Krakow

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Krakow 02 Apr - 26 Oct Book Now
Krakow square hourse and carts

Image used under Creative Commons from milan.boers

Krakow is the most popular tourist city in Poland so when you arrive here after a three hour flight from Shannon, don’t be surprised to find a thronged metropolis. It’s the second largest city in the country comprising 18 districts so there’s plenty of room for everyone.

Most places in Krakow will accept euros but some, especially if you plan on travelling outside of the city, still hold a candle for the official currency, Zloty. It’s best to have some handy just in case or ideally pick some up at Shannon before departure to avoid ATM charges and high commission fees while you’re away.

Getting there

The city’s airport, named after Pope John Paul II, is just a short 12km from the city centre. A return ticket to the centre by express bus takes about 30 minutes. You’ll find your transport waiting outside Terminal 1 – schedules are usually driven by flight arrivals so there should be little or no delay.

Trains are also available and boast a shorter journey time than the bus – you’ll save approximately 11 minutes. However, expect that time to be taken up if you take the free shuttle bus from the terminal to the train station – the distance is just 200 metres so its only a short stroll and possibly the better option time wise. Taking a taxi can prove expensive by comparison depending on where you’re staying.

On arrival in the city, visitors will find accommodation of all shapes and sizes suitable to all budgets. It’s just a question of deciding which suits you best. Once that’s out of the way, one of the most historical and wondrous cities in Europe is waiting to be discovered.

Discover the City

There’s a thriving café, bar and restaurant scene here, serving up international and local dishes that will delight. There’s plenty of choice when it comes to surroundings too – from gritty to chic, and everything in between, you’ll find a host of options when it’s time to eat. Bohemian bars and beer halls also sit comfortably with elegant cocktail and wine establishments.

Before all that though, the breathtaking array of architecture styles here has to be admired.  Renaissance, gothic and baroque buildings stand tall and proud throughout the town – it’s even more remarkable to think that they survived the Second World War. The backdrop is impressive too – a riverside hill named Wawel looks over the city. The Kings of Poland were crowned and buried here once upon a time and a visit to the castle and cathedral is highly recommended.

If it’s striking tales of human endeavour you’re after, then look no further than the Wieliczka salt mine. A UNESCO World Heritage site, there are so many things to admire here. Top of the pile is St. Kinga’s Chapel – an underground church that contains opulent sculptures and reliefs, almost all of which are carved from natural rock salt. The mine is a 20-minute trip from Krakow and the three-hour guided tour will explain the miraculous feats in more detail.

Of course, no visit to Krakow is complete without a trip to Auschwitz. Located about 50km from the city, expect a profoundly moving experience while on the tour, which takes in the museum and memorial to those the suffered and died here.

Five for free

  • Stroll along the Vistula

    Boardwalks on either side of the Vistula River are ideal for a romantic walk or even a jog if you’re looking for somewhere to maintain your fitness regime while you’re away. In summer, it can be just as busy as the city centre with entertainment on offer from local acts. If you can find a quiet spot, it’s the ideal place to sit and watch the world go by.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Aitor Escauriaza

    Krakow vistula image
  • Hike at Skalki Twardowskiego

    An old limestone quarry, Skalki Twardowskiego is an unexpected oasis on the edge of the city. Hiking and biking paths have been carved out to make it the perfect place for a tranquil escape.

    Image used under Creative Commons from sz.u.

    Krakow Skalki Twardowskiego image
  • Haggle at Plac Nowy

    Filled with flea markets and bazaars, Plac Nowy is hive of activity, especially at weekends when its markets open for business. Once you’ve had your fill of bargain hunting you can take a break at the many cafes and bars that surround the square.

    Image used under Creative Commons from slickimages

    Krakow market image
  • Muse in Museums

    Lots of Krakow’s museums offer free entry on certain days. The Schindler Factory Museum is one of particular note and waives admission on Mondays, with the exception of the first Monday of every month. Make sure to get your dates and timing right.

    Image used under Creative Commons from texx1978

    Krakow museum image
  • Mingle in the Main Square

    Rynek Glowny, the main square in the city, is bordered by some of the most well-known and historic buildings in all of Poland, including St. Adalbert’s Church and St. Mary’s Basilica. Plenty of stalls will keep you occupied in between structure gazing.

    Image used under Creative Commons from David Berkowitz

    Krakow main square image
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