Little Rome is simply one of Europe’s finest cities. Krakow managed to escape the majority of allied bombings during World War 2 – meaning the original gothic buildings still stand, making it one of Europe’s most stunning cities. With cheap flights available to Krakow from most UK major airports it makes it the ideal place for a weekend getaway. This guide will tell you what to eat, drink and do.
If you are after advice on how to buy tickets for Wisla Krakow or Cracovia then head to this guide.
Where To Drink
Krakow’s popularity as a stag do destination means that pubs and clubs are easy to come by – however I want to tell you about a few, magical, hidden places which will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Many tourists that come to Krakow simply don’t move away from the main square for their nightlife – this is a huge mistake. To see the real Krakow you must venture down past Wawel Castle and enter Kazmierz. Prior to World War 2 Kazmierz was the Jewish centre of the city – the cities Jewish population was pretty much wiped out in the Holocaust but Jewish Krakow has since had a renascence. After the war Kazmierz was sadly neglected in the communist era and fell into wreck and ruin. However, the area has seen a revival since 1988, in 1993 Steven Spielberg filmed Schindlers list in Kazmierz and now the area is bustling with great bars and restaurants.
If you want to step back in time and visit bars with no electricity – lit only by candle light then visit Alchemica and Singers.
First of all, Alchemica, one of Kraków’s most evocative bars, the aptly-named Alchemia perfectly captures the sepia candlelight, forgotten photographs and antique intrigues of the former Jewish district. A dim bohemian cafe by day, in the evenings Alchemia’s murky mystique metamorphoses blood into beer for the ruddy regulars and excitable tourists queuing before the indifferent bar staff. The cellar, when it’s not being used as a student disco, plays host to some of the best concerts in town and is a prime participant in annual jazz and klezmer festivals
Singer, One of the first bars in Kazimierz, Singer set the table for all that was to come. Filled with cracked mirrors, dusky paintings, rickety antiques and candlelight which epitomises the majority of Kazimierz’ bars. Despite its long tenure, lofty reputation and intrusion of tourists, today Singer still holds much of the magic it did when it first opened. A charismatic cafe by day, Singer hits its stride around 03:00 when tabletops turn into dancefloors. Head to Singer, you’ll have a night you’ll never forget.
If you want something more modern then head to Nova Bar, this vast and stylish canteen has established itself as one of Kazimierz’s main drinking venues, with wide appeal that seems to attract everyone. The extensive menu offers something for all including burgers, pizza, pasta, soups, shakes and steaks, and the gorgeous servers also get points for being good at their jobs. With three large salons, including a large covered terrace, it’s an ideal destination for large groups. Totally trendy with bright, bold colours and funky fabrics on retro furnishings, there’s even a moped and a huge screen when sports take precedence over the silent films that run otherwise. A pint will set you back around 15 Zloty (£3) and a cocktail around 25 Zloty (£5), we guarantee that you will not need more than 3 cocktails as they’re super-strong!
Where To Eat
Cyrano De Bergerac
This underground French restaurant his hid away just off the main square on Slawkowska. It’s labyrinth of underground coves and fantastic food by candlelight makes for a fantastic dining experience. It is quite pricey by Krakow’s standards but this upmarket place will not disappoint. It’s quite a large place but it is always worth booking up in advance to avoid disappointment.
Ribs on Fire
Ribs on Fire is an American style restaurant in Kazimierz, if you are a fan of ribs and steak then this place should be top of your list. The portions are absolutely huge and the meat just falls off the bone – the quality is simply fantastic. They also have a fine selection of beers which make the perfect partner when washing down a giant stack of ribs. I came across this place by chance when I visited Krakow last year, it was so good we went back again 2 nights later. The establishment is small so I highly recommend either popping in or giving them a call to book a table.
A Mexicans in Poland? Yep, we were surprised too. We heard good things after reading reviews online and we stumbled across this place whilst navigating the narrow streets of Kazimierz and gave it a go, we did not regret it. ‘Manzana’ which translates into ‘Apple’ was home to some of the finest Mexican food I have tasted. It is also very, very fairly priced for food and drink. The restaurant is a medium size and has a great atmosphere. The modern Mexican decor will make you feel like you’re in Cancun and not Krakow. If you like a taste of Tex-Mex then Manzana is a must, the establishment is located at Krakusa 11 in Kazimierz.
We’ve took you through French, American and Mexican cuisine, now it’s time to see what Poland has to offer. Starka in my opinion is the finest Polish dining experience in Krakow. The cosy 2 room restaurant on Kazimierz’ main Jozefa street has a fine choice of Polish cuisine and an even finer collection of vintage Polish vodka. If you’re looking for a charming dining experience in an authentic Polish restaurant then Starka should be on your wish list.
Things to do
It’s a very sombre experience but a must do when in Krakow. Trips to Auschwitz are available from your hotel or from tour guides all over the city. It takes around 80 minutes to drive from Krakow to Auschwitz and you can easily spend 6 hours between the two camps, so leave a day spare for your visit. We all know of the horrifying history of Auschwitz and it is somewhere that you need to see in your lifetime.
Lost Souls Alley
This place is terrifying, a haunted house just off the main square. You will have to go early in the day to pre-book your slot as it’s a popular attraction – we could hear the screams as we walked past. The experience lasts around 20 minutes (We lasted 5 minutes on our visit) – I won’t talk anymore about it as I would not like to spoil the experience for you.