I take most of my recommendations for city breaks from you guys – friends, family, bloggers and Instagrammers. So as soon as I’d found out about our imminent 2 nights in Kraków I was straight onto the gram looking for recommendations.
I only ever use travel sites like Trip Advisor to check star ratings and cleanliness – everything else is word of mouth. My top tip for a city break is to search Instagram for bloggers and related hashtags.
2 nights in Kraków: Give me the least known details
Sure trip advisor and your typical holiday booking sites give you the most known touristy things, the things that everyone does. But I’m all about the least known things. Those little known details like a balcony at sunrise or a rarely known local dessert. For our 2 nights in Kraków, I like to think we mixed local history with some local recommendations and a little bit of boujee, because why not!
Oh you get around
We hopped into an Uber from the airport which for a half hour journey cost us a total of £5.50. Allowing us to take in the sites, not have to worry about faffing around with getting cash out or locate the train station (or have to share any more of our personal space). Personal space saving at the cost of a fiver. Gimme.
Where to stay for 2 nights in Kraków
We checked into Hotel Polonia and it absolutely ticked all the boxes of what we look for in a city break stay. Clean, friendly, reasonably priced, great views and very central. They also have plug sockets located next to the mirrors in the rooms which is something I’m always super grateful for and you’d be surprised how many hotels overlook this small detail. The sockets are two-pin so you’ll need an adapter, oh and don’t forget your extension cable!
Travel tip: Pick somewhere to stay that’s near the main square in Krakow so it limits the amount of transport you have to take. Because we all know time is precious on a city break!
Part 1: Exploring
Kraków main square
The central point of Kraków Old Town. From here you can take a horse and carriage ride, wander over to St. Mary’s Basilica, take in the bustling market of The Cloth Hall or grab a bite to eat at one of the many local bars or restaurants. Thoroughly recommend grabbing a beer in one of the cafes in the main square and watching the world go by, relaxation levels 100!
Travel tip: I recommend getting up early at heading to the main square before all the tourists arrive to snap a few photos sans umbrella-wielding tour guides.
Kraków Cloth Hall
Worth visiting both in the day time or the evening – the Cloth Hall is the central feature of Krakow and it’s immediately obvious why as the architecture is stunning. With huge sweeping arches and a bustling market. The market housed inside is the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs, a handcrafted necklace or a cute fluffy hat. Even though you can find much of the same on Florianska street for half the price – more on this later.
Travel tip: Snap a photo of St Mary’s Basilica through the arches of the cloth hall – the arches frame the Basilica postcard perfectly.
Horse & Carriage ride
Dem and I have differing opinions on this one as I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and he simply didn’t get it. I love animals though and the horses are so beautiful, you can tell they’re well looked after. It’s also a really lovely way to see the city, we took route two which takes you through the main square and up to Wawel Castle and back which costs around 50 euros. It’s a super touristy thing to do but couldn’t recommend enough.
Travel tip: Don’t be afraid to barter/haggle on the price, we managed to save ourselves 10 euros just by asking for a better price.
I mentioned this street briefly earlier, located in Kraków Old Town, this is one of the busiest and most famous streets in the city. I was actually recommended Floriańska Street by someone on Instagram who said this was the best place to visit for cheap stocking fillers or gifts for people you don’t really like but want to keep on side, and the level of accuracy of this description was through the roof. If you’re looking for gifts/souvenirs or a postcard from your travels this is the street to visit.
Travel tip: Visit early in the morning to enjoy this beautiful street before the rest of the city wakes up. We visited just before 9 am and it was practically empty.
St Mary’s Basilica
A focal point of Kraków main square and the backdrop to many a photo, St Mary’s Basilica is a gorgeous example of Gothic architecture. Make sure you take a nosy inside as the interior and ceilings are simply stunning. I had to keep reminding myself to stop staring upwards to avoid walking into people! Do check opening times on the signs outside as the Basilica is closed at certain times for prayer, where you are unable to visit.
Travel tip: The tourist entrance is located to the right of the main church door (which is clearly signposted) and tickets can be bought opposite the tourist entrance for around £2 per person.
Kazimierz Jewish District & Most Grunwaldzki bridge
The Jewish District is an edgier part of Krakow – think street art, old buildings and abundance of Shoreditch looking cafes. Unfortunately when we visited they were digging up 90% of the road and pavements which made exploring a challenge. We headed through the Jewish District to visit Most Grunwaldzki bridge – I don’t know why but on every city break I always like to see their bridges.
Appreciate I am a strange human. Also, I managed to get my bridges in a muddle thinking I was going to see Grunwald Bridge a suspension bridge which is located 3 hours away in Wroclaw. And I spent a good 10 mins thinking they’d redesigned it…
Travel tip: If you walk from the main square, the route through the Jewish District and past the Most Grunwaldzki bridge is a nice one to take to get to Wawel Castle.
Wawel Royal Castle
I can’t visit a castle without hearing Borat saying “King of the Castle”. If you don’t get the reference we can’t be friends. Wawel Castle is stunning and well worth the stair climb for the beautiful views over the city. Do wrap up though because the wind is a straight-up savage! Tours are also available at Wawel Castle too!
Travel tip: Make sure you walk all the way through the castle and into the beautiful courtyard – every part of the castle is stunning so keep your camera handy.
