Krakow was not on our original route plan but it’s proximity to the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum and the fact that we would all get to go to Poland swayed us. The driving standard had certainly decreased from the Czech Republic but the people were much more friendly. We’re glad we went.
No so much a ‘plan B’ activity but it is open every day of the year. We had left booking a little too late so all individual tickets to Auschwitz from the online booking system were sold out for the next week. We ended up booking a Sunday tour with pre-reserved tickets. Read about our full experience in a seperate post here: A Postcard from Auschwitz.
On the Monday, it turned out to be a public holiday which we did not know about, so nearly all tourist attractions such as Schindlers Factory, The underground museum and most businesses were closed. Apparently they also close on the second Monday of every month too. All was not lost however, we just did some exploring instead!
1. Krakus Mound (Kopiec Krakasa)
Located around 3km from the city centre (and according to legend, built by King Krak) Krakus mound is apparently one of Polands greatest archaeological mysteries. The mound is estimated to have been built around the 1st century BC and has a solid wooden core! We ascended the spiral path to the summit where the views extended over Krakow and all the way to the Slovakian Tatras Mountains to the South. The walk from the city traced cobbled streets with spooky looking houses and local recreation parks full of picnickers and old people playing ping pong.
2. River Bars
A lovely footpath follows the river bank on both sides. We stumbled across the Forum Przestrzeni which was a great spot to relax and watch the world go by. It occupies the ground floor and outdoor area of an abandoned hotel and has great value drinks, friendly staff and is an excellent location for a sunny afternoon beer!
3. Spider Bridge
By night, the city takes on a different light. After dinner, we walked back into the Jewish quarter over spider bridge. I’m not sure what it’s actually called but I have never seen more spiders on anything! It was covered completely and they were loving the LED lights too.
4. Good Lood Lody
If you like ice cream, skip the ones in the market square and head for Good Lood in Kazmierz. I have never tasted better ice cream/sorbet in my life. It’s all home made, organic and natural. Our huge double scoop cones were 7zl or around £1.40.
5. Market Square by nightApparently the largest medieval market square in Europe, it reminded me a lot of the one in Venice. Cafes, orchestras and a whole load of tourists!
As a city, Krakow has a huge amount to offer. We had some great food and drinks in the Jewish Quarter (Kazimierz). Hamsa Israeli restaurant promised Hummas & Happiness and it certainly delivered. For evening drinks with an industrial hipster vibe, try Miejsce – it won’t disappoint.