A WELL KEPT SECRET!
Considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with a historical and artistic heritage miraculously preserved after the Second World War. That is Poland´s second most populous city and the country´s capital during much of its history. It´s not easy for visitors to find vantage points to marvel at the city´s beauty from above.
But don´t worry, we have a place that is very precious to us and not often visited by tourists, where you can enjoy the best views of the city of Kraków. Will you join us?
The place we suggest is a hidden pearl located inside the Music Academy of Krakow, specifically the upper part of the building. Didn´t you expect to visit the Music Academy on your visit to Krakow? Well, as you can see, at Europamundo we never get tired of surprising you with our proposals.
Once you enter the building, another universe will be fill in your senses: the universe of music and musicians and students of the Academy. In this atmosphere, you will see a lift in the foyer. Going up to the sixth floor you will find the former canteen of the Academy, where the METRUM RESTOBISTRO Restaurant is located, a place that is a haven of peace, and from where you can enjoy the best view of the city of Krakow! You´ll enjoy a bird´s eye view of the city from a privileged perspective, and if you´re hooked on the panoramic view, apart from having a drink, you can enjoy the delicious Polish cuisine on the menu.
You will experience something unique thanks to the intimate and special atmosphere offered by this place, everlasting memories of the historic centre of Krakow, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978.
Enjoy it and share this experience with someone special!
METRO RESTOBISTRO (Academy of Music in Kraków)
Address: Swietego Tomasza 43, 31-027 Kraków, Poland
Closes at 20:00
There is no place more authentic, popular, and filled with the rich Polish history for snacks and traditional Polish cuisine than the famous "BAR LECZNY".
And if you are wondering why this bar is so unique, witness it yourself, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to a great place where you can feel the pulse of the city, mingle with its inhabitants and at the same time enjoy the traditional Polish cuisine at a very affordable price.
Milk bars (Bar Leczny) are the old canteens or taverns born during the communist era. They were opened in the country from 1896 onwards. During the communist era, the government subsidised them, which ensured that the workers could have a quality and varied meal every day at an excellent price. When the communist regime fell, these taverns continued to offer their services. Still, they knew how to adapt to the needs of the new times without sacrificing the variety, quality and authenticity of their menu for excellent prices. This is why they enjoy the affection and constant visits by the Poles in their everyday life, whether they are off work or on a break from their classes. Milk Bars are trendy all over the country, and of course, Kraków is no exception.
Don´t miss out on quality traditional cuisine and this unique culinary experience. Of course, not all of them have menus in English, as they are all very local places.
But even though they are local places, some even have menus in English! So, good luck and go on an adventure. You will find them mainly in the historic centre.
An important thing to keep in mind is that many of them close early, so you should go before 19:00.
We want to recommend the following Milk Bars in case you can´t find the menu in English.
Pierogis, Platcki, Sopa Barszcz, Zupa Pomidorowa...
ENJOY THESE DELICACIES!!!
Yummy! Enjoy these watering dishes!
SUKIENNICE, a 40-million-year-old souvenir
Krakow is a city where you can find large shopping centres in its historic centre. However, when shopping, we recommend choosing authentic handicrafts of great local value, which can only be found in Krakow and not in any other city in Europe or Poland. Do you wish to do some shopping for original and unique items? Then you are in the right place! Come with us! We will take you to Sukiennice, or the Cloth Exchange, which is the building located in the heart of Cracow, on the main square in Rynek Glówny.
The Main Market Square (Rynek Glówny) is an area dedicated to trading since ancient times, where a bustling and lively street market used to occur. Today you can find fantastic handmade Polish products on the stalls of the Cloth Market.
Among the wide range of products that you can find here, we will recommend one of them: AMBER, as it used to be a product of great importance in the history of the city´s trade and commerce.
Amber comes from the Baltic Sea to Kraków along the Vistula River. It should not be forgotten that the Baltic Sea, which bathes the northern coast of Poland, is home to 80% of the world´s amber reserves. Its origin dates back to more than 40 million years of history! Impressive, isn´t it? But what exactly is amber? It is nothing other than fossilised resin. It came mainly from conifers and was formed millions of years ago in river deltas and mainly at the bottom of the sea. Humans have known amber since Neolithic times, and it is considered a semi-precious stone. The amber tradition in Poland is thousands of years old, and the variety of craftsmanship you can find here is fascinating. Don´t miss out on Polish amber! It is a unique and charming souvenir!
