A February 2005 trip
to Krakow by AineUiG
Quote: A visit to Krakow in the winter, with young children and parents.
Another hit with the kids are the local trams.
The beds, although comfortable, had mattress protectors that overheated during the night. This woke many of us up, but we removed them the next day and that was the end of the problem. One of our travellers had to remove the mattress altogether since the bed proved to be too soft.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 11, 2005
Hotel Polski Pod Bialym Orlem
17, Pijarska Street
The portion sizes are so large that is impossible to eat both an appetizer and a main course, so it works out to be cheaper than the listed price range.
When you arrive, you are seated and presented with Polish bread and two spreads. Clearly one was cream cheese with herbs, but we argued about what the second one was. One person in our party insisted that it was mashed potatoes with pork crackling, but it turned out to be LARD! Anyway, the non-vegetarians enjoyed it like it was butter.
The soups are delicious, and the main courses are huge. A particular favourite (if you like cabbage) is golabki. The fish (I had carp) was fresh and perfectly barbecued. All main courses are cooked upon your order, so make sure you leave at least 2 hours for your meal.
Beer is available on tap (piwo beczkowe) and recommended.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 11, 2005
Ulica Sw. Agnieszki, 1
Krakow, Poland 31-071
+48 (12) 421 8520
Restaurant | "Pizzeria Cyclops"
Wood-fired ovens produce thin-crusted pizzas in minutes. One person in our group felt that the toppings were not generous enough, but no one else agreed.
Although it is a somewhat cramped dining space, the only real downside is that the bathroom is down the hall and you need to ask staff for a key. Toaleta is the word you need.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 11, 2005
Ulica Mikolajska, 16
Krakow, Poland 31-027
+48 12 421 6603
The air is clean and dry, so if you have asthma or hay fever, the mine provides a break from pollution.
The tour takes you around some of the oldest parts of the mine. The miners have carved out some remarkable artwork, including an entire chapel.
Buses and trains leave from Krakow’s Glowny train station. There are limited tours in English in the winter, so check before you go at www.kopalnia.pl.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
10 Danilowicza Street
The exhibition of war booty, taken from the Ottoman Turks, was stolen during WWII and reacquired via legal action when it was put up for sale by auction at Sotheby's. One wonders whether Turkey could sue for its return! Other items taken from the Czartoryski family have yet to be located.
It is free on Sundays.
Ulica sw. Jana, 19
Krakow, Poland 31-017
+48 12 422 5566
Attraction | "Sukiennice Cloth Hall Gallery"
Upstairs is an art gallery with masterpieces of Polish romantic art. This is free on Sundays.
Main Market Square 3
Krakow, Poland 31-042
+48 12 422 1166
Attraction | "Wawel Hill"
The restaurant is one of the most expensive in Krakow, but the café is a great resting place for feet tired out by stairs and tours.
The castle tours are great for anyone who likes princesses and knights, or furniture, architecture, and interior decoration. A unique collection of heads (sculpted in wood, not chopped off!) is exhibited in the audience hall’s ceiling to remind the king that he is under scrutiny and to give him the benefit of different experiences.
For kids, the grotto at the foot of the hill by the river is guarded by a fire-breathing dragon. But he only manages to breathe fire in the summer. Perhaps the Polish winter is too cold for him!
Go early in the morning to get your tickets, since even on a freezing February weekday with snow, tickets to the castle tours were selling out before 10am.
The castle is run by the state and is closed on Mondays and free on Wednesdays.
The cathedral, run by the Catholic Church, is subject to a separate entry fee. Like the castle, it is very interesting from an historical and architectural point of view. It has the tombs of kings, poets, and saints.
The tours are not suitable for wheelchairs, and buggies must be left in the cloakroom. It is quite interesting to look around the outside even if you can't get in.
Wawel Hill, Castle and Cathedral
Kraków, Poland 31-001
(+48 12) 422 51 55
The oldest university in Poland and one of the oldest in the world, the Jagiellonian's medieval Collegium Maius is a must-see for those interested in architecture and history.
We couldn't get into the auditorium on the day we visited, as opening hours are limited, but there is still plenty to see. The basement crypt has been transformed into a trendy student club and café, with medieval sculptures as decoration.
Open Monday to Friday 11am to 2:30pm, Saturday 11am to1:30pm, and free on Saturdays.
Ulica Jagiellonska, 17
Krakow, Poland 31-010
One of the characteristics of Polish religious architecture is eclecticism, but this church is truly unique.
It is a must-see for those who are interested in Art Nouveau or religious architecture.
Pl. Wszystkich Swietych
Rath Cairn, Ireland