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A Weekend in Krakow

Our location in Germany lets us travel to some pretty cool places during long weekends or on one of our extended vacation times; but sometimes we like to just get away for a weekend to meet up with friends or family as they travel through our neck of the woods. This was the case when some of my family was meeting up for a fun-filled weekend in Krakow.

We booked a flight out of Nuremberg that left right after work and arrived late in Krakow on a Friday night. It didn’t take much research to realize Krakow has more than a weekend’s worth of sights and experiences, but we were determined to mix family time with travel time.

Krakow’s Top Five in Two Days or Less?

Planning to spend a couple of days in Krakow while you do a bit of train travel through Europe? Then pin these to help you plan!

Weekend in Krakow Poland.
Looking for a European citybreak that will deliver romance, history, great food, and colorful souvenirs? Go to Krakow!

        

On a short trip, location is everything. Often times, we like to be on the edge of the city but connected to public transportation where prices are a little lower and you can experience the feel of a neighborhood and get away from the tourists. But when we’re on a tight schedule like this weekend, being right in the heart of things is essential.

Our hotel was a historic sight in its own right, with an archaeological museum displaying artifacts unearthed during the hotel’s construction. It was wonderfully comfortable and only two blocks off the main market square; the entire old town was at our doorstep.

Krakow - Horse-drawn cart.
Take a ride in a romantic horse-drawn cart through the center of the Old Town on your amazing weekend in Krakow.

Fun Things to do on a Weekend in Krakow

Day trip out to Auschwitz-Birkenau

A visit to these concentration camps outside of the city is at the top of most Krakow lists. It offers a somber and chilling glimpse into a part of history that should not be forgotten. Trips can be arranged by most hotels or through a travel agent off the main square. If time is available, I recommend pre-booking a tour on line.

You can visit the sites on your own but this is one place a tour comes in handy as it can get very crowded and difficult to navigate the ticketing process. Also, if you’re on a tight schedule, this will allow extra time after your visit to take in another site.

A somber but vital thing to see in Krakow is the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.
A somber but vital thing to see in Krakow is the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

Wawel Castle

Whether you believe the old legends about a dragon living in a cave below Wawel hill or not, no one can argue that the Castle and Cathedral at the top of Wawel hill aren’t the main attractions of the city. You can visit the cathedral for free but a visit to the Castle will require a paid ticket.

Both are well worth the time and cost if you have both, but this is also a great place to just wander around. You can visit the gardens and courtyards, stroll around the castle grounds, or just sit and relax on the castle walls looking out over the river and city, all without paying admission.

Weekend breaks in Krakow should definitely include a visit to Wawel Castle. The interior is filled with beautiful frescoes.
Most of the gardens and courtyards are free to wander around at Wawel Castle.

Schindler’s Museum

As soon as we found out we were going to be in Oskar Schindler’s hometown, where the famous life-saving factory existed, we were keen to visit. If you haven’t watched the movie “Schindler’s List,” do it soon. It’s a classic. As we arrived, the factory sports this photo gallery of the people whose lives were saved, which just makes you want to enter that much more quickly so that you can get the whole story. And the whole story is exactly what you get.

The exhibits really describe what living in Krakow during World War II was like, from beginning to end. In fact, the story of Oskar Schindler and his proteges was smaller, and took less time than I had anticipated, but overall I felt this is one of those museums that everyone should visit.

Weekend Krakow - The Oskar Schindler Museum front of the building.
A Krakow weekend where you want to learn a little World War II history, will definitely include the Oskar Schindler Museum.

Tour the Old Town

Start with a walk around Market Square, or Rynek Główny, and take in the splendor of this 13th century plaza, the largest medieval town square in Europe. If you plan it right, or are lucky, you’ll be treated to an outdoor market with traditional folk music, food and drink, and shopping–this was a truly festive locale during September.

If you go in late November and December you’ll find a Christmas market with few rivals in all of Europe. After exploring the market, the Cloth Hall, and the old Town Hall head south on Grodzka street towards Wawel hill then continue wandering and losing yourself among the roads and alleys of Old Town Krakow.

As you explore, be sure to keep an eye out for the different sculptures worked into the medieval facades. In olden times, buildings were known by the animals adorning the street front of the homes of the rich and famous.

