“Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere” – Elie Wiesel
A city break to Kraków is my chosen destination this month. This beautifully preserved medieval city is well-worth a visit, especially with a vital piece of human history just a couple of hours away.
I chose a long weekend in Spring for Kraków and we were blessed with warm temperatures, ideal for exploring by foot and dining outside. A 2-hour flight from London, Kraków airport is then only a half hour taxi ride to the city centre.
It’s easy to make the most of a couple of nights here and best to hit the ground running when you arrive. Kraków is an inexpensive place to enjoy so it’s perfect for price-conscious travellers.
Be sure to book Auschwitz tickets in advance as the museum sees huge numbers of visitors daily. Read more about how to book an Auschwitz tour.
Hotel Polonia is an authentic choice in a central location, with an abundance of shops nearby and good transport links right outside the door. A lot of beautiful buildings are within walking distance from this hotel, including the Main Square, Rynek Główny.
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The hotel staff at the Polonia speak good English and a varied breakfast was included in our stay. The rooms and décor are traditional, with modern bathrooms which are kept spotless. For a little extra, choose a superior room, giving you a balcony over-looking the tram-lined streets and green park gardens. On at least one evening of your stay, catch a sunset on the balcony and appreciate the beauty of this popular area.
On our first afternoon, we booked a guided tour of Wieliczka Salt Mine. Hotel Polonia works with the tour company See Kraków to provide inclusive packages with pick-ups 5 metres from the hotel. It couldn’t be easier to see the unique areas that sit on the outskirts of this Polish city.
A remarkable experience, in some parts of the salt mine, you are 135 metres below ground. Thankfully, the tour group climbs down the stairs but takes a very small miner’s lift back up. I wouldn’t recommend this tour for anyone who is claustrophobic! Marvel at the impressive carvings made in the salt walls and learn all about life for the people who once worked this mine.
If you are planning a visit to Kraków soon, we highly recommend you book your Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour in advance of your trip.
When it comes to food, make the short walk to Rynek Główny. If you are looking for fine Polish cuisine in traditional surroundings, seek out Hotel Wentzl right on the main square. If instead you fancy watching the many street performers and enjoying the atmosphere, and if the weather is mild enough, opt for one of the many outdoor seating areas.
At night, the medieval buildings circling the square are beautifully lit and provide a stunning backdrop for your meal and photographs. We actually ate on the main square all weekend because we just couldn’t get enough of its lively vibe and breathtaking architecture.
Rynek Główny is just as enjoyable by day. Cloth Hall houses a market full of treasures and gifts. From the square, you also get the best view of St. Mary’s Basilica and you can hear the hourly trumpeting that commemorates the trumpeter who was killed mid-note in the 13th century.
We got lucky with the Spring weather and picked one of the warmest weekends of 2017 so benefited from blue skies and bright sunshine. The abundance of outside eateries that we loved by night is perfect for those sunny, warmer days in between exploring too. Grab a coffee, sit back and watch traditionally decorated, horse-drawn, white carts circle the equally pristine streets.
Our main motivation for choosing this city break was to visit the Auschwitz museum. You can choose to navigate the concentration camps alone, which is advisable if you like to move at your own pace, but the tour guides are really invaluable and extremely passionate about what they do. Book free cancellation Auschwitz tours and tickets here.
Kraków itself was the only European city not be bombed in WW2 so wandering its streets and squares is a photographers dream. So a huge dziękuję (pronounced jen-KOO-ya), which means thank you in Polish, to our wonderful hosts and beautiful Kraków.
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5 thoughts on “An Eye-Opening Experience”
Thank you for sharing your experience…I can only imagine how emotional it was for you. It was such a horrendous time in history, but one that shouldn’t be forgotten. 😭
Thank you for reading Erin 🙂 It’s definitely a place for reflection.
Wow… I can’t even imagine. I really have to go some day too.
I highly recommend it for everyone 🙂 Thank you for reading and if you need help with planning your trip when the times comes, I’d be happy to help.