what Krakow insiders and visitors wrote about the city in
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White Christmas, the Global Warming Notwithstanding
/2009-12-16/ There is bitter cold in Krakow now, and no global
warming in sight. On the other hand the white Christmas seems
inescapable in the city.
/2009-12-12/ Now you may easily park your car near the
Krakow Royal Castle in the very city center – at a price.
A brand-new subterranean car park is situated under Plac Na Groblach
square, next to Sheraton Krakow hotel, a
stone’s throw from the Old Town historic district. It’s the city’s
first spacious underground parking lot in the downtown. Your car
will stay safe under constant surveillance but it’ll cost an
equivalent of nearly two euros per hour. The upside is the cost
drives away most local motorists so the parking is always
/2009-12-05/ Krakow’s theater festival called Boska Komedia (Divine
Comedy) presents Poland’s best stage productions of the year.
Simultaneously, it displays outstanding achievements of the Polish
young theatre directors. The festival takes place from Monday,
December 7th through Monday, December 14th.
/2009-11-29/ Self-catering accommodation in
Krakow is a good alternative to a hotel. I’m frequent visitor to
the city since 1995 on business trips, staying for two to four days
every time. Over the last four years I have never needed to
book a hotel room in Krakow. I prefer to rent a holiday
apartment. There is a wide selection available and apart from one
place the service has never failed.
/2009-11-21/ The biggest shopping mall in
Krakow opened on the postindustrial site of Bonarka some four
kilometers southeast from the city center. It boasts 270 shops, a
multi-level parking garage for 3,200 cars, and a 20-theater
multiplex (also the biggest cinematic complex in Krakow).
/2009-11-20/ I found a good restaurant in
Krakow in rather unexpected place. There is a barge turned into
a floating eatery, moored on the riverbank a couple of blocks from
the Jewish district.
Christmas Market in Krakow Starts Soon
/2009-11-12/ Krakow’s Christmas market
starts on the Old Town’s Rynek Glowny central
square on Saturday, November 28th to last through December 24th.
It’s open between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Unearthing Music Treasures
/2009-11-07/ The 5th Festival Of Polish Music
consists of daily concerts from November 9th through November 15th.
Outstanding orchestras and soloists, including such renowned artists
as Midori and Ivo Pogorelich, will perform the best classical music
by Polish composers which is little known abroad.
Coach Park Close to the Old Town
/2009-11-03/ Coaches may park on 3 Maja street alongside Blonia
common which is quite within walking distance from the Old Town
historic center of Krakow.
/2009-10-28/ I brought a foreign tour, a busload of German retirees,
to Krakow as I do a couple of times every year. But now the coach
park we used till recently, one conveniently situated next to the
royal castle in Krakow, is off limits with access streets
closed. What is worse, it looks like there is no place a coach can
park in the Old Town or within walking
/2009-10-23/ Krakow would be much nicer if they got rid of
oppressive eyesores that pervade the city. The tallest structure
there, visible from almost any place in the downtown, is a derelict
gray concrete skeleton of a bloody forsaken skyscraper stripped of
its walls. They plastered giant billboards on it but this doesn’t
/2009-10-20/ Going out yesterday have discovered a
stag party heaven in Krakow. Halfway down the
street from the main post office there is a gray derelict building
holding a dozen or so nightclubs, cellar
to roof. Weird place where anything goes.
Music for Tourists
/2009-10-12/ Almost every evening young local artists give
concerts of classical music in Old Town’s churches – SS. Peter
and Paul church at ul. Grodzka 56, St. Giles church at the end of
the same street, and at St. Adalbert’s church on the central
Market Square. Admission costs about 12 euro per person.
