Restaurant, wine bar, and beer recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Staying in the Kazimierz area - not adverse to a long walk or tram ride for a good meal/drink. May make a weekend trip up to Warsaw so any insight (and museum, cultural recommends) for there are also welcomed. Thanks all…
I haven’t yet been to Krakow but have been to Warsaw and loved it. Stayed at the Sofitel which was lovely and has an amazing breakfast each morning and a pleasant bar for a drink or light meal. Staff was great and location a block from the old town was superb. I just walked around there each evening and picked a spot for dinner. I was in Warsaw at the start of my current job with a Polish founded company and was mostly deep in work not sightseeing or serious dining. That said, the casual meals I had were wonderful. The entire Old Town area was amazing though may not be as impressive if you have been in Krakow I hear. Highlight of my trip - well, two …wandering into various churches and being pretty awestruck by the elaborate decor and devotion and spending time at the Uprising Museum which all my colleagues insisted was the most important place to go. I was immensely moved by the museum - make sure you see the video which shows over time the destruction of Warsaw so you can fully appreciate the rebuilding. The sense of history amongst even the young tech folk I work with is impressive and moving … as I walked to dinner with our founder he told me to remember that Warsaw “had been two million people but after the war was only two hundred thousand.” The combination of the still very present memories from WW2 and from the Soviet occupation shape things to a degree I did not realize beforehand and yet, or maybe because of this, the younger generations are so well traveled and educated and welcoming or so I have found with my colleagues.
Aside from the Uprising museum, I really just strolled around loving the atmosphere … all the cafes and the weekend social life in them. If you will be looking for presents to bring home to any women who enjoy jewelry, skip the masses of amber tourist shops and visit:
KRAKOWSKIE PRZEDMIEŚCIE 39,
GODZINY OTWARCIA: 11:00-19:00
They specialize in quite affordable and wonderful jewelry for women made by young Polish artists (some include amber of course).
My colleagues plan to take me to the Vodka Museum next trip (which will be soon) … so that gets local approval and I gather serves and sells good vodka!
I’m also hoping to be back in the summer to spend time along the Vistula… my coworkers recommend the clubs and restaurants along the beach areas in the warm weather.
I also found the website culture.pl interesting for some orientation btw.
Enjoy … I can’t wait to go back!
I have some Krakow recommendations for sure. We were there a year and a half ago. Let me dig them out and I will get back shortly.
Great info - thank you very much for sharing…
Krakow’s National Museum has a da Vinci painting of a woman with an ermine that is a must see. And there is other interesting stuff there.
I also recommend Wawel Castle, and Wawel Cathedral. Also St. Francis Basilica.
A little more offbeat is a chapel carved into the Wieliczka salt mine: The Chapel of St. Kinga.
You will never be the same if you make the short trek to Auschwitz by bus or car.
Dining: Old Town Restaurant and Wine Bar, Pod Aniolami, Szara Kazimierz
There is a food tour in the neighborhood you are staying in that is well worth it. Look for Delicious Kazimierz Food Tour, bookable on Trip Advisor.
Edit: My wife is from the highlands near Krakow, and Don has some very good additional tips below. Just be aware that some of the roads are not in top condition.
Here are links and brief descriptions from our Krakow itinerary. The polish donuts at the place listed below are a must (we went just about every day, sometimes twice in a day!) and for dinners, we had very good meals at the 3 places listed below. Starka had a bunch of local Polish beers on tap and tons of different house made vodkas. We left there quite full and happy.
Any other questions, feel free to ask. We loved Krakow a lot and it made our “list of places in Europe to potentially retire to” which was not expected before we went. Everyone is super friendly, the food is great, the prices are cheap, and the city is beautiful.
Pod Aniolami (in old town). Mushroom pierogies were awesome. Ask to sit in cellar, very pretty and cozy.
Starka-traditional Polish food in jewish quarter.
Trezo Restaurant-in Jewish Quarter
U Babci Maliny-off main square, in the basement of a building where you enter through a back courtyard, kind of a weird location, but traditional food, I don’t think anything was in english
Really good polish donuts (may have to hit translate this page)
Things to do:
-Salt Mines (about 30 min outside of Krakow-we took a train and got there on our own, but there are probably tours available). Need to buy tickets in advance.
-Rynek Underground-museum underneath the main square-shows excavations, and history of krakow. We bought tickets in advance.
My wife and I spent a week there a couple of months ago. The old town section is like Paris of old. So beautiful. The Jewish Quarter (Kazmiertz) has wonderful sidewalk cafes. A great market too!
We stayed at the Hotel Copernicus. They arranged our tours. We did private almost everywhere. The only places you can’t do private are the Salt Mine and Auschwitz. There you have to have a local guide supplied by the Salt Mine and the museum at Auschwitz. We were able to connect with a great guide to Auschwitz that took us around. Just the two of us. Made a huge difference. The Salt Mine required we buy a whole group of tickets. Instead of a group of 16, we were just 2. HIGHLY worth it!
The best restaurants to me were…
Farina - great fresh fish and caviar http://www.farina.com.pl
Hotel Copernicus - great inventive food here more international in favor https://www.relaischateaux.com/us/poland/copernicus-malopolska-krakow
The ART- next to Copernicus. Smaller More fine dining. https://artrestauracja.com/?utm_source=tripadvisor&utm_medium=referral
La Campagna- Italian with outdoor tables and music. Fabulous food and atmosphere Restauracja La Campana - Trattoria La Campana
Restaurant Jaremma- Polish Small and wonderful. Just outside the main gate to old town Polska Restauracja Kresowa Jarema Kraków – Kuchnia Staropolska
Miod Malina - typical Polish in old town Very good. Miód Malina restauracja Kraków – kuchnia polsko-włoska w Krakowie – Zapraszamy do jednej z najlepszych polskich restauracji w Krakowie – Miód Malina. Nagradzane menu przez przewodnik kulinarny Michelin na pewno trafi również w Państwa gusta. W naszej ofercie znajdą Państwo doskonałe dania pochodzące zarówno z włoskiej jak i polskiej!
LOTS of great small places in Kazmierz
Near Ogrozenienic Castle/Zakopane
Restaurant Stodola - amazing local restaurant with homemade beers I think we paid $8/each for a large lunch and beer. Eat outside and don’t expect instant service. You will have a fantastic meal.
One of the best things we did was a communism tour in a Trabant to Nowa Huta and lunch at a still working Milk Bar. I can’t really describe how cool this is. You have to be adventurous to ride in a Trabbie for any length of time. No seat belts in the back. High possibility you might be pushing it for a short period. So much fun however. Our guide was Adrianna. She is highly recommended. https://www.crazyguides.com
Wawel castle is a great visit and near the old town. Home church of John Paul II.
There are so many cool places to visit outside Krakow. The mountains near the Slovakian border are a popular destination. Lots of old solid wooden churches that still exist. They are fascinating. Lots of old castles. Fascinating landscape.
As far as beer, drink what the establishment makes. Almost every small restaurant made their own beer and they were incredible.
BTW, if you go to Auschwitz/Berkenau, there is a restaurant in the town next to the area. It is highly recommended as well as their house beer. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274754-d7787419-Reviews-Chata_Na_Zaborskiej-Oswiecim_Lesser_Poland_Province_Southern_Poland.html
Have a great time.
I was there on a business trip a couple years back and tacked on a couple of days. If you’re staying in the Kaimerz, you’re in the most hopping part of town. Very nice night life scene.
It’s a very young town. University students and hostels EVERYWHERE. The city center/plaza is really enjoyable. I don;t have any specific restaurant recs, but I did note while there that red wine is not as widely available as I had hoped. People drink beer or vodka mostly. My co-workers “treated” me to Polish food where possible. It was okay. Mostly ladles of stew type stuff with meat and vegetables poured over potatoes. Almost German, but not quite. Whatever the case, I learned that I’m just not a pierogi person.
I stayed at the Radisson Blu. More of a business hotel, but has a great breakfast buffet and was next to the park that rings the old city and at a trolley stop. Take a ride on the street car around town. It’s a great way to see a good chunk of the city quickly for next to nothing, but be sure to actually get tickets/pay. Per my co-workers, they police that pretty regularly and you DON’T want to be the guy without a ticket.
Others have mentioned the highlights, which I also recommend: Wawel Castle, the salt mines and Auschwitz/Birkenau. I arranged salt mine and Auschwitz/Birkenau tours through the hotel concierge, and got a pretty decent package rate that way (one of my co-workers there confirmed this as she had previously worked selling such tours, so the going rates were a topic we discussed over drinks one night). So don’t be worried too much that you’ll get fleeced by taking that route.
Auschwitz was difficult to see, but Birkenau was just incredible and even more deeply disturbing to me… Few structures remain, but there’s more than enough to leave a deep impression of the the depth of the misery. The scale of the place is almost unimaginable… The barbed wire and watch towers seem to stretch to both horizons from that horrible guard gate . Inside, the single track splits into perhaps a dozen sidings showcasing the terrible ingenuity that went into the effort. The thing that really got me there was seeing the spot where the Nazi doctor stood and reviewed the new arrivals and made the left/right work/immediate death decision… Anyway, it’s worth a moment to honestly consider whether you’re emotionally up to that particular side trip.
Good luck with your planning!
Rich, Don, Tom - appreciate you sharing your experiences. Will have a look at the restaurants as well. Fantastic and will report back.