After months of waiting myself, Amy and our friend Kieran headed off to Krakow, Poland for 5 days. It had been a while since our last trip so I was DYING to get away by the time it came around. We had such a great time and I’m so excited to share our adventures with you all.
As I mentioned in my October favourites post – I did a photography workshop right before we went so I was excited to try out all the skills I learnt. Hopefully you will see (some!) improvements in my photographs and editing.
Where Did We Stay?
We stayed in a beautiful 3-bed Air BnB apartment (click through to see!) which was located right between the “Old Town” and the Jewish Quarter. The location really couldn’t have been better, as we were well within walking distance for all the main areas of Krakow. We ended up paying what worked out to be about £5 each per night for the apartment because Poland is SO cheap (but more on that later!)
Things To Do
Trip to Auschwitz/Birkenau Concentration Camp
The Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camps are about an hour drive from Krakow city centre. It was one of the most harrowing things I’ve ever done. I think what hit me hardest was the fact that the camp was operational until 1944 – which isn’t even 100 years ago.
I didn’t take any photographs that day – it didn’t feel right or respectful to do so and to be honest, the pictures of what we had seen that day will live with me for a long time without any need for a physical photograph.
Whilst it was really upsetting and heavy, I think visiting Auschwitz/Birkenhau is something you MUST do if you’re in the Krakow area. I feel that everyone should learn about the horrific treatment people were subjected to at Auschwitz/Birkenhau so that this atrocity is never repeated. The tour guide we had was brilliant, really well informed and answered any and all questions we had.
Visit Kazimierz, The Jewish Quarter
We didn’t go into the trip with an itinerary, we spent most of the time just walking around and seeing what we could find. One area that we kept coming back to was Kazimierz in the Jewish Quarter.
Kazimierz had beautiful restaurants and lots of vintage shops, which were right up my street. There was also a lot of street art which, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I love!
Climb the Town Hall Tower
The Town Hall Tower is right in the middle of the main square in Krakow. We climbed it on our last full day. The steps are SO steep and my legs ached for days afterwards but I’m really glad we did it. The view from the top is amazing. If you’re into photography – it’s a great place to get some good shots.
We sampled a LOT of bars while we were in Krakow, but this is the only one we visited more than once. It had great vibes and their cocktails were stunning. I even found a gin cocktail that I liked and I’m not a gin drinker at all! If you’re into vodka – there are a LOT of vodka bars in Krakow. We got vodka shots one evening, just to say we’d had vodka in Krakow but to be honest, it just confirmed for me why I don’t drink it in the first place!
One of my personal favourite shops in Krakow was Galeria Bukowski – they have teddies and stuffed animals of all sizes. I bought a tiny grey cat which is simply adorable, and I couldn’t resist getting a photo with the giant teddy outside! He was bigger than me!
At the Main Square there is also a cute indoor market which was full of handcrafted gifts and Christmas decorations (as we visited in November!). We brought home gorgeous decorations for our own tree and as gifts for our families too. What I really liked about Krakow is that whilst there was the usual “touristy” gifts – there were also a tonne of hand-made craft items that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.
If high street is more your thing – there is a MASSIVE shopping centre within the main train station in Krakow called Galeria Krakowska. Honestly – the shops went on and on for days. We barely got halfway round it!
Like I mentioned earlier, Poland is SO CHEAP compared to the UK. The currency they use is called Zloti. We worked out the currency conversions by dividing the number of Zloti by 4.5 and that gave you the amount in pounds.
For example, if a pint of beer was priced on the menu at 7.99, it would come out as around £1.50 which is literally nothing.
We found that the shops were cheaper too, even the shops that we have here in the UK. Kieran bought a jacket in Pull and Bear that was £55.00 on the UK website. In Poland it worked out at around £35.00. Needless to say, a lot of shopping took place over the course of our trip!
Oh the food! I discovered a huge appreciation for Polish cuisine while were in Krakow. Whenever I’m in a different country, I have a real “thing” about trying the local food so I made sure to try nearly everything.
We ended up eating Pierogi (dumplings) for the first three days of our trip – but by day 4 we couldn’t even think about eating more.
My favourite thing I ate on the whole trip was a Polish stew called “Bigos“. It was basically meat and cabbage with a tomato sauce, served in a bread bowl. I could’ve eaten it over and over again.
Another meal that I must mention was the Israeli food we had in Hamsa – Hummus and Happiness restaurant. We ended up ordering a little bit of everything and sharing the lot. If you’re in the Kazimierz area, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Some Final Tips…
These are just some other little bits that might be helpful when you’re planning your own trip to Krakow!
* It gets dark REALLY early – we were in pitch black from about 4pm onwards. If you’re looking to take photographs etc – make sure you get up early and make the most of the daylight hours!
* Make the most of UBER – we got two UBER taxi’s while we were there (one was an airport run) and it cost next to nothing.
Make sure you leave a comment down below if you have any other tips!