After arriving into Krakow it was great to have our transfer driver waiting for us ready to whisk us off to the hotel. After check-in we decided to have a quick wander round to get our bearings and check out the Christmas Markets in the square all lit up with bright lights. So we had a little try of the mulled wine on offer at the market! Krakow had some very surprising warm wind coming from the south in the days before our arrival so there was no snow, but everything was still lit up and very festive.
The next morning, we were up early and off for our Jewish culture tour. This was a really informative and at times quite emotional experiencing what life was like before and during the Nazi occupation of Krakow for the Jewish community. Our tour also included a visit of Oskar Schindler’s factory and many locations used in Spielberg’s film.
After this we were in dire need of some lunch and after a great tip from some locals ended up in a quirky and cheap restaurant called Zenit in the heart of the old Jewish quarter.
After some more sightseeing in the old Jewish quarter we headed off in search of the castle, we got there via a lovely footpath that wound round the river. I think this would be a fantastic spot in the summer, it was so pretty and was a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the centre of Krakow but a little cold in mid-December!
The Wawel Castle sits on top of a hill of the same name overlooking the river in one direction and back onto the old town of Krakow the other way. By the time we made it up there the light was fading so it was a quick visit but it is definitely worth a heading up if you have a bit longer, the cathedral is very imposing and there is even a dragons den to explore.
Our second and last day in Krakow was spent checking out Osprey’s hotels, along with a bit of shopping in the Galeria Krakowska. Whatever you are looking for you will find it here, 250 shops over 3 levels and another Christmas market just outside as well, we popped in for a quick look and were still there an hour later.
We also went and visited the 75th Annual Krakow Christmas crib or ‘szopki’ competition. Something of a strange cross between a nativity scene, a gingerbread house, and a dollhouse, these unique structures more resemble colourful, foil-covered castles or cathedrals than cribs and are the bizarre result of a folk tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. Re-popularised in 1937 with the first official Christmas Crib Competition.
After some more fantastic food at another local gem Gospoda Hulajdusza, just off the main square, it was just about time to go pick up our bags and head for the airport.
Krakow is a great city with so much to explore, 2 days just wasn’t enough, we can’t wait to go back and see more!