A Short City Break in Kraków, Poland

Are you sick of me going on about Poland yet? Nope? Good, because we have one last stop on our trip to get through! After soaking in the old-world charm of Warsaw and hitting the slopes in Bialka, we had high expectations for the last leg of our trip in Kraków.

Until 1569, Kraków was the capital of Poland. As you can imagine, this means there's a bit of a rivalry between the current capital, Warsaw, and Poland's other metropolitan hub. While I'm not going to play favorites, I definitely preferred the "layout" of Kraków much more than Warsaw. The city center seemed more consistently spread out, so we really could get everywhere on foot.

That's also probably on account of our Airbnb being a bit more central (though not in the busiest part of Kraków). Once again, Airbnb was a huge money saver for us in Poland, and also greatly added to the experience of being in the city. We chose a bright, airy apartment near the train station that was just perfect for us. The huge open-plan kitchen, dining, and living space was super stylish while still being comfortable.

Our first full day in Kraków wasn't exactly spent in the city. Kraków is well known for being a sort of "base" for doing day trips out of the city. One of which is a trip to Auschwitz. Now, I don't want to dwell too long on this (I might write a longer post on this later), but I can't emphasize enough how important it is to visit Auschwitz. The guided tour only takes a half day and is run by some fantastic people who are dedicated to sharing this tragic, indescribable piece of history. If you go to Kraków (or Poland, for that matter), you must go to Auschwitz.

After returning to the city, we found ourselves with more time than we had originally planned. We were a bit mentally, physically, and emotionally drained from the tour, so we hunted down a hip coffee shop we had spotted earlier near the apartment. The Coffee Kiosk was a cute little local cafe that was a bit under the radar. We had a coffee along with something sweet (chocolate, of course) and tested our puzzle skills with a Rubix cube (they had old-fashioned games on every table).

We headed back to the apartment to recharge and defrost before wandering around the city center. We didn't have tons of time before our dinner reservation, so we just went for a leisurely stroll. With the sun setting as the evening wore on, the magic of Kraków really shone through. The gorgeous churches, cathedrals, and apartments were lit up against the night sky. Horse-drawn carriages outnumbered cars on the cobbled streets, carrying couples and families.

The romance was truly alive and well in Kraków that night. Until we stumbled upon a death metal concert in the main square. Not quite as romantic, but certainly entertaining!

Having the apartment to come back to was fantastic for grabbing some drinks and snacks in the run up to dinner.

For dinner, I booked us a table at the Old Town Restaurant because of the fabulous reviews on Tripadvisor. This spot was super close to the apartment and was incredibly cozy. The interiors were a bit drab, but the food and service certainly made up for it.

To start, I had an earthy beetroot soup (look at those colors!) with dollops of creme fraiche on top. Ben also ordered soup, but his was more brothy and meaty. My apple martini also deserves a mention- if only for the artistic apple decoration!

I was feeling a bit adventurous that night and ordered pig's knuckle for my main. I had no idea what to expect. When it came out, it was huge. Served with pickled cabbage and mustard, it was sort of a Polish version of pulled pork (the meat was so succulent).

Ben had a bit of food envy, but his dish of rabbit in a creamy mushroom sauce was much more refined.

The restaurant desserts we had in Poland were pretty hit or miss. But both of our desserts at the Old Town Restaurant were hits! It was molten chocolate cake for me (classic) and a baked cherry crumble type dish for Ben. Stewed cherries were always on the menu throughout Poland, so if that's your thing, you'll be in heaven!

Our final day in Kraków was fairly relaxed, but we managed to fit in lots of sightseeing and tons of history. Before we headed out, though, we started our day by making use of the kitchen in the apartment. Our host was kind enough to leave us with a few ingredients (like eggs and fruit) to cook so we whipped up a quick breakfast.

Kraków is known for its stunning cathedrals. That's why we were determined to hit some of the best ones on our final day. The Wawel Cathedral is certainly not to be missed. It's free to enter, but you can pay a bit more to go see the bell tower and the underground tombs. It's well worth the price. I didn't take any photos inside, but we took loads outside. Also, the view from the bell tower is incredible (and the stairs up to the top are really an adventure).

Poland has a long Jewish tradition that is still very much alive in the city of Kraków. We were both interested in visiting the Jewish Quarter. Initially, we just wandered around, but eventually stumbled upon a great spot to stop for a snack. Cheder is a real gem, serving Israeli bites and drinks. We ordered their signature hummus with pickled vegetables and warm homemade bread. It was to. die. for. We washed it down with Israeli coffee served in the most incredible kettle of sorts. The coffee itself was nutty and warming from the inside out.

We clearly couldn't get enough of the historical churches of Kraków, so we paid a visit to St. Mary's Basilica in the main square. It's also free to enter, but we paid a fee to get up close and personal with the stunning altar.

Keeping to the main square, we grabbed tickets for the History Museum located underneath the indoor market. Not only was this museum packed with history and interactive exhibits on Medieval Kraków, but it also featured the excavation sites and materials used to uncover Kraków's history.

Our time in Kraków (and Poland) was coming to a close, but we couldn't leave without the sweet treat I had my eye on from the start of the trip. Chimney Cakes. These desserts are usually associated with the Czech Republic, but since Kraków is in such close proximity, I thought they would be authentic enough. These fried dough-type confections are stuffed with cream, Nutella, and ice cream to satisfy even the most extreme sweet tooth.

After our chimney cakes, we were pretty stuffed. But we wanted to get a bite to eat before we got on our flight back. We couldn't leave Kraków without trying the famous pierogi shop across from our apartment. Przystanek Pierogarnia is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant serving up the best pierogi in town (and perhaps all of Poland). Despite a bit of an order mix-up, we enjoyed our mushroom and spinach pierogies and wouldn't hesitate to go back. Seriously- THIS is the place for pierogi (sorry I don't have a picture but I promise it was amazing!)

We definitely left Poland on a high note. What more could sum up this trip than having incredible food in unlikely places? Poland really is a one-of-a-kind country that doesn't get nearly the praise and publicity it deserves. For it's fantastic (and surprisingly diverse) food, fascinating history, and friendly people, Poland should definitely be on your travel bucket list.

Thinking about visiting Poland? Check out my last posts on skiing in Bialka and exploring Warsaw!  


  1. I loved Warsaw, and really want to explore more of Poland! Krakow's definitely on my travel list. Pictures are stunning!

    Suitcase and Sandals Blog XX

    1. Thanks Hannah!! I took so much inspiration for things to do in Warsaw from your post! Krakow is definitely worth visiting as well xx

  2. Looks like you had an amazing time! I've yet to visit Poland, but it's on my bucket list!

    1. Thanks Claire!! It's definitely worth visiting- such incredible food and history!


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