Our itinerary for Krakow covered four days, including a weekend. It was our first time to visit this country, we were curious about everything and would like to see several places. However, we realized that the weekend wasn’t long enough to see all. Being an old capital of Poland and the first UNESCO site, Krakow has many attractive aspects. Not far from Krakow is the famous Tatra Mountains which provides many holiday destinations as well. We tried to cover both culture sites and landscape sites when we created itinerary for Krakow. Though we only had a long weekend for the trip, we were determined to see as much as possible.
Having read many blogs and visited some official websites, we still decided to buy Lonely Planet Poland for our trip. We always feel comfortable to carry some printed information for the trip, just in case there is no WiFi to check the information or any other unpredictable situations. In fact, we always buy a copy of a travel guide whenever we see a new country.
How to get around in Krakow
Krakow City Card
The best way to get around in Krakow is to buy a Krakow City Card. The City Card entitles holders to free travel on city buses and trams, and free entry at up to 40 museums in Krakow. The card is valid on city buses and trams day and night. You can choose a 2-day card or a 3-day card.
Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Ticket
Or, buy a hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus ticket to explore Krakow at your own pace. You can enjoy panoramic views of Krakow from an open-top bus, hop on and off at attractions such as Wawel Castle. You can choose bus ticket valid for either 24-hour or 48-hour.
Rent a car
As we planned to go to other places outside of Krakow, we rented a car for the trip. The rental cost was very cheap, 34 Euro for 4 days was what we paid. It was a big off-road car.
Our itinerary for Krakow started with the visit to Zakopane. There are many things to do in Zakopane. Due to the limited time, we opted for its famous wooden architectural houses, the traditional style in the local area. Then, we arrived at the famous Krupowki Street and had our lunch in a restaurant populated mainly by locals.
After lunch, we visited the popular mountainous village of Poronin. In the local supermarket, we bought some food for our dinner.
Please read my post: Top 9 Things to Do in Zakopane
First, we visited Wawel Castle atop Royal Hill, and then the main market square in Krakow. There was a street market in the old city centre. The famous Cloth Hall and Town Hall Tower, as well as many other old buildings, are all in this area. After the round walk, we ate some polish foods in a local restaurant located in Cloth Hall.
In the afternoon we booked a Wieliczka Salt Mine tour. It is one of the world’s oldest working salt mines. We saw things such as carvings, statues, and mining equipment all made of salt. The tour took us three hours and is definitely worth the money.
Please read my review at Wieliczka Salt Mine, a Trip to the Underground World.
This was a hiking day. We did great hiking to Morskie Oko in the Tatras Mountains. From the lake Morskie Oko, we continued hiking up to another lake Czarny Staw (Black Pond). This part was quite stressful. We had a late lunch in the lakeside restaurant after the hiking.
Please read more from my post to get an idea about the area: A Great Hiking to Morskie Oko in the Tatras Mountains
We planned to take the early flight back to Germany. However, due to the bad weather in Frankfurt, the flight was delayed for several hours. In order to be back to Frankfurt not too late, we tried to search alternative ways either by train or by bus, but there are no quick connections between the two cities. To take a train home, we would need to exchange 7 or 8 times in between, which is ridiculous and complicated enough. If we took a bus instead, then it would be an overnight bus ride! Finally, we still took the original Lufthansa Flight and arrived in Frankfurt in the late evening.
Alternative Itinerary for Krakow
On the 4th day, if your flight is at a later time, you still have time to explore other places, for example, the Schindler’s Factory. It is not far from Krakow, 10 minutes by car or 45 minutes walk there. The other place is the Auschwitz Museum and Concentration Camp. It is 66 kilometers west of Krakow. There are several ways to reach there. Please check here for the details.
Do you want to know more alternative day trip destinations from Krakow? If yes, please read more from my post: 10 Epic Day Trips from Krakow
Where we stayed
We stayed in GORSKA OSADA Chalets in Zakopane not far from Poronin. The chalet is quite new and has hearty interior decoration. Because we were unfamiliar with the local restaurants, we decided to have our breakfast in our cozy chalet. This could save us time from looking around for the food. We had our lunch outside every day. This gave us the chance to taste some Polish Food. Every evening we had our candlelight dinner next to the fire. The cottage is not expensive but the value is very high.
Upon arrival at our chalet, the staff welcome us warmly. The staff spoke perfect English and gave us all the instructions we needed to know. We are very satisfied with our stay.
But if you don’t rent a car, I would suggest you stay in Krakow. The hotels in Krakow are in general cheaper in Krakow than those in resort areas.
Tips for visiting Krakow
In general, we liked the trip very much. However if possible, we would like to plan more time for Krakow. The city deserves much more attention. When you plan itinerary for Krakow, plan at least two days for the Krakow if possible. Museums on Wawel Castle Hill are worth to visit. Other things like visiting the viewing platform of St Mary’s tower etc.
If you want to see other places near Krakow, plan enough days in your itinerary for Krakow trip. Some of the day trips from Krakow require enough time to enjoy.
Please read more from my post: 10 Epic Day Trips from Krakow
The driving situation closed to the old centre is a nightmare. We parked in the old centre. But we had the big problem to drive out of the old centre. If you stay in Krakow, it*s better to use a Krakow City Card.