We’d like to welcome all Steemians in our country, especially in Kraków which is one of the most beautiful cities in Poland and in Europe. It is Monika’s home town as well, so today we have prepared for you some tips and places worth visiting.
Travel options from and to Balice Airport are described here
If you’d like to move around the city UBER is your best bet, because it’s relatively cheap and you can be sure no one will rip you off the money. Taxis are tricky - like in any big city you might be taken for a ride. Don’t be surprised when you see Ukrainian names of your drivers showing in the app - many Ukrainians work as drivers for Uber, and this is common not only in Kraków. Don’t worry, they (hopefully) speak Polish, so you can try on them all those common phrases prepared by @bowess 😊
The second option is using public transport - to get an idea about the network we recommend JAKDOJADE app. You can get the app for iOs and Android directly from respective markets, the app is free and will guide you through all bus and tram lines around the city. You can get tickets from ticket machines located on bus stops and inside buses. You can either pay with cash or contactless with your Visa or Mastercard. Machines support many languages, so you shouldn’t have any problems get them working for you.
Buses and trams display names of coming stops on an internal display and same is also announced through speakers. You can always follow your route in JAKDOJADE app, so you can easily jump off on desired stop.
The cheapest way to move around the city is to get 24h or multiple-days tickets. More information about available tickets and prices is provided here:
Where to go and what to see:
Main Square (pol. Rynek Główny) is a must-see. Did you know that German occupiers renamed it during World War II to Adolf’s Hitler square? Interesting isn’t? In the center of the square you will find so called Kraków Cloth Market (pol. Sukiennice), housing today number of jewellery, souvenirs and handicrafts stalls and stores. On the first floor there is Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art, while underground there are vaults which you may visit with a tour. Here you’ll find more details:
At the ground floor of the Cloth Market you’ll find one of the many cafés in Krakow. Café Noworolski hosted many very well known personalities such as Jacek Malczewski, Wojciech Kossak (both excellent painters), Włodzimierz Tetmajer (well known poet) and many more.
Interesting fact: you will see a replica of a knife stacked above one of the aisles in Cloth Market. The legend says, that there were two brothers, who were building towers for Mariacki Church. When younger one, realised that his tower isn’t going to be as big as the one being constructed by his older brother, he got jealous and decided to kill him with this knife. Later on, having pangs of conscience, he took his own life, jumping from the higher tower. Eventually people hanged this knife in admonishment of fratricide. This legend also explains why those two towers have different height.
Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (pol. Kościół Mariacki) – the taller tower is the tallest one in the city. Once every hour, a trumpet signal (bugle call) known as the Hejnał Mariacki is played from the top of the taller tower.
Hejnał is played four times into four directions:
- South – the direction of Wawel Royal Castle, for the king
- West – for the Mayor of the City
- North – the direction of the Barbican, for visitors
- East – formerly for merchants, now for fireman’s chief
You can and should visit the tower.
City Hall – (pol. Ratusz) – well worth a visit
Eros Bendato - huge bronze head in front of City Hall made by Igor Mitoraj. You can find his artwork in other European cities as well.
Barbican – (pol. Barbakan) – historic gateway, at the end of Floriańska street full of boutiques
In every alley around the main square, there is a number of small pubs and restaurants, where you can find local beer and food.
Little Market Square – (pol. Mały Rynek) – small square directly behind Mariacki Church, hosts many cultural, musical and culinary events throughout the year. Worth stopping by to see what's going on or just to enjoy the beauty of this picturesque square.
Every church in Kraków
Planty (pol. Planty) - is one of the largest city parks in Kraków. It encircles the Stare Miasto (Old Town). You can stop by at 2 Franciszkańska Street and look at the window where Jan Paweł II used to rest during his pilgrimages to Poland.
Wawel Royal Castle (pol. Wawel) – you can visit its chambers check fees here: or just take a walk through the courtyard free of charge.
At the left hand side of the entrance you will find a closed chamber where one of the chakrams is hidden. You can stop by for a short while to power up.
In the vault located under Silver Bells tower you’ll find graves of Józef Pilsudski and Lech and Maria Kaczynscy. Thanks to Józef Pilsudski this year we can celebrate 100th anniversary of the Independence.
