Over the next two weeks I will be running a series of posts on how to burn up your last few days of holiday before the end of the year, without spending a fortune.
Krakow is easily one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with a diverse range of attractions, and around Christmas is one of the best times to visit. The old town has the charm and appeal of the historic areas of many other European cities, but for a fraction of the price.
Fly from London, East Midlands or Birmingham with Ryanair for between £50 and £65, and good news for those living in Northern Ireland, there are return flights for just £31! Getting from the airport to the old town is easy and cheap by bus and train. Train tickets are just £1.86 (9PLN) while the bus is even cheaper at just 86p (4PLN).
Accommodation here is abundant, and there is something to suit all wallets, my personal favourite is the Puro Hotel, with rooms priced from £56 per night. Check out Booking.com for other great options.
Things to Do
The old town square is the beating heart of Krakow, and has an abundance of restaurants and bars, overlooking the hustle and bustle of the square is the ubiquitous Hard Rock Café, which might not seem like a budget option, but with prices significantly lower than their counterparts in London or Paris, it’s a great spot to watch the world go by, especially if you bag a table by the window on the first floor. Off the square is the fantastic Movida cocktail bar, where the vodka start at less than £1, beers from £2 and cocktails from £4. At these prices you can afford to go back night after night and work your way through their selection of more than 50 cocktails.
When you’ve had your fill of eating and drinking, there’s many sights to be seen in and around Krakow. Many people come here to visit Auschwitz, which is a 60km bus or train journey from Krakow. There are to urs, but travelling there independently is much cheaper. Bus tickets start from £2 each way and there is a 10 minute walk to the museum from the bus stop. Auschwitz is a haunting place, where visitors speak in hushed tones as they visit each building, encountering another display of the remaining evidence of the Holocaust.
Another popular excursion outside of the city is to the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Wieliczka Salt Mines. After a long climb down below the ground, visitors are treated to an array of stunning and intricate carvings, including a massive church hollowed out of the rock.
In Krakow itself, Warwel Castle, on the edge of the old town is well worth a visit for an insight into the city’s varied history. If you don’t have time to visit, take a walk around the castle’s fortifications, but beware of the fire breathing dragon! Another key attraction, a 30 minute walk or 28 minute from the old town square is Oskar Schindler’s Factory, where the entrepreneur saved the lives of hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust. The walk from the main square will take you past Ghetto Heroes Square, the location of a haunting Holocaust memorial, and also the Pharmacy under the Eagle museum.
For shopping in Krakow, head to Galeria Krakowska, by the train station for an array of local and international stores. Overall, Krakow is a great city to visit, whether you want to spend your time eating and drinking on a budget, or learning about the city’s history. It also makes for a great twin centre trip, the first time we visited, we combined it with a journey on a sleeper train to Gdansk for a few days of exploring northern Poland. For our second visit, we started off in Warsaw and took the train to Krakow, in just over two and a half hours, for around £25.
All flight and accommodation prices are correct as of 25/11/18. Flight prices are per adult, return. Accommodation is priced per room per night. Exchange rates calculated by google finance on 18/11/18.