The Perfect Weekend in Krakow!
GETTING TO KRAKOW
If you are travelling from Warsaw to Krakow, the best, quickest and most comfortable way is to take the EIP (Express IntreCity Premium) from Dworzec Warszawa Centralna ( Warsaw Central railway station). The journey takes 2h 21 minutes. The first-class tickets are between £20-£50 each way depending on how far in advance you book. Seats are very comfortable, with lots of leg space, and you can fit medium size luggage on the overhead racks. There is also a separate space for large suitcases near the main door, so don’t panic. Small meal and beverage such as water, tea or coffee are included in the price of the ticket. One thing to note is that you MUST have an allocated seat while travelling by EIP or any other train during the Pandemic. You can purchase tickets via the Intercity.pl website, and it’s a very straightforward process.
When I was heading for the perfect weekend in Krakow, there were six passengers in total, including myself and Mr de Merteuil.
GETTING AROUND KRAKOW
Krakow’s main tourist attractions such as the Old Town, Kazimierz and the Wawel Royal Castle are in close proximity to each other. It took us 20 minutes to walk from the bottom of the Castle to Barbican.
If you share my fondness for long walks, you will love taking strolls in the picturesque district of Kazimierz, Krakow’s historic Jewish quarter. If not, the most convenient way of travelling around Krakow is by tram or a taxi. Tram tickets can be purchased at most tram stops as well as on the actual tram.
WHERE TO STAY IN KRAKOW
For the perfect weekend in Krakow, which we extended to nearly a week, Mr de Merteuil and I decided to stay the first two nights near the Wawel Castle. We found a charming luxury boutique hotel that ticked all our boxes. The Balthazar Design Hotel at 63 Grodzka street is the perfect choice for the most capricious and demanding travellers.
- BALTHAZAR DESIGN HOTEL
- KLEZMER-HOIS HOTEL
The vintage girl’s dream hotel frozen in time. Located at 6 Szeroka street in the district of Kazimierz.
Charming hotel with unbelievably large rooms decorated with antiques, comfortable beds, serving the most delicious breakfast I’ve ever had, and the friendliest staff you will ever find. This gentile is DEFINITELY going back, but next time with Isia-Lilith, because yes, The House of the Klezmer is a dog-friendly house!
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
Restaurants and Cafes in Krakow are ubiquitous, and you will definitely feel spoiled for choice. If you are reading my blog then it is fair to assume that you like beautiful interiors with “soul” and that the look and vibe of a restaurant or a bar are as important to you as the menu. Personally, I would never step foot into a modern-looking establishment filled with uncomfortable “trendy” plastic chairs. What can I tell you, the contemporary “hip” look of so many restaurants nowadays does not go with my wardrobe. 🙂
My recommendations for restaurants & cafes filled with a lot of character and good food are as follow.
The Klezmer-Hois hotel is known for its lovely restaurant that serves traditional Jewish cuisine. It’s a great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but if you have to choose one, I strongly recommend booking dinner along with a concert of traditional klezmer music.
For a cup of the most delicious cappuccino head straight to Eszeweria bar at 9 Jozefa street. The place has a very Witchy vibe, and I mean it as a huge compliment, the perfect choice for your first-morning coffee, and it won’t be as busy as in the late afternoon. Food is not served there, but after all, Krakow is all about bar & restaurant-hopping.
For a very tasty breakfast in a beautiful setting, I recommend Mleczrnia at 20 Beera Meiselsa street which is 2 minutes walk from Eszeweria. Bear in mind that Mleczarnia Cafe has an indoor space on one side and outdoor on the other side of the street.
For lunch, you can, of course, go back to Mleczarnia or a place that I visited several times during my trip to Krakow.
Located in an old Jewish house of prayer, details alluding to its former life remain in its 1930s wall frescoes. Delectable food, with a lot of vegetarian options, and VERY comfortable sofas (if you’re lucky enough to score one on your visit).
Highly recommended restaurant for great breakfast as well as a drink after dark. Full of character, very friendly staff and like most places in the district of Kazimier, very dog friendly!
- TRATTORIA LA CAMPANA
La Campana restaurant at 7 Kanoniczna street offering authentic Italian cuisine in a beauteous surrounding is a great choice for a romantic dinner. The Insalata Paese was so good that the next day, I told Mr de Merteuil to “make haste!” and get one as take-away. Thankfully, it was a couple of minutes away from the Balthazar Design hotel where we spent the first two nights.
WHAT TO SEE IN KRAKOW
Frankly, the only reason why I’ve ever wanted to visit Krakow was to see one of my favourite paintings, the Ecstasy by Wladyslaw Podkowinski. The idea of spending three days in the former capital of Poland was a spontaneous one, and had it not been for Mr de Meteuil’s birthday we wouldn’t have gone. It’s our tradition to travel on our Birthdays to places where we can see at least one painting we love. I would also add drinking lots of Champagne and eating pretty little pink cakes. Mr de Merteuil who is a fan of Leonardo da Vinci loved the idea of going to Krakow to see the Lady with an Ermine, and as he always says; ” Some people drink Champagne on their Birthday, I drink art.” We compromised and did both. 🙂
National Museum in Krakow has 12 branches so if you want to see a particular painting, make sure you go to the right one! Free admission is on Tuesday.
Ecstasy by Wladyslaw Podkowinski at the Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art in Sukiennice, the Cloth Hall.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine is in the Princes Czartoryski Museum at 15 Pijarska street in Old Town.
The beautiful painting Suicide of Lucretia by Cranach the Elder is in the EUROPEUM Centre for European Culture at 6 Sikorsiego square near Old Town.
- Wawel Royal Castle
I had no particular desire to go inside the Wawel Royal Castle, but the Art of the Orient- Ottoman Turkish Tents exhibition was too much of a temptation. The Royal Gardens are beautiful, but obviously, the best time to enjoy them would be in the Summer, and the view from the Outer Courtyard is simply magnificent!
Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow
One of the best Aviation museums in the world, it has some of the only surviving examples of early Polish aircraft as well as Russian and American Cold War jets. I particularly enjoyed seeing up close planes from WW I.
Tickets are about £5 and you can take tram number 5, 9, 52, 70, 73 to the Aviation Museum stop.
I couldn’t resist posing in front of the only car in the Polish Aviation Museum. It was beyond my control!
STREETS OF KRAKOW
If you don’t like museums but would rather get the feel of the town then take a stroll around Kazimierz and Old Town. Explore the little alleys and enjoy the cafes and bars I recommended. Most importantly, take your time, don’t rush, after all, Krakow is not NYC.