Krakow

People have often described Krakow to me as being like Prague but not as overrun with tourists. Seeing as I’ve never been to Prague that wasn’t a lot of help in terms of imagining what it’d be like. It’s also a city I’m not very familiar with from telly or from mates’ experience either, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, which actually made the prospect of visiting more exciting.

Somehow central Krakow managed to largely avoid being physically scarred either by the Second World War or the excesses of communist town planning, making it both a historic and very handsome city to wander round. In fact, just wandering around was for me the best way to enjoy the city – actually going inside many of the sights was a little disappointing (notably the cathedral bell tower – lots of queueing, rubbish view).

Wawel Cathedral - lovely on the outside, disappointing within

Wawel Cathedral - lovely on the outside, disappointing within


Pretty much every street is worth exploring, with numerous baroque churches and crumbling town houses all over the place. Visiting in November means the whole city is shrouded in fog, making it even more atmospheric.

Aside from the general prettiness of the place, the most obvious highlight of the city is the huge market square (apparently the largest of its kind in Europe), dominated by the huge Basilica Mariacka.

Basilica Mariaka

Basilica Mariaka

All around the square are hundreds of bars and restaurants, many of which are in the medieval cellars of the buildings, which can make for a great setting for dinner – I say can, because of course it’s incredibly hit and miss, especially as you can’t really check them out from the outside, what with not being able to see in. Saturday night we hit lucky with an incredible Italian meal (with a genuine Polish celebrity at the next table. According to the waiter, anyway). Sunday was less so, with us having to abandon a meal to make it to the airport when forty-five minutes after ordering it turned out they hadn’t even put the food on. Not the best way to end a great birthday weekend, although certainly not enough to ruin it either: Krakow is definitely one of the best cities I’ve been to in Europe, and one I definitely plan to return to.

2 responses to “Krakow

  1. currently semi out of action on facebook as work have blocked due to virus. i can check it via blackberry but screen too small for pics, so is nice to be able to check out your pics here / on flickr….krakow looks great – love the whole cold city thing in the run up to xmas

  2. Aw, it’s fantastic, you’d love it. And it worked out dead cheap too, we hired a fantastic apartment, the whole thing (flights, accomm, food, drink, lots of taxis) came to less than £250, and we certainly weren’t doing it budget style).

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