Krakow 10 unmissable things

Krakow

Krakow Main-Market-Square

Krakow has been on my bucket list for years and I finally got the chance to spend a month in Poland. Krakow is a 3 hour flight from Dublin and even easier if your on mainland Europe. The currency is Zloty and you can get it from the ATM that’s my advice. I never get it in a bank or money trader. Krakow is a heaven for history lovers.

The main square in the old town day or night is the center of activity in Krakow. It is the largest medieval square in Europe and the center of life in Krakow. Yes it is very touristy but you will meet lots of locals also as they also love their city. No matter what way you turn there is something colourful to see and there are a couple of unmissable highlights

1. The Head

The giant bronze hollow head was designed by Igor Mitoraj and is one of the cities favourite landmarks and the perfect place for a holiday picture. It is known locally as the head but its official name is Eros Bendato.

2. In the center you will find the squares most impressive building. The Cloth Hall is a beautiful renascence building building that has been home to local businesses for 700 years. It was originally the place where local textiles and salts were sold. Now you are more likely to find jewelry and handcrafts. Prices here are higher as its a touristy spot but still great value by our standards.

3. St. Mary’s church

is amazing and even overwhelming. Of all the amazing churches in Europe this could easily be the most stunning. The bugle call can be heard from the top of the tower every hour on the hour. The bugle player is actually a man as opposed to the motorized ones found in other European cities. In the 1300 century they used this bugle player to warn about attacks on the city. However during that time the trumpet player was shot half way through and to this day they stop suddenly halfway through to commemorate him.

4. Market

Its hard to find a genuine market these days in tourist cities but the market at “Plac Targowy Unitarg” or “Halą Targową” (Market Hall in English) is a gem.  It is a neighborhood market and full of locals and tourists. It is the biggest and best in Krakow. It is only ten minutes walk from the old town so very easy to find. Its really worth the visit and is on daily as a food market however Sunday it becomes a sprawling full flea market. There are some really unusual finds here. Located on the Northeast side of the Jewish quarter. Website: unitarg.krakow.pl

5. Krakow skyline

For a birds eye view of the city try a balloon flight. Not your typical balloon flight but you are 133m above the city and the view is spectacular. Cost about 9 euro.

6. The Salt-mines.

The tour itself is long and is over 864 steps downhill.  This is not for the claustrophobic or mobility challenged as the stairs is the only option. The underground Church and lake are outstanding. It took 67 years years to build. You could fit the Eiffel tower in here and still have a few meters to spare. Ive never seen anything like it. We did a tour and that included pick up from the hotel. Cost 40.00. Too expensive but if you don’t or cant get there yourself then worth it. If I was with a group or family though I wouldn’t pay for that trip. You can do it yourself by taking a train to the town from the main train station in Krakow to Wieliczka Rynek Kopalnia train station. Walk just minutes to the mines and simply buy your ticket. To save even more money you can purchase your ticket online and sometimes they offer 50% discount for doing to  https://www.ebilety.kopalnia.pl/index.php?Lang=ANG

7.  Auschwitz

This was my must do tour. There are so many organised tours from Krakow that if this is your preferred option then you will have no problem finding them. They cost between 40-45 euro and they will pick you up in a minivan from your accommodation. You can do it alone however for 1/20th of the price. You take a bus or a mini bus from the main bus station ground level, bus costs 13 zl and the mini bus cost 8zl. You can book online its cheaper. You can also take the train. All details are on this site.

8.  free walking tours.

I always do a free walking tour and they are available in most European cities. They are donation based tours so tip the guide. Here is one of many companies doing these tours http://freewalkingtour.com/

9. Krakow Communism tour in a Trabant.

for something different try this. Roughly costs 33 euro for 2.5 hours.  http://www.crazyguides.com/

10. Wawel Hill Krakow

Is a must for tourists. From the 11th century Polish monarchs took residency here. They were both crowned and laid to rest here and since the 19th century Polish national hero’s are also buried here.

 

If you are traveling to or from another location or want some more tips on Poland here is another piece I put together for myself in the future. All the travel websites etc are here to make life easier Poland tips and links


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About Sandra

Just a girl from Ireland who wants to live everywhere. Not a planner, a winger when it comes to travel. I don't even like people who plan too much. Without spontaneity there is no depth. A jack of all trades. A great friend, loyal and passionate and I expect the same in return. Always ready for the next adventure at a moments notice.
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