Looking for fun things to do in Krakow, walk around old town.
One of the most fun things to do in Krakow is wander around the old town market square, called Rynek. There’s plenty of cafes and people watching!

Golf Cart Tours of Krakow

A new trend we’ve been seeing in tourist destination cities around the world is electric golf cart tours. These provide a cleaner, greener, more personalized tour option then the traditional minivan or bus. Happily, Krakow has embraced the concept full force.

For a few zlotys you and your partner(s) can book an electric cart to zip you around to the main sights of the city all while sitting comfortably snugged up in a cozy blanket. The accompanying audio guide plays softly over the speaker in whichever language your group is most comfortable with. While this could be cold and impersonal, the guides/drivers of the cart are what really make it.

While choosing a driver be sure to look for someone who is friendly and personable and reasonably fluent in your language. You’ll find that if they can communicate, and you are open to a conversation, they will pour their life story out and give you an insight into the city that is not heard on the audio guide.

Weekend in Krakow Poland.

Where to Eat in Krakow

Krakow hosts plenty of great restaurants where you can get everything from local food to pizza and hamburgers, but of course no one can go without trying pierogies. We must have had a couple hundred while we were there; we just couldn’t get enough. We tried them boiled, baked, and fried. We tried large ones, small ones, ones covered in cheese. We loved them all.

Some of the restaurants we can recommend are:

Pierogarnia Krakowiacy
ul. Westerplatte 15 / ul. Szewska 23

Chata
ul. Krowoderska 21

Krakow Places to Stay

We’ve stayed in many places in Krakow as we keep going back, and here are a couple of great places we can recommend:

Betmanowska Main Square Residence
ul. Rynek Glowny 44

Metropolitan Boutique Hotel
ul. Berka Joselewicza 19

Hotel Gródek
Na Gródku 4

Have you been to Krakow? Wouldn’t you love to take a weekend in Krakow?  Start planning!

Cheez

Wednesday 18th of April 2018

I'm just finishing my visit to Cracov. Place is incredible. We hired this guy with golf buggie he shown us the city (we got really good offer). We didn't realize how much to see is there. We went for two hours nonstop having to see one place after another. (their web - introducingcracov.wordpress.com) People in Poland are very friendly, beer was cheap and good, places beautifull. I'll definitely go back there. Cheez

Jim Vail

Wednesday 18th of April 2018

That is a great way to get around and see the sites. Most of the electric buggy operators are fair and knowledgeable and will negotiate on the price.

Adam

Monday 21st of August 2017

Wow, your trip looks really amazing! I have been to Poland few times, but I haven't actually been in Krakow. I definitely need to go, it looks amazing! I always stay in Warsaw, because I have some friends living there. There are so many amazing places there too. With my friends we usually look for a cozy, casual place to hang out. Our favorite spot is a bar called Bubbles. They serve champagnes and sparkling wines, but also really delicious food. It is definitely my number one place to visit when I am in Warsaw :)

Corinne Vail

Monday 21st of August 2017

Thanks Adam. I've never heard of Bubbles, but we many go next time around.

Nancie

Thursday 11th of June 2015

Hi Corinne! Thanks for the great tour. I have visited the Jewish cemeteries in Prague and Budapest. I don't know if I would visit the concentration camps. However, would love to visit Krakow for all the beautiful architecture! Thanks for linking up last week, and sorry I am so slow in getting around. End of semester is frantic. #TPThursday

Corinne Vail

Friday 12th of June 2015

Nancie, I know. Today is our last day of school...hooray! You would love Krakow!

JR

Monday 8th of June 2015

An amazingly important city for its place in history. Thanks for a great review of the tops things to do. I am fascinated by WWII history, and Krakow owns a unique spot for its importance that cannot be underestimated. We have not been to Poland yet, but am happy to have your tips -- especially for picking a tour guide with a friendly smile and fluent in English. Cheers! -- JR

Jim Vail

Tuesday 9th of June 2015

Thanks JR! You're right, Krakow has an incredible history for the development of Poland and World War II.

RobRob

Sunday 7th of June 2015

We never have been to Poland but we've heard great things about Krakow, and now have a Top 5 to go by! Thanks for that, and for sharing your visit.

Corinne Vail

Monday 8th of June 2015

Rob, I hope you make it there. We were pleasantly surprised; it was a wonderful city.