Caution: Taxi Doubles
/2009-09-21/ Watch out for fake taxis. In Krakow and Poland’s other
cities self-employed enterprising drivers transport people for
money. They don’t need to meet standards nor requirements set for
cabs but also they don’t enjoy their privileges such as the use of
taxi ranks and access to areas closed to vehicular traffic (e.g. the
historic center of Krakow). Some of those
quasi-cabbies are fairly decent operations and many undercut taxi
fares. Some dupe passengers into excessive charges as their fares
aren’t regulated. The boldest ones make their cars to resemble
regular cabs and even set up mock taxi stands.
/2009-09-19/ Main gallery of the National
Museum in Krakow at 1, 3 Maja street is closed on September 23rd
and 24th due to the Congress of Polish Culture.
/2009-09-14/ I had enjoyable weekend on the lake among hills south
of Krakow. It was rather hot in late August so we spent most of
Saturday on a little beach near the castle of Niedzica, opposite the
ruins of Czorsztyn fortress on the other bank. We visited both
castles on Sunday. Also, I rented a canoe and paddled around the
lake for a couple of hours. Much fun despite pleasure boats rocking
your kayak now and then. I think of revisiting the place soon and
trekking through the Pieniny Mountains
National Park that stretches just east of the lake.
Dinos En Route to Auschwitz
/2009-09-10/ There is a dinosaur thematic park in Zator some 70
kilometers west of Krakow. A path meanders through wetland among
scores of life-size robotic beasts that move, bellow, wag tails,
etc. in truly realistic way. The park sits next to the road, en
route to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). The site includes also a sort of
little museum of paleontology, a funfair, and a muddy quad track.
/2009-09-04/ I was luckier than Patricia. I landed in a
good hotel in Krakow and all local people I met were nice. I
already think about coming back rather soon.
Lovely Sights But the People
/2009-08-23/ Just returned from Krakow. Taxi driver nor the hotel
could tell us where some of the paces we ante to visit on your
website was even though we printed them off they just laughed at us,
after 1,30 please beware you have to pay for a tour guide in
and then did not see all was rushed, best going early morning or
late afternoon no-one knew where the famous mummy's was, the hotel
staff was not helpful at all, breakfast was not very nice and after
that if you wanted a cup of tea you had to pay for it some lovely
sights but the people spoilt it, stayed in the hotel Matejko
although was in a great spot not much to write home about the hotel,
would not go back again.
/2009-08-15/ It’s easy to find a good
restaurant in Krakow. Just walk to the old town and avoid
crowded places that look cheap.
Broken Pilgrimage Train
/2009-08-14/ “Papal train” connecting cities associated with Pope
John Paul II is to be cancelled by the end of this month, August
2009. It was launched with much fanfare three years ago to link
Krakow and its Sanctuary of Divine Mercy
with the late Pope’s birthplace in Wadowice
via Kalwaria Zebrzydowska where a famous
calvary shrine is situated. The purpose-built shuttle train
ferried up to 160 pilgrims in comfortable cars and they could watch
documentaries about John Paul II and places en route. Yet train
service has failed to attract enough passengers to break even. So
another seemingly bright idea has misfired.
/2009-08-10/ Two festivals – one in August, another in September –
should attract lovers of music to Krakow.
Music in Old Krakow festival, August 15th to August 30th,
features European ensembles and soloists performing classical music
from early Dutch musters to the 20th-century composers. Daily
concerts mostly take place in Krakow’s old churches and other
historical buildings. From September 13th through September 19th the
Sacrum-Profanum festival offers series of daily concerts of
contemporary classical music sandwiched between an opening
performance of The Cinematic Orchestra, the UK’s nu jazz band, and
the closing triple show by the UK's electronica act Aphex Twin plus
/2009-08-06/ I had ordered a guide to Krakow
by mail and it arrived sooner than expected. It’s good value for
money - full of information, nice photos.
Downside of Conversion
/2009-08-02/ As usual we rented a self
catering apartment in Krakow for our stay in the city. The
three-bedroom flat was clean and comfortable enough. Also, it was
situated just a few of minutes walk from the square. The downside?
It was really hot. The apartment was a converted attic without any
air conditioning. No lift either.
