Spending a week in Krakow simply isn’t enough time. The first time I went, I spent two weeks, but I was on a tight budget, burnt out after too much travel, and spent most of my time catching up on writing stories at the hostel. Then I went back for a week of non-stop activities, amazing food and fun. Now I wouldn’t mind going back for a couple months!
When I first arrived in Krakow on August 14, 2015, at the end of my whirlwind trip through 13 countries in 31 days, I immediately fell in love with the city. I dreamed of getting to revisit someday. Then I heard that the second-annual Trablin International Summit was going to be in Krakow. I jumped at the opportunity. Little did I know that would end up speaking at the Trablin conference, or how many amazing adventures were in store for me during my week, and a rather bad misadventure too.
After spending the winter in Edinburgh and not traveling much for a couple of months, I was hungry for an adventure. I was also craving some warm weather. I got both in good supply during the week I was in Krakow. Stepping off the airplane, I realized I had almost forgotten how nice warm weather could be. When I left Edinburgh, it was 8°C (46°F). The hottest day of the year so far had been 17°C (62°F). The temperature in Krakow when I landed was 29°C (84°F). Delicious!
Krakow has proper seasons. The locals pointed out several times that although I got to enjoy nice summer weather during my April visit, Krakow was under several feet of snow in April the year prior. Temperatures drop well below freezing in the winter with plenty of snowfall and get up to an average of 18°C (64°F) in the summer. As it turns out, the heatwave for my visit was record-breaking temperatures for Krakow in April.
Wonderful Accommodations at the Galaxy Hotel
At the airport, I had a taxi waiting to bring me to my accommodations at the Galaxy Hotel, both compliments of the Krakow Tourism Board. My room was on the sixth floor, overlooking the Vistula River. A robe, towel and slippers were provided for use in the hotel’s spa, and a chocolate was left on the turned-down comforter for me. I had a few minutes to get refreshed before I went downstairs where I met the directors of Trablin. It was great to see them again, and we all went out to have a late-night dinner in town.
Galaxy Hotel is located next to the Kazimierz Galeria, which is a great location as it’s not in the Old Town or Kazimierz quarters where it can be quite noisy all night long. It only takes about 15-20 minutes to walk to the city center, although you can also jump on the tram which is quite cheap, or just grab an Uber.
The Hotel has some great facilities, including a beautiful indoor pool, a full-service spa, a gym, and a full restaurant serving rather good meals. I wouldn’t call the hotel boutique, but it’s not part of one of the big chains either. My favorite part was the colorful designs throughout the hotel.
Street Food Markets
My taxi driver had recommended the food trucks in the Kazimierz district of the city center, so I suggest we head there. Not only was it was their first time in Krakow, the food trucks were also a new addition to the city since 2015 so of course I wanted to try them out myself.
Unfortunately, I didn’t actually find the trucks the cabbie mentioned, but instead ended up at another group nearby where we enjoyed a delicious…um…street food kebab. I didn’t actually catch what it was called, but I don’t think they were actually Polish. Maybe kinda like a Jewish kebab sandwich. Whatever they were, they were huge and filling and ridiculously cheap.
A couple days later I ended up finding the first group of street food trucks I had been recommended and had a massive dinner of Polish kielbasa sausage and real Belgian frites (fries). There were many other options to choose from, including ramen and sushi, pulled pork, and massive burgers, not to mention the requisite ice cream stand.
The Polish Breakfast
The next morning I was up early for my first event. First, I had a great breakfast at the Galaxy Hotel. It’s no secret that I’m usually more interested in the food served by a hotel than the comfort of the room, and the Galaxy didn’t disappoint. The breakfast buffet was absolutely massive. I had a ham and cheese croissant, eggs and bacon, hash browns, pancakes, cereal, fruit, a smoothie, pastries, juice…I may have gone overboard. And that was just a fraction of what they were serving.
Candy Making Class
By 10 a.m. I was off to my first activity. Half a dozen of us met at Cuicui Cukier Artist, one of the dozens of candy-making stores in Krakow. We took their hourly candy-making workshop where we learned the process of candy production, and even got a chance to make our own lollypop. I made myself a pair of raspberry lips – don’t judge me. Anyone can join the class at Cuicui Cukier Artist for free, which occurs every hour on the hour while they’re open.
A couple of the other bloggers then wanted to get some lunch, and I couldn’t resist taking them to my favorite restaurant in Krakow from my previous time there – Moaburger. Later in the week, I was to learn they were the first restaurant in Krakow that started to serve real grilled burgers. Before, everyone had just been microwaving their burgers! Anyway, their burgers are massive. It was a bit of a mistake to have had such a big breakfast, and I couldn’t actually finish the burger, even though I gave it my best.
I know it’s not Polish food, but I think it would be safe to say I ate at Moaburger more than any other restaurant in Krakow. My favorite is the harissa and mint lamb burger, with the bacon and avocado burger a close second. When I say the burgers are massive – they’re about the size of my hand! The prices have gone up a bit since my first time there in 2015, but not much. The burgers used to be about $5 each, and now they’re around $8, plus $2 for a large fries. They have veggie options available too.
Krakow Food Tour
After a short nap at the hotel (probably more correctly called a food coma), I went back for my next activity – the Krakow Food by Foot Tour with Krakow Urban Adventures. The tour had us trying so many different local dishes. I was actually surprised I enjoyed the zurek (soured rye soup) as much as I did. Among other stops, we went to one of the best places in town to enjoy both savory and sweet pierogi (Polish dumplings). I even enjoyed the bison vodka we ended the evening with. I can definitely say that by the end of that day, I was more than stuffed!
