A while ago, Milou from Explorista asked me if I had ever been to Krakow in Poland before. I hadn’t. Did I want to join her as her plus one on a short press trip? Of course I did!
City trip Krakow, Poland: a first impression in only a couple of hours
Our city trip to Krakow really was extremely short: we would be arriving on Thursday evening, visit Auschwitz-Birkenau and be on our flight back home by noon the next day. Despite a little mistake in the booking of the travel agency that was going to take us to Auschwitz (they forgot about us), we did have a couple of hours to explore the city, which is exactly what we did.
But just our luck: it wasn’t raining, it was pouring.
With our umbrellas ready we left the hotel, the fantastic Hotel Kazimierz, and headed toward the city center via Stradomska, the citadel and the cathedral. The center is really small and you could easily go through all the little streets in just one day time.
However, we didn’t have one day so we chose to follow the main road that runs through the center – which is first called Grodzka, then Flioranska – until we reached the end of the road on the other side.
There, we found two street musicians who played such happy tunes, it was hard to believe the sun wasn’t shining. We swayed to the music before returning along the main road. We didn’t want to miss our departure to Auschwitz.
Apparently, that main road happened to be the shopping street as well. But don’t expect too much, it was more fun to admire the colorful buildings standing up to the bad weather and gray skies.
We walked across Rynek Glowny, the main square, quickly visited the Bazylika Mariack, where by chance a service was being held and took shelter from the rain in the cloth hall of the open market hall.
An evening filled with music
The travel agency which made a mistake with our booking felt a bit guilty and offered us dinner at Restaurant Ariel to make things right. The restaurant is located in the Jewish quarter Kazimierz, only a couple minutes walking from our hotel.
Ariel is actually made up out of two restaurants: one where you can just get lunch or dinner and one where you can enjoy live Klezmer while eating. We enjoyed our simple, kosher, but delicious three-course meal: a hearty vegetable soup, meat with fries and vegetables and a sweet dessert.
In the course of the evening, the band started playing and I have to say I considered them the real main course. I really love to see passionate musicians at work and I never heard anything like the music they were playing.
The dinner was the perfect end to our really short city trip in Krakow.
Traveling to Krakow
Of course, going by car is always an option, but flying to Krakow is still the easier and faster choice. We had a direct flight to Krakow with Ryanair that departed from Eindhoven. When you’re in the airport of Krakow you can board a train that will take you directly to the outskirts of the city.
Using public transport to get from Leuven to Eindhoven Airport is rather complicated, that’s why is chose to drive there myself. Thanks to Parkos I could park my car almost directly in front of the entrance, where it was safely kept until my return. This really came in handy! I reserved my parking space online, turned in my key when I arrived there and off I went. Picking up my car when I returned only took a couple of minutes, which is nice when you are eager to go home after a long flight. Parkos offered me this parking space, but I would definitely choose this company again!
Hotels in Krakow
There are lots of hotels in Krakow, both in and around the city center and the Jewish quarter, where we stayed in Hotel Kazimierz. The staff in the hotel was very friendly and helpful, our room was very spacious and although the breakfast buffet wasn’t really my thing, it was really extensive. I definitely recommend this place, also because it is located right at the edge of the Jewish quarter which makes it only a couple of minutes walking distance to the city center as well.
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