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Hostelworld Guide for krakow

The Essentials

Remarkably unscathed during both World Wars, and extremely pleasing on the eye, it's no wonder that
Krakow is Poland's most visited city. The Polish capital until 1596, the cobbled squares, churches and
mosques, and gothic architecture are what draw thousands of visitors year after year. Krakow also boasts
countless jazz clubs, whetting the appetite of live music lovers from both home and abroad.

Getting There
By plane: Krakow's airport is just 12km from the
city centre. To get to the city centre take the feeder
bus from outside arrivals to the train station and
then the train to the city. The journey takes 20
minutes and costs 8PLN.

Climate
Due to its location on the border of Central Europe
and Eastern Europe, Krakow enjoys a temperate
climate. Summers can be quite hot, with
temperatures regularly going beyond the average of
20C. Like in many European cities, autumn is a
good time to visit, but by mid-October it starts
getting cold again. Winters are usually white ones
and it drops below 0C regularly. Spring is regarded
as the best time to visit.

By train: If you travel to Krakow by train your


journey will end in the central train station at Plac
Kolejowy.

In this Guide...
Useful Information
After Dark
Places to Eat
Top Attractions
Budget Tips
Where to Shop

By bus: Buses on long-distance journeys to Krakow


end up at the central bus station on Cystertow.

Getting Around
On foot: Getting around Krakow on foot is
effortless. All the main attractions are within walking
distance of each other and the only time you will be
required to really stretch your legs is if you go south
of the river to the suburb of Podgorze.
By bus/tram: There are trams and buses in
operation but the chances of you needing to use
either during your stay are slim.
By taxi: Taxis can be hailed down in Krakow easily
and they aren't too expensive. Those that are
available will have their light lit up on their roof.

Useful phrases
Hello: Cze
Goodbye: Do widzenia
Please: Prosz
Thank you: Dzikuj
You're welcome: Nie ma za co
Yes: Tak
No: Nie
Of course: Oczywicie
Excuse me: Przepraszam
How are you?: Jak si masz?
Open: Otwarte
Closed: Zamknite
What is your name?: Jak masz na imi?
My name is...: Mam na imi...
How much does it cost?: Ile to kosztuje?
The bill please?: Poprosz o rachunek
Hostelworld Guide for krakow

Good to know...
Language: Polish
Currency: Zloty (PLN)
Electricity: 220 Volts, 50 cycles
Telephone Code: +48 (Poland), 012 (Krakow)
Emergency Codes: Ambulance 999 / Fire 998 /
Police 997
Time Zone: GMT + 1
Central Post Office: Westerplatte 20
Main Tourist Office: Rynek Glwny 1

Embassies/Consulates
USA: +48 (0)12 424 5100
UK: +48 (0)12 421 7030
Canada: +48 (0)22 584 3100*
Australia: +48 (0)22 521 3444*
South Africa: +48 (0)22 625 6228*
Ireland: +48 (0)22 849 6633*
Germany: +48 (0)12 424 3000
Spain: +48 (0)22 622 4250*
Italy: +48 (0)22 826 3471*
New Zealand: +48 (0)22 521 0500*
France: +48 (0)12 424 5300
*Embassy in Warsaw

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Cheap Eats
U Babci Maliny, Szpitalna 38, Stare Miasto As
you are greeted by the butler-esque concierge at
the door of this restaurant, you may think it is
beyond your budget. But look through the menu
you'll see it isn't that expensive after all. Try the
traditional meat and cabbage stew which is served
actually in bread. Open daily from 11am-10pm.

Eh, you speak English?


Pod Temida, Grodzka 43, Stare Miasto During
the communist era, a number of 'milk bars' were
set up in Poland. These were cafeteria-style,
cheap eateries subsidised by the state. This is
Krakow's most famous one and still serves
ridiculously cheap food. The menu is in Polish,
but staff don't mind playing interpreter every
now and then. Open daily from 9am-8pm.
Fabryka Pizzy, Jozefa 34, Kazimierz Undoubtedly
the best place to get pizza in Krakow, this trendy
pizzeria doesn't only deal with the calorie-ridden
Italian specialty. Pasta and gnocchi dishes are in
abundance too, while they also serve 'bombery
bombers', small hand-sized pizzas that come in
eight varieties. Open daily from 11am-11pm.
Zapiecek, Slawkowska 32, Stare Miasto When in
Krakow, one must try 'pierogi' - pastries filled with
everything from summer fruits to meat. You can get
them in most restaurants, but this small eatery in
the Stare Miasto doesn't serve much else, making it
the best place to try them. You can even see staff
make them at the booth beside the counter. Open
daily from 10am-9pm.
Obwarzanki Stalls, Stare Miasto All over the Stare
Miasto are old men and women sitting in stalls that
sell obwarzanki - bagel-type bread rings. They
come in five varieties - white, brown, salt, poppy
and sesame. Costing just 1,20PLN, they are perfect
for a quick morning snack. Open daily from
8am-5pm.

After Dark
Harri's Piano Bar, Rynek Glwny 28, Stare
Miasto Harri's Piano Bar is an intimate,
underground venue that hosts jazz bands on a
nightly basis. The room with the main stage can get
packed quickly so get down early. If all seats are
gone though, don't fret...the adjoining room has a
plasma screen hanging on the wall televising the
show live. Open daily from 1pm-2am.
Kolory, Estery 10, Kazimierz Want to go out but
don't want a big night? Let me introduce you to
Kolory, Kasmieriz's coolest bar. Extremely
unintrusive, there's no house music blaring, no jazz
musicians blowing their saxophone in your face,
and no bands. Just red leather seats, friendly staff,
and cool tunes. This is the perfect place for a drink
and a chat after a day's sightseeing. Open daily
from 7am-midnight.

Gay / Lesbian Krakow


Krakow may not strike you as a city that has an
active gay scene, but there are more gay
venues here than you would expect. The
best-known gay club is Kitsch (Wielopole 15/4),
while its longest running gay club is Klub 7
(Filipa 7), making it the people's favourite.
Newer clubs on the scene include Club Coco
(Gazowa 21) which is only open on Fridays and
Saturdays, and Plastic (Berka Joselewicza
21c), the campest club in town.
CK Browar, Podwale 6-7, Stare Miasto Are you
the type of person that hates going back and forth
to the bar every half hour? If so, this place is just
the ticket. Rather than order one drink, you can
order three or five litre shuttles with their own taps
for your table from the friendly waitresses
constantly floating around this huge bar. Open daily
from 9am-3am.
B-Side Club, Estery 16, Kazimierz While the
majority of the city's live music venues play host to
jazz acts, Kazmierz's B-side Club is where you will
find Krakow's up and coming indie and rock acts.
The stage is in a very small room underground so
watch out for flying pleks and drum sticks. Open
daily from 11am-close.
Frantic, Szewska 5, Stare Miasto With three bars,
two dance floors and a couple of chill-out areas to
get away from it all, Frantic is one of Krakow's most
popular clubs. On one stage you'll hear hip-hop and
R'n'B, while on the other it's house music making
them sweat. Open nightly from 5pm-5am.

Hostelworld Guide for krakow

Don't Miss
Rynek Gwny, Stare Miasto Dating back to the
13th century, Krakow's Rynek Glwny is one of
Eastern Europe's most beautiful squares and the
focal point of the city's Old Town. Bordered by St
Mary's Church on one side, and home to
Sukiennice in the centre, it is the largest medieval
town square in Europe, measuring 200m by 200m.
Royal Apartments/State Rooms, Wawel Hill
Grand, opulent and decadent are just some of the
words to describe these rooms. In the State Rooms
The Senator's Hall is breathtaking with its enormous
tapestries, while in the Royal Apartments you will
marvel at the Guest Bedroom. Open Tues-Sat from
9.15am-2.45pm; admission varies.
Wawel Cathedral, Wawel Hill Poland's most
important place of worship dates back to 1364 and
is the burial place for much of Poland's deceased
royalty. National heroes and bishops are buried
there also. At the top of the cathedral is a bell that
brings you good luck once you touch it. Open
Tues-Sun from 9.15am-5.15pm; admission 10PLN.

Sad but true


Auschwitz-Birkenau Walking around
Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau, it's hard to
fathom that such atrocities took place there less
than 70 years ago. Operating between 1940
and 1945, they were the biggest of the
concentration camps set up by the Nazis during
WWII. Today you can walk through the barracks
they used to sleep in along with the gas
chambers. For tour info visit
www.hostelworld.com/tours.
National Museum, Aleja 3 Maja 1, Zwierzyniec
Krakow's National Museum has three permanent
collections: Arms and Uniforms in Poland, Gallery
of Decorative Art and, its most popular,
20th-Century Polish Art. Open Tues, Thurs & Sat
from 10am-3.30pm, Wed, Fri & Sat from
10am-6pm; admission 18PLN.

Mark Your Calendar


February - Krakow International Sailors' Song
Festival Also known as 'Shanties', this annual
festival celebrates songs and poetry with a nautical
theme. Over twenty years old, along with songs and
poems there are sailing races, cruises and more.
May - International Soup Festival Kazimierz's
Plac Nowy sees chefs from all over Poland vie
against each other to be the creator of the best
soup. Get down for a free taste!
May - Krakow Film Festival Krakow's film festival
is one of the oldest in Europe and specialises in
documentaries, animation and short film. During the
festival over 300 films from over 20 countries
across the globe are screened.
June - Lajkonik Celebrating the defeat of the
Tartars in 1241, Lajkonik is a procession through
the streets of Krakow that ends up in the city's main
square. For the procession thousands follow a
hobby horse through the streets.
June - Wianki Another age-old tradition, Wianki
sees magical wreaths float down Krakow's River
Vistula. The festival ends with a fireworks display
opposite Wawel Castle.
June-July - Jewish Culture Festival Krakow's
Jewish Quarter Kazimierz is the location for
Krakow's annual Jewish festival. Lasting seven
days, the district's synagogues, pubs, cafs and
more celebrate Jewish culture.
July-August - Summer Jazz Festival Krakow's
Piwnica Pod Baranami, famous throughout Poland
for its Parisian cabaret, hosts the annual jazz
festival every summer. Both local and international
acts perform at the festival.
September - Sacrum-Profanum Festival This is a
must for classical music lovers as hundreds of
performances take place in the city's Filharmonia
along with other venues.
November - Festival of Polish Music This is one
of the city's newest festivals, having being founded
in 2005. Showcasing Polish music from the Middle
Ages right up to music from today, performances
take place in different venues throughout the city.
December - Nativity Each year a competition is
held to find the best 'szopka' (nativity scene or crib).
The szopka, which are built by local artists, are
elaborate affairs and are then put on show in the
city's main square.
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Neighbourhood Watch
Nowy Swiat Just west of the city centre, Nowy
Swiat is home to two of the city's less-visited
attractions Filharmonia Krakowska, the city's
concert hall, and the National Museum. Two of
Krakow's largest parks are here also, giving those
who don't consider themselves to be culture
vultures a good reason to visit also.
Stare Miasto Krakow's historical centre is bustling
all year round as this is where you will find the
highest concentration of tourists. In saying that it
isn't overrun by them by any stretch of the
imagination so don't deliberately avoid. Instead take
the time out to explore its countless underground
bars and the jewel of the area, Rynek Glwny.

The Jewish Quarter

Retail Therapy
Galeria Krakowska, Pawia 5, Central Krakow
Krakow's newest shopping mall found right beside
the train station has over 270 stores to get lost in.
Between them they offer everything from clothes to
toiletries. Some of the more recognisable brand
names include Benetton, Reebok, Pull and Bear,
Versace and Esprit. Open daily from 8am-11pm.

Krakow kitsch
Sukiennice, Rynek Glwny, Stare Miasto
Sukiennice (Cloth Hall) is one of Krakow's most
instantly recognisable landmarks and home to a
market that was once a major centre of
international trade in Poland. Today that isn't
entirely the case. Instead it's where you'll find
mugs, dolls and t-shirts with 'Krakow' sprawled
all over them. Open daily from 10am-8pm.

Kazimierz Named after King Kazimierz in the


14th Century, Krakow's old Jewish
neighbourhood is the city's most famous
inner-city suburb. Today only two active
synagogues remain, and instead this is now one
of the city's most vibrant areas. Plac Nowy is
lined with bars and restaurants, as are the
surrounding streets. You will know you are there
when you see the cobbled streets.

Empik Megastore, Rynek Glwny 5, Stare


Miasto If you can't afford to treat yourself to a new
item of clothing or jewellery, but still fell you deserve
a gift, you'll be able to find something in this huge
music store that won't stretch your budget. Over its
5 floors you can pick up international newspapers,
CDs and DVDs. Open daily from 9am-10pm.

