This past weekend, Jamie and I went on an adventure to the beautiful city of Krakow in Poland. As my first trip abroad in a good few years, I knew this would be the perfect content to kick start my blog once again. The city itself was absolutely beautiful and the food was divine (and so cheap!). Despite being exhausting with the amount of “tourist” destinations we visited, I really enjoyed my time there and would definitely consider it an up and coming place.
For a quick insight into my trip, watch my YouTube video:
Things to do in Krakow
We hadn’t originally planned to “do a lot” in Krakow as we wanted to have time to mooch and see the parks/architecture of the city. However, the weather forecast was unfortunately not on our side which meant we ended up booking onto a few tours.
Wieliczka Salt Mine Krakow
The salt mines in Krakow weren’t originally on our agenda. It was only once we saw how miserable the weather was forecast to be that we decided to book onto a tour. The tour itself was about 100 zloty, and this included a coach pick up and drop off right from outside our hotel. Inside the mines are dozens of salt sculptures, an underground lake and even four impressive chapels. It absolutely blew my mind. On the touring route, you walk approx 3.5km which is less than 2% of the whole mine!
Overlooking Krakow, is the beautiful Wawel Castle. It is completely free to look around the main exterior and the Italian-style main courtyard and it is a breathtaking view. Definitely loads of opportunities to wear that tourist badge with pride and get those snaps! A must-see is the Dragon’s Den (Smocza Jama) and the dragon himself. It’s difficult to spot but the entrance is located just above the dragon and costs 3 zloty; the limestone cave is beautiful and leads you out to where the dragon himself resides… make sure you have your video camera ready to catch the breath of fire.
The Ghetto Heroes Square
Unfortunately, when we went to visit the ghetto heroes square and the 33 memorial chairs, there was obviously a Polish celebrity doing a signing in the area so it was absolutely heaving (don’t ask me why you would arrange a signing on a memorial like this but hey ho). Nevertheless, the chairs are a sight to behold and a sharp reminder of the history of Krakow and it’s Jewish ghettos. The chairs symbolise the Polish Jews who were imprisoned in the Krakow Ghetto during WWII and lost their lives in the ghetto and in several German death camps.
Father Bernatek Footbridge
I just had to mention this one in my list. For you romantics out there, there is in fact a “love lock bridge” on the walk towards the Jewish Quarter of Krakow. Whilst we forgot to bring our own padlock, I managed to locate my parents lock from 2015! I was so thrilled and immediately sent them a picture – too cute 🙂 If you are heading to Krakow with a partner, remember your padlock!
Oskar Schindler’s Factory
Another agenda item which was not originally planned but we felt we had to go and see. Located near the Jewish Quarter, Oskar Schindler’s Factory is well worth a visit and, no, you don’t need to book in advance or have a tour guide! We queued for about 10-15 minutes for joint tickets with it’s neighbouring MOCAK museum and then we walked around the museum easily, reading all of the information which had been translated into English. I would mention that the corridors do get quite busy but if you’re patient, then it’s definitely worth a visit. I learnt so much about the German occupation of Poland.
MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art
This was again not originally in our plans. I had seen and read about it but didn’t realise it was right next door to the Oskar Schindler Factory. The museum is great and definitely worth a quick look round. The replica of Andy Warhol’s studio is in here and is fully interactive so you can sit on the couch and go in his toilet and watch the TV in the main room etc.
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum
I don’t really know what to write about this segment of the blog. Auschwitz-Birkenau was completely overwhelming in every sense of the word. “For ever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity. Where the Nazis murdered about one and a half million men, women and children, mainly Jews from various countries of Europe”
Places to eat and drink in Krakow
Not only was there so much to do and see in Krakow, the food and drink places were divine. From the Obwarzanki krakowski which you could buy from the square for around 2 Polish Zloty, to the more expensive likes of Manzana there was something for everyone. We were often up early so mostly ate Breakfast at our hotel, Novotel Krakow Centrum, which was a decent price and actually quite nice. We often hid some croissants in our bags to keep us going throughout the day but, hey, that’s what “all you can eat” is for, isn’t it?