Cream of Ice Creams
/2009-08-01/ I love the city. I enjoyed mostly the central square.
We had delicious ice creams in a street cafe nearby.
/2009-07-24/ I’m just back home from a city break in Krakow. My
visit coincided with a heatwave and the fact a bit spoilt the
otherwise enjoyable time in the city. Unfortunately, a tourist has
few occasions for respite from torrid air because most places such
as shops, cafes,
museums, etc. have poor air conditioning and often there is none
Watch Out for Loose Horses
/2009-07-18/ In the recent months Krakow has been plagued by
accidents caused by cab horses. Popular with tourists, Krakow’s ‘dorozkas’
are safe to ride but their usually stoical
live ‘engines’ may bolt when frightened by bangers, fireworks, or
other sudden noise. It happened a couple of times in this June and
July. Unfortunately, several people were trampled; fortunately,
nobody was killed but.
Keeping the Change
/2009-07-06/ Motorists should keep change to park their vehicles on
the streets in central Krakow. New, shining
and computerized, parking meters accept only coins. Namely they take
50-grosz, one zloty, two zloties and five zloties. And – mind,
you’ve been warned – they don’t give you your change.
American Dreams of Krakow
/2009-07-01/ New exhibition in the National
Museum in Krakow at 3 Maja street shows the American pop art of
the 1970s and the 1980s. The show, called ‘American Dream’, consists
mostly of photorealist paintings enhanced by clever installations
and screening of rock concerts of the period. It lasts through
Krakow under Any Name
/2009-06-30/ I know Krakow is the correct English spelling of the
city’s name. But there are numerous other versions, i.e. Cracow,
Krackow, Crakow, Crackow, Krakov, and probably more. I wonder if
there are any reasons for that confusion apart from ignorance and
Driving among Pitfalls
/2009-06-19/ Krakow streets have always been notorious for potholes.
Yet this year those traps for motorists have become even more
common. Also, they are more dangerous. Driving
in Krakow I keep spotting holes in tarmac that are knee-deep or
worse. And some of them wait for you in the middle of the city’s
main arteries. One reason is poor quality of road works. At the same
time the local government now seem to care less than ever. Even the
worst potholes often stay unattended for days and weeks. As if the
city hall has decided it’d rather pay compensation to unlucky
motorists than bother to fix the streets.
Sphere of Influence
/2009-06-14/ I hate that big white globe of balloon looming in the
air close to the Royal Castle in Krakow.
And I’m not alone. It’s positively an eyesore visible from every
corner of the Old Town. That ugly sphere
clashes with historic architecture.
Expat resident of Krakow
/2009-05-29/ If you're travelling to Krakow, be sure to take a copy
of Richard Monte's excellent and very funny collection of Polish
Folk Tales, The Dragon of Krakow and other Polish Stories (it's
available on amazon). Here's what they say about it: Interesting,
well-written, imaginatively illustrated and designed book… there are
rich rewards for those who enter the fascinating stories inside. (Ibby
Link ) Well worth buying if you're visiting this fascinating city.
Storm of Bad Publicity
/2009-05-25/ I bought tickets for an open-air concert of cinematic
music on Krakow’s common field but it was moved due to storm.
Unfortunately the new venue didn’t have sufficient capacity and a
good number of people were left out, including myself. Apart from
spoiled evening I have no idea how to recover my ticket money.
Church of Divine Mercy
/2009-04-26/ Was to Divine Mercy sanctuary in
Krakow last Sunday. Revealing experience.
/2009-04-18/ My girlfriend talked me into visiting the
mountain resort of Zakopane near Krakow when in Poland recently.
The bus ride was long owing to its snail’s pace but the
Tatra Mountains deserve the effort. We had planned it as a
day-trip from Krakow so we had to find lodgings on arrival in
Zakopane to stay there overnight. Fortunately there were available
guestrooms, comfortable enough for such uncritical couple.
