Poland

Poland

Discover Krakow – Top 8 Things to Do – 2018

Discover Krakow

Craving a city break but not sure where to go? Krakow in Poland is a great choice. Krakow has plenty to offer, from its beautiful sight-seeing attractions and tours to a variety of popular restaurants and bars. Accommodation in Krakow is really good, whether you’re looking to stay in a more relaxed environment or opt for a luxurious city break stay, there’s plenty of hotels to choose from.

I visited Krakow on a solo travel adventure for three nights, and during my trip, I visited the major attractions which included; The Main Market, St. Mary’s Basilica, Wawel Cathedral and Castle, Kazimierz – former Jewish district, Auschwitz, Salt Mine and more.

The great thing about this city, is that the majority of popular attractions and those that I wanted to visit, were all within walking distance – resulting in not having to use public transport or Taxis.

In this article, I’ll be covering the top places you should visit if you decide to book a trip to Krakow, Poland.

Discover Krakow – Top 8 Things to Do

1 – The Main Market

Krakow’s main market square (Rynek) has plenty to offer. There are beautiful surroundings and buildings that will make you want to explore more of the local areas and find the hidden gems of Krakow.

The Main Market in Krakow, is stunning both in the day and at night, with all the lights lit up and restaurants with outside seating with fires on. No better way to enjoy Krakow at night dining at the 200 metre square.

Fact: Did you know, Rynek is one of the largest medieval squares in Europe and is surrounded by townhouses with unique names with interesting history behind them.

2 – St. Mary’s Basilica

St Mary's Basilica
St Mary’s Basilica

When you visit Old Town, St Mary’s Basilica is beautifully situated at The Main Market. The church has stunning architecture both on the inside and outside. If you’re into gothic style buildings, you’ll love this. To enter the church, you’ll need a ticket. The cost of tickets is 10/8/5zł (kids under 8 go free). Tickets can be purchased in a separate building across from the tourist entrance.

Fact: St. Mary’s Basilica was rebuilt in Gothic style after Tartar raids in the 13th century which ended up leaving the original church in heaps of ruins.

3 – Cloth Hall

The Cloth Hall is at the centre of Krakow’s Main Market Square. Inside the small shopping mall, you’ll find various handicrafts and local products. It’s worth visiting as the prices are quite reasonable!

Cloth Hall, Krakow
Cloth Hall, Krakow

Fact: Back in the old days, the merchant stalls in Cloth Hall sold wax, spices, leather and silk. They also sold lead and salt from the nearby mines such as Wieliczka.

4 – Wawel Cathedral and Castle

If you visit Poland, Wawel Cathedral is a must. It’s by far one of the most important buildings. Situated on the hill is Wawel’s Cathedral and Castle. A step inside is definitely recommended to get the full experience.

Wawel Castle
Wawel Castle

There are also various other buildings close by, which are worth a visit after taking a short break at the cafe located right near the Cathedral.

5 – Wawel Dragon

Located right near the Wista riverbank below Wawel Castle is The Wawel Dragon, a sculpture by artist Bronisław Chromy. The Wawel Dragon is believed to be a Polish traditional legend.

Wawel Dragon in Krakow
Wawel Dragon in Krakow

If you’re visiting Wawel Castle then a visit to the Dragon is a must, especially since it’s just below the castle near the riverbank. If you visit at the right time or wait a short while, you’ll catch the Wawel Dragon breath fire.

6 – Kazimierz – former Jewish district

History lover? You’ll enjoy a visit to the Kazimierz – former Jewish district. There’s lots of history behind this place and it’s quite interesting. Whether you read up about it or take a tour, it should definitely be on your list to visit whilst staying in Krakow.

Kazimierz is also known for its cafe culture and the nightlife. If you visit, I’d recommend grabbing a Zapiekanka there. They are very tasty!

 

Zapiekanka in Krakow
Zapiekanka in Krakow

7 – Auschwitz

Whilst very touching, it’s a must if you visit Krakow. You’ll really understand what it was like, and learn more in person than watching documentaries. I visited on a Tuesday and the weather wasn’t great at all, which made the experience more dramatic and touching.

