A unique experience in Krakow, Poland – Ovidiu shares his must-see with us
No matter how proud most Poles would be about their cities (and they’re right to be so, considering how cool they are), they would all concur that Krakow is the best one to live in. And they would also agree that it is the cultural capital of Poland. And this is not far from the truth considering the fact that it was the country’s capital for almost half a millennium, including the Golden Age of Poland. That is pretty much since dragons breathed fire, until the country stopped wining great wars and building renowned universities and beautiful cathedrals. And that is why Krakow is the magical city, as its residents claim.
I lived in Krakow for 20 months and among all the eight cities I lived in (except for the city where I had my Erasmus experience, which is a whole other story) it was the best.
The reason is simple – it’s beautiful and it stayed authentic. It has all the things that make a European city great – beautiful old buildings and streets, including a great castle, lots of green areas, many young people (and thus great nightlife) and yet it’s not overly touristic. Well, actually there are many tourists that add to the greatness of the city, but not to the point where the beautiful Old Town is owned by them. If you walk in the Old Town, you’ll see that it’s still the locals creating the atmosphere, whereas in cities like Prague, locals avoid the centre.
Locals, especially the youngsters will be curious about the reasons why you moved there, will be thrilled if you learned Polish words (which is very rewarding and motivating to learn more), they will take you to parties, and you may become as close so that they take you celebrate Easter or Christmas with their families.
Krakow has a vibrant night life with literarily hundreds of pubs and clubs concentrated in an area of about one sq. km and the efficient night transport system will make you enjoy those parties more, wherever you would live. Just count those drinks if you are not used to the eastern drinking style.
Personally, I can’t think of any minuses when it comes to Krakow.
Don’t dare to miss:
Night life in Krakow, where to go:
- Kitsch club – the most kitschy club in town, preferably after 2AM and after you’ve had a few ones already (best place to end a party and best place for after parties – up to 9AM);
- Boat parties on Wisla river and tram parties around the city;
- Rocking your world in Carpe Diem;
- Just hanging around for hours in Piekny Pies, a bar whose name that literally translates “Beautiful Dog” invokes the absurdness of the place;
- Live cover music in Lizard King, a huge superb bar that used to be a cinema;
- A truly communist experience buying drinks on rationing coupons and partying in Spolem;
- Drinking metres of locally brewed delicious beer in CK Browar;
- Ordering Barmanski (Barman’s) cocktail in Pauza and just chilling out there;
Outdoors, information, what to do in Krakow:
- Sundays on Blonia (an open flat field of grass 1 sq. km large just few tram stops from the center) for a game of ultimate Frisbee, a run with your dog, picnics, or just lying in the sun;
- Spending your afternoons on the river banks by the castle;
- Seeing the city from all of the three Kopce (artificial mounds)in Krakow;
- Admiring the lighten Podgorze Cemetary from Kopiec Podgorze on the eve of 1 November;
- Celebrating with the locals on the streets and by the river during the Dragon Festival in June;
- Enjoying the whole city by bike in the summer, taking advantage of its amazing bike tracks.
- Escaping torrid weekends by having a bath in turquoise-blue formerly-stone-career Zakrzowek lake;
- Long evening walks around the Old Town in Planty belt-like park;
For your senses, what you need to do and see in Krakow:
- Babcia Malina restaurant for the quintessence of traditional Polish cuisine in the most authentic rural set;
- Chimera salad bar with the best fruit and vegetable fresh juices and delicious vegetarian cold dishes and desserts;
- Treating yourself with some carrot cake (and/or other vegetarian delicious food) in Greenway;
- Having lunch in a Bar Mleczny (at least once);
- Eating delicious zapiekanka (topped baguette) – the communist Polish pizza in Plac Nowy, Kazimierz;
- Warming up winter evenings with some mulled beer (yes, beer!) in any of the places in the Old Town;
- Having some delicious kebab at 5AM in the morning in Plac Dominikanski or anywhere on Florianska street;
For your soul:
- Buying new books in Empik, the five-story bookstore in the Main Square, or just having a tea and reading some there;
- Enjoying a hot chocolate in Nowa Prowincja and talking to writers and other interesting people that hang out there;
- Soothing your soul with some live jazz in Piec Art, or Pianno Jazz Bar.
- Having a drink and picking a book to read or having a debate on metaphysics in Philo Café;
- A concert at Filharmonia Krakowska;
- Events in Alchemia, one of the most cultural cafés in town, located in Kazimierz, the Jewish district;
Just for fun, what you can do in Krakow:
- Meeting someone by Empik at sharp hours to have difficulties finding them in this main rendez-vous spot;
- If you’re a guy – taking one of the thousands of beautiful Polish girls out on a first date in Café Botanica;
- If you’re a girl – having your beer with a straw and raspberry syrup on the bottom of the glass;
- Leting locals get you soaking wet on the streets on Easter Monday (Smigus-Dyngus);
And I guess there would be many others, but I’m already becoming too nostalgic. Just have yourself a unique experience during your Erasmus, internship or stay in Krakow to remember forever.