My sister and I had wanted to visit Krakow for some time, so we decided this year instead of birthday presents we would just pay for our flights to go. Initially we wanted to visit for the Christmas markets but with our birthdays both being in March it felt too hard to wait that long!
We arrived in Krakow on a Saturday night and didn’t leave until Tuesday night so it gave us three good days to explore. We booked the Tyzenhauz Apartments for our stay which I would highly recommend. They have apartments all over the city so I suppose it depends which one you get. Ours was about a 15 minute walk to the Old Town. It was a completely straight route the whole way in and we were less than 10 minutes away from the amazing shopping centre Galeria Krakowska which would have everything you would ever need! They also organised a taxi to pick us up at the airport as well as our tours for the Salt Mines & Auschwitz.
On our first night arriving we were quite late so just ended up in the bar Huki Muki in the Old Town. The front bar is a really modern, bright setting and then when you continue into the back it is a completely different feel. Their two floors are really dark, with everything made of wood.
On our first full day we took a trip to the Wieliczka Salt Mine. I mean, it’s cool.. but if you’re stuck for time I definitely wouldn’t be rushing there. It’s an underground mine where they used to extract salt from the rocks. I found the most interesting part to be the general infrastructure underground but the whole salt aspect wasn’t overly fascinating (and it isn’t the cute pink salt either, it’s completely grey). They actually have quiet a few sculptures and chandeliers which are interesting – but overall I would only be giving it a 5 out of 10. It didn’t help that our ‘English speaking tour guide’ had quite broken English so we didn’t grasp much of the history of the mine!
We spent that evening wandering around the Old Town. There are some amazing buildings around the place, great buskers and lots of cafés on the edge to sit and people watch (but you pay the price!). There were also loads of beautiful horse & carriages throughout the city. I’m not sure how much it cost as we never asked but it would definitely be a gorgeous way to see the city.
On our second day there we heading to Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camps from the second world war. I think there is just too much information about those as a whole so I have kept the details for another post which you can find here. I will say that it was one of the main reasons that we chose to go to Krakow and I would highly recommend anyone to go there. It is incredibly eye opening and interesting to visit. It is a very long day and your mood won’t be superb after visiting so I would suggest doing this on a day where you don’t plan on going out afterwards. Before I scare you, it doesn’t cripple you in despair or anything but the day as a whole really does take it out of you both physically and emotionally.
On our last day we had no major plans for the day. We went to visit Wawel Royal Castle which is really beautiful. There is a museum inside but we didn’t bother with it. The grounds are quite vast, giving you different gems in every direction. Close by you will find the famous fire breathing dragon and a beautiful view over the Vistula River. We spent the evening in another shopping centre by Kazimierz to find an Inglot store. Inglot makeup is notorious for being much cheaper in Poland. At less than half price compared to Ireland we made sure we bought our monies worth while we were there!
Being really honest, Krakow isn’t the most capturing city I have ever visited. As far as Old Towns go it is beautiful but possibly not as interesting as the likes of Tallinn or Prague. But, somewhere doesn’t have to look like a fairy tale for you to have a good time. The architecture was interesting, the nightlife was good, the shopping is great and the history there was amazing. Auschwitz was so amazing to see it actually made Krakow one of my favourite trips away to date.
Have you ever been to Krakow or Poland? Would you like to visit it some day?