Location of the Cloth Exchange: Rynek Glówny (Market Square).
THE DRAGON OF WAWEL
You can´t leave Krakow without taking a photo with the famous Wawel Dragon as he blows fearsome fiery flames out of his mouth!
Come and join us! We will tell you all about the most famous city legend and take you to the place where his statue stands, next to the cave where this fearsome dragon lived a long, long time ago.
The history of the city´s origins is inextricably linked to the misdeeds of this beast. The oldest legends written about the Wawel Dragon from the 13th century by the chronicler Kadlubek mentions a cave on Wawel Hill, where the city´s roots lies, lived a fierce and enormous yellowish-green dragon that terrorised the inhabitants of Kraków, who at that time lived under the reign of the legendary King Krakus. The dragon, always hungry, never missed a chance when it came to preying on sheep and other farm animals, and people, mainly young maidens, according to many of the legends that circulated the city. Furious, King Krakus decided to take matters into his own hands and entrusted the task to a young and intelligent shoemaker, who, according to the chronicles of the 16th-century historian Joachim Bielski, killed the beast, receiving the king´s daughter Wanda´s hand in exchange. This shoemaker, called Skuba, comes up with the idea of placing a sheep-filled with sulphur at the entrance to the dragon´s cave at the foot of the mythical Wawel Hill. When the dragon swallows it, he swallows the sulphur too; he becomes thirsty, which he cannot quench even by drinking large quantities of water from the Vistula River. As a result of this mixture, the dragon explodes, leaving King Krakus, his court, and the city inhabitants in peace.
This legend is best known and passed down through the city from grandparents to grandchildren since ancient times. Although we do not know for sure whether the fearsome Wawel dragon ever existed, we do know for sure the existence of the grotto, discovered in 1829 by Ambrozy Grabowski, which you can visit if you can and get to see the place first hand. It is 270 metres long, 81 of which can be visited.In 1969, the dragon sculpture built by sculptor Bronislaw Chromy was placed at the road entrance in 1972. The six-metre-high bronze sculpture is one of the photos that every visitor to the city should have in their photo album, as it has become an essential Krakow celebrity since it was built.
The fact that the dragon statue can keep spitting fire out of its mouth will leave one amazed and speechless! The time interval of the puffs of fire varies depending on the time of day, but what is certain is that you won´t have to wait more than five minutes to see the flame, which comes out thanks to an internal gas system. If for any reason you are in a hurry when you visit the dragon, here´s a trick: this Wawel dragon has adapted to modern times, and if you send an SMS to the number 7168, with the word SMOK (dragon in Polish), it will answer you with another message saying "Welcome to Wawel, in a moment I will release a flare for you", and in a few moments you will have your flare. Excellent and very unique, isn´t it?
Don´t miss your photo with the dragon and your flare on-demand on your visit to Krakow! You will become part of the city´s legend!
Wawel Dragon Statue Located in Wawel Castle
Address: Stare Miasto, Kraków, Poland. Open 24 hours.
Our visit to the underground museum in Krakow amazed us, so how can we not invite you to visit this unique place in Krakow? Please don´t wait to be told about it and experience first-hand a visit to this fantastic place called the Podziemia Rynku Glównego w Krakowie or Krakow´s Underground Museum!
Krakow is not only a jewel from the surface; it is also a jewel from below the ground!
You won´t have any trouble finding it as it is located under the city´s main square, Rynek Glówny, and it has a gigantic size, no less than 6.000m2!
Throughout this visit, you will breathe and feel the Krakow seven hundred years ago through every pore of your skin, thanks to modern and state-of-the-art technology. The museum uses state of the art holograms built with projectors, smoke chambers, and dozens of panels that will transport you to the atmosphere of that remote Krakow.
An extraordinary experience that should not be missed!
