48 hours in Krakow: What to see and where to eat in Poland’s capital of culture

Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland and is full of architectural gems.
Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland and is full of architectural gems. Copyright Lucas Albuquerque
By Rebecca Ann Hughes
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland and is full of architectural gems.

ADVERTISEMENT

If you’re looking for a cheap summer holiday destination that’s not short on attractions, this Polish city might be the answer.

Kraków, one of the oldest cities in the eastern European country, has plenty to offer budget travