Krakow Poland

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Krakow Poland is an incredible picturesque city, there is so much to see. When you plan your trip don’t miss these beautiful spots!

Art in front of a bookstore cafe, krakow

Visting Krakow in Poland

Krakow is an absolutely magical city that is one of the hidden gems of Europe. During a recent family trip we decided to check out Krakow since I had heard it was lovely from my sister in law. The city center of Krakow is a pedestrian only area that was once the walled castle. Where the once moat was there is now a beautiful greenspace that encircles the lovely downtown.

Churches in Krakow are amazing... I love all the details!

About Krakow

Krakow, one of Poland’s oldest cities, dates back to the 7th century and became the capital of Poland in 1038. The city flourished during the Renaissance, becoming a major center of science, culture, and art. It was significantly impacted by World War II, with much of its Jewish population perishing in the Holocaust. The infamous Auschwitz concentration camp is just an hour outside Krakow and the jewish geto in Krakow has been the setting of many World War II movies including Schindler’s List. Post-war, Krakow emerged as a symbol of Polish heritage and resilience, preserving its historic architecture and cultural legacy. Krakow is filled with history and is a place of pilgrimage for many families of holocaust survivors.

I love the architecture in Krakow- it is the prettiest city ever!

Tips for Visiting Krakow

Best Time to Visit: Spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) are the best times to visit due to milder weather and fewer tourists. Summer can be crowded, and winter, while cold, has its charm with Christmas markets.

Currency and Payments: The Polish z?oty (PLN) is the local currency. While credit and debit cards are widely accepted, it’s a good idea to carry some cash, especially for small purchases or at local markets.

Language: Polish is the official language, but English is commonly spoken in tourist areas. Learning basic Polish phrases can enhance your experience and interactions with locals.

Krakow old town

Getting Around: Krakow has an efficient public transportation system, including trams and buses. The old town is very walkable, and cycling is also a popular option. Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are available.

Accommodation: Book your accommodation well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. There are options for every budget, from luxury hotels to budget hostels and Airbnb.

Cultural Etiquette: Poles are generally friendly and hospitable. When entering someone’s home, it’s customary to remove your shoes. A firm handshake is a common greeting.

old brick and plaster building

Local Cuisine: Try traditional Polish dishes such as pierogi (dumplings), bigos (hunter’s stew), kielbasa (sausage), and zapiekanka (Polish-style pizza bread). Visit local restaurants and milk bars (bar mleczny) for authentic and affordable meals.

Safety: Krakow is generally safe for tourists, but like any major city, be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. Keep an eye on your belongings to avoid pickpocketing.

Tours and Day Trips: Consider guided tours for a deeper understanding of Krakow’s history. Popular day trips include the Wieliczka Salt Mine, Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, and the Tatra Mountains.

entrance to Church on the Rock, Krakow

Shopping: Visit the Cloth Hall in the Main Market Square for souvenirs such as amber jewelry, traditional crafts, and local artwork. Local markets and shops offer a variety of unique items.

Nightlife: Krakow has a vibrant nightlife with numerous bars, pubs, and clubs. The Kazimierz district is particularly popular for its nightlife scene. Always be aware of your alcohol intake and surroundings.

Festivals and Events: Check the local event calendar for festivals, concerts, and cultural events. Notable events include the Krakow Film Festival, Christmas markets, and the Wianki Festival.

Respecting Heritage Sites: When visiting historical and religious sites, dress modestly and respect the rules and guidelines provided. Photography might be restricted in certain areas.

Local Transport Tips: Validate your ticket immediately upon boarding public transport to avoid fines. Consider buying a Krakow Card for unlimited travel and discounts on attractions.

Old city wall, Krakow- so cool!

Must-See Attractions

  • Wawel Castle and Cathedral: A historic site with beautiful architecture and rich history.
  • Main Market Square (Rynek G?ówny): The largest medieval town square in Europe, surrounded by historic buildings, restaurants, and cafes.
  • St. Mary’s Basilica: Known for its stunning altarpiece and hourly trumpet call.
  • Kazimierz (Jewish Quarter): A culturally rich area with synagogues, museums, and vibrant nightlife.
  • Schindler’s Factory Museum: A poignant museum detailing Krakow’s experiences during World War II.
Singer Cafe, Krakow

Taste of Poland at Home

Polish Smalec Spread When traveling in Poland, you’ll often be greeted with little pots of Smalec – a rich, delicious lard spread – instead of butter for bread and crackers. This spread is easy to make, full of homestyle flavor, and totally addictive!

Polish Country Style Ribs – Delicious tender melt in your mouth boneless Polish country style ribs slow roasted in their own delectable gravy are absolutely mouthwatering!

Chimney Cakes – Sprinkle Chimney Cakes, Kürtoskalács, are a deliciously sweet dessert often found at European Christmas markets and festivals – and SUPER easy to make at home.

Check out my other Polish content

Be sure to check out my recaps here: Wawel CastleKrakow’s Main Square, Ojkow National Park, The Jewish District, and Zakopane!

Church on the Rocks, Krakow

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Church on the Rocks, Krakow Ceiling

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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