When we booked cheap flights to Krakow we didn't quite know what to expect from this Eastern European town. We quickly learned that Krakow has an extremely rich history so there was definitely enough to keep us occupied for the 48 hours we were going to be there!
Our flight into Krakow arrived close to midnight so safe to say we didn't get up to anything much on the Friday night except check into our apartments! It was a cosy little place and such good value we couldn't complain about it at all.
An early pick up was arranged on the Saturday morning as we had organised a whole day trip with Krakow Trip to take us to Auschwitz and then to the Salt Mines. Our driver for the day was Daniel, who actually owns the company so it felt that much more personal that he was to be our driver/tour guide for the day. During the drive he gave us an insight into Polish life & introduced us to Zubrowka Vodka mixed with apple juice which was enjoyed by us!
The drive to Auschwitz is about an hour and half away and upon arriving we were slotted into a group for an English guided tour. It was such an educational & heavy tour, further enhanced by the lady who gave a fair and detailed recount of the history behind this infamous concentration camp. We definitely recommend this to everyone that does visit Krakow, although be very prepared to not speak to anyone for a little while as the reality of the history sinks into place.
After the guided tour finished up at Auschwitz, Daniel was waiting to pick us up straight away and we headed towards the Wieliczka Salt Mines. This is an underground salt mine and often dubbed as the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland. Although slightly touristy & gimmicky while inside, the main chamber is definitely impressive as the everything is made out of salt, including the chandeliers! As with any tourist place these days there's a gift shop on site (multiple ones in fact) and Matt & I walked away with some basil salt that we've since used in our cooking!
Upon getting back to Krakow we set off for dinner at Trezo located in Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter of Krakow. We felt slightly (and only ever so!) under-dressed at this place as we were pretty casual, but realistically didn't matter too much as the service and the food were great regardless! We definitely recommend this place for a good meal out - traditional Polish food with a twist which is always a good way to go!
We'd asked the friendly guy who checked us in at the apartment for some local bar recommendations and he recommended us visit Alchemia, also in Kazimierz. Again, another one definitely worth checking out - a slightly grungier bar with different rooms and filled with locals so you're definitely getting the whole experience! After a few Zubrowka's & apple juices we then called it a night!
Sunday was spent doing a free walking tour via Krakow Free Walking Tour around the old town. We always recommend doing a walking tour of sorts in any city we visit as it provides a good way to familiarise yourself with how the city is structured and fun facts you wouldn't find out otherwise. The walking tour started at the main market square where we found out about its dark history and then started winding through the streets of the old town, mesmerised by the beautiful city Krakow is. Wawel Castle is also one of the stops of the walking tour, from memory the tour ended around here and definitely worth checking out as its pretty impressive.
Unfortunately for us the heavens decided to open down on us as we finished the walking tour so we quickly headed to lunch and stayed there the rest of the afternoon. This was a place also recommended by Daniel of Krakow Trip - "Kuchinia u Babci Maliny" where we indulged in a hearty Polish meal of pierogi (Polish dumplings) & sausages.
As there were 4 of us we organised a private transfer to get us back to the airport, and I'm glad we did it that way - it's never fun trudging through the streets with your bags in wet weather!
We Flew: Ryanair, We Stayed: Fresh Apartments
ps! excuse the photo quality - these are all our iPhone photos as matt accidentally deleted all his camera photos! Hopefully that hasn't happened to any of you before, but do share your stories if so!