I visited Krakow from the 1st April to the 3rd April. The city is not very big but the centre has retained much of it’s historical architecture and features. The currency is the zloty (PLN) and £1 (GBP) is equal to 5.40 zlotys.
Where I stayed
Quality System Hotel
Supposedly it was a 3 star hotel, it was 20-25 minutes away from the city centre and it felt more like a 2 star hostel. The room I stayed in was an en-suite but the room was too cramped and decorated with unnecessary furniture that would be best removed to allow for more circulation space.
What I did
Wawel Royal Castle
It must be a trend in Eastern Europe for Castles to be a mix of architectural styles. The castle is mostly of gothic architecture but traces of Danish and Eastern influences are also present. The Castle is also home to Smok Wawelski, the Wawel Castle dragon which periodically breathes fire and has a fantastical legend associated with it.
Walking tour of the Jewish District
Unfortunately for me I paid 56 zlotys (£10.40) for a walking tour of the Jewish District only to discover that there were free walking tours that also covered the same location we went to, so if you visit Krakow make sure to look out for the free walking tours.
Klezmer-Hois is a vintage restaurant that echoes the spirit of pre-war Kazimierz (Jewish District), its tables are covered in lace, and artwork inspired by the shtetl (Jewish town). The restaurant is also the haunt of Leopold Kozłowski a famous musician and actor in the movie Schindler’s list, and he just happened to be in the restaurant at the time I visited, such luck.
Other things in the Jewish Quarter
The Empty Chair Memorial Monument
The square is the actual place SS soldiers made selections. The memorial monument is dedicated to all the Jewish people who were put through the inhumane process and for most met their death during the holocaust.
Schindler’s Museum and Factory
The walking tour ended outside the Schindler’s Museum, I had watched the film before visiting Krakow and I really wanted to see the museum, but I chose not to go in because the actual factory had not been preserved but it had been turned into a museum. I personally did not want to see the exhibition but the entrance fee is inexpensive at 19 zlotys (£3.50).
The original Krakow is 4 meters below ground and Rynek museum gives you the opportunity to go underground and walk along the old streets. It is a new museum but I found it lacking in content, however I appreciate that for those interest in archaeology it would be fascinating. Entrance to the museum is inexpensive at 19 zlotys (£3.50), this museum would be great for a rainy day. Note that the museum’s entrance is on the opposite side of the ticket office.
The Cloth Hall
I loved this building and best of all it was home to an indoor market selling cool wares and souvenirs. It is also the location to ticket office and entrance to Rynek Underground.
The Other Sights and Things in Krakow
What I ate
Pierogi Mr Vincent
I highly recommend Pierogi Mr Vincent in the Jewish district, it is a small restaurant with only 6-8 tables but the squeeze is worth it. Pierogi is a simple but hearty meal of dumplings, I tried the cabbage, onion and Mushroom and the Spinach pierogi and they were delicious I ate the whole plate quickly. For dessert I had the apple and cherry pierogi and they were also scrumptious, especially the apple on that just melted in the mouth. My meal was very cheap at 27 zlotys in total (£5).
A long baguette with a base of mushroom and cheese which can be topped by various combinations. It was very good and at 7 zlotys (£1.30) for a basic Zapiekanka it was worth trying. The best Zapiekanka are said to be found in the Jewish district.
If you want something sweet other than a savoury pierogi, I highly recommend Cupcake Corner, the Reese’s peanut butter cupcake I ate was very good.
My Review of Krakow City
My ratings are out of ten and are my own personal views therefore feel free to disagree.
Culture = 7/10
Krakow is a little city that can be explored in 2 days or 3 days if you also include a trip to the salt mines. It has a rich history even though a big chunk of it is steeped in blood from the holocaust. This is a great city to learn more about the holocaust and of course visit Auschwitz which is 1 hour away.
Attractiveness = 6.5/10
The beauty of the city is concentrated to the small centre, outside of the centre felt like any other European city.
People/Friendliness = 3.5/10
I did not find the people of Krakow particularly welcoming, I found this unusual considering that large number of people who emigrate from Poland. I am sure this will change as a more diverse set of people continue visiting the country.
Food = 8/10
The Pierogi and Zapiekanka are so delicious, food is so cheap you can eat very well for a reasonable price.
Affordability = 8/10
If you want a cheap holiday this is the place to be, a good meal at a restaurant will cost approx £10.
Vibe = ?/10
I couldn’t really determine the vibe as I felt so uncomfortable with the people I met, tourism from people of colour is clearly new to Poland so people are still apprehensive.
Overall = 6/10
At this point I have no desire to return to Krakow, however I am pleased I visited the city and got to experience Eastern European culture.
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Or if you want any advice for your trip leave a comment and I will be sure to do my best to help you.