Krakow by car
This one of the biggest cities in Poland is located only 2 hours of flight from every London airports, which makes it easily accessible and affordable weekend break. You can get there easily by plane. If you are going to rent a car on place there is some things you need to know. The central part of Krakow is paid parking zone, so do not forget to buy a ticket (in the ticket machine, or using one of the applications like skycash). You can also leave your car on park and ride parking, but then you will have to get around with public communication.
Krakow by bus or train
There are also few other options, like Flixbus, but it also takes more time (around 9 hours) and includes change. Also intercity provides us with a train connection, and thankfully it rides takes only about 6 hours. In case you choose bus or train option, you will debark at the Main Train/Bus Station, which is located in the very centre of the city. You can ask a taxi to drive you to the hotel, but public communication is also efficient. Please find more information about the public transport here.
Surprising fact: the closest tram and bus stop is called Teatr Slowackiego.
Thankfully, Krakow is very easily reachable from every biggest airport in London and United Kingdom and after two hours of flight we can be welcomed in Poland.
Krakow airport is located in Balice, around 20 kilometres from the city centre. Do not worry, it is also efficiently communicated. You can reach Krakow city by bus or train, tickets are available in ticket machines at the airport hall and train station. There are also always taxis waiting for you in front of the entrance, but sometimes it can bit a bit expensive. The last opportunity is Krakow airport transfer, which drives you from the arrival hall directly under your accommodation doors.
You can stay in various types of accommodation. In Krakow, there are plenty o top-shelf hotels, especially in City Centre, in close distance from Wawel Castle. Of course, there are also cheaper one, as well as hostels and Airbnb offer. Vide range of possibilities from different price ranges makes Krakow affordable for everyone.
Jews in Krakow
As you may know, Krakow history is inextricably linked with the Jewish community, they have been living here for almost 500 years. Before World War Second it was inhabited by over 56 thousands Jews. It was one of the biggest centres in Poland. Unfortunately, nearly all of them has been exterminated during the War. Right now there still live a small Jewish community in Krakow, but most of them left Poland during or after War. All we have now is memory and numerous monuments.
Kazimierz is one of Krakow’s most exciting districts, originally entirely inhabited by Jews, now is one of the famous must-see places. Among winding, narrow streets we can find few Synagogues (two of them are still open!), original shops with characteristic banners, restaurants with hummus and traditional Jewish dishes. All in the magical atmosphere of unknown culture we are going to meet!
One of the mentioned synagogues is transformed into a museum. Here, in Stara Synagoga, you can experience Jewish life, and owing to multiple exhibitions, meet their history and culture. Sabbath Day, Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, bar mitzvah, Purim – you will get familiar to all of these concepts after visiting this museum.
We advise also taking a walk around Kazimierz, during which you can see residues of Ghetto wall, on Szeroka Street you can notice interesting shops with original, Jewish banners, characteristic buildings and murals along the road… All of these features comprise on magical atmosphere of Kazimierz.
The second most crucial museum associated with Jews is one located in former Schindlers Factory. May you seen Steven Spielberg’s movie called “Schindler’s List”. This is the story about the owner of Enamel Factory who saved thousands of Jewish lives by employing them. In the museum, you can get familiar with Krakow everyday life during War, including both Polish and Jewish. In the original building of Factory, due to numerous exhibitions, you will get to know the terrible story, but also the everyday life of Jews. It is really worth visiting!
The most prominent memorial of the most terrifying extermination camp in Europe is Auschwitz-Birkenau. Here, in the original area of the camp, you will meet the horrible story of convicts. This is not place you visit to enjoy, this is the place where you should learn the lesson and pay tribute. This is the symbol of terror and genocide.
Auschwitz-Birkenau is located in Oświęcim, around 70 kilometres away from Krakow. You can get there with a rented car, bus or by attending an organised tour. It consists of two camps – the main one called Auschwitz and the second Birkenau. Sightseeing takes around 3.5 hours, and during a guided tour, you can meet a terrific everyday life of prisoners, War history and far more. On the premises of the former concentration camp, inside barracks, there are plenty of exhibitions and untouched places. Gallows, execution place, the remains of the crematorium… Yet it is not a nice attraction, it should be visited at least once by all of us.
Hope you will not be discouraged by the last place described here. It is essential to tribute history and pay attention to do not repeat mistakes.
However, Krakow is one of the prettiest cities in Europe. It offers more than a few attractions mentioned above. For more leads and tips on how to organise your leisure time in Poland, please check krakow.wiki site.