Not everyone can relate to this! But my favourite pass time is browsing through the travel sites and exploring options to travel. One such site is the “Sky-scanner“, it has a feature where in you have to give the Source (from where you will be traveling) and destination can be “Anywhere”, and it would list down all the possible connections available. Isn’t that awesome?? But wait, tats not all, it also sorts according to the cheapest fares, that something really excites me. So one such day, I landed myself on a cheapest flight to Krakow – Poland.
Note: I choose this method, mainly because I have a plan to travel everywhere , so why not make it affordable on the pocket 😉
This being my first solo trip ever, I was more cautious on the stay, things to do, travel etc… and I had almost everything planned out for my 3 days stay!
Poland has its own local currency “Polish złoty” (1 Euro = 4.3 PLN)
Travel: Like I mentioned earlier, “Sky-Scanner” provides you with a clean search with the cheapest option across various flights. I got my booking done from “Norwegian Air” for 2 reasons – It was cheaper and I had mile points which needed to be used. A round trip costed about 90 Euros from Copenhagen. Check for offers while booking, as some website offer cheap travel and stay option.
Airport to City Center: There are direct buses 252 and 208, available from airport to city center (Rynek Glowny) and costs about 1 Euro and takes about 30 to 40 minutes to reach. An easy option without hassle. If you do not want to waste time on travel, you can always opt for Taxis. However I would recommend the bus ride 🙂 Read here for more information.
Stay: My flight landing was during the late evening, and city centre was about an hr from airport, I opted to stay the night at the airport itself. I booked myself a King suite in the Hilton Garden In hotel, which is right opposite of the exit terminal, which is so convenient. The hotel itself was very clean and comfortable. It has included breakfast buffet. Room fares per night is 50 Euros, which is very cheap considering the luxury.
For the next 2 days, i stayed in the city centre in an hostel “The Little Havana Party Hostel“. Like the name suggest, its quite famous for its parties and pub crawl. The rooms are more of a dormitory kind with bunk beds. I had a bed in a 8 room mixed dorm. 2 day costed me about 26 Euros. It had included breakfast, nothing fancy but enough for the morning.
Click here to read my review of the hotel.
Things to do : There are a lot of activities in and around Krakow. Krakow being one of the oldest cities in Poland and the second largest. It was the initial capital of Poland, but was later moved to Warsaw.
Free Walking tour: I did 2 walking tours, one was the Main city walking tour and the other one was the Jewish Quarters walking tour. The best part about doing these tours are that, they provide an insight on the city as a whole, plus you pay if you like it. Lucky for me, my guide was really enthusiastic about the whole tour and gave pointers on places to have the best food without burning your pockets.
Main Square : So most of the tours, do start from here, so you will definitely come across this open space surrounded by lots of restaurants, cafes, pubs and shops. In the earlier days it was the main place for commerce, however these days they are quite popular with stage shows, events and street performances. Its quite famous among the visitors as well as the locals.
Wawel Castle : Located on the Wawel hill this UNESCO world heritage site castle is at a walking distance of about 20 minutes from the main square. Now a museum, was once the riyal residence of the polish kings. There is also a park by the water front where you can spend some time with family and friends. There are also daily tours to visit the castle which can be chosen.
St Mary’s Basilica : Located in the main market square, this Gothic style church is not to miss. Every hr, a trumpet signal is played on top of the tower, to show respect to a Trumpeter who was shot during the signaling of the Mongolian invader in 13 th century.
From the picture it is seen that the right side tower is slightly higher than the left side. Till the 15 century, both the towers were of the same height, however the right tower was raised later that time to become the Watch tower of the city.
Wieliczka Salt Mine : This is one of the oldest working salt mine in the world. There are various half day trips to this beautiful salt mine. The 2.5 kilo meter long route is full of chambers with amazing display of statues, mining machines and equipment’s. There is also a chapel decorated with salt crystal and chandeliers. there are lot of agencies running this tour. I booked via the ” Krakow Shuttle“. these agencies have a pick and drop to the city centre. One of the things I personally like about this mine was, how friendly the staffs were and how they managed such a huge crowd, plus they let u lick the salt from the walls 😛
Auschwitz – Birkenau : World largest concentration and extermination camp is located at an hr drive from Krakow. Sad reality of visiting this place is unraveling the horrific truths.Its a day tour from Krakow and can be booked via the “Discover Cracow“site.
There are various tours and travel running day tours from Krakow. Use the below link to select from many options which suits you better.
Food Options: The main square of Krakow has a lot of cafes and restaurants to choose from. Also, just behind the Basilica, there is an market which serves various polish cuisines.
Some of the must tries are below
- Pierogi (Polish dumplings) : Like the name suggest, these are dough filled with meat or veggies. The one I tried was with potato and cheese filling steamed to perfection. You can also get them in fried variant as well. Pair it with a local beer and you are all set in.
- Polish Hot dog: Hot dogs are hugely popular in Europe, and each and every place has an own touch to it. Same with polish hot dog. Some pair it with cheese along with mustard.
- Zapiekanka : Its an open faced sandwich made with baguette, topped with veggies mainly mushroom and drizzled with some cheese and tomato sauce.
- Obwarzanek krakowski : A bagel which is usually topped with sesame seeds and even cheese 🙂
- Green tea and mango Ice cream : This one is my favourite, but you have different combination of ice cream to choose from.
- Hard Rock Cafe: I am a huge fan of HRC and it never fails to impress me. The drinks and food is always fantastic.