Kącik 6 Multikulticafe
Located in Zablocie, conveniently between Oskar Schindler’s Factory and The Ghetto Heroes Square, we stumbled across this quaint cafe with rumbling tummies. The food and service was superb and it was super cheap, as to be expected with most food places in Krakow. I ordered the ham and cheese panini which was really tasty and Jamie ordered the chicken wrap which also came grilled like the panini. The latte and tea was also spot on and just what we needed after a long morning of walking and exploring. Also… free WiFi is always a bonus to me!
Boulevard 11 Bistro & Wine
Another quaint cafe across the bridge towards Zablocie. This one was right near the love lock bridge and we stopped for a latte and a Polish coca cola (yes the can was Polish and that blew Jamie and my minds). The cafe had a really nice vibe and looked to have on offer some tasty cakes as well.. Jamie and I were too full up at this point to eat but I would definitely stop by for a coffee en route to the Jewish Quarter.
This has to be my favourite lunch spot/cafe in Krakow. I had seen loads of rave reviews about the place online ahead of going and knew I had to go and have a try. I ordered a croque monsieur and Jamie had a slice of cheesecake and we absolutely loved it! I also saw many people in the cafe eating the bread basket with the home made preserves which looked divine… having left it until the last day to eat here, I instantly regretted having not come sooner as I definitely would have made sure to eat a breakfast there. The atmosphere was great and we sat right near the till on the large, communal table.
Manzana Mexican Restaurant
This one was actually a recommendation from my parents who had visited Krakow before and raved about this place being one of the best Mexican restaurants they have ever eaten in. We went on a Sunday night and the place was completely empty (we had booked a table, lol). It’s located on the other side of the river so is quite a far walk if you’re located towards the centre of Krakow… we however booked a taxi there and back as we knew we had to give the food a try. I ordered the Pork Ribs which were some of the best ribs I have ever had… the orange peel on top gave them such a gorgeous taste. We also ordered the Nachos to start which were huge and just as amazing as our mains! 10/10 would go again and, despite being our most expensive meal at 200 zloty, the place was cheap. We’re talking 200 zloty for 3 drinks, 2 shots, 2 main courses and a starter… wowzers!
Everyone loves pizza, right? The Fiorentina pizza restaurant, located on the main Grodzka street near the square, was absolutely gorgeous and served proper wood fired pizza. This restaurant seemed quite upmarket (again despite it’s cheap price tag!!) and the service was superb. They gave us complimentary samples of a starter and a cookie for dessert alongside the bill. The cookie was amazing and taste hazelnut-y and chocolate-y all at the same time. As for the pizza, well it was divine. I had the ham pizza, as did Jamie, and we devoured the lot after our long walk around the salt mines that morning.
Moo Moo Steak and Burger Club
I had read a lot of good things about Moo Moo Steak and Burger club on TripAdvisor and I was not disappointed. We walked in and got a table (with an hour to eat as they were near enough fully book – definitely book in advance if you’re keen to eat there!) and the service was great and very speedy. The only minor mix up was the merging of the burger… I ordered a BBQ Bacon burger and Jamie ordered the cheeseburger… however, I ended up with a BBQ cheeseburger and Jamie ended up with a cheeseburger with added pickles and bacon. We simply swapped the bacon onto mine and all was well, but still an odd mix up to experience! The burger was lovely and the chips were very good as well… not the most gourmet meal but definitely hit the spot after a long, emotional day.
Wodka Cafe Bar
Once again, I had read a lot about the quirky Wodka bar and was not left disappointed. We ordered a 6 shot tray for just under 40 zloty (£8!) to sample some of their flavoured vodkas that they had on offer. We sampled: raspberry, quince, peach, caramel, plum and mint. The caramel flavoured vodka was out of this world and we actually ended up buying a bottle to take home with us, alongside the plum flavour which was also really nice. The mint tasted like mouthwash… as you’d expect and the other flavours did feel a lot more like “typical vodka”… you know the kind that burns your throat. Definitely visit Wodka if you’re in Krakow and sample some of the shots on offer… the place was small but had a great atmosphere.
You cannot go to Krakow without sampling the bread that is on offer throughout the central part of Krakow. It was absolutely delicious and great to snack on throughout the day from my bag. And of course, what an Instagram photo it does make 😉
And that is my long list of recommendations if you’re heading to visit Krakow. If you’ve made it this far through the blog, then I salute you and thank you. Please do let me know if you’ve been to Krakow and if there were any other places you’d visited and loved… that just leaves my final question; where do I go next?!