Homemade Pierogi Cooking Class
The next day had two more activities, both of which I was highly excited about. The first was a home cooking class, again with Krakow Urban Adventures. This time we learned how to make pierogi, and literally at the home of the tour guide’s mother! As many Polish have told me, cooking pierogi is tedious as you have to make each dumping with painstaking care, but it’s well worth it for such a delicious meal.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
That evening, I finally got to go to the Wieliczka Salt Mine! It’s the one main attraction I didn’t make it to the first time I visited Krakow. Back then when nearly everyone in my hostel went to visit, I chose to only go to Auschwitz. This time, I got to see why they said it was such an amazing attraction.
The numbers are amazing – over 1000 feet deep with 178 miles of tunnels and a health spa in the lower levels. One cavern is big enough for a hot air balloon to fly (setting a world record), and another is a stunning chapel where the chandeliers are made of salt crystals. Then again, just about everything in the mines is made from salt, except the wooden support beams.
Cruising Krakow Bike Tour
For my third day of adventures, I was invited to the Cruising Krakow Bike Tour. For four hours, we biked all around the city, getting more information from our tour guide Brian than I could have imagined. Turns out that when he first started giving tours thirteen years ago, he was required to take an eight-month training course for Krakow tourism! He’s now authorized to give a tour in any part of the city but prefers to concentrate on bike tours. We went to at least a couple dozen locations all around, getting facts not mentioned in all the other tours I’d taken there.
Trablin International Summit
That evening, we had the Trablin Welcome Party at the Wielopolski Palace, the location of the city council and the president of Krakow. We received an address from the Mayor of Krakow and were treated to a concert of local music by renowned singer Joanna Słowińska. We then had welcome drinks and samples of all local Krakow dishes, specifically those produced or originating in Krakow (rather than simply Polish cuisine). Like the rest of the food in the city, it was all delicious. My eyes might have been just slightly bigger than my stomach.
The next two days were flat out at the conference. I delivered a speech on the first day to help influencers improve their stories, focusing on eliciting an emotional response. Hopefully, you’ve experienced such while reading my blog, if only insofar as a desire to travel the world. I learned a bunch of great data too and made many new friends. I really enjoy influencer conventions and recommend that any aspiring or established influencer attends them.
Misadventure with My Phone
There was one nightmare experience during the week. On the first day of the conference, I went up to the rooftop terrace of the Grand Sheraton Krakow to take photos of the castle. A couple days earlier, the screw on my titanium phone case had fallen out, rendering the case unusable. On the roof, I had just finished taking my photos when the phone popped off the tripod, bounced off the cushion of the couch and landed on the astroturf ground.
I laughed it off, since the dozens of drops I’d already had had only succeeded in barely scuffing the case. But the case wasn’t on, and when I picked the phone up, the screen was shattered. A few hours later the lower half of the screen crashed completely and the top half wouldn’t brighten up. It was everything I could do not to cry, but the conference must go on.
Technically, the phone still worked, but I could barely see what I was pressing, let alone how my photos were turning out. It was like the screen brightness had been set to 1. My week in Krakow was nearly over, but it still put a huge damper on my happiness.
Old Town Archery
Without a reliable way to photograph the city, I spent Friday night wandering around after the conference. I ended up at OldTown Archery Krakow, a branch of the archery range I found when I was in Riga, Latvia. They’re set up just to the right of the castle’s main entrance. I spent a good hour practicing my form and watching others try their hand at the bow and arrow.
Finally, on Saturday, I had a day to relax. It was time to do the one thing I couldn’t easily do in Edinburgh – enjoy my favorite meal. I went out for a sushi lunch, ordering a spread that would have cost at least $40 in Scotland, but which only set me back $10 in Krakow. Satiated, I spent the afternoon there writing and relaxing before it was time to make my way to the airport.
Returning to Edinburgh
And just like that, my week in Krakow was over. I flew back to Edinburgh for some tours in the city and then an attempt to hike the West Highland Way. I left my heart in Krakow, and I look forward to going back someday. It’s one of the few cities I’ve traveled to that I would like to set up a temporary base in. Of course, a big draw is the ridiculously cheap cost of living there. But it’s also gorgeous, and I’d love to see more of the countryside of Poland.
Have you been to Poland? What’s your favorite part? Is there anything I missed that I should experience or eat when I return? Maybe I’ll see you there!
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Krakow is one of my favorite cities I’ve visited in my travels. Here are some other activities and guides to help you out when you arrive there yourself.
- Click here to read about my first adventure in Krakow back in 2015
- A Humbling Day in Auschwitz
- Taking a Homemade Pierogi Class with Krakow Urban Adventures
- 10 Cool Things I Learned About the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Krakow
- I Ate Too Much Good Food on the Food Tour in Krakow
- 19 Amazing Things to Do in Krakow, Poland
- Exploring Krakow by Bike with the Cruising Krakow Bike Tour
Here’s some extra reading to save hundreds on your next vacation or stage of your journey.
- 5 Steps to Book Cheap Flights
- Hostels: To Book or Not to Book
- Is Workaway Worth it for the Traveler?
- Click here to claim your $25 credit with AirB&B
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