Kraków, situated in the south of Poland, is an underrated gem. With cobbled streets, horse-drawn carriages and pretty squares lined with beautiful buildings, it’s like something straight out of a film.
Most people don’t even consider it as a potential city break destination, and instead prefer the likes of Barcelona, Paris and Berlin. We’re here to show you what Kraków can offer something even more special than these overcrowded tourist hotspots.
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Wieliczka Salt Mine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to a labyrinth of tunnels, excavations and salt carvings across nine levels. The main attraction here is the ornamental Chapel of St Kinga, which is a large church carved entirely from salt. A section of the mine, 22 chambers connected by galleries, is open to the public by guided tour, and it’s a fascinating trip well worth booking.
Kraków’s Old Town is steeped in history and culture. At the heart of it, you’ll find the Main Market Square (or Rynek Glówny, as it's known locally) which is the world's largest medieval market square. Filled with restaurants, shops and cafes, it’s the perfect place to grab a coffee and take in the breathtaking surroundings amidst a lively vibe.
Here, you’ll also find antique horse-drawn carriages. You can hire these and take an unconventional sightseeing trip around the city!
Just off the main Market Square lies St Mary’s Basilica, which is one of the most important religious structures in the country. You can take a tour of the exquisite interior and admire the carved wooden altar, or climb the tower for excellent views of the city.
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is just a 42-mile trip west of Kraków. As one of Europe’s best preserved concentration camps, it’s an important part of the country’s history. Although incredibly emotional, it’s eye-opening to see. It’s best to take part in an organised tour from Kraków, offered by numerous operators.
Poles are notoriously very proud of their incredibly delicious and varied cuisine, so dining out in Kraków promises to be an unforgettable experience.
We’d recommend visiting Stylowa in the Old Town, one of the most authentic restaurants in the city dating back to the 1950s. Sample traditional Polish dishes such as veal escalopes or stuffed dumplings. Dances are held every weekend and often, a live folk band performs whilst you are enjoying your meal.
If you fancy sampling the Poles’ take on French cuisine, Cyrano de Bergerac is the place to visit. It’s one of the top restaurants in the city thanks to its offering of impeccable food. Mussel soup, salad Niçoise and steak tartare are just some the dishes available.
Kraków nightlife is unlike any other in Europe. Instead of stylish cocktail bars, locals favour quirky establishments away from tourist hotspots.
Staropolskie Trunki is a small bar hidden away just a short distance from the Main Square. All the drinks available are from the local region, including flavoured vodkas varying from fresh mint to chocolate, alongside hot honey wine and other old Polish liquors. What makes it even better, is the fact that you can sample as many as you like, for free!
Absynt Cafe & Bar specialises in, as you may have guessed, absinthe. This 1920s style bar offers over 20 variations of the drink served in the traditional way. If you’re looking for something a little weaker, cocktails and regional beers are also served.
Hotel Grodek is just three minutes’ walk from the Main Square, making it ideal for those looking for a quiet, yet central location. It boats 23 individually-styled rooms and a great restaurant, where you can get four courses for around £45 per head. Doubles start from £250.