One of the best short breaks I had was to Krakow in Poland. The City was just excellent with lovely buildings, squares, a large café culture, good food and drink at reasonable prices. We flew from Liverpool (LPL) with Ryanair to Krakow(KRK) out 6.15am arrival 9.55am back 21.10pm arrival 22.50pm. We booked our hotel through Lastminute.com – Hotel Galicya 3* a short distance from City centre and near to a tram line.
We had the good fortune to be approached by a taxi driver who had a smattering of English. He was excellent value and we hired him for a full four days - contact details:
· Name: Andrzej (but call him Andy) Znanski
· Telephone numbers -
· Tel. kom: 662-982-844
· Tel. Dom: 012/270-3002.
I have recommended his services to friends and they have found him excellent.
Friday we mooched around Krakow, to get a lie of the land, and took in a good restaurant for lunch. Lunch is the main meal of the day and the soups are ACE (Restaurant NOSTALGIA, W. Karmelicka 10, tel 012 425 42 60, which is only a short walk from the main Square. We used it twice. Good food, service and wines.)
Saturday - we did the Auschwitz/Birkenhau/Schindler factory tour. Andy took us around and showed us more than we would have seen if we'd gone on public transport. It is a two hour journey by car. We had an English speaking guide for the tour costing us 30 zloty each. I found the experience very upsetting and will never forget it.
Sunday - we visited a flea market, supermarket and the salt mines - again Andy handled our collection etc, and made the trip so much easier as he showed us where to queue etc.
Monday - we did a strenuous, but not technically challenging walk in the High Tatra - a most magnificent mountain range. On the mountains for seven hours and we did four mountains above 2000 meters. Andy drove us to the start point of the walks near Zakopane - a good 1.5/2.0 hours from Krakow, and waited for us and took us back to the City each evening.
Tuesday - we did about the most challenging route in the Tatra - three mountains above 2200 metres, and lots of snow and ice - lots of danger too, so a wee bit unnerving. On the mountains for 8.5 hours and we got back knackered.
The Tatra Mountains are the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains. Although considerably smaller than the Alps, they are classified as having an alpine landscape forming a natural border between Slovakia and Poland. They occupy an area of 750 km², the major part (600 km²) of which lies in Slovakia. The highest mountain is Gerlach at 2,655 m, located in Slovakia just north of Poprad. The north-western peak of Rysy (2,499 m) is the highest Polish mountain. I have done a separate blog on the two days spent in the mountains.
We had amazing weather (all sun, warmth and no wind) for all of the time we were there, but it did cloud over and cool down on our last day - Wednesday. The mountains can get cold if you are thinking of going there, but we were walking with just a thin top and shorts for most of the day as the sun was shinning. In Krakow, when the sun shines you can go about during the day with a short-sleeve shirt on, but take a jumper with you. In the evening, you will need a warm jacket.
The tram system is a breeze, all journeys cost 2.5 zloty and you should buy a book of tickets from the many little paper shops near the tram stops - if you buy on the tram it costs extra.
Krakow is a charming place, where you feel very relaxed and there was a good number of other things we could have done had we more time.
Food is tasty. You must try the soups - the dumplings and the pork dishes are great. There is a wide selection of restaurants to go to, and we never had a bad course.
Recommended restaurants are:
Pod Aniolami 35 ul Grodzka (Full the night we tried to get in.)
Szabla I Szklanka 22 ul Poselska.
For lunch try U Babei Maliny, 17 ul Slawkowska (opposite a church, through doors, a passage way and then round to the left and downstairs.
Shopping was about what you'd expect to pay in the UK so we didn't stuff our suitcases with goodies!
Recommend you only get a few zloty at the airport say 50/100 as the exchange rate is terrible. Then there are cash machines all around the main Square where you can use your Nationwide debit/credit card or other debit/credit cards.
Enjoy your trip.