Last week Joe and I took a trip to Krakow in Poland for a couple of days. We were only there for two nights and two days but we managed to cram so much in and really get a feel for Polish culture and history in this absolutely stunning city. Here’s a rundown of all our best places to see, stay and eat in Krakow and an example of some amazing things you can fit into just 48 hours!
We checked into our hotel The Queen Boutique – a 4* boutique hotel just 5 minutes walk from the Jewish quarter. With views of the castle from our balcony, luxury interiors and fantastic staff this is the place to stay for your Krakow mini break and they couldn’t have been any more helpful. I have a full review of The Queen Boutique HERE but we simply couldn’t fault our stay which came to just £230 for two nights B&B for the both of us with a guided tour of Auschwitz and private transfers to the camps included. Our hotel also arranged a private transfer from the airport (around 25-30minutes) to the front door at just £16 each way.
The Jewish Quarter
If you don’t have breakfast included in your room or just fancy a mid morning stroll then you can head straight to the Jewish Quarter for a real sense of the Jewish past in this city. With small winding streets, mis-matched architecture and some incredible restaurants you could walk around this district for hours. Stop for a coffee and a pastry at Baroque – we hear they make amazing cocktails too!
Auschwitz was the main reason Joe and I visited Krakow – it’s something we’ve both wanted to experience for a long time and as harrowing as it was we’re so glad we did. Our hotel included a private transfer guided tour around Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau in the price of our room something that would have normally cost around £50 each + taxis to the camps which from our central location was around 60-90 minutes. Our taxi driver Lucas drove us right to the door and directed inside, through security and right into the good care of our tour guide before waiting for us to finish and driving us back to the hotel. Our tour was around 3 hours and I would highly advise joining a guided group. The signs around the museum are informative but our guide told us so much more, and inside Birkenau there are no signs so I feel you’d miss out without a tour guide, especially here. Wrap up warm and take thick soled waterproof shoes. I didn’t take any photos in Auschwitz as a mark of respect. It was a very private experience for us and one that can’t be captured on film, you really must be there in person and stand on that ground with your own two feet – cameras are allowed in certain areas however if you feel it necessary to document your trip.
The Main Square
The main square of Krakow is quite simply breathtaking with it’s ornate buildings, cobbles streets and friendly locals. If we had more time we would have taken a guided tour of the square and surrounding streets because there’s some serious history in those bricks, but for this visit we simply had to make do with exploring on foot and in awe of the beautiful architecture around us. At the time of our visit it was actually Independence Day in Poland so the streets were lined with flags and marches with crowds people singing anthems and bursting with pride for their country – it was wonderful to witness. The streets were buzzing with people but we felt completely safe and it was a joy to wander the square and soak up the Polish culture.
Amber is Poland’s national stone so we visited the indoor market in the main square and Joe bought me this beautiful green amber ring as a memento for our trip. I’d love to start collecting rings from our travels and this is a beautiful way to start.
For lunch we stopped at Max 18 in the Main Square for some traditional Polish food. We’d booked in for a fusion tasting menu in the evening so this was a great chance to try no frills traditional food from the region and we were really impressed. Situated right in the main square with a small area inside and outdoor tables with blankets and heaters Max 18 doesn’t look much but the menu boats great traditional food and we found the service to be extremely friendly. Make sure you try dumplings when in Krakow like these filled with meat and onion. They’re delicious and a favourite in Poland as was my Chicken Shashlik, not much to look at but great flavour all washed down with a nice cold beer. Max 18 isn’t the fanciest restaurant in the square but it’s traditional and like the majority of places we found in Poland, extremely good value with two mains and two large beers coming in at just shy of £15.
Relax At The Spa
After exploring the city and immersing yourself in the Polish culture and traditional food, why not take a step into luxury and treat yourself to some spa treatments before dinner. We booked into the Queen Boutique Spa for some couples massages after a long day walking around to relax, reflect and re-charge before our evening meal and a few cocktails!
The spa at the Queen Boutique was possibly the smallest I’ve seen in a hotel so far. With one treatment room and a sauna it was a little luxury haven underneath street level on Krakow and Joe and I were booked in for a full body hot stone massage each – my favourite! As there was only one therapist working that day we went in separately – one enjoying their massage and the other enjoying the sauna. I’m no stranger to a hot stone massage, they’re my favourite spa treat and this one was so incredibly relaxing. Normally I like stronger pressure with my massages to help muscles and my lower back but my therapist was incredibly gentle which in the end was exactly what I needed – I even fell asleep on the bed! With one hour long full body massage coming in at around £22 you can’t come to Krakow and not spoil yourself with a pamper – if we had more time I would have booked in for a whole day, seriously!
Eat In Style
If lunch was all about traditional food then dinner is all about style! On our full evening in Krakow we booked in the the Amarylis Restaurant (conveniently located under our hotel) for a 7 course tasting menu with wine flight. Our food was so good I’ve decided to give Amarylis it’s own review on the blog HERE but for now all you need to know is this is highly recommended from us as a place to eat and drink in the city.
Featured in the Michelin Guide with it’s modern fusion Polish menu and stylish interiors Amarylis was the perfect way for us to spend an evening trying new foods paired with wonderful wines in a relaxed setting – their cocktails were pretty good too! Coming in at around £50 a head for 7 courses and the wine flight even this decadent evening didn’t break the bank and it was absolutely stunning.
So there you have it – 48 hours in Krakow; what to do where to stay and what to eat, and all for just £350 each including flights, accommodation, transport, food, drinks, tours and spending money. Our visit to Krakow was honestly one of the best trips we’ve been on together and we can’t wait to go back – we’re already planning another trip next year for more exploring pampering and tastings!
WATCH: 48 Hours In Krakow Travel Vlog
Have you been to Krakow? Where would you recommend to stay eat or explore?
I’d love to know – leave me a comment down below or tweet me @xameliax #48hrsinkrakow