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Cooling it in Krakow

Hi friends! I hope that all is well with you and that you are surviving the heat but still enjoying the sun!

When I want a cool place that’s full of fun and excitement, I plan a trip to Krakow in Poland. Krakow has history, adventure, romance all in a welcome and friendly environment.

Krakow is in the south of Poland situated beautifully on the important Vistula river. It was the capital of Poland for more than five hundred years from 1038 AD – 1596 AD. It has never lost its regal connections and cool style.

The Vistula by night

One of the BEST public spaces in Europe

There is so much to see and do in Krakow that you’ll be spoiled for choice but do find time to relax and enjoy the scenery. Your base of operations for Krakow should be its main square, it is one of the largest medieval squares still in existence at almost four hectares (9.4 acres). It dates back to the 13th Century but it’s a vibrant and relaxed place. The Project for Public Spaces lists the square as the best public space in Europe due to its lively street life. It’s the perfect place to be introduced to this fabulous city!

Here’s a pro-tip: Krakow is a university town (the university is one of the oldest in Europe dating back to 1364 AD), so the main square really comes alive in the evenings. There are restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and bars frequented by young people who attend the university. The main square is a must-see during the day to explore its market stalls and historic buildings but don’t miss the nightlife there!

Another must-see in Krakow is the Wawel Castle, the former seat of the kings of Poland. The castle is a beautifully architected baroque masterpiece. Remember what I always say, “If it’s not baroque, don’t fix it!” In fact, many of the medieval buildings are in this colourful style that displays the wealth and grandeur of Krakow during the Middle Ages. Check out Saint Mary’s Basilica and the Cloth Hall for other cool examples of medieval architecture.

A fun and interesting adventure is to visit the nearby Wieliczka Salt Mine. The miners crafted beautiful and reverential sculptures out of the rock salt that give the mine a religious significance. While I like the Cloud a lot, I always enjoy a visit to a mine or cave!

The Wawel Castle – one of most fascinating European Castles!

Another great adventure is a boat trip on the Vistula river. Whether you take a small craft or a tourist cruiser, you’ll see beautiful views of the Castle, the city and the surrounding countryside.

See some historic art in the Salt Mines Tour

For a more sombre experience, it is important to visit the Auschwitz site which is a short drive from Krakow. The camp is a monument to those who lost their lives during a terrible time in our recent history. It is a good place for sober reflection on how far we have come in the modern world and how far we have yet to develop.

Reaching Krakow is easy because of its small but convenient John Paul II Airport. Pope John Paul II was the Archbishop of Krakow before being elevated to the papacy and he would appreciate that such a useful airport was dedicated to him. Krakow is conveniently served from major airports in Europe. Taxis and ride-sharing services are present, and English is spoken widely so you shouldn’t have a language barrier.

Hotels are plentiful, clean and very reasonably priced. Two of my favourites are the Hotel Unicus and the Hotel Imperial – both in old town. They are very convenient and are excellent value. Increasingly, apartment rentals in Krakow have become the choice of those that stay. Short-term apartment stays allow you the conveniences of a kitchen and sitting room while you visit Krakow.

Don’t leave without eating Pierogi! Delicious

Finally, no visit to Krakow would be complete without sampling the tasty local food options. Traditional food of the area includes Pierogi which are wonderful dumplings, Bigos, a tasty hunter’s stew, and Zurek which is a sour soup that I love. Also try the tasty freshwater fish caught fresh from the Vistula. I wash these down with the fantastic vodka from the region, which is the world’s best, but I start off with beers if I want to enjoy the night for longer! Finally, Krowka is a local fudge recipe that satisfies the sweetest tooth!

Krakow offers adventure and fun in a vibrant and relaxed environment. I hope you enjoy Krakow as much as I do!

 

Love,

 

Isabella

Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Highly recommend the Main Square (Rynek Glowny) to start your exploring’s, Wawel Castle, Wieliczka Salt Mine and The Auschwitz Site as well (https://visitkrakow.com/, http://mariacki.com/en/, https://wawel.krakow.pl/en, http://auschwitz.org/en/visiting/, https://www.wieliczka-saltmine.com/)

Where to stay: Lots of accommodation in Krakow for all budgets.  Increasingly popular is the short term apartment rentals but I can also recommend these great hotels for super location and very comfortable stays: The Hotel Unicus and The Hotel Imperial (http://www.hotelunicus.pl/en/, https://imperial-hotel.pl/en/)

Where to party: Nightlife is great in and around the main square as it’s a University town and that’s literally where all the party goers flock each evening. Wherever you are walking there will be a vodka bar in sight! Pop in!

Where to eat: You must try the famous Pierogi on your trip. Along with some Bigos and finished off with some sweet Krowka.  Try Pierozku U Vincenta meaning Pierogi Mr Vincent or Milkbar Tomasza (https://www.pierozkiuvincenta.pl/, https://www.facebook.com/Milkbar-Tomasza-298550616857031/)

What to buy: Folk Pottery, Locally produced vodka and a trip to the Sukinnice Cloth Hall will ensure you come back with souvenirs for everyone you need to.  Don’t forget to go for a proper tasting session at Szambelan or Niewodka for delicious vodka-based liqueurs with fruits and herbs infused! These make very good presents!

Wodka or Vodka – it all tastes great!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Highly recommend the Main Square (Rynek Glowny) to start your exploring’s, Wawel Castle, Wieliczka Salt Mine and The Auschwitz Site as well (https://visitkrakow.com/, http://mariacki.com/en/, https://wawel.krakow.pl/en, http://auschwitz.org/en/visiting/, https://www.wieliczka-saltmine.com/)

Where to stay: Lots of accommodation in Krakow for all budgets.  Increasingly popular is the short term apartment rentals but I can also recommend these great hotels for super location and very comfortable stays: The Hotel Unicus and The Hotel Imperial (http://www.hotelunicus.pl/en/, https://imperial-hotel.pl/en/)

Where to party: Nightlife is great in and around the main square as it’s a University town and that’s literally where all the party goers flock each evening. Wherever you are walking there will be a vodka bar in sight! Pop in!

Where to eat: You must try the famous Pierogi on your trip. Along with some Bigos and finished off with some sweet Krowka.  Try Pierozku U Vincenta meaning Pierogi Mr Vincent or Milkbar Tomasza (https://www.pierozkiuvincenta.pl/, https://www.facebook.com/Milkbar-Tomasza-298550616857031/)

What to buy: Folk Pottery, Locally produced vodka and a trip to the Sukinnice Cloth Hall will ensure you come back with souvenirs for everyone you need to.  Don’t forget to go for a proper tasting session at Szambelan or Niewodka for delicious vodka-based liqueurs with fruits and herbs infused! These make very good presents!

Wodka or Vodka – it all tastes great!

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