/2009-04-14/ The curious and courageous may pay to ascend 150 meters
up in a gondola attached under a helium-filled balloon to take a
look at downtown Krakow from the high. The
balloon goes only up and down and is moored on the Wisla river
embankment near Most Grunwaldzki bridge, some 300 meters south of
the Wawel Royal Castle. Apart from the
trills of tethered ballooning the unrestricted view of Krakow is
better from the top of Kosciuszko Mound, Kopiec
Kosciuszki (elevation 329 meters). Climbing the mound is also
much cheaper even if it requires greater effort and the hilltop
barrow isn’t close to the Old Town historic
district of Krakow.
/2009-04-04/ Oskar Schindler’s factory at 4
Lipowa street is open to visitors who may see a temporary show until
the opening of a permanent exhibition in the fall of this year. The
current exhibits largely consist in photos that document the fates
of the plant, its wartime German owner Oskar Schindler, and his
Jewish laborers during World War II.
Easter in Krakow
/2009-04-03/ I go to spend Easter in the city and hope that
hostels in Krakow operate as usual. I want to stay from Saturday
to Monday because I know there is a local Krakow festival on that
/2009-03-26/ I know this historic city is full of ancient monuments
but I’m more interested in the Polish
national parks near Krakow. As a wildlife enthusiast, fervent
hiker, and keen bird-watcher I favour an hour walk in woodland over
a whole day in a museum. I’ve heard that there’re a few national
parks in the area, some as close as an hour’s drive from the
downtown. So I plan to split my May break in the city between
sightseeing tours of Krakow and visiting one or more national
parks. In the first place, I’m keen to see Tatra Mountains.
/2009-03-20/ Krakow is the most fascinating city I have been to in
the last six months. Seriously!
Michelin Restaurants 2009 in Krakow
/2009-03-18/ This year’s edition of the Michelin red guide, Main
Cities of Europe 2009, mentions sixteen
restaurants in Krakow. They are as follows, in alphabetical
order, Ancora at 3 Dominikanska street, C.K. Dezerter at 6 Bracka,
Copernicus at 16 Kanonicza, Culd-de-Sac at 4 Na Grodku, Cyrano de
Bergerac at 26 Slawkowska, Del Papa at 6 Sw. Tomasza, Farina at 16
Sw. Marka, Leonardo at 20 Szpitalna, Miod Malina at 40 Grodzka, Pod
Roza at 14 Florianska, Szara at 6 Rynek Glowny, Szara Kazimierz at
39 Szeroka, Tesoro del Mar at 6 Jozefa, Wentzl at 19 Rynek Glowny,
Wesele at 10 Rynek Glowny, and Wierzynek at 15 Rynek Glowny. The
last three eateries – Wentzl, Wesele, and Wierzynek – are few meters
from one another in the southern corner of Krakow’s central square.
Curiously, the city’s gourmets unanimously consider a couple of the
above mediocre by comparison whereas any local gastronome can
mention at least another sixteen restaurants in Krakow which would
rather merit inclusion.
/2009-03-15/ Be careful booking hotel in
Krakow online. Planning a weekend break in the city I make room
reservation on an apparently decent local website. They rank high in
searching and the site is glitzy and looks authoritative. And first
of all, it displays scores of hotels in Krakow and promise best
rates. On arrival it turned out that they couldn’t deliver. The
hotel expected me next week, a single room was booked instead of a
double one, there was no restaurant on the premises, and the
location wasn’t exactly central as promised on the website. I’ve
also learned that the hotel has off-season rates now, substantially
lower than the amount I was charged on the website that has refused
to refund the difference.
/2009-03-10/ Drinks at bars in Krakow are
really cheap indeed. Some watering holes in the city center sell
beer for one euro or close to it. Local vodkas are little more. Only
imported spirits such as Scotch whisky and French brandies are
/2009-03-07/ Welcome to frugal Krakow. The
city is friendlier to backpackers than other places I recently
visited. I had no problems with finding a cheap
hostel in Krakow and it satisfied all my needs. Usually I dodge
but this time how could I resist a three-course dinner for just
three euros? Both public transport and
beer is affordable and there is no shortage of
free amusement, concerts and the like.