Auschwitz Krakow
Auschwitz Krakow

It’s very busy, even during the week. If you decide to go, I would highly recommend booking a tour or purchasing a ticket in advance. My tour guide was very knowledgeable and gave a lot of details about the concentration camp and the horrendous things that went on during the devastating times.

8 – Salt Mine

The Salt Mine was a good experience, even after walking down 800 steps…don’t worry – there’s a lift to bring you back up to the surface.

Salt Mine in Krakow
Salt Mine in Krakow

Located in Wieliczka, The Salt Mine is famous for its pits, chambers and everything else within its depths. The sculptures inside the mine have all been carved by hand from salt blocks. – They are very cool!

There is a lot of walking involved in this tour, and they usually last two hours, sometimes three, so make sure to wear comfortable clothing!

For the best experience, I would recommend booking in advance to ensure you get enough time to visit the whole mine as it gets quite busy at times and visitors are always guided in groups.

 

 

 

 

 

Hotels

Vienna House Andel’s Cracow, Luxury Hotel Review

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Exterior 2

Hotel Name: Vienna House Andel’s Cracow
Star Rating: ****
Location: Pawia 3, 31-154 Kraków
Rooms: 159 rooms and suites
Top Tip: Try out the Italian Chardonnay at Oscar’s bar. If you’re into your pasta, give the Tagliatelle chicken and spinach a go – that was delicious. After a long day of sight-seeing, I recommend getting a massage at Vienna House Andel’s Cracow.

 

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Exterior
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Exterior

If you’re looking to explore Poland, Krakow is a great choice. There’s plenty of history to be learned, lots of attractions to visit and sight-seeing to be done. Vienna House Andel’s Cracow is the perfect option if you would rather a luxurious stay for several nights with everything within walking distance.

Each and every room at Vienna House Andel’s Cracow feature state-of-the-art amenities. The hotel consists of 159 rooms and suites – standard, superior, executive and suites.

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Lobby
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Lobby

Andel’s Cracow by Vienna House offers its guests various options. these include restaurant and bar with terrace, spa and fitness facilities, 24/7 reception and room service, free high-speed WIFI, underground parking spaces.

Location:

Krakow is a popular tourist location with lots to offer. Vienna House Andel’s Cracow is situated in the heart of Krakow with everything within an extremely short walking distance. Honestly, there’s no need for public transport. I’ve not used any throughout my duration of my Poland trip.

Krakow, Poland
Krakow, Poland

Upon arrival of my stay at Vienna House, I was immediately impressed with the location and surroundings. Andel’s Cracow has a tram station less than a minute’s walk, a massive shopping mall right outside, and access to smaller shops from the underground passageway.

Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland
Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland

Vienna House Andel’s Cracow is centrally located in Old Town giving you plenty of sight-seeing and photo opportunities within minutes of exploring. After checking in, I would highly recommend exploring the local areas and taking in the sights both during daylight and at night with everything lit-up.

The Superior Room

Once I arrived at Vienna House Andel’s Cracow, I was given the Superior room – a luxurious room equipped with a double bed, a very fancy bathroom with both a shower and bathtub (with a beautiful neon lighting option – perfect for that relaxing bath after a long day of sight-seeing), LCD TV with DVD and CD player, super-fast free WIFI, a big safe, minibar with luxury coffee and tea making facilities, daily digital newspaper, DVD library and the option to have free breakfast delivered to my room – what else do I need? This is perfect.

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Superior Room Bed View
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Superior Room Bed View

After stepping out the lift, I was faced with various room doors, all of which were designed very well. Once I opened the door to my room, I was amazed to see such a beautiful room layout with lots to offer and presented very well. I’m not even sure where to begin.

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Superior Room Bed
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Superior Room Bed

Hopefully, the pictures above will get my point across, but let’s just say, I was extremely pleased with everything the room had to offer.

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Superior Room with WindowVienna House Andel's Cracow Superior Room Bathroom

Also, I would like to thank Lukas for the amazing welcoming gift.

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Superior Gift
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Superior Gift

Dining at Vienna House Andel’s Cracow:

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Restaurant
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Restaurant

For my first night stay at Andel’s Cracow, I was excited to try out their dishes. I went for taglitelle chicken and spinach dish. It was delicious. For the cost of £6 it was superb. The presentation was great too.  Yet another glass of Italian Chardonnay was accompanied beside this dish. The wine of which I’ve just taken a sip of as of writing this sentence.

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Dining
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Dining

Amenities & Entertainment:

Vienna House Andel’s Cracow has a spa and fitness studio available to every guest at the hotel. They also have a sauna and massages available – I booked in for a massage on Sunday night. Considering I booked quite late at 6pm, they still organised a massage for me later that night at 7:45pm. The massage was great and really made me feel relaxed afterward.

I couldn’t help but get into that bathtub with the neon lights straight after dinner and a few more glasses of the Italian Chardonnay – which I highly recommend. This completed my night.

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Reception
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Reception

All facilities and services:

  • Free High-Speed WIFI
  • Restaurant and Bar
  • Underground Parking
  • 24 Hour Reception
  • 24 Hour Room Service
  • Fitness Centre
  • Massages
  • Daily Digital Newspaper
  • Free Breakfast Delivered to Room
  • Free Welcome Drink
  • Early check-in or late check-out on request – this was perfect for me, I was able to check-out at 6pm for my flight, yes that’s 6pm!

Pros:

  • Very quick check-in and check-out
  • Location is perfect – the majority of attractions are within short walking distance
  • The WIFI is incredibly fast and accessible throughout the hotel
  • Both the bedroom and bathroom were very luxurious
  • Great amount of detail and design has been put into each room
  • Vienna House Andel’s Cracow staff are very helpful and polite with a positive attitude
  • The bedding was extremely comfortable
  • Luxury tea and coffee making facilities
  • Great choice of meals on the dinner menu
  • Variety of drinks available at Oscar’s bar
  • Free welcome drink
  • The massages are brilliant, especially after a long day of sight-seeing
  • Suprise gift if you choose not to have your room cleaned the next day

Cons:

  • No swimming pool at the hotel
  • TV has limited channels
  • No Instagram account for Vienna House Andel’s Cracow – this is a lost opportunity to connect with guests staying at this hotel, whilst also increasing brand awareness.

The wrap up:

If you are looking to explore Krakow a little more luxuriously, then staying at Vienna House Andel’s Cracow is the perfect option. With each and every room having a luxury design and options available to all guests, with polite and positive staff team members ready to help at your request, there’s no reason not to book a city getaway break at Andel’s Cracow. The ideal location for solo travellers, corporate and family vacations.

Disclosure: My stay was hosted by Vienna House Andel’s Cracow, but all views are my own and reflect my stay accurately.

Duration: 2 nights, Sunday 12th - Tuesday 14th November 2017
Hotels

Novotel Krakow Centrum, Poland – Hotel Review

Novotel Krakow Exterior View

Hotel Name: Novotel Krakow Centrum
Star Rating: ****
Location: Tadeusza Kościuszki 5, 30-105 Kraków
Rooms: 198 rooms and suites
Top Tip: Check out the breakfast options to start your day off healthy, then begin a short a walk along the river right outside the hotel to admire the views.

Novotel Krakow Centrum

Novotel Krakow Centrum Lobby
Novotel Krakow Centrum Lobby

If you’re looking for a short two-night city break, Krakow, Poland is the perfect place. Novotel Krakow Centrum is an ideal hotel for your solo retreat or family vacation. There are 198 rooms and suites at Novotel Krakow Centrum, 21 family rooms, and 38 connecting rooms. The hotel offers various options for each and every guest – indoor heated pool, fitness room, spa, gaming area (Xbox 360 + Kinect) with interactive table for children, bicycle rental and Novo Square lounge bar – a combination of a bar and a restaurant, the perfect place to rest.

Novotel Krakow Novo Square
Novotel Krakow Novo Square

Location:

Krakow is a popular location for tourists, there’s plenty of history and landmarks to see. Novotel Krakow Centrum is just a short walk from the Old Town and is positioned right in front of River Wista.

On my first night staying in Krakow, after checking in at Novotel, I explored the local areas and due to most of Krakow’s attractions being in walking distance, the location of this hotel was ideal. It took me less than 14 minutes to walk to Wawel Cathedral from this location. There is no need for public transport, and I would recommend walking as you’ll see much more. A walk along the river is definitely recommended – it’s very beautiful at night with the various buildings all lit up!

The Standard Room:

Upon arriving at Novotel, I checked in within minutes. There was no queue, I was straight up and the check-in process was simple. I was given Room 317, Novotel’s Standard room that accommodates up to two adults and 2 children.

Novotel Krakow Centrum Room Layout
Novotel Krakow Centrum Room Layout

After stepping a foot inside, I was very pleased with the room – it was very spacious, had a great view from the front of the hotel right above the entrance (the windows are huge – pretty cool!) The Standard room includes free WIFI, LCD TV, air-conditioning, bathroom with shower, minibar, basic tea and coffee facilities (didn’t come across any milk) and a pretty big safe with plenty of room.

Novotel Krakow Centrum Bed
Novotel Krakow Centrum Bed

I’m pleased to report the room was equipped with the essentials for a short enjoyable stay.

Dining at Novotel Krakow Centrum:

Hotel Novotel Krakow Centrum has 1 restaurant and a bar. Novo Square is a modern interior designed lounge bar with a restaurant serving light and healthy foods from all over the world.

Novotel Krakow Centrum Breakfast
Novotel Krakow Centrum Breakfast

The food available for breakfast at Novotel’s restaurant included scrambled eggs, sausages, tomatoes and beans, boiled eggs, vegetables, fruit, cereals, toast and bread, and croissants. Whilst, not the biggest selection, there was a good variety to choose from to start your day off healthy. Bacon along with other food is available upon request. Some of the dishes are also available 24/7 via Room Service. Novo Square’s menu includes alcohol and soft drinks along with a selection of interesting regional beers.

Novotel Krakow Centrum Dining
Novotel Krakow Centrum Dining

Amenities & Entertainment:

The hotel has one swimming pool (heated), a wellness centre which includes a gym, sauna, jacuzzi, beauty parlor and also massages. Hotel Novotel Krakow Centrum also has a children’s play area which consists of an Xbox 360 with Kinect, along with an interactive table for children. They also have a chill-out lounge in the lobby with charging units allowing you to take a rest after your day’s exploring.

Novotel Krakow Centrum Gaming Area
Novotel Krakow Centrum Gaming Area

All facilities and services:

  • Free WIFI
  • Online Check-In
  • Parking
  • 24 Hour Reception
  • 24 Hour Room Service
  • Indoor Heated Pool
  • Fitness Centre
  • Restaurant and Bar
  • 24 Hour Security
Novotel Krakow Centrum Lobby
Novotel Krakow Centrum Lobby

Pros:

  • Quick and easy check-in and check-out
  • The room was very spacious and comfortable
  • Nice design for sink and bathroom layout
  • A complimentary breakfast was included with my stay – the food was tasty! Great selection of drinks, however, the glasses were a little small, so I did find myself going up for more after a few sips.
  • The location is spot on, the majority of attractions are within walking distance
  • Huge window with a great view of the river and surrounding areas
  • The service was fantastic, front desk was very helpful
  • The bedding was comfy for a standard room
  • Received a helpful interesting Krakow pocket guide and map
  • Variety of food and drink to choose from at the Novo Square Restaurant and Bar

Cons:

  • The room only featured one image, it could do with some more decoration – different style of modern photography or art. This would make the rooms more vibrant.
  • The LCD TV was limited to a few channels
  • There was no milk provided with the tea and coffee facilities

The wrap up:

If you want to explore Krakow and have the majority of attractions within walking distance of fewer than 20 minutes, yet stay in a quiet clean location with great facilities at reasonable prices, shopping centres on your doorstep and plenty of restaurants nearby, I recommend staying at Hotel Novotel Kraków Centrum.

Novotel Krakow Centrum Exterior
Novotel Krakow Centrum Exterior

Disclosure: My stay was hosted by Novotel Kraków Centrum, AccorHotels, but all views are my own and reflect my stay accurately.

Duration: 1 night, Saturday 11th November 2017