An Amazing Weekend In Krakow

old town

When it comes to travelling, before each journey, whatever the destination is, I always get super happy and excited. No wonder that before going to Krakow, one of my favourite places, I was completely over the moon. Therefore, the first thing I did after checking in was buying a camera to be share some pictures with you 🙂

cracow

Seems like the former capital of Poland is widely known as the city of kings. As well as pigeons, churches (hardly possible to avoid them there!), students and the Wawel Dragon. And a great spot for Auschwitz trips I assume! Whenever I mention Krakow, sooner or later there will be one of my friends saying: ‘I’ve heard of Auschwitz, horrible’. It was indeed, and I understand the importance of historical events. At the same time I still strongly believe that Krakow is so much more than that!

cracow

Most of all, it’s the city of great fun. Of lovely tiny cafes, breath-taking architecture, mesmerising pieces of street art, fantastic restaurants and tourists from all over the world. Being one of the oldest cities in Poland, Krakow remains fresh, vivid and incredibly alive.

cats

coffee

The main square of the city is surrounded by rows of beautiful, colourful houses. It’s a lovely place for a proper meal out, spontaneous shopping spree or a lazy afternoon walk. Filled with churches and apartment houses, narrow streets of the old town are one of the reasons why Krakow is such a gorgeous place.

old town

old town

old town

old town

old town

old town

old town

old town

In my opinion, the most magical area of the city is Kazimierz– a former Jewish quarter. The Jewish culture in Kazimierz still appears all over the show with plenty of museums, exhibitions, the oldest synagogues in the country and traditional restaurants.

kazimierzsynagogueFurthermore, the area puts me under the spell mainly because of its unique, artistic atmosphere. With dozens of tiny art galleries, vintage shops and fancy bars, it reminds me a bit of London’s Shoreditch… well, maybe the area is not equally big but it’s the same kind of experience.

kazimierz

kazimierz

kazimierz

kazimierz

kazimierz

kazimierz

kazimierz

kazimierz

kazimierz

kazimierz

kazimierz

kazimierz

Another sight of Krakow one can’t miss during the trip is Wawel Hill, with the famous royal castle and cathedral. The place looks rather impressive, especially in the summer when the gardens around one of the mostly visited Polish architectural complexes proudly show off green trees and flowers in full bloom. If you’re lucky enough to get a bit of sunshine, you may go down the stairs to see the dragon and end up sunbathing by the river.

wawel

wawel

wawel

wawel

wawel

wawel

wawel

wawel

Krakow is also a great place for a meal out with countless restaurants, pubs and cafés there. Most places I’ve managed to visit served delicious food, the portions were huge and the prices- relatively low.

cheesecake

veggie hard rock

veggie burger

lemonade

One of my genuine recommendations here is Café Mlynek. I keep coming back to this place every time I’m around and it’s never disappointed me.

cafe mlynek

What I love about this little restaurant is a great combination of old and new: antique furniture, contemporary paintings on the walls and tonnes of enigmatic items all around is what makes Café Mlynek so unique.

cafe mlynek

And the food is absolutely irresistible- fresh and tasty, 100% vegetarian, including traditional Polish dishes served in a modern way (e.g. pierogi with some radish sprouts on the side)… My types are: vegan breakfast (3 kinds of vegetable spread, home-made dip, fruit jam, fresh salad leaves and vegan ‘scrambled eggs’ made of tofu, carrots and chive served with wholegrain bread), lunch salads (love them all), potato pancakes with creamy mushroom sauce (one big YUM! ) …not to mention the chocolate! Hot chocolate served in Mlynek is really something to kill for! It’s not impossibly sweet, not as thick as custard.. but still very rich and creamy…  good I don’t live in Krakow, otherwise I might have been living on benefits due to my obesity by now 😉

vegetarian breakfast

spreads

healthy breakfast

scrambled tofu

tofu salad

gorgonzola salad

chocolateAnother cafeteria I would like to write about is the one I discovered during the trip. The place called Café Camelot, located by the old town ( 2 min walk from the main square) is exceptionally beautiful. The food here is tasty, pies and fruit juices are amazing… but what really defines this place is simply how it looks like. The personnel is not all sweet and bubbly… they speak rather basic English… card payments are not accepted (which, unfortunately, you only find out while paying your bill)… the space is usually crowded and sometimes you wait over 45 minutes to place an order but… if you’re not in a hurry, there’s no better place to be. It’s just the loveliest café in the city, all covered with pretty shades of pink and lilac with stylish furniture and accessories, full of fresh flowers and rustic bibelots. And if you have some luck, you may even get a table outside and sip your cappuccino under one of parasols, surrounded by summer plants. If you ask me, that’s where a perfect lazy afternoon begins. Plus there’s a sweet concept store upstairs which makes you smile by just looking around it!

camelot

Just so you know, Krakow isn’t all about eating and drinking coffee (although so far it may seem like it). There are plenty of other things to do in the royal city! You can try Schindler’s factory (better to book tickets in advance to avoid the queue), botanic gardens or Czartoryski Museum, the home of Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine.  I exceptionally enjoyed visiting MOCAK, the Museum of Contemporary Art. It was absolutely delightful to discover that (even if it’s only for a short while) Warhol in Poland could exist somewhere else than Pepe Jeans shops 🙂

If you’re looking for a perfect short holiday spot, you should definitely add Krakow to your bucket list. Discovering everything city’s got to offer, spending very little, you’re going to have a lot of fun. Exactly like I did! 🙂

dragon