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Krakow, Poland - Why it's a Top 10 City-Break location

A city that is drenched in WWII History, now vibrant and buzzing with happiness amongst the scenic beauty of its Old Town.

Here I write about my recent trip to Krakow, what I got up to, some useful tips and some top recommendations for places to visit, things to do and where to eat.

As I have mentioned in my other recent blogs, in May, I turned 40!!! "Why god, why" (Those that have seen F.R,I.E.N.D.S will get the reference). To celebrate it in style, I wanted to take a city break for a few days and explore somewhere that I haven't been.

One place that kept catching my eye was Krakow, Poland. Seeing pictures of the Old Town, the Royal castle, the river and many others made me look further into choosing Krakow for the destination.

Now I'm far from a budding historian, but also knowing that Krakow played more than just a cameo part during World War II, had me equally intrigued. As I researched further, I just knew that I had to visit Auschwitz, as well as the infamous factory and now museum of Oscar Schindler, epically portrayed by Liam Neeson in the 1993 movie, Schindlers List.

SOLD - I booked it...... My birthday came and went and a few days later I was jetting off.

I travelled with my wife, and some friends and we stayed literally a 10 minute walk from the Old Town Square in a great 3 bedroom apartment that I found on

Images courtesy of

We arrived at around lunchtime and made our way immediately to the Old Town to have an initial look around - and get a well earned cold local beer.

I was genuinely taken aback by how beautiful the Old Town Square is with it's impressive architecture and eye-catching cathedral at its epicentre.

The outer part of the square is all lined with various bars and restaurants with al-fresco tables and parasols. The place seemed lively and although this was a random Tuesday afternoon, every one was there basking in the gorgeous sunny weather, and enjoying the food and alcohol on offer.

As you do, we decided to tryout a few bars and we spent the evening all enjoying some rather adventurous shots, nice cocktails and some great live music.

My personal recommendations would be the Irish Bar and and The Bull Bar. Both of these had amazingly friendly and lively atmosphere's and the staff at both bars were outstanding. There were plenty of other great places, but these two stood out.

After getting back to our apartment and at lord knows what hour, we got our heads down ready for a full day of exploring and adventure.

The next morning arrived and although we were a little fuzzy headed, we set off back towards the Old Town.

What I love most about cities like Krakow, is that they are walkable cities. For me, there is no better way to explore somewhere as you get to see and take in absolutely everything. Granted, this may not be possible for a lot of people so everything is reachable quite easily by the cities robust tram system too.

We made our way from the Old Town and decided to walk towards the Wawel Royal Castle. En-route, we stopped at the Krakow Museum of Illusions.

It was only a small museum but we all really enjoyed it and it was quite interactive. It is ideal to pass an hour of time, especially if you like that kind of thing or if you are exploring with children.

After the museum, we continued to the Royal Castle. Now, we decided just to go and see it and walk around the perimeter, where it stands pride of place next to the Vistula River. However, you can take a tour of the inside and this is something that I would definitely look to do should I revisit. Unfortunately, there just aren't enough hours in the day for a short break to see everything this City has to offer.

It was nearing on lunchtime, so we decided to head toward the Jewish Quarter to grab some lunch. The banks of the river and various footbridges provided some stunning views and landscape.

The Jewish quarter was quite picturesque with its cobbled streets and various markets that run. It truly is a beautiful place.

After lunch, we crossed the River and headed towards the site of Schindlers Factory which has now been transformed into a museum.

We hadn't pre-booked the museum so we were a little apprehensive to go and to whether or not we would get chance to see it. However, although it was steadily busy, we were able to pay on the door and head straight in.

Having done a little research before we flew out, I had read mixed reviews regarding the Museum. I have to honestly say that it was worth every penny. A ticket amounted to approximately £6.00 and we were there for nearly 3 hours taking in all of the artifacts, various transcripts, video footage, interviews and history that was packed within the Factory. I truly have no idea why anyone would not find that good value for money, especially if you are a bit of a History or WWII nerd like me. I would 100% recommend it.

Unfortunately, I didn't get time to re-watch the movie before we went, and I so wish I did. I hadn't seen it for quite a few years. Not far from the Factory, is the Plaszow Concentration Camp that was dominant within the Schindler story. It is the camp where "Schindlers Jews" were first sent before they eventually were to head to Auschwitz and was commanded by the despot SS Soldier Amon Goeth (as portrayed by the legendary Ralph Fiennes in the movie).

As I say, I hadn't seen the movie for quite some time and whilst I was there, I stupidly didn't recognise the name of the camp and we never went to see it!!!!!! Yes, I am an idiot!!!!! At least that is now 2 items to add to the itinerary for a second trip.

The weather was baking hot, and by this time we had been on our feet and exploring for a solid 7-8 hours with only a brief stop for lunch, so we decided to head back to the Old Town for some "ahem" refreshment!!

We jumped on an open top taxi-bike to save the old legs (and to obviously get a beer much quicker). We stayed in the Old Town for a few more hours for some dinner and to look at the outdoor food market.

We woke early the next morning which was to be our last full day here. We had pre-booked a guided tour with transport to go and visit the Auschwitz Concentration Camp sites .

I had booked the tour through Get Your Guide and I have to say that I can not recommend these enough. It was so easy to book, no immediate payment was needed and it was just so well organised.

I have explained a little more about Get Your Guide as well as a written full blog of our trip to Auschwitz which you can read here:

Returning from our trip at approximately 17:00, we were quite exhausted. Again, the weather was absolutely stunning but we were all physically and emotionally drained!!! (you'll have to read the blog post to fully understand why). We decided to head back to the apartment, take a shower and just chill out a bit for a couple of hours.

We had tried to get tickets to go and visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine but it was fully booked. Again, we had such a tight window and I was absolutely gutted that I couldn't get to see it (Item number 3 on the agenda for trip number 2).

We headed out to dinner. About a 5 minute walk from our apartment was Mamma Mia Restaurant. We had all seen various posts on Instagram and TikTok about this place and the food looked amazing and came with top rate reviews. We had tried both nights previously to get in but it was full so we had made reservations for this evening.

One word...... WOW!!! The whole experience was epic. The atmosphere, service, food and the cocktails were all flawless. We all indulged. Three courses, a fair few drinks and extras too and it was totally worth it. Especially when we got the bill and realised how mega it was in terms of value for money. I have had worse meals in restaurants that advertise themselves as being a-la-carte or more upmarket for triple the price, seriously!!!

Anyone visiting Krakow HAS to go to this place for food!!

As night truly drew in, and we were heading back to good old Blighty in the morning, our inspiring, awesome, emotional, hilarious, fun-packed trip to Krakow was at its end.

In summary, a Krakow City Break is up there with one of the best in the World to visit and explore whether you are a solo traveller, a couple or a family. I for one, will definitely be going back to see more and also tick off the 3 items mentioned on my missed agenda. I may even take the kids!!! Haha.

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