2 nights in Kraków: OK let’s eat
Breakfast: Cafe Camelot
If quirky little vintage style cafes are your thang then Cafe Camelot will be right up your street. Located on the “most photographed street in Kraków”, the focal point is a twisting staircase and a huge glittering chandelier. Which of course meant I commandeered the nearest table for optimum photo-taking abilities. The menu is extensive and has traditional lunch options, classic breakfast options as well as a selection of cakes and vodka. When in Poland…
Travel tip: Get here early if you’re planning on grabbing brekkie. We arrived at 9 am as it opened and by half 9 most tables were full.
Lunch with a view: Vintage Restauracja Wino Sklep
We headed to Vintage Restauracja Wino Sklep for a bite to eat as we’d spied Pierogi (dumplings) on the menu and were desperate to try them. That and the local beer – it’s an unwritten rule that you must try the local beer as soon as you arrive in a new city (either that or just a personal one). My recommendation would be to try the following varieties of dumplings – Pierogi Ruskie which is filled with cheese, potato and onion. And also the Pierogi z Mięsem which is filled with beef, pork and onion. Both are delicious!
Travel tip: Order pierogi – they’re delicious! Also grab a table outside to take in the gorgeous sites of the main square, horse and carriages and the people watching abilities are endless.
The best-kept secret: U Babci Maliny
Confession: the suggestion for visiting this place came from… my lonely planet book but I swear we only found it by accident. This place is hidden! There are two of these but we visited the one that is located through a courtyard and down in a basement (there are no signs). We asked a local man if we were in the right place and he quite literally grunted and waved us away like farts. Despite this, we wandered a little further and it did feel like we’d wandered into Polish Narnia. In terms of food, Dem over ordered (classic).
We had three mains to share and a couple of beers each and it came to around £17. I’d love to tell you what we ate but due to the language barrier we had no clue what we were ordering aside from the Pierogi – but it didn’t matter because it was all so tasty. Plus the restaurant was filled with locals which is always a good sign!
Travel tip: Seek out this place! Particularly if you’re a fan of eating local and avoiding other tourists, plus the food is so reasonably priced. Much more so than the restaurants in the main square.
Traditional Polish treats: Gehanowska Pod Sloncem
Dem’s favourite meal of the whole trip. We sampled White Barszcz Zurek (Sour Bread Soup) at a restaurant called Pod Sloncem located in the main square. The soup is made from celery root, brown bread, rye bread, bacon, rye flour and is housed in a wheel of bread. I’m not normally a soup person (why would you want to drink your food). But if all soup tasted this good I’m converted! We also tried the Polish goulash soup which was also served in a bread bowl and equally delicious but had less sauce to dip into, so if you like a good dunky dunk – I’d go for the White Barszcz Zurek soup.
Travel tip: Don’t order a starter as the soups here are huge and are quite literally served inside bread. The dream.
The winter warmer: Wodka bar
Absolutely tiny – blink and you’d miss it. Wodka bar is a cosy and buzzing little bar with over 100 vodkas to try. You’ll be hard pushed to find a table here because I think there are only about three tables in the whole place but people don’t tend to hang around for hours here, it’s very much a shot and go vibe. Defo one to visit on the way to dinner or drop in to warm up!
Travel tip: Order a tasting board of 6 shots which costs around £4 (depending on what you order). Do try the chocolate and caramel, don’t bother with the plum or the pear!
Treat yourself: Art Restaurant
If you’re after a meal that’s a little bit different (and a little bit fancier than your average starter main and dessert) then head to Art Restaurant. We opted for the 7-course tasting menu, which included…
- Tomato/’oscypek’ cheese/’bryndza’ cheese – the best course in my opinion
- Sea trout/potato/parsley
- Sour soup with potato/’prądnicki’ bread/mushroom
- Roe deer/Jerusalem artichoke/crayfish
- Sea buckthorn/Kalisz wafer/caramel
- Pumpkin/currant/pumpkin seeds
This little lot came to 57€* per person and was well worth the price tag. This restaurant is still fairly new and it wouldn’t surprise me if it scooped a Michelin star in the not so distant future due to the level of service and attention to detail within each dish. Watch this space!
I will warn you… Don’t eat a huge meal before you visit here, warm bread, an amuse-bouche and 7 courses is a lot of food. I had to have a few espresso martinis to get me through the food coma which was taking over my body during course 3.
Travel tip: Art Restaurant offers a Rolls Royce service which allows you to be picked up and chauffeur driven to the restaurant and greeted with a glass of champers. If you really want to indulge in being extra AF – book the rolls!
We didn’t visit Auschwitz or the Wieliczka Salt Mine as we were short on time but a trip back to Krakow is defo on the cards as these are two things that would be really interesting to experience. I hope you found my 2 nights in Kraków guide useful but if you have any other recommendations or places you found in Krakow that I haven’t included let me know in the comments xo
As always I’ve included a suggested route for you to pop into Google maps (adding each as new stop).
2 nights in Kraków: Suggested itinerary
- Hotel Polonia
- Floriańska Street
- St Mary’s Basilica
- Kraków Main Square
- The Cloth Hall
- Kazimierz Jewish District
- Most Grundwaldski bridge
- Wawel Royal Castle
For more city guides: