If you like your weekend breaks to be cheap, then let me introduce you to the oh so wonderful, Kraków in Poland. Cheap flights, cheap accommodation and cheap beer. What’s not to like?! Whilst it’s cheap in terms of cost, it’s rich in what it has to offer, so let me tell you all about it…
My Fave Things to Do in Kraków
1. Plaza in Kraków (aka the Main Square)
This large square is fringed with unassuming restaurants and bars that have discreet doorways, which lead to surprisingly roomy, often stylish underground eateries. Most of them have small terraces on the plaza (covered and heated in the colder months) to grab your attention.
Best thing about them? Despite being in the touristy area you can get a really cheap meal, with lots of beer! Two starters, two hearty mains, one side and two big beers in a stylish underground restaurant cost us less than £20.
Even if you don’t eat out head to this square to admire the buildings and to people watch. During winter you’ll find a really popular, lovely Christmas market in this square too.
Tip: Visit the Christmas Market on a weekday if you want to avoid the bustling crowds. Also, visit in the evening to enjoy the festive lights and if you’re lucky, the local choirs.
2. Trabant Car Tour
When you’re away I always think you should try to do something you wouldn’t do at home and I can’t say that I’d normally drive around in one of these adorable cars – so cute! Tour the city for 2.5 hours in a Trabant Car, learning all about the history of Krakow.
3. Bike Tour
If you’re visiting in the summer and you don’t fancy the car tour, try a bike tour. I always love whizzing round a new city, hearing a little snippet about each sight.
It’s worth visiting this site even if you’re not into history. This huge castle sits on a hill so it offers great views of the city. You don’t have to pay to access the site, so you can enjoy the big squares, views and courtyards for free.
If you want to find out more about the castle you’ll need to buy a ticket. You’ll find loads of information on the website, including opening times, prices and events.
Tip: If you have young kids they’ll love running about up here chasing the pigeons!
5. Rynek Underground
I know they say you should try a different viewpoint when you visit a new city and that usually means getting up high, but what about going underground? Head to this spot and you’ll be four metres underneath the market square. You’ll be able to see medieval merchant stalls and the remains of an 11th-century cemetery replete with ‘vampire prevention burials’.
Entry is limited to 300 people at a time so it’s worth buying your tickets in advance.
6. Aqua Park
Aqua Park is one of the largest indoor water parks in Poland. It has eight slides, Jacuzzi tubs and saunas, a rapid river and the water is warm. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend going all the way to Kraków for a splash in the pool, if it’s chucking it down and you want something to do head here. It’s especially handy if you’ve got kids.
7. Folk Show
Okay so it’s a little touristy, but if you’re only here for a weekend and on a low budget, why not try a traditional Polish dinner that includes a folk show?! Tickets are from as little as £22.
My Fave Kraków Restaurants and Cafés
There are loads of cool hipster spots in Kraków and this is one of them. By day it’s a café and at night time it’s more of a cool drinks place. It doesn’t look much from the outside, but inside it channels a laidback coolness. They serve pancakes for breakfast, which in my opinion is enough of a reason to visit, but the eggs are also pretty good. We loved our meal here.
If you like your restaurants to be more than just food, you’ll probably like this stylish joint. The interiors are Pinterest worthy. You’ll find pizza, pasta, meat and well, a little bit of everything so it’s a good spot if you’re travelling in a group.
If you’re in a rush or perhaps just want something cheap and filling, head to Vegab. It’s a really small place, where you can grab a Vegan kebab – Vegab – get it?! They sell homemade lemonade and smoothies too. Simple, fast food.
Milkbar gets really good reviews. Unlike some places in Kraków, it has an English menu so you can actually read what’s on offer. You’ll find Polish classics like Pierogis, as well as a good selection of pancakes and more.
Fancy something a little different? Try the Arepas at Café Botanica! They’re basically like round cakes made of ground maize dough. They serve them with things like avocado and chicken salad, or mozerella and feta.
Okay, it’s not Polish food but sometimes you just want a sweet cupcake and coffee fix and this place does the trick. It has an American air to it and also serves bagels if you want a savoury fix.
Fellow vegetarians step this way! Glonojad is a vegetarian restaurant serving yummy things like quesadillas, falafel wraps and burritos, as well as Polish pierogis.
Where to Stay in Krakow
You can snap up a lovely hotel room for not much at all. You’ll also find lots and lots of affordable stylish apartments, but just make sure you read the reviews as a lot of them are in tall, old buildings and you may find you’re on the 12th floor with no lift, a load of luggage and two tired kids. Also make sure you see some photos of the actual room, because some have cool lobbies but awfully outdated bedrooms.
It’s also worth checking out apartments if you fancy a hipster spot. We stayed in Wawel Apartments when we went. The apartment was good value and worked for our family, but climbing the partly constructed stairs to get it wasn’t so fun!
Got More Time?
If you’ve got more time to spare in Poland, why not add on a stay in Gdansk or Zakopane.
So, over to you, do you have any recommendations? Is Krakow somewhere you’d like to visit?