*1 Travel notes
Are you looking for a weekend off but you have no idea about where to go? Let me suggest you one wonderful city located in the heart of Europe, which is attracting a lot of tourists in the last years due to its beauties. Lovable, affordable and very easy to reach: welcome to Krakow.
I remember Krakow under the snow, in the deep winter as well as in summertime, lying down and relaxing while drinking a fantastic polish beer nearby the river with my polish friends… Both times it was a very great experience.
Ready to start the trip? You should be. Polska calling!
My first time in Krakow I discovered with other friends the opportunity of joining several free – walking tours: basically there are several tour guides in the city, everyone brings you to a different area of the city. All you need to do is to join them, since these tours are completely free of charge.
They guide you into the secrets and the best corners of the city. You can learn a lot about the culture and the history: this tour usually lasts for an average of 1 hour and half and 2 hours.
Since in Krakow this service is available and very efficient, I suggest to you to bear in mind this option.
*2 How to get there
Based on my personal experience (so I tried to choose the best itineraries)
Airport: Kraków Airport im. Jana Pawła II (John Paul II International Airport Kraków–Balice)
Distance from the city center: 11 km
To the city center
- Number: 208 and 252
- Terminal station: Kraków Główny (Krakow Bus station)
- Travel time: 40 minutes
- Frequency time: each 10/15 minutes
- Price: 4 Polish złoty (1 Euro)
- Terminal station: Kraków Dworzec Główny (Krakow Railway station)
- Travel time: 18 minutes
- Frequency time: each 30 minutes
- Price: 9 Polish złoty (2 Euro)
*3 City tour
This city is full of places to visit, this is a list of them:
- Zamek Królewski na Wawelu (Wawel Royal Castle)
We can start our trip into the magic city of Krakow from its Majestic castle, declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978. This is a potent symbol of national identity since the sovereigns of the Kingdom were living and be crowned in here before the capital became Warsaw.
- Rynek Główny (Market Square)
I fell in love at first sight with this majestic place. One of the largest medieval squares in Europe, it is surrounded by elegant townhouses: you will literally breathe the history and culture, while discovering many curiosities related to it. You cannot miss this square. No way.
Truly beautiful. Just like the whole city of Krakow.
- Kazimierz (Kazimierz District)
This amazing District was once an independent town, being the centre of Jewish life in Krakow for several centuries. Today it is a bohemian neighbourhood with many historical sites (plenty of synagogues), pretty cafes and cool art galleries. It is probably one of my favorite district of the city.
By walking around there, you will easily get lost into the beauty of ancient times.
- Kraków Stare Miasto (Krakow Old Town)
One of the most famous old districts in Poland, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Whatever you need or you are looking for, this is the right place to find it: enjoying the magical architecture while discovering the several cultures of the past, by stopping by some cool bars and cafes.
So great, so special.
- Kopalnia soli Wieliczka (The Wieliczka Salt Mine)
Distance from Krakow: 14 km
Such a privilege to be lucky enough to have the time to visit The Wieliczka Salt Mine: this is one of the Poland’s official national Historic Monuments, whose attractions include dozens of statues and four chapels and if you can manage I strongly recommend you to go and enjoy it, since it will be a very fascinating trip.
*4 Food planet
Before my first trip to Poland I did not know a lot of their traditional food. I got so curious that I started to look for some more information about it and I tried so many recipes and dishes that I have lost count. I just needed some time (and many trips) to remember properly their names, since polish language is not so similar to the Italian one.
Getting hungry? Polish cuisine (or at least the dishes I tried) are waiting for you just below.
(Beetroot soup, where there could be added several vegetables like beans, carrots, potatoes and also meat)
I really like this soup, which you can easily find in each “jadłodajnia” (eating house, kind of restaurant) all around Krakow. This dish is often served with bread and sour cream (I do love it): if you are looking for some vitamins just go and order your own soup.
(Soup made with pork meat, sauerkraut and onions)
As you can see there are plenty of soups in the polish cuisine, so it will not be hard for you to find them all year long. Especially after visiting and living in the Eastern side of Europe for a while, I got addicted to soups which are way too good.
(Filled dumplings in several versions: potato, sauerkraut, meat, cheese, served with a topping like sour cream or bacon)
Not only I have had the chance of eating pierogi, but do I also had the opportunities to see their preparation and even… made them! Of course, I was driven by my polish friends and the result was amazing. Why am I saying this? Just because I experienced and saw the love they use in pierogi preparation so, when you go to Poland, you need to try these.
(Cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and meat)
Here is another dish which is very typical to eat in Poland: minced meat, rice and onions wrapped in a cabbage leaf. Usually it is served with a creamy tomato sauce which makes it even more tasty.
(Doughnuts usually filled with jam, custard or chocolate pudding)
You are more than aware of my love for sweets and cakes. Me too. These doughnuts are amazing, there are usually filled in with jam, but as you can imagine I tried out as many versions as I could: I must admit that I am still not able to choose between them my favorite one. This means I will be back soon to Poland and eat them again.
- Naleśnik z Serem
(Polish crepes with cheese filling)
Let us continue this amazing sweet tour with this delicious dish. These are basically crepes that are usually filled with a sweet cheese filling (farmer’s or curd cheese), but you can also find them filled with plum jam, fruit or fruit preserves. I am a big fan of crepes and I fell in love with this Polish version.
(Polish Apple Cake)
I do love apple cake and the Polish version of it I had the pleasure to taste in Krakow was absolutely delicious. The main ingredients are apples, cinnamon and lots of love, a crumbly shortbread topping and a dusting of icing sugar.
No more words needed to explain its delicious taste.
Time to go and enjoy it.
- Smacznego! – Enjoy your meal!
- Example of Menu
1 appetizer/starter (or dessert), 1 main course, 1 drink (beer/wine)
Around 6/7 € euro (25,00/29,00 Polish Złoty)
*5 Polish keywords
And what about learning some Polish words before your trip?
Of course, here you go!
- Hello – Cześć
- Yes / No – Tak / Nie
- Thank you – Dziękuję
- You are welcome – Proszę
- Excuse me – Przepraszam
- Good morning – Dzień dobry
- Good afternoon – Dzień dobry
- Good evening – Dobry wieczór
*6 Poland basic information
- Name: Poland (Polska)
- Continent: Europe
- Location: Central Europe, UTC +1 (CET)
- Country code: +48
- Currency: Polish Złoty
- Capital city: Warsaw
- Main airports: Warsaw, Krakow, Katowice, Gdansk, Wroclaw, Poznan