Krakow is a beautiful city, and the main tourist scene is set around it’s historic main square (Rynek Glowny). Here you can find market stalls selling arts and crafts as well as a variety of foods, including chimney cakes, a scrummy Hungarian desert that has made its way into Poland! I also love the Hard Rock Café in Krakow, as it has views over the square, and the cocktails are pretty darn tasty!
There are loads of great (and affordable hotels) in Krakow, and it’s not expensive to stay close to the action of the old town square. The Puro Hotel is a great, trendy option about 10 minutes walk from the square, but still easy on the pocket at around £65 per night. It has some lovely features such as tablets in the room which allow you to control lights and heating from your bed! For an ultra budget option in the same area, the Ibis Budget Hotel has rooms from around £20 per night.
For those who are interested in history and World War Two, Krakow is home to Schindler’s Factory, the real life location where the events depicted in the film Schindler’s List took place. About an hour from Krakow by bus or train is the city of Oswiecim, better known as the location of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz. Whilst it would be impossible and insensitive to describe Auschwitz as a tourist attraction, it is visited by two million people per year, and it is a moving experience which allows the visitor to deepen their understanding of the Holocaust, whilst being confronted with many challenging pieces of evidence of the most horrific event in human history.
Another full day visit from Krakow is Wieliczka Salt Mine, a huge, underground city which includes a church carved into the rock. This is a fascinating tour to discover a totally different part of Poland’s history.
So I might be a little biased when I say that Warsaw is one of my favourite cities, as it’s where my husband proposed to be, outside the stunning Royal Castle, which was lit with pink and white snowflakes over the Christmas period.
Warsaw is very different to Krakow and Gdansk, as it was heavily bombed during world war two, and so the majority of the city is very modern. To find out more about what happened in Warsaw during World War II, visit the Warsaw Rising Museum, you can easily spend hours here and not get bored, it is one of the best museums I have visited.
The most fun thing we did in Warsaw was the Copernicus Science Centre, which has fantastic, interactive exhibits and is like a bigger, cooler version of the Science Museum in London. Although there were lots of kids when we visited, it isn’t just for kids and makes a great day out for adults too!
Gdansk is in the north of Poland, and can be reached by a very reasonably priced, and pretty comfy sleeper train from Krakow. For those interested in history, Gdansk has it’s own important story to tell in Poland’s history of world war II. The peninsula of Westerplatte was where World War II began.
Westerplatte makes a fascinating trip from Gdansk, via the water tram from the city centre. An easy walking route takes you around the peninsula, and through the history of the area, from a beach resort in the 1800s to an army garrison and the start of world war two in 1939.
Other great places to visit include the main square, with its numerous bars and restaurants and the nearby beach resort of Sopot, a playground for the wealthy, with a beautiful wooden pier and great quirky shops to visit.
When looking for somewhere to stay, check out Airbnb and the apartments available on booking.com for a great spot in the city centre and an authentic experience.