Krakow

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Thanks to Ryanair, we got a cheeky August weekend in Krakow with Sean’s parents. We had a 7am Friday morning flight out and a 9pm flight back on the Sunday night which makes Krakow a perfect weekend spot.

Hotel

Art Garden Residence –  When I found out we were going to Krakow, I got to book the hotel. I had a look at the photos and this place looked stunning. We got two rooms, both with a balcony, which we got to use on the first night. As we were celebrating two birthdays we got a complimentary bottle of champagne which was a nice touch! On the three evenings we were at the hotel, we went to the garden for some drinks, which was lovely to sit out in – especially as we were in the middle of a city! On the first night we got an anti-pasti board which was quite expensive, and I’m sure a best seller to those who was a light bite to eat before going elsewhere for dinner. The rooms and the whole hotel decor was beautiful and we would return if we go back to Krakow. Highly recommended!

Restaurants & Bars

Boscaiola – We visited here on our first night in Krakow and were not disappointed! We booked with them through Facebook messenger and they were quick at responding to confirm our reservation. We had both bruschetta for starters, which was a huge portion and very tasty!  For mains, I had the salmon tagliatelle which was the best I have ever had <3. Other main courses included the chicken breast, lasagna and a pizza which looked huge. The service was good and we were never waiting long for our food which is always a plus! Highly recommend a visit!

Wodka –  This place is listed on pretty much every article about things to do in Krakow. I tried to book a table but its very small, only three tables upstairs and two downstairs. We got lucky and managed to find a table as people were leaving. We got three flights with various types of vodka to try out (18 shots in total) and the measures were quite big. It’s well worth a visit – you wouldn’t stay here for the night, but I would recommend visiting for a quick taster.

Ariel – We were initially looking at Hamsa, but it was fully booked so we came to Ariel for dinner. We got the soup and traditional Jewish dumplings to start, which was unusual but really tasty! I got the chicken with mushroom sauce for main course, which was nice. It wasn’t overly tasty and I don’t think I would go back – the trip advisor reviews are pretty average, which I would agree with.

Hamsa – Mixed review of here! I called for a reservation on Saturday and was told they wouldn’t take any more but we could just pop in. So we did, and there was no table available. We decided to eat elsewhere but we returned on Sunday for lunch – we were told again there were no tables, I pointed to one outside which we were then seated at! I also saw later, they have a huge courtyard hidden out the back, which was basically empty and we all agreed it was unlikely there were no tables available the night before. Anyway, we ordered and both my starter and main course order turned out to be incorrect. On two occasions our drinks order was forgotten and I was also given the wrong drink another time (all in the space of the three hours we were there!), the food however was amazing, even though the service was a bit odd, the food was beautiful and I would happily return!

Absynt – This was a really funky little place, decorated like an old sitting room. They have quite a large Absinth menu which we tried out (I wasn’t a fan of) but everyone else really enjoyed. We had it served with ice, and lit on fire which looked pretty cool. I went for a cocktail which wasn’t very nice, but they specialize in one thing and do it well, so I can’t fault them! Worth a visit, and again isn’t the kind of place you would stay for the night.

Kocia Kawiarnia Kociarnia – We conveniently were staying right beside the cat cafe, which we got to visit on Sunday morning. You got to enter through a funky little wardrobe and there were about 6 cats in the cafe. The coffee wasn’t that great but it was a nice experience – one of the cats was 17 years old and was happy out relaxing.

Alchemia – We spotted this online as one of the best bars in Krakow so we decided to pay it a visit. I checked out trip advisor for reviews, one of which said it had the best Mojito ever – I can confirm that is not the case at all. The mojito was pretty crap. The decor looks cool, its set up like a very old living room and you go through a wardrobe (common theme in Krakow) into another part of the bar, but it lacked something. We stayed for one drink and then left.

Things To Do

Free Walking Tour –  We did the WW2 walking tour which took approx. 2.5 hours the day we arrived. It was really good and gave a great history of Krakow during the war, with a history of the castle, why Krakow wasn’t destroyed, seeing the Gestapo HQ and also visiting some cells where prisoners were kept. Would highly recommend taking time to do the tour!

Auschwitz – This was interesting. There was a huge amount of queuing which I don’t really have patience for. It seems like they are not prepared for the large volumes of tourists who visit here and it took over an hour from the time we arrived until we were passed security. Once through we then had to queue up again to go through the set blocks that every other tour group had to go through. The rushed and crowded feeling really meant you didn’t get to take a step back and think about everything that happened here. We visited Sachsenhausen in 2014 while we were in Berlin, and if you want to visit a concentration camp to fully understand the extend of what happened, Sachsenhausen would be much better.

Salt Mines – I had no idea what the Salt Mines were, and didn’t look it up before we arrived. Once we got there, we had another queue to join (a Polish past-time) but this one was pretty quick. Straight away we started to descent down the mine shaft, ~300 steps to begin with. We got to hear about the history of the mine and learn about how salt had been mined here for thousands of years until relatively recently. The most impressive piece about the mine is the churches they have built under ground, one of which still holds mass every Sunday. There is also a lake where divers got the opportunity to explore, but only while attached to weights so they would be able to sink. Would recommend a visit here, you really don’t notice the time passing and we were almost 2.5 hours underground.

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