Just saying “you only have a weekend to visit a city” gives me anxiety! I usually stay in cities for a long time, I like to travel slowly and really get to know places! Due to timing and work I only had about 31 hours to visit Polands most visited city, Krakow. Krakow has many tourist sites like Auschwitz and the Salt mines, but a short weekend is not enough time to go on a few day trips AND explore the city. Because Krakow is easy to get to from other European cities, you may only find time for a quick trip! Luckily, you can easily learn and see a lot and have a blast even without time on your side in this gorgeous city.
Take a Free Walking Tour
I admit, I am the worst at learning about the history of places I visit, or seeing any museums. I usually spend most of my time and money eating and drinking while I’m traveling! Krakow is a city with such an interesting and recent history I knew I had to do something historical. Luckily Krakow offers great ‘free’ walking tours, of course you should tip your guide at the end of the tour! I did both the Old Town walking tour and the Jewish Quarter walking tour. If I had more time I would have loved to do the Macabre Tour, all about the dark history and ghosts of Krakow.
I really enjoyed both tours, more so the Old Town. Whilst in the Jewish Quarter I could have used more time for solo exploring and trying more of the local flavors- there are so many great looking bars and restaurants! For the lists and times of these tours check out their website here.
Check Out the Cafes
No shame in saying I went to three different cafes in just a weekend in Krakow! I love to find good coffee and Krakow has a lot of greats cafes.
Camelot: We went right as it was opening and it filled up so fast! The decor is very cute and the breakfast looked amazing!
Cheder: Walking past, I knew I had to go in, the decor is lovely and the walls are covered in books. I tried Israeli coffee for the first time, and probably the last, honestly the ‘spicy’ flavor in it wasn’t for me. But it was huge and great to warm me up after being out in the rain. And how gorgeous is the pot it is served in?
Massolit: I went here for the books and stayed for the coffee! The have a decent new and used English book selection. The coffee wasn’t anything amazing but with books and a cozy interior I could have killed a few hours here!
Of course with a huge student and tourist population, comes great nightlife. I stayed in my first ever party hostel in Krakow to make sure I had a fun group of people to explore Krakow’s famous nightlife with. I would highly recommend Greg and Toms Beer Hostel if you want a fun time and don’t mind not getting much sleep! Though pub crawls are fun they will take you to the touristy places where they want you to spend money! Definitely take the time to visit some pubs and bars on your own.
For craft beer: Ursa maior
With 6 beers on tap and many bottles to choose from this had a great craft beer selection for a pick me up after walking all over the city.
Vodka: Wodka Cafe Bar
You have to try vodka while you are in Poland! Wodka bar offers taster flights in many different flavors in a very cozy (small!) atmosphere.
Check out Polish Food
Even if you are only in Krakow for a few hours you must try traditional Polish food!
Of course pierogi’s are the most famous and rightfully so, they are delicious! Marchewka z Groszkiem was the only restaurant we checked out, it serves delicious and cheap polish food. We also tried kotlet schabowy which is similar to schnitzel.
Zapiekanka is served all over the Jewish quarter! It is an open face sandwich with all sorts of toppings, like mushrooms and cheese. Perfect for a snack when walking home after a few drinks!
Wander Around the Biggest Old Town Square in Europe
Apparently Krakow has the oldest old town square in Europe! It is also full of interesting little things..
Trumpeter: Every hour on the hour a trumpeter will play a short, abruptly ended song out of the Saint Mary’s church. Why is it cut short? The legend says a trumpeter played to alarm the city that the Mongol troops were coming to invade the city, but was shot and killed by an arrow before he could finish!
Pope John Paul: There is Pope John Paul memorabilia all over Krakow! Though this photo was taken outside the Old Town square there are apparently hundreds of statues dedicated to the beloved Pope.
And, of course, gorgeous architecture!
Don’t miss the amazing street art seen around the city, especially in the Jewish district! You’ll see huge and beautiful murals covering walls along with more subtle pieces.
I am already excited to return to this city and have some more time to explore in properly!!