Just below Royal Castle walls there is a den of legendary dragon. Original inhabitant had been craftily killed long time ago so today there is just a statue of the fire-breathing dragon but the fire is real.
We’re almost sure that you have heard legend about Kraków and dragon, but if not, you can check it here:
When you come back upstairs and stand on the observation deck, you’ll see Kościuszko Mound (pol. Kopiec Kościuszki), where radio RMF FM has its premises. There’s an entry charge, but for free you can hit the deck, located a little bit lower. In total you can find 4 similar mounds in Kraków, the other three being:
Krakus Mound (pol. Kopiec Krakusa) – highly recommend, especially after sunset, provides breath taking view of the whole town which is well lit. No admission!
Piłsudski Mound (pol. Kopiec Piłsudskiego) – next to the ZOO, you can get there on the bus 134, directly from Cracovia Stadium, Kałuży Street.
Wanda Mound – located in Nowa Huta district, which is the most communist part of the city.
Rakowicki Cementry (pol. Cmentarz Rakowicki) – close to Galeria Krakowska, worth a visit.
If you’d like to get to Kosciuszko Mound, you would have to cross a neighbourhood called Salwator, where Monika spent 25 years of her life. You’ll find there:
Błonia Park – huge green piece of land in the middle of the city. You can take a walk around it, it’s just 3.5 km. Błonia divides two football clubs, whose fans don’t like each other – Cracovia and Wisła Kraków. You’ll see there rugby stadium called Juvenia and football club KS Zwierzyniecki.
Plac na Stawach – local grocery market
Bulwar Czerwieński – you can walk next to the Wisła river towards city center and Kazimierz.
Road to Kopiec Kościuszki - on your way to the top you’ll pass by two old churches. The one, on the left hand side, was built on top of the cemetery where victims of Black Death were buried. Climbing up you’ll see Salwator’s Graveyard and finally stairs to reach the top of the mound.
To this point, you can take bus, but check which line before with JAKDOJADE app. Of course, we recommend to walk up and enjoy stunning view at city’s panorama.
Some places outside of suburban area of Kraków:
- Wadowice – Our pope, Jan Pawel II was born there
Where to eat and drink:
Check out Jewish Quarter - this part of the town is known as Kazimierz. Charming place, full of pubs and little restaurants serving delicious snacks. In the heart of Kazimierz, you’ll find round building where the best zapiekanki in town are being served. It’s sort of French baguette cut in half, topped with cheese, ham, mushrooms etc. Everything is fresh and tasty. You have to try it. Later you will want more, trust us 😊
You can try local beer made on the premises at Stara Zajezdnia. Here you have some tips how to get there: - polish only 😊
Hala targowa – indoor market where during the day time you can buy groceries, but sunset you will encounter a gentleman who is selling delicious polish sausage baked on fire. You should try oranżada, old school fizzy drink, taste familiar to millions of Poles born in 80’ and 90’.
If you want to eat tasty and cheap food, you should visit one of the milk bars. One of the best you’ll find is located next to Rotunda club. If you are lucky, you might get delicious pierogi, we wrote about them recently.
At the end we have a very important information!
Steemfest ends on November 11th which is our National Independence Day and this year we are celebrating 100 years of independence, so you might want to stay one day longer to see celebrations. Remember that this year (exceptionally) November 12th is also a national holiday, so many shops will be closed and public transport won’t run as frequently.
We also recommend to check free walking tours and you have to try OBWARZANEK – a braided ring-shaped bread that is boiled and sprinkled with salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, etc., before being baked.
Hope you’ll enjoy your stay in Kraków! Unfortunately, we won’t be there (because we’re in Costa-Rica, enjoying our gap year), but we’re waiting for yours relations.
November isn’t the best time of year to visit Kraków, because it’s cloudy and rainy. You should come back here between May and September.
Kraków offers much more than what we have described here, but because your stay will be probably quite short we have selected what we think is The best of Kraków smiley. If you’d really like to get to know Kraków, then you should come here for a week or even two.
Thanks for reading!
All pictures were downloaded from pixabay and wikipedia.
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