Over the past two years I have visited Gdansk in Poland three times, and during each visit I fall in love with Poland a little more. I love the city of Gdansk and the cuisine. My three trips have inspired me to explore more of Poland, so when some friends asked me to join them on a Krakow city break I didn’t hesitate at all.
Krakow City Break
Flight Time from London: The published flight time from London to Krakow is 2 hours and 25 minutes, but the actual flight time is around 2 hours.
Airline & Airport of Operation: I flew to Krakow Airport on Wizzair from London Luton Airport on one of their three daily services. At thew time of writing, Wizzair’s fares to Krakow are currently as low as £32 return.
Transfer Time to City: Krakow Airport is located ten miles from the city centre and takes around 20-25 minutes by taxi or Uber. I used Uber and it cost around £5 each way.
Where to Stay on a Krakow City Break:
For my stay in Krakow I booked a Mezzanine apartment in the City Centre Rooms and Apartments for one night on hotels.com. Our apartment cost just under £100 for night and comprised of an open plan apartment with a kitchen, dining area, lounge and bedroom area on the main floor. There was a bathroom off to one side of the apartment, and a staircase to a mezzanine bedroom area which was situated above the other bedroom area.
The apartment was quite spacious, perfect for a family or a group of friends. The space itself was clean, tidy and tastefully decorated. The only downside to the apartment was that it was located on the top floor of an old building, and it was accessible only by 4 flights of stairs. There was a small cafe located in a courtyard below, but we didn’t use this during our trip.
The building is located in Krakow’s old town, conveniently just a three minute walk from Market Square where many bars, cafes, restaurants and shops are located. The only downside to the location is that Uber drivers can’t drive into the old town so they will drop you on the perimeter and you will need to make your own way from there.
My Top Recommendations for a Krakow City Break
Explore the Market Square and Old Town
Market Square in Krakow is one of the largest and most picturesque squares that I have visited on a European city break. The square itself is lined by beautiful buildings, many of which have bars, cafes and restaurants with large outdoor seating areas which during my trip always seemed to be packed with people enjoying a drink or meal. In the centre of the square is the beautiful ornate ‘Cloth Hall’ which houses an indoor market as well as cafes and restaurants and a museum upstairs. In the square next to ‘Cloth Hall’ is the free-standing ‘Town Hall Tower’.
Throughout Krakow’s old town you will find an abundance of quirky, unique coffee shops so make time to stop at one or two to enjoy a freshly brewed coffee and maybe a sweet treat as well!
There are many beautiful streets in the old town leading away from market square which are also worth exploring. The main street ‘Grodzka’ leads you off the main square and down towards Wawel Castle, the Jewish quarter and the Vistula River.
Visit Wawel Royal Castle
Wawel Royal Castle dates back to the 13th century and its architecture has aspects of Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Renaissance. The castle sits on a hill by the Vistula River looking far out over Krakow and the surrounding areas. During my stay I visited the castle a couple of times, the first time being at night, which made it look very impressive lit up in the night sky. I then revisited the next day, but rather than just look at the castle from the road below, I ventured up the hill and into the castle grounds which I highly recommend doing while in Krakow.
You can visit many parts of the castle such as the Dragons Den, Cathedral, State rooms, Treasury & Armoury, with prices starting at just 5 Zloty. Due to only a short stay in Krakow I didn’t visit any of the inside of the castle during this trip, but will definitely visit on my next trip to Krakow.
Take a tour of the Jewish Quarter and Ghettos
After I had visited the castle, we were walking back down the hill towards the old town and at the bottom of the hill there were many golf buggy style carts offering a range of tours around the city. The prices started at 100 Zloty per person, so we decided to take a 90 minute tour of the Jewish Quarter and the Ghettos. There was commentary in English, but the driver also interacted with us and told us a bit more information and answered any questions that we had. He was also happy to stop at any point for us to take photos. The tour started off by heading to the Jewish quarter, where we were shown around the many Synagogues that are located in this district as well as other key places and buildings of significance.
After the Jewish Quarter the tour heads over the river to the area of Krakow where the Ghettos from the Second World War were located. While we were here we were shown many key places such as ‘The Apteka Pod Orlem’ – Pharmacy under the Eagle, but the most chilling moment was seeing a small remaining part of the Ghetto wall which was built to look like Jewish tomb stones.
Before heading back the driver also took us to see Schindler’s factory, the Church of St Katherine of Alexandria and also the Altar of the Three Millenia. I highly recommend one of these tours as it is a great way to see a lot more of Krakow that you would be able to see on foot. The tour was very interesting, although at times a stark reminder of the horrors that occurred in Krakow 75 years ago.
Food and Drink on my Krakow City Break
During my trip to Krakow I didn’t have a meal anywhere that was particularly memorable, but I did try many local dishes. Duck seems to be quite a large part of the local cuisine, so I had two duck dishes during my visit and I also had a beef cheek stew.
After dinner on Saturday night we decided to find somewhere for a few cocktails. Our first stop was at the Buddha bar, which was located across a few buildings located around a small courtyard. The drinks menu in Buddha was extensive and the drinks were good, but it was very quiet in the bar, so after a few drinks we decided to move on and try another bar. Our second stop was at a bar called Czeczotka which was actually located in the same building where we had dinner that evening. Although the cocktail menu in Czeczotka was smaller, the quality of drinks and attention to detail on the presentation was amazing! We stayed here for the rest of the evening enjoying some fantastic creations.
Top Tip: Take an Uber from the airport for a cost of around £5 each way.
Currency: Poland’s currency is the Polish Zloty and at the time that I visited the exchange rate was around 4.8 PLN to GBP.
Weather: I visited Krakow in early September and the weather was warm and sunny for the majority of my stay, apart from a few rain showers in the evening and over night.
Best Time To Go: Krakow is fantastic city break destination that can be enjoyed all year round.
Recommended Duration: I visited Krakow for one night with friends but I don’t feel this was enough time to truly appreciate the city. I would suggest a two or three night stay in Krakow to fully appreciate this beautiful, historic city.
Conclusion: I thoroughly enjoyed my Krakow city break, and despite only being here for two days and one night I tried to fit in as much as I possibly could. There is still much more in, and around Krakow that I want to see, so I will be re-visiting Krakow very soon.