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Located in Southern Poland, Krakow isn’t what often comes to mind for those looking to take a trip to Europe. While it’s a popular destination for a stop from Prague, Budapest, Bratislava, and more; Kraków isn’t typically thought of as a destination on its own. However, after spending five days exploring the ins and outs of the city, I am eager to show anyone that Krakow is definitely worth a visit. Below you’ll find a little bit of history about Krakow, plus where to eat in Krakow, drink, and even sightsee!
Where to Eat in Krakow, Drink, and Sightsee
After spending five days in this Polish city, I was able to put together a complete guide of where to eat, where to drink, and what to fill your days doing and seeing in Krakow. Plan your visit to Krakow in the summer if you’re looking for warm weather, but more tourists. Or brave the winter months when it’s colder out for fewer tourists. Krakow also has enchanting Christmas markets set up in December if you don’t mind the cold weather and the crowds.
Krakow – A City Steeped in History
Founded in the 4th-century and what was once the capital of Poland, Krakow has managed to maintain its old town charm while having established itself as a city that has reconstructed and rebuilt itself after WWII devastated Poland. Since the ending of the war, Krakow has increased its population x4 and these days is infamously known as being located close to the extermination camp, Auschwitz.
Where to Eat in Krakow
BACOWKA U KAZKA OSCYPKI
This is the place to go for a quick and authentic Polish snack, baked cheese. This hole-in-the-wall stand in the heart of old town located right outside of the main square serves the traditional baked cheese snack topped with a sweet cranberry sauce. Stop in to watch the cheese bake atop a roaring fire and curb your appetite before dinner.
Charlotte is a French restaurant with incredible pastries and sweets to curb your sugar craving. It’s located in the heart of old town and serves a variety of French wines, breads, baguettes, and macarons. It’s an ideal place for a light meal or dessert and an especially good choice if you’re sick of eating Polish food.
Gossip Cafe is a small and intimate brunch spot on the outskirts of old town. It’s perfect for a leisurely meal complete with coffee or a milkshake. Desserts adorn the insides of the glass box at the register, and people idly chat at the community table.
MOO MOO STEAK AND BURGER CLUB
Also a good option if you need a break from Polish food, Moo Moo Steak and Burger Club is an upscale steak and beef restaurant located in the old town.
This is a cheap and quick option for delicious handmade Polish pierogi. Pierogarnia Krakowiacy is a self-service restaurant on the outskirts of old town. Being affordable, I can promise you that this restaurant has definitely not sacrificed on taste. The pierogi are just as good as any sit down restaurant I had been to. Plus there are many different pierogi stuffings giving you tons of different options to choose from.
ZALIPIANKI EWA WACHOWICZ
Zalipianki Ewa Wachowicz is an upscale polish restaurant in the heart of the old town. I urge you to try the mouthwatering duck stuffed dumplings or opt for the rich flourless chocolate cake. With an upbeat atmosphere and indoor/outdoor seating, Zalipianki is a good choice to slow down, take your time, and enjoy delicious, upscale, polish food.
If you’re limited on time, but want to taste-test different kinds of Polish foods, consider booking a local food tour!
Where to Drink in Krakow
Cafe Camelot is a diverse restaurant in the heart of old town close to Florian’s Gate. It’s a good option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner where you can sit with an espresso during the day, or a glass of wine at night. Cafe Camelot feels like a cozy and intimate setting for any affair. Please note that this is a cash-only restaurant.
With mediocre food, Café Tektura stands out more as a place to come drink coffee and work. It’s on the outskirts of old town, and a good place to grab a coffee to go or stay and get some work done.
ZAKATEK CAFE AND WINE BAR
Zakatek is a hidden wine bar in the heart of old town. It’s the perfect intimate escape from the hustle and bustle of the city streets.
Join a vodka tour to taste different types of Polish vodkas (and pierogis!)
Things to See and Do in Krakow
Auschwitz-Birkenau was a former nazi and extermination camp, built-in 1940 by Nazi Germany. It is located approximately 40 miles west of Kraków in Oswiecim. By 1942 Auschwitz became the largest death camp and now it is open as a museum to visit.
You can arrive at Auschwitz by train, bus, or tour bus. I recommend arriving early, especially if you’re on your own because the lines can be hours long to enter. Make sure to prebook your spot beforehand, it is the only way you’ll be guaranteed entrance. Only bring a small bag, anything bigger than 30 x 20 x 10 cm is not allowed. The camp is broken into Auschwitz I and II, driving distance apart.
If you arrive by train, the entrance to the museum is over a mile away, and you’ll need to take a bus. Arrival by bus will drop you at the Dworzec MDA, where a 10-minute walk will bring you to the main entrance. If you choose to book a tour from Krakow, you won’t need to worry about transportation.
For more detailed information on visiting Auschwitz, check out this website.
WALK THROUGH ST. FLORIAN’S GATE
Built-in the 14th-century, St. Florian’s Gate was once the main entryway into town. It served as a defense mechanism so that anyone coming into Krakow would have to cross through the gate first.
VISIT WAWEL CASTLE AND CATHEDRAL
Built upon Wawel Hill, Kraków’s castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the biggest castles in Europe. Getting up the hill is free, and you can choose to pay a fee for entrance into the Cathedral or walk the castle grounds for free views of Kraków.
GO ON A FREE WALKING TOUR
The best way to get to know a city? By foot, for free. Take the free tour put on by Walkative, for information on what Krakow was like back in the day and how it’s come to where it is now. Going on this tour will take you through all of the major attractions in Krakow.
For more on free walking tours through Europe, check out European Walking Tours Ranked
If you find yourself lucky enough to be visiting central Europe, make sure to make a stop in Krakow. It’s full of things to see and do, it’s still a cheap city, and it still feels a little bit under the radar. Here you’ll be able to slow down, relax, and not worry about breaking the bank.
I hope that you find this guide to eating, drinking, and sightseeing through Krakow helpful. Let me know what I missed in the comments below!