Podgorze Best known for being the home of Oskar


Schindler's factory during WWII, Podgorze is south
of the banks of Krakow's River Wisla. When
translated into it English 'podgorze' means 'at the
bottom of/near a hill'. It got this name as it was
initially a village at the foot of Lasota Hill.

Florianska Krakow's main shopping strip branches


off Rynek Glwny and is quieter than some of the
other main shopping drags around the world. This
may be largely due to the fact that the shopping
centres offer a better selection. In saying that,
strolling down it is very pleasurable and it is
inevitable that you will end up here at some stage.

Nowa Huta 10km east of the city centre and one of


Krakow's most populous areas with over 200,000
residents, Nowa Huta literally means 'The New
Steel Mill'. The suburb was started in 1949 as a
home for the workers at the mines. It was to
become the ideal town for communist propaganda
but ironically today is famously anti-communist.

Hostelworld Guide for krakow

Galeria Kazimierz, Podgorska 34, Kazimierz


Before Galeria Krakowska opened its doors, this
was the heavyweight of shopping malls in Krakow.
It doesn't have as many international brands as its
newer counterpart, but cinema buffs take note - it is
also home to a 10-screen cineplex, with many
movies screened in English. Open Mon-Sat from
10am-10pm, Sun 10am-8pm.

Budget Tips
Soak up some culture for free If you're planning
on visiting some museums when in Krakow, you
may want to go to one that has a 'free day'. For
instance, the Jan Matejko House (Florianska 41) is
free on Thursdays. Others may choose to visit the
Manggha Centre of Japanese Art & Technology
which is just south of the river on Konopnickiej and
is free on Sundays.
Enjoy free live music It's hard to think of another
city in Europe with as much live music staged in its
pubs and clubs as Krakow. All around Rynek
Glwny are jazz clubs where musicians from both
home and abroad play, while indie and rock bands
play in others. Entry to gigs is almost always free.
Wander through the grounds of Wawel Castle If
you wish to gain entrance to the attractions of
Wawel Castle you'll have to fork over a few Zloty for
your tickets. If you aren't in the position to do so it
doesn't mean you have to avoid it - to simply gain
access to the castle's grounds is absolutely free.

Let us praise God


Visit Krakow's churches Like in many
European cities, some of Krakow's most
beautiful buildings are its churches, and
entrance to most is free. The best known are
the Church of SS Peter & Paul (Grodzka 52)
due to the statues of the Twelve Apostles at the
front and the Church of St Andrew (Grodzka
56) which dates back to the 11th century.
Chill out in Krakow's parks If you're looking to
take it easy for a couple of hours, take a break in
one of Krakow's parks. Park Jordana and Blonia
Common are two of the best-known. The former
has many nooks and crannies and has a large pond
perfect for lazing at. The latter is a large unbroken
meadow without the flowerbeds of its counterparts
that also boasts good views of the city's steeples.

A Day in Krakow...
Start the day with an 'obwarzanki' from a stall on
Rynek Glwny, the city's main focal point. Then
take your time to explore one of Europe's most
beautiful squares.
Visit St Mary's Church (below), the church that
dominates the square. Its main attraction is the Veit
Stoss Altar, which dates back to 1484.

Wawel Castle, perched up on Wawel Hill just


minutes from Rynek Glwny, is the city's main
attraction. Go to check out the Royal Apartments,
Wawel Cathedral and more.
One must try 'pierogi' on a trip to Krakow. Get some
for your lunch. Try it in one of the city's milk bars, or
in 'Zapiecek', a restaurant that sells nothing else.
Take the short stroll to the district of Nowy Swiat.
Treat yourself to some culture in Krakow's National
Museum.
Upon returning to the city centre, visit Kazimierz,
the city's best known neighbourhood. Once the
city's main Jewish area, it is home to some
synagogues.
Kazimierz is also full of restaurants and bars. Relax
with a drink in one of the district's many bars before
going for a pizza in 'Fabryka Pizzy', Krakow's best
pizzeria.
With so much live music on offer in Krakow, it would
be criminal not to catch a live gig. Try Harri's Piano
Bar on Rynek Glwny, one of the best places for
live jazz music in town.
Finish the day off dancing the night away in one of
the city's clubs. Frantic, which is just off the main
square, has two dancefloors, chillout rooms and
good music.

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