You will also see remains of medieval buildings, such as a reconstructed 12th-century workshop, ancient aqueducts and waterworks, and a medieval trading post-reconstruction. They also have Maps of ancient trade routes, remains of settlements that burnt down in the 11th century, all accompanied by touch screens and walking on suspended iron and glass walkways!
We found that the fusion of technology with history and museums provides a different visitor experience than we can expect from more conventional museums.
The permanent exhibition is called "On the Tracks of Kraków´s European Identity", and successively they open different temporary exhibitions, each one more interesting than the previous one.
It will undoubtedly be a unique experience that you will remember forever at the Krakow Underground Museum. Enjoy it!
Rynek Glówny 1
A WORDLESS ASCENT
Dominating the city´s most important square, the Rynek Glówny Town Hall Tower stands imposing, 75 metres high, defying any visitor with its beauty and height.
The Old Town Hall Tower (Wieza Ratuszowa) is the only surviving part of the old town hall. The tower was built in Gothic style in the 14th century as part of the town hall, demolished in 1820. It was made out of brick and stone.
If you want to have some cherishable memories of this tower, don´t think twice and join the challenge that we propose. Are you up for the climb up the tower?
If your answer is YES, get ready because as soon as you cross the entrance gate guarded by two stone lions, you will begin the ascent of no less than 110 stone steps inside.
What is unique about this climb is the arrival at the top and the way up. We are sure you will be amazed when you reach the first floor of the tower; it is one of the most beautiful gothic spaces within the city.
But it won´t end here. The climb continues, each time, with steps that are a little narrower and steeper. On the upper floors, you will see the old machinery of the tower clock, as well as a collection of beautiful historical photographs of the city of Kraków.
At the end of this marvellous challenge, and after climbing the 110 steps, you will be able to look out of the tower´s tiny windows, from which you will have a bird´s eye view of what is the largest medieval square in the world!
And if that wasn´t enough, the basement part of the tower, where the city´s dungeons were located and where torture and interrogation took place, is now a fabulous theatre!
Join us on this adventure, and don´t forget to send us your photos from the tower top!
Opening times and prices of the old town hall tower
- Address: Market Square
- Opening hours: open from April to October from 10.30 am to 6 pm. In November and December from 12:00 to 18:00.
- Prices: 2 euros. Free on Mondays.
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
The Jewish quarter is not to be missed, with all the history that goes with it, and we propose a monument and a small tour through this quarter.
What was originally Oskar Schindler´s enamel factory, and later kitchen utensils and war ammunition factory, today houses one of the most interesting museums to learn about the history of Krakow and the whole country. The exhibition is called "Kraków under Nazi occupation 1939-1945".
But before we dive into the history and curiosities of the Schindler factory, we invite you to discover some of our favourite places in the district where the old factory is located. It is called the Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter of Kraków, one of the most important and best-preserved in Europe. No less than seven synagogues are still standing in the quarter, six of which can be visited: Tempel Synagogue, Isaac´s Synagogue, Kupa Synagogue, Wysoka Synagogue, Remuh Synagogue and the Old Synagogue.
After touring Kazimierz, we recommend crossing the Vistula River over the modern and beautiful Bernatek Bridge to visit the old Jewish ghetto of Krakow Podgorze. And of course, while you´re in Kazimierz, don´t forget to stop along the way to try one of the most popular snacks for Poles that few guidebooks will tell you about and that we adore: The Zapiekanka, a kind of baguette sandwich with tomato, onion and ketchup in a very picturesque and popular place, the street stalls of the New Square (Plac Nowy).
This walkthrough of the Jewish quarter will help us to get into the theme once we arrive at Shidler´s factory museum, where as soon as we arrive, we will realise that the museum is built in a very original way: each room corresponds to a specific place in the old factory, or in the old Krakow, for example, one room is a street, another room a train station, another a hairdresser´s and so on until the museum´s 45 rooms are completed. The museum covers the entire history from the beginning of the Second World War to the communist occupation.
You can´t miss this part of Kraków´s history! And if you have time to spare, you will love the live music concerts in the Jewish quarter of Kazimierz of Klezmer or jazz music.
Address: Schindler´s factory.
4 Lipowa Street, in the Zablocie district.
THE VISTULA AND THE WAWEL HILL
If you like walking, let´s go to Wawel Hill, the epicentre of Kraków´s history, the birthplace of the city, twenty-five metres above the Vistula River, which flows close to it. The historical treasures it holds are so many that it´s worth setting aside at least two hours to get an idea of what this place is all about. There are so many historical treasures on this hill that it´s worth setting aside at least two hours to get an idea of what this place is all about, so wear comfortable shoes and follow us on the Wawel walking tour we´ve prepared for you.
You can get there on foot from the Old Town from Rynek Glówny Square, taking Wislna Street and following it to the end. You will see that the street ends at Grazina Park. Once you reach the park, take the sidewalk to the left, and you will find yourself at the end of the walk at the back of the hill. It is a lovely walk of 11 minutes and approximately 800 metres. If you don´t feel like walking, you can always take a taxi from the main square or wherever you are. Remember that taxis in Krakow are more than affordable.
You will see that the entrance to the hill is through a gate called Brama Wazów (the gate of the Swedish Vasa dynasty that ruled Poland). You will first encounter the Cathedral on the left and its gardens and museum on the right as you pass through this gate. So what to see first? Of course, the imposing Gothic Cathedral has witnessed the coronations and funerals of Polish monarchs and dictators for centuries. Consecrated in 1364, its chapels of the Holy Cross and Sigismund and its crypts, the royal tomb and the burial of St. Leonard stands out.
We will continue to the Castle, the Royal Wawel Castle, a symbol of Polish national identity and Poland´s political and cultural heart until the 16th century when the capital was transferred from Krakow to Warsaw. Today, the Castle is a museum where we recommend the Treasure Room, the Royal Apartments, the Armoury, and the most valuable and beautiful work of art in the city: The Lady with the Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci.
Don´t forget that on the hill, looking down to the Vistula, and you will find the Dragon Grotto and its statue, which we mentioned in the fourth chapter. We recommend that you go down to the grotto, enjoy the spectacular views of the most important river in the country, and take a photo with the Kraków Dragon, one of its symbols.
I can´t wait to come back to enjoy this walk on Wawel Hill! Please share your experiences with us until we get the chance to come back? We are looking forward to hearing about them!
WIERZYNEK, THE OLDEST RESTAURANT IN KRAKÓW AND THE WHOLE OF POLAND
There are places where sitting down to enjoy a break is like immersing yourself in a vintage movie. If there is one place that will transport us and make us want that break, it is Rynek Glowny itself, the heart of the city.
This square is also home to the oldest restaurant in the country, which has been empirically proven.
There are also sources that state that in 1364 the wedding banquet between Princess Elisabeth of Pomerania and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV took place here, proving that it was already in operation as a restaurant in that year. However, no written sources corroborate that such a wedding banquet was held in Wyerzynek. What we cannot doubt is its extraordinary antiquity.
Considering all the history behind it, this could be an exciting option, provided the weather is good. Here you can enjoy its terrace located in one of the most beautiful and oldest medieval squares in Europe (its origins date back to the 15th century) and the largest in this category in terms of size with its more than 40,000 square metres.
Enjoying the view of this square and all the buildings in it is priceless, from the mythical Cloth Tower building with the National Museum on the first floor to the famous tower of the old town hall to places like the 10th century St. Adalbert´s Church or the monument to the great Adam Miskiewicz. Above the square, you sip on your soft drink, Polish vodka or enjoy some local cuisine while admiring the Gothic towers of St. Mary´s Basilica overlooking the square.
And finally, we would like to highlight the Kraków University College (or Collegium Maius). This building belongs to the Jagiellonian University, the oldest and most important centre of studies in Poland. So much so that the name of its best-known student, Nicolaus Copernicus, will surely ring a bell.
Don´t miss this dream break in Krakow! Celebrities and world leaders like Charles de Gaulle, Sophie Marceau or Kate Moss have already done it, so let´s not be any less, right?
Address: Rynek Glówny 16, 31-008 Kraków, Polonia.
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