At the beginning of the year, we visited Krakow for a few days to celebrate David’s birthday. Poland holds a dear place in our hearts as we have a few polish friends and back in 2017 we got to attend a polish wedding (two days of straight vodka drinking, it was crazy).
We were both really looking forward to finally visiting Krakow after months of planning and it exceeded our expectations two-fold. The city itself is beautiful but it was the people who really made Krakow special. Everyone was so friendly and had such a wicked sense of humour, especially when I tried to practise a few polish phrases my friends had taught me!
I’ll write a more detailed guide to Krakow at a later date, but for now – here is our day-by-day itinerary of everything we go up to in the 72 hours that we were in Krakow.
As we had an early morning flight, we arrived at Krakow at 10:30 where we were met by our wonderful driver Lucas. He was really lovely, telling us all about Krakow and pointing out sites of interest. Our apartments were right in the heart of Krakow, so we got dropped off just outside the main market square. We couldn’t actually get into our apartments until 2pm so we had a wonder (it has just snowed so everything looked magical!) and then went to have some lunch at Miod Malina, a wonderful little polish restaurant.
By the time we had finished lunch, we got to our apartment and David fell asleep bless him, having had to drive us to the airport so early in the morning. He didn’t wake up until about 5 so we just had a bit of a lazy afternoon and slowly got ready before heading out for the evening. We had some dinner then went out to a couple of bars where I may have got a teensy bit tipsy. We didn’t have to be up too early the next morning so it was *fine*.
We met outside the agreed spot at 10am and proceeded to the farmers market where we bought all the ingredients for the tour. Our guide, Maria, encouraged us to speak Polish when buying the ingredients – something that was very amusing to the people we were buying from! Once we had all of our supplies we went back to Maria’s house where she taught us how to make pierogi.
It was so much fun learning how to make traditional polish pierogi (we had cheese and potato) and Maria taught us a lot about Krakow and what it was like to grow up in Poland. Once we had made all the pierogi we got to tuck in and eat it! Arguably, the best part of the day.
We finished off around 2:30 and this time, it was me who was in need of a nap! We headed back to the apartment for a couple of hours and after being still full from all the pierogi eating we had a late-ish dinner and drinks at the Hard Rock Cafe (a little tradition we have started where we collect the glasses from each new city!). After a cocktail or two, it was time for bed. We had a busy day planned!
Saturday was a big day; we had a full day tour booked with Krakow Discovery where we visited Auschwitz in the morning and then the Salt Mines in the afternoon. We were picked up by the driver at 8:40 from outside our apartment and then taken to Auschwitz which was about 90 or so minutes outside of Krakow. The full day tour was about £55 each and we were well looked after by the drivers – I would certainly recommend them for tours.
The first stop was the Auschwitz concentration camp, where we were given a sticker and a little headset. The tour group was about 25 people and we were taken around the camp with our guide for about 90 minutes. After that, we were transported to Birkenau which is another concentration camp, the largest camp in fact and the place where millions of Jews were transported to their deaths.
I simply cannot explain the feeling of being in such an awful place. The sheer scale of the terror than happened in these two camps is unimaginable. The conditions were freezing and snowy when we went, with blankets of untouched snow stretching for miles. It really put it into perspective the terrible conditions that the people who were forced to work in these camps, must have had to face.
After a morning of sombre reflection and remembrance, we then were taken to the Salt Mines – about 45 minutes from Auschwitz. The tour started at 4 pm and lasted about 1 hour. I didn’t really know what to expect having not read much about it, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. You are taken deep into the salt mines (you have to climb down lots of stairs, but there is a lift on the way back up!) and taught about the history of the mines and the importance of them. The mines are impressive in themselves, miles and miles of corridors, underground churches and salt statues – it was a good surprise that I enjoyed it and I’m glad I didn’t read to much about it!
After the tour, we got taken back to our hotel room and we just flopped. It had been a full on couple of days, so we had a quick bite to eat and the went straight to bed!
We had a late flight Sunday, so we had a lazy morning at the apartment before heading out to brunch at 11:30 at Bistro Bene. After fuelling up, we explored Krakow at our own pace, stopping off at coffee shops, such as Tribeca and Cafe Lisboa and also one last perogi stop at Peroigania Krakowicy.
We wandered around the old town, explored Wawel castle and visited Kazimierz, the Jewish quater. We ended our time in Krakow in Hamsa, gorging ourselves on a feast of middle eastern food. It was bloody delicious.
Wandering around aimlessly and eating is perhaps one of my favourite ways to spend in a new city and Krakow is absolutely perfect for that. With beautiful architecture, funky coffee shops and modern restaurants, getting lost in Krakow is the best way to explore it.
So there it is, my 72 hour itinerary of what we got up to in Krakow – a wonderful city that holds so much history, beautiful buildings and incredibly friendly people. Anyone who is looking for a city break in Europe should add Krakow to their list. Have you ever been to Poland before? Let me know in the comments!
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