Every year me and 3 friends go on a weekend away with the girls to a city in Europe. Until now we’ve been to Strasbourg, Düsseldorf, Paris and Ibiza and our next destination is Krakow! This Friday we’ll fly into the second city of Poland and I’m really looking forward to this while Krakow has been on my bucket list for quite some time.
ut why Kraków? Well, I have been to several cities in Poland like Warsaw, Gdansk and Wroclaw and every time I was positively surprised by the beauty of the cities, the friendliness of the people and the good nightlife. And visiting the other cities really made me curious about the most touristy city of Poland.
For my friends the main reason to choose Kraków as our destination was the different Eastern European architecture, the vodka cocktails and the fact that Poland is really budget friendly.
How to get to Krakow?
Because it’s only for a weekend we’ve decided to fly to Kraków, so we can spend more time in the city. From Holland there are direct flights from Amsterdam and Eindhoven and while it’s still high season we paid € 100 for a return flight (no extra luggage). But if you go outside the high season you can even fly for less.
Most popular airlines that fly directly to Kraków:
- Ryanair from Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and UK.
- EuroLOT from Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland
- EasyJet from France, Switzerland and UK
- Norwegian from Denmark, Norway and Sweden
Other means of transport to go to Kraków are by bus or train. It depends where you come from if it’s better to travel by train or bus, so do your own research to see what’s best for you.
Travel by Bus
Eurolines (www.eurolinespolska.com.pl) is one of the companies that offer international bus lines to and from Kraków, including Netherlands (20 hours, € 63), Budapest (7 ½ hours, € 22), Prague (10 hours, € 28) and Vienna (10 ½ hours, € 32).
Travel by Train
If you go by train to Kraków then you’ll be arriving at Kraków Glówny train station. There’s a good infrastructure to travel by train to other cities in Poland and it’s also a fast and cheap option to travel. Internationally there are daily direct trains to Berlin, Bratislava, Bucharest, Budapest, Hamburg, Kyiv, Odesa, Prague and Vienna.
The Polish train operator is PKP (Polskie Koleje Panstwowe), www.pkp.com.pl, but for express trains within and from Poland see www.intercity.pl which also does online booking for domestic Polish express trains.
Hostels in Krakow
The hostels in Krakow are known for their party atmosphere. They know how to create a good vibe and to meet other travellers to go on a pub crawl with. But if you’re less of a party animal you can also find some hostels that offer a more relaxed place to stay.
INTRO hostel: This hostel has a fabulous location next to the Cracovian market square in the heart of Krakow old town. The moment that you enter the hostel you’ll be welcomed by the friendly and knowledgeable staff. They’re really passionate about their city and they would love to share their favourite places with you. The beds are comfy and you can start your day with a complimentary breakfast. At night you’re free to cook your own dinner in the well equipped kitchen, you can hang out in the common area, play some foosball and watch the staff making you a homemade cocktail.
If you stay in INTRO hostel with a direct booking and the Hosteldeals card, you get a 10% discount.
Greg & Tom: The most famous party hostels in Kraków and a great place to have a good time. They offer three different hostels and they all have their own charm. In the party hostel it’s all about insane parties 7 days a week, the beer house is more relaxed with a bar, restaurant and live music. The Home hostel feels more like a home away from home and is great to meet new best friends from all over the world.
Budget and money in Krakow
Krakow ranks number 5 on the European Backpacker Index 2014 of priceoftravel.com and is one of the Europe’s best travel bargains. You can find many cheap hostels, bars and restaurants in the city centre to enjoy the beautiful city and to keep your budget low.
Currency in Kraków is the Polish Zlotych and the exchange rate is 1 PLN = € 0,24. Hereby an indication for your daily budget:
- INTRO Hostel: PLN 45,00 / dorm bed
- Transportation: PLN 5,60
- Meals: PLN 21,60
- Drinks/Entertainment: PLN 18,00
- Attractions: PLN 12,00
DAILY BUDGET: PLN 102,20 => € 24,50
Around the centre you can find kantors (private currency-exchange offices) and ATMs. Keep in mind that areas near Rynek Glówny and the main train station offer poor exchange rates. If you travel with travellers cheques that it’s probably best to change them at Bank Pekao (Rynek Glówny 31, closed on Sunday). They also do cash advances on Visa an MarterCard.
Useful sources about Kraków
An overview of good websites where you can find more information on Kraków:
- Krakow Life: http://www.local-life.com/krakow/guide
- Urban Travel Blog, City guide Krakow:http://www.urbantravelblog.com/guide/krakow#alternative
- Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Krak%C3%B3w
I also selected three apps that I’m going to use while staying in Krakow. These are the Apps that I selected and I will give you my experience with them when I’m back from my weekend trip.
- Spotted by locals: It’s an App with tips from locals. You can buy it for € 3 and is available on iPhone and Android
- Krakow Offline Guide: This is a free App and mainly based on information on WikiTravel and Wikipedia. It’s available on iPhone and Android.
- MyKRK: This is a free App and developed by the tourist department of Krakow. It’s available on iPhone and Android.
This Friday I’m flying to Kraków. I’m really looking forward to this and I would love to hear your tips and advice. When I’m back I’ll tell you everything about my trip and I can give you more tips and insights. So don’t forget to check out my next blog.