Welcome to my series of Do This Not That Travel Guides!
I know what you’re thinking: “when will I ever be in Krakow?” Okay so it’s no secret that Krakow isn’t the most traveled Eastern European city, but compared to its neighbors, it’s full of charming places, amazing people, and multiple massive history lessons. So if you ever find yourself in its midieval old town or its lively Jewish quarter, check out my tips below!
Don’t Eat The Hotel Breakfast
Tempting, I know. But Instead get yourself a traditional Polish breakfast. Potato pancakes (latkes), Polish sausage, and scrambled eggs. The Polish are also big on their cereals as well. Finish everything up with a cup of coffee as that is the popular choice over tea.
Insider Tip: For a hearty Polish breakfast, check out Milkbar Tomasza.
Don’t Take a Cab
Guess what? Krakow has UBER now! Find everything you need to know here.
Don’t Go To Schindler’s Factory
If you know your WWII history, this is a definite skip. You don’t actually get to tour the old Schindler factory at all. Rather you walk through a museum that depicts Krakow from the beginning of the war and to the end. Instead, pop on over to Plaszow for some fresh air. Walk the fields that were once a Nazi labour camp for the Jews. You might remember this labour camp from the 1993 movie Schindler’s List.
Insider Tip: The ‘house’ you will immediately see and remember from the movie is not in fact Amon Göth’s. That one is further along the road.
Don’t Take the Public Auschwitz Tour
The Public tours can go at quite a fast pace. Remember you will be just another visitor to them, so you won’t really get the opportunity to ask questions and you could potentially be stuck with talkative visitors who are not respectful. For the full experience, which I highly recommend (because how often do you get to visit Auschwitz), do a private tour. A tour with Tomasz is a must! I cannot recommend him enough. If you’re looking for more tips on visiting Auschwitz, here is a great guide.
Don’t Get Lured in to The Trinket Shops (unless you want to)
Do your parents or significant other really need another mug? Probablyyy not. Instead head over to one of Krakow’s many flea markets and get an original gift! You can find tons of neat things like old postcards, records, WWII memorabilia, tea cups, jewelry, books, silverware, etc.. There are two really great flea markets. On Saturday it’s the Plac Nowy Flea Market in the Kazimierz (Jewish quarter), and on Sunday hit up the Plac Targowy Flea Market, which is MASSIVE.
Don’t Buy Generic Vodka
This might seem like a no brainer, but if you don’t do your research you could very easily end up buying vodka you could have been bought in the states. Make sure you know what brands are local to the area, that way you bring home some truly Polish vodka!
Insider Tip: Check out Alkohole Regionalne in the Kazimierz. The people who own it are so nice and can offer you many suggestions. Also, this place is a total photo opp for the gram!
Don’t Have a Night Out in the Main Square
The main square of Krakow, otherwise known as the ‘Old Town’, can get pretty touristy and the prices and authenticity can reflect that. If you want a night out of dining and drinking, I suggest going out in the Kazimierz instead. The trendy Jewish quarter becomes quite the lively place after hours. There are also fabulous restaurants in the area.
Don’t Get Ice Cream
There are ice cream shops everywhere in old town, and most cafes almost always serve a few flavors. For a more authentic experience, visit a chocolate bar! Chocolate bars are all the rage. Many of them make super sweet chocolate drinks and even have chocolate fountains. While I am not a huge fan of Eastern European chocolate (I prefer Belgian or French), it’s a neat experience and a box of chocolates make a great gift for friends or family.
Have you been to Krakow before? If so what were your favorite sights and eats?!