City Had Some Surprises
/2009-02-28/ Travel to Krakow from London
by plane was pleasantly short and arrival to
Krakow Airport didn’t cause any trouble. I was even able to
change money I brought with me from the UK, sterling, into
local currency. Also distance between the airport and the city
centre turned out surprisingly short. Another surprise – all tourist
attractions were open even as it’s off-season and it showed.
Making Sense of 6 Senses Festival in Krakow
/2009-02-19/ They are organized every year. Some are new, some well
established. Six Senses Festivals in
Krakow are meant as the city’s flagship
cultural events. Almost every month at least one takes place.
Some months hold as much as three festivals of the 6 Senses series.
For instance there three ‘main events’ in May – Photomonth,
Cracow Screen Festival and Film Music Festival –
plus one ‘premier event’ – Krakow Film Festival. November contains
two ‘main events’, namely Joseph Conrad Literature Festival
in November and Festival of Polish Music,
as well as one ‘premier event’ - Etiuda&Anima International Film
/2009-02-14/ I expected freezing weather in
Krakow in mid February and the city has obliged with negative
temperatures day and night plus a round-the-clock snowstorm. But
despite the icy cold and heavy snowfall – because of it? – people
look happy. Also, St Valentine’s Day is surprisingly popular here,
at least with retailers.
Easter Festival, Hallelujah!
/2009-02-05/ This year’s Easter festival of
classical music in Krakow called Misteria Paschalia takes place
throughout the entire Holy Week and Easter
holiday from Monday, April 6 through Monday, April 13. It
consists of daily concerts that feature Europe’s top early music
ensembles and excellent soloists. Concert programmes contain a
refreshing selection of the finest music by outstanding Italian and
French composers of the baroque.
/2009-01-16/ I’m in the city third time. Always staying in
hostels in Krakow I think them usually better than such places
elsewhere in Eastern Europe. And good hostels here are easy to find
in the city center.
Seeking Good Properties
/2009-01-14/ I want to buy a flat in Krakow or
other residential property. I’ve heard
Krakow’s real estate is down as anywhere else so I expect a
bargain price. All good offers are welcome. Email me at
Going Out and Down
/2009-01-11/ Last Friday we enjoyed nightlife
in Krakow, mixed feelings. Most places are cramped, some
appeared deserted, and one cellar spot stunk like hell. Yet
generally the city’s night scene proved vibrant and full of lively
places to have fun. Touring nightclubs in
Krakow centre and the Jewish quarter as well we found local DJs
who were able to spin great sets, wild crowds, and no shortage of
cute babes who knew how to enjoy themselves.
Christmas Is Still Here
/2009-01-10/ Surprise, surprise! Christmas
is still going on in Krakow in the middle of January. Holiday
decorations, Christmas trees, and nativity scenes – all in place.
Also caroling – last night I was to a concert of carols. Only fake
Santas are gone, and the shopping spree seems over. Want to enjoy
the Holiday spirit as it once was? Come to
Krakow in January.
From Russia with Love
/2009-01-09/ In the past I worked a couple of years in Moscow. Now I
live in Krakow for some time. So can say Russian language from
Polish. The city looks very popular with visitors from Russia these
days. Last week I met many Russians, young and old,
shopping in downtown malls, dining out in
Krakow restaurants, and sipping cappuccino in coffee houses.
They appear to replace Japanese tourists who used to swarm Krakow
streets in summer but now I haven’t noticed any.
Fine to Dine
/2009-01-03/ I found quite a few good
restaurants in Krakow. We spent five days in the city on the New
Year. Staying in a hotel in downtown Krakow
we were able to dine out in five fine restaurants, all of them