7 Things to Do in Krakow

Matt and I enjoyed Krakow a lot. If I could describe Krakow in one word and one phrase it would be cheap and high quality. I think that’s a combination that everyone can appreciate but doesn’t come across often. I hope to visit more of Poland in the future because of the great experience I had in Krakow. If you like older cities that have their own charm as well as great food, Krakow is for you. Krakow’s location also affords you a couple of great day trip opportunities (Auschwitz and Wieliczka Salt Mine) that are definitely worth seeing. Plus, it’s easy to spend a couple extra days there as the city’s atmosphere and cheap prices make you feel like you’re taking a lot in without doing typical tourist activities. Here are some activities you might consider adding to your list when you visit Krakow:

Gardens on Wawel Hill

Gardens on Wawel Hill

Visit Wawel Castle: This is one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. It holds a lot of history for the local community as it used to be the country’s seat of power. Hands were changed, things were destroyed, but now the castle is restored to a great condition. Opt for the full tour and see the state rooms, collection of oriental art, armory, private apartments, dragon’s den, and, my favorite, the lost wawel. It’s a beautiful, ongoing archaeological excavation that you can visit by walking raised paths. The only downside is that I couldn’t take pictures. Don’t forget to visit the cathedral on site which has free entry.

See the Salt Mine: If you and your fellow travelers don’t mind going underground and a bit of adventure, check out the Wieliczka Salt Mine. I’m a big fan of visiting underground sites and caves so this was just my cup of tea. Take a tour to learn all about the mine’s history and see some interesting art made entirely out of salt. It’s a completely different world down there that you shouldn’t miss. And it’s only a twenty minute drive from Krakow. You can get there by using public transportation or you can book a tour in advance. See Krakow is a tour company that will pick you right up at your hostel/hotel. You pay a bit extra but I think it’s worth not having to deal with the stresses or arranging transportation.

Sunlight on Royal Castle, Wawel Hill

Sunlight on Royal Castle, Wawel Hill

Make the Trip to Auschwitz: Visiting Auschwitz is a heavy experience but I think it is something everyone should do when they visit Krakow. It takes about an hour or so to reach the site from the city. I arranged a tour through See Krakow and it worked perfectly. Auschwitz is quite busy; when you arrange a tour, your guides take care of everything for you so you don’t need to wait in line for tickets. Touring Auschwitz will impact you for the rest of your life. Don’t miss it.

Dine Out: Like I said, Krakow is cheap. You can eat at a good restaurant for a reasonable price. With my boyfriend, we would each get a drink, appetizer, main meal, and one dessert for $30 (US Dollars) total. The cheap prices mean that you don’t have to feel guilty about splurging on a big meal once a day. It’s definitely worth it. If you’re like me and don’t usually dine out while you travel, make an exception for Krakow. It’s a steal.

Take a Walk By the River: Once you’re done your tour with Wawel Castle, enjoy a stroll by the river side. It’s peaceful there. Go back at night to see the city lights play off of the water. Plus there’s a fire breathing dragon statue that looks spectacular at night. You can’t miss it when you come out of the dragon’s den part of your Wawel Castle tour.

Wawel Cathedral

Wawel Cathedral

Wander Around Market Square: Sure Market Square is expensive. Sure there are lots of people. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a cool place to wander around. Check out all the souvenir stalls in the market building which is smack dab in the square’s center. Wander the streets adjacent to the square to find some cheaper restaurants and souvenirs. Sit down and people watch. It’s busy and entertaining.

Run through the Park: Or walk. The park in the center of the city surrounds the market square so you’re going to have to go through it anyway. It’s worth it to enjoy the green space in the city. Matt and I also used it as a place for our morning runs. It’s a great spot for people and puppy watching.

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Eating Like Kings in Krakow

While Matt and I were in Krakow, we ate like kings. Matt and I went to a restaurant for every single meal except for breakfasts. And it was all extremely affordable and high quality. If there is one thing I would recommend when you visit Krakow it’s to take advantage of the currency exchange and eat at some awesome restaurants. If you don’t believe me, check out the details of some of the meals that we had including the prices. It will probably blow your mind like it did ours.

 

Cafe Botanica  (55,50 Polish Zloty = 16.60)

  1. Raspberry Creme Brulee – I’m a huge fan of creme brulee so I jumped at the chance to get some in Krakow. I’ve never had raspberries cooked into the custard before but it was amazing.
  2. Caprese Salad with Bread – This salad was an option in almost all the restaurants we went to.
  3. Foot Long Panini with Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, Arugula, and Garlic Sauce: Move over Subway! This foot long panini cost be about US$3.50. And it tasted awesome.
  4. Pot of Black Tea
  5. Large Black Coffee

 

Nova Krova — An All Vegan Restaurant (63 Polish Zloty = 18.84 USD)

 

  1. Quinoa Spinach Burger with Grilled Vegetables, Lettuce, Pickles, and Spicy Sauce: This was not some rinky dink veggie burger. This thing had heft!
  2. Barley Salad with Cucumbers: Refreshing, healthy, and cheap. What more can you ask for?
  3. Beetroot Soup with Coconut Milk, Pumpkin Seeds, and Sprouts: They gave me a lot of this soup and I enjoyed every single bite. I also ordered a burger so my stomach may have felt like it was going to burst but it was worth it.
  4. Orange Lemonade
  5. Regular Lemonade
  6. Millet Burger with Vegan Mayo, Arugula, Pumpkin Seeds, and Tomatoes: This burger was absolutely delicious and, like the quinoa burger, huge. I was so full after this amazing lunch.
Beetroot Soup, Nova Krova, Krakow, Poland

Beetroot Soup, Nova Krova, Krakow, Poland

 

Bon Appetea (23,30 Polish Zloty = 6.97 USD)

  1. Matcha Coconut Bubble Tea with Tapioca: I had been passively looking for bubble tea my whole trip and this was the first place I came upon. The matcha bubble tea was so yummy!
  2. Passion Fruit Green Bubble Tea with Mango Boba
Brownie with Ice Cram and Caramel Sauce, TriBeca, Krakow, Poland

Brownie with Ice Cram and Caramel Sauce, TriBeca, Krakow, Poland

 

TriBeca (65 Polish Zloty = 19.44 USD)

  1. Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce: This was so yummy. And I ate it before my meal. No shame.
  2. Handmade Strawberry Lemonade with Mint: This lemonade was light and refreshing. Plus it was all natural. It didn’t have any extra sugar like you would probably see in American Strawberry Lemonades.
  3. Huge Caprese Salad with Bread
  4. Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula and Bread: I tried this out instead of the typical caprese salad that I’d been seeing everywhere. It was delicious but it was so much food. I couldn’t even eat it all.
  5. Large Americano
Beet Salad, TriBeca, Krakow, Poland

Beet Salad, TriBeca, Krakow, Poland

 

Morskie Oko (58 Polish Zloty = 17.35 USD)

  1. Potato Pancakes: These were so creamy and delicious. I need to figure out how to make these when I get home.
  2. Large Jug of Mineral Water
  3. Fava Bean Pierogies with Caramelized Onions: This dish was my favorite of the two pierogies we tried. These were the best pierogies that I have ever eaten.
  4. Spinach and Cheese Pierogies with Caramelized Onions

 

Like the information and photos you found here? Check out my food blog Ravenous Wander. I promise you won’t be disappointed.