Updated: Jan 28, 2020
- It's a very historic city and much of it can be learned without going into museums.
- It's a very walkable city. I walked everywhere, including a walking tour, and between the hostel and bus station and downtown.
- Extremely affordable, especially compared to the next places I went to: Prague and Vienna.
- The accent over the o in Kraków is there for a reason! The emphasis ends on the o, basically ignore the w: Kra-ko.
- Auschwitz is about 2 hours away.
- People are friendly and English only speakers will get around fine. I did have one experience where we couldn't understand one another but a friendly stranger stopped and helped translate!
Here's my checklist of what I wanted to do after scrounging pinterest and multiple travel guides and then what I've added on after!
My Kraków List
What you'll find in all travel guides:
Old Jewish ghetto
Schindler's Factory museum
What I would add on:
Jewish quarter walking tour
Walk along Vistula River
Watching the sunset in the square
ORZO bar & restaurant
Breakfast at Handelka
Eat Zapiekanka (pizza open sandwich)
Eat Befszytk Tatarski dish at Pijalnia wodki i piwa (Bar with magazines on walls)
These two are a couple hours from the city so I'd highly recommend adding them on to Krakow day trips:
I toured the salt mine and Auschwitz as a one day combined tour (often discouraged online) but it worked out very well for me. I will write up in a separate blog post.
Vodka tasting or a bar crawl was also on my list. There was a bar crawl that left from the hostel and looked pretty fun, and of course was very affordable. I considered it but unfortunately didn't feeling up for it because I had horrible allergies while there...I don't normally experience allergies...I think maybe the shock of climates and seasons coming from Zambia to Poland in spring time caused it.
Dizzy Daisy Downtown Hostel. It was less than $6 per night but felt much more expensive. It's very comfortable and clean with an excellent location. People were friendly but it was quiet atmosphere and people didn't come in late. It was safe and secure. The bathrooms were nice and the shower was terrific with a locked space to put belongings and change before entering in the shower.
MONDAY - later arrival than planned. I walked from the bus station to the hostel and had bus snacks for dinner. I did get a little lost but it worked out fine. As I said about allergies, I decided to just stay in and rest up for all the touring to come!
TUESDAY - early breakfast, walked through the park, free walking tour, own exploration of town, walking along the river, jewish quarter, jewish ghetto with various monuments, the castle and cathedral...and more.
WEDNESDAY - Day tour to Salt Mine and Auschwitz, back around dinner time and explored more of the town centre, market, bought dinner for bus ride, drinks, etc
late night overnight bus to prague
Although the Krakow trip only ended up being 2 nights and just over 2 days, I had a robust experience. It is a small enough city that I didn’t feel like I missed out on much. I definitely would have loved to spend more days there and there would have been more to do. I would have split up more walking tours, maybe gone to a few museums and possibly split up the salt mine and auschwitz experiences into two days. I also loved the bar and restaurants I experienced and would have loved to see more!
Top rated experiences
Free Walking Tour
I would 100% recommend this tour. Our tour guide was Spanish but had lived in Krakow for many years. She had great perspective and was incredibly knowledgeable. Krakow's history is fascinating and much of it still stands today. In just the 2-3 hours of this tour, I felt a deep understanding of the city and it's rich history.
Sitting at one of the restaurants in the town square, watching the sunset and all the people walking by. Listening to the church bells and warming up with a spiced beer.
Walking about an hour early to the bus and stopping in a bar for a beer. The atmosphere was incredible. Lively and busy. Many college students and young adults. The place was eclectic with magazines plastered all over. Prices were cheap, about half what I had paid for my spiced beer at the town centre. A few ladies celebrating passing of exams shared all about what it's like to live in Krakow. They had me try their dish which I was very intrigued by and would highly recommend! It's on the list!
Budget Travel total: $46
Breakdown of costs for my fellow budget travelers:
$13 - food
$14 - drinks
$8 - bus dinner + trip snacks
= $46 Kraków total
Kraków with $74 Auschwitz & Salt Mine tour total