After a recent trip to Krakow, Sonja Sjogren explains why the city steeped in history is well worth a visit.
Krakow isn’t necessarily the first place that pops into your mind when planning a holiday, but it should be. The small city charms the visitor with beautiful architecture and parks, as well with its engrossing history.
Poland is a country that’s probably the most well-known for its dark history during the Second World War, but the city of Krakow has so much more to offer than just that.
Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland and this shows in its architecture. There is a free walking tour of the city available starting from the Main Market Square, where many of the historical stories take place.
The interesting tour takes you around the city center and teaches a lot about the history of Krakow as well as mysterious stories from as far back from history as the Middle Ages.
The Main Market Square or Rynek Główny is a UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site and a magnificent example of the beauty of the old town, but also a great meeting point as it is pretty much in the middle of the old town.
Multiple roads lead to the square and shops, restaurants and bars are all within walking distance. If the city center is not enough, the tram will take you outside of the city in no time and it also cost only 1.40 zloty for a 20 minute journey or 1.90 zloty for a 40 minute journey. In euro, the 40 minute ticket is only about 40 cent.
Overall, the city is, from an Irish/a Finnish point of view very cheap as a proper meal with drinks cost only about €6, a pint is just over €2 and a coffee from Starbucks can be purchased for just over €3.
Many sights are totally free or free at a certain weekday, for example Podziemia Rynku, a museum under the Main Market Square, is free of admission on Tuesdays and well worth seeing as there are medieval items scavenged from under the square and even vampire skeletons there.
Krakow nightlife is lively and there is a lot of variety. Shisha bars are around every corner and finding a karaoke bar is not difficult either. The old town is filled with bars and nightclubs and there is definitely something for everyone, from sports pubs to café bars and proper nightclubs.
The pub crawl starting from The Main Market Square is definitely a fun night and only for about a tenner you get into four bars and nightclubs and get free drinks in one of them.
If you’ve got the time, which you should, pay a visit to Auschwitz. Auschwitz is the most well-known concentration camp in the world and it’s located just outside Krakow.
The journey takes about an hour and a half by a bus and multiple companies offer day tours there for about 100 zloty, which is about €20. The camp is not necessarily for the most faint-hearted as it is a terrible place to visit but in fairness, it is a huge part of European history, and is definitely worth the trip.
Whether it is traditional tourist activities, shopping or partying you’re looking for, Krakow is the place to be. In the city where the new modern lifestyle meets the old buildings, seven million tourists roam the streets yearly and for a very good reason.