Love historic architecture? Are you a World War II buff? Do you like beautiful places? Krakow is for you! I chose Krakow because it was a natural stopping point on my trip through Eastern Europe. I really didn’t know anything about it until I went, and it was a pleasant surprise! I had no idea Auschwitz was so close, and that contributed to Krakow’s preservation throughout World War II. It’s Jewish history, medieval architecture, cobblestone streets, and endless charm left such a positive impression on me.
Is it Safe?
Yes! Poland is a very safe country, and Krakow is one of its safest cities. I walked around everywhere, went out to eat for supper, made friends with a fellow solo traveler, took public transportation, and had a fantastic time! I never felt unsafe. Be smart, don’t do anything you wouldn’t recommend to someone else, and know where your valuables are at all times–the same as anyone should do anywhere.
How Can I Get There?
I took the train from Warsaw, but you can also fly into Krakow, take a bus from a nearby city, or take trains from any major European city. Once you’re in Krakow, walking or public transportation are great options! For any activities farther afield, like the salt mines or Auschwitz, there are many organized day tours that include transportation and admission for you.
Where to Stay?
In the Old Town! It’s always a good idea to stay close to the things you want to see and do, and Krakow’s Old Town area has it all. This is the area where you can book and get picked up for bus tours, walking tours start here, there are museums here, you can tour the castle, and the train and bus stations are here for easy transportation. There were several affordable hotels and hostels right in and within a couple of blocks from the historic center of town.
How to Stay Occupied?
There are so many things to do and see here! There are multiple walking tours to choose from, the Oskar Schindler Museum, Medieval Wawel Castle, an open-air market, charming restaurants, day tours to the salt mines and Auschwitz, and more. I only had three days to spend here, and I wish I’d planned for more!
How to Save Money?
Definitely take the free walking tours! There were at least 4 free tours to choose from when I visited, and the tour guides have to be from Krakow, so you are getting a local’s perspective. Don’t forget to tip your tour guide–they’re amazing! Also, walk everywhere you need to go. Old cities like Krakow are very walkable because when they were built, they did not have cars to get them to faraway places–so locations are close! I also found that having a large breakfast and a late lunch were all I needed to stay full all day. The Polish cuisine is hearty!
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