on your European tour? Check out Kraków! I promise you won’t regret it! VisitKrakow.com