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When thinking about European big cities, places such as Paris, Barcelona, and Rome comes to mind, Krakow is hardly ever mentioned. However, there has been a chance in the market, as this destination has become very popular among Norwegians and for many reasons; it’s such a beautiful city in many ways – charming cable stone streets and impressive architecture, great shopping, a deep history tracing back all the way back to WWII, and a wide selection of great bars & restaurants – what’s not to love?!
I have been to Krakow 3 times and below I display some of my favorite areas, hotel recommendations, attractions/must see’s, and most importantly; some amazing restaurants, If you’re planing an upcoming trip to Krakow, I hope this guide might be useful for you!
There are two hotels in Krakow I highly recommend. Both hotels are rated as 3 star hotels, but I would personally bump both of them up to 4 stars!
Pergamin Royal Apartments (***)
This hotel is rated great (8,7/10) by it’s customers and for various reasons; high standard, fresh interior, friendly staff, and great location! This luxury-style hotel is located in the heart of Krakow – right on the main square. This is the perfect hotel if you want to live in the middle of Krakow. The downside is the noise you might hear outside any time of day + they don’t have any breakfast options available. However, there is a bakery right next to the hotel and Cafe Camelot with the most amazing breakfast selection is located only 5 minutes away. The hotel also provides airport transfer for a fixed price, which is especially convenient if you have an early morning flight.
Benefis Boutique Hotel (***)
This hotel is rated fantastic (9,2/10) by it’s customers and not without reason; this is one of the best hotels I have stayed at! Benefis hotel is a high-standard boutique hotel located in the historic district of Debniki, just 1 km from the main square (10 min walk). Upon arrival, we were greeted by a sweet receptionist with a big smile on her face. We had booked the standard room, but got a free upgrade to a studio, which included a spacious hallway, separate bedroom, a lounge area with couches and a TV, and a big bathroom. It was a great way to start our trip! A great breakfast buffet was included in the price and included hot options (scrambled eggs, bacon, omelette, and pancakes), espresso coffee/tea, fresh cut fruit, various cheeses and meat, dairy, and various types of bread. The hotel also provides airport transfer for a fixed price, which is especially convenient if you have an early morning flight.
Moo Moo Burger & Steakhouse
This is one of the best steaks I have ever had! I highly recommend the tomahawk and the filet Mignon steak with bacon and fresh pepper (aged) with a side of Belgian fries, roasted vegetables and the mushroom sauce. If going for lunch, I recommend the Cesar salad or the burger and try their homemade ice tea. Make sure to book a reservation in advance, especially for dinner, as this is a very popular place! Ps; this restaurant has two locations in Krakow (I tried both!), but there is a difference in quality and service. The best location is the one I linked to.
Pasta Bar Restaurant & Wine
This Italian restaurant is situated in the heart of Old Town and just a 2 minute walk from the main square. The restaurant is cozy and intimate, it’s delicious food are made from real Italian ingredients, and they have an impressive wine list. I recommend the garlic bread with fresh mozzarella cheese, the papardelle pasta with steak, mushroom and parsley in creme sauce, and the tiramisu and chocolate fondant for dessert. Their fresh homemade raspberry lemonade is also amazing! They have a cute outdoor deck (also with heaters and blankets so you can use it in the wintertime!).
This is definitely one of the best breakfast spots in Krakow! It’s an cool old Jewish residence (you definitely get the vibe) turned into a restaurant. They have a great variety of options for both breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I have only tried the breakfast. I recommend the scrambled eggs (in any way you want) with a side of avocado, the omelette and the breakfast pancakes. All the breakfast options comes with a side of fruit and free coffee/tea. The fresh squeezed orange juice is also worth trying!
Moment Resto Bar & Music
This place is located in Kaizimerz (the Jewish Quarter of Krakow) and we stumbled upon this place randomly, but their breakfast didn’t disappoint! We were greeted by friendly staff and it’s reasonably priced. I recommend the English breakfast and the scrambled eggs with avocado and bagels, and the fresh squeezed orange juice.
This restaurant serves the best high class Italian food you’ve ever tried! It’s located on the main square (and is one of few that actually are good and reasonably priced – stay away from the others ones!). We tried the pizza and pasta, both which were excellent. The house wine and local polish beer is very good and try the tiramisu for dessert. Make sure to book a table in advance.
Attractions/Must See’s & To-do’s
While there are many to-do’s and must-see’s in Krakow, I decided to pick out my top 5 recommendations. Enjoy!
Visit the Auschwitz & Birkenau Concentration Camps
If you’re interested in this, I would suggest booking an organized tour to the camps, as the experience will not be the same without a proper guide walking you through each step of the history. Our guide was full of knowledge, which shined through his passion, commitment, and dedication as a guide. Set aside a full day for this, as you will need about 1 hour to get reach out to the camps and a total of 8 hours for your visit. Auschwitz represents one of the worst and most horrific sides of our world history and to walk of the grounds where those horrible events took place, was a powerful experience.
Grab a “catpuccino” at Krakow Cat Cafe
If you love cats and coffee as much as I do, this is the place to go! Located across from Galerya Krakowska shopping center, it’s a cute cafe displaying scratchable furniture and a good selection of coffee and sweets to customers. There are some rules about handling the cats (you’re not allowed to wake them up if they sleep, pick them up, or have a loud voice), but if you’re lucky a cat will find it’s way to you and be ready to play. The cafe is run by a charity organization that aims to set up a cat adoption service and you can support their work by donating or buying products – we bought postcards displaying pictures of the cats.
Explore the Old Town by foot
Krakow old town is the historic district of Krakow and one of the most famous districts in Poland today, also referred to as “Stare Miasto” by the Poles. Krakow is one of few cities that escaped the destruction of World War II and it’s Old Town was acclaimed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1978. Famous for it’s cobblestone streets and interesting architecture, the Old Town’s many activities are worth checking out – do a free walking tour of Krakow hosted by guides who knows the city like their own pocket (for times and meet-up points check out this website), see the view from the St. Mary’s Basilica Church (also known as the Maria Church), to explore the best bars and clubs in Krakow while meeting new people, sign up for the Krawl Through Krakow pub crawl, or simply just walks the streets, sit down and enjoy a beer (hopefully in the sun!).
Take a walk along the Green Belt Planty Park (most ideal in the summertime)
This area reminds me of Krakow’s answer to Central Park/Hyde Park (in a way smaller scale obviously!), but is a nice green oasis running in a ring around Krakow’s historic Old Town. In the summertime it will be packed with families & children, tourists trying to navigate their way through Krakow, and countless little blue carts selling pretzels to people on the run. The park is filled with colorful flowers, fountains, statutes and lots of green benches. Grab a coffee on-the-go and enjoy a nice little stroll away from the sometimes hectic city center.
Explore the buzzing streets of the Old Jewish Quarter of Krakow (Kazimierz)
I have seen very little of the Jewish Quarter, but what I have seen just increase my desire to explore it even more. Once a independent city, this area is now a bustling bohemian neighborhood filled with interesting architecture, cute cafes & bars, art galleries, historical sites, and a vibrant cultural life. I have only tried food and snacks on-the-go in this area, but a co-worker of mine recommended the Israeli restaurant Hamsa Hummus & Happiness, primarily serving Mediterranean and middle-eastern food. To make the most of your time in this area, check out Culture Trip’s article on “The Top 10 Things To Do And See In Krakow’s Kazimierz“.
Have you ever been to Krakow before? If you have any recommendations, feel free to drop them in the comment section below!