Introducing the city

£1.00 | 4.78 zł

GBP | PLN

Gasoline £0.95 | 4.53 zł

One-way ticket £0.79 | 3.80 zł

Beer £1.46 | 7.00 zł

Main Course £4.18 | 20.00 zł

About Kraków

Kraków is one of the biggest and oldest cities in Poland, dating back as early as the 7th century. The city’s abundance of architecture, art and role in modern history have made it a must-visit destination.

The word ‘polish’ has the rare honour of being a capitonym, meaning that it changes meaning (and pronunciation) when it is capitalised. We use ‘Polish’ in reference to a Polish person, and ‘polish’ in reference to the cleaning product. What can this fun fact help you with? Probably nothing, but if knowledge is power then you’ll be one powerful traveller.

The phrase rich history may be overused in travel, but it’s undeniable that Kraków really does fit the bill. It’s for this reason and more that Poles and non-Poles alike flock to the cultural hub in their millions each year.

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Weather

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When Should You Visit?

The best time to visit Kraków is in spring or autumn, when the city’s thousands of burgeoning academics give the city a youthful energy and contribute to a lively nightlife. December is also a great time to go if you’re a fan of snowy Christmas markets (who isn’t?).

The city enjoys a temperate climate with features of both European marine west coast conditions as well as the more severe continental conditions of Eastern Europe. Whilst daytime temperature highs hover around a comfortable 20 degrees Celsius most of the year, (save winter when they are around 0 degrees Celsius), there are also weeks of summer heat above 30 degrees Celsius and winter frosts below minus 20 degrees Celsius. It’s therefore advisable to check weather conditions before travelling.

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Travioor top tips

Festivals
Wawel Hill
Heroes Square

Insider Info

  • Head to one of Kraków’s exciting festivals, such as Unsound Festival for music fans every October or Photomonth for artistic admirers each May.

  • If you head to Wawel Hill, be sure to check out the Dragon’s Den, where tourists can crawl inside the dragon’s cave, called Smozca Jama in Polish. Oh and did we mention that it actually breathes fire? Definitely one to check out.

  • Take a moment to stop and reflect at Ghetto Heroes Square, where 70 bronze chairs have been placed to commemorate the thousands of Kraków Jews who were victim to the Nazi regime during World War II.

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Food and drink

Main Course £4.18 | 20.00 zł

3-Course Meal £20.91 | 100.00 zł

Cappuccino £1.55 | 7.43 zł

Beer £1.46 | 7.00 zł

The Scene

Poland has become synonymous with pierogis. For the uninitiated, pierogi are crescent-shaped dough dumplings, and resemble ravioli in that they are stuffed with all sorts of delicious fillings. These can include potato, onion, minced meat, sauerkraut and even fruit, depending on the vendor. They are often served with sour cream or onions, which make for a delightful addition.

But there’s more to Poland and Kraków than pierogi. A small sample of popular specialities include: Kielbasa (polish sausage), Kluski (dumplings about the size of golf balls sometimes served on their own with cottage cheese or poppy seeds), Gołąbki (cabbage leaves stuffed with beef, onion and rice), Szarlotka (a dessert somewhere between an apple pie and a pastry), and for the particularly adventurous, Golonka (boiled pig's knuckle served with horseradish and sauerkraut).

Poles traditionally wish each other smacznego, the Polish equivalent of ‘bon appetit’, at the start of each meal. And to add to this delightful exchange, they end it by saying thank you – or dziekuje.

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History

Kraków’s Story

Legend has it that the name ‘Kraków’ comes from the prince, Krak, who used to rule the city. Myths aside, the city is one of the oldest in Poland, dating back to the 7th century. But it is the year 996 that is popularly accepted as the birth of the Polish nation, when the leader of the Polish people, Mieszko I, accepted Christianity.

The following 1000 years have seen it grow from a group of small local tribes to a massive multiethnic community, political non-existence to the fastest-growing economy in the European Union.

In the late 18th century, Poland was divided between and occupied by Prussia, Russia, and Austria, the so-called Holy Alliance. The effects of this partition loomed heavily in the Polish consciousness, with Kraków only going back to Poland as part of the Second Polish Republic in 1918.

In 1939, Kraków surrendered to the German armed forces and it soon became the capital of the General Government – a new territory created and governed by Nazi Germany. Whilst many Poles suffered under Nazi control, a lot of the city’s infrastructure and architecture remained relatively unscathed in comparison to other large Polish cities.

Today, Kraków represents one of Poland’s economic and cultural powerhouses, with some even christening the city as Poland’s own Silicon Valley.

Language

CZEŚĆ | Hello
DZIĘKUJĘ | Thank you

Polish

Poland’s native tongue is the Slavic language Polish, though English and German are relatively widely spoken languages too. We’ve collated a few basic Polish phrases to help you out:

  • Excuse me - Przepraszam (pshe-pra-shaam)
  • Please - Proszę
  • Do you speak English? - Czy mówisz po angielsku?

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Need to know

+48 Dialling Code
999 | 997 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • For the fire brigade, call 998.
  • When using public bathrooms in Poland, the circle symbol is for women, and the triangle is for men.
  • Kraków’s airport, called John Paul II International Airport, is located 11 kilometres to the west of the city and is easily accessible via public transport.
  • Most of the city’s popular landmarks are within easy walking distance from each other, so the best way to explore Kraków is on foot. However, you can also discover certain districts by bus, bike or even a horse-drawn carriage.

 

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for Poland here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Museums

Visit the eclectic range of museums Kraków has to offer, such as the extensive Czartoryski Museum and the Galicia Jewish Museum.

2. The Main Square

Wander around Kraków’s Rynek Glowny (the Main Square). The massive medieval market square is still the city’s social hub and is surrounded by beautiful architecture.

3. Wawel Hill

Spend the day at Wawel Hill. This cultural site boasts both the former home of the Polish kings and the cathedral where they were crowned and buried.

4. The Salt Mine

Some 14 kilometres southeast of Kraków, you’ll find the Wieliczka Salt Mine.The eerie underworld of pits and salt blocks is a giant labyrinth and definitely worth a tour.

5. Planty Park

Take yourself out of the urban mania and visit Planty Park, one of the largest green spaces in the city. It encircles the Stare Miasto and is perfect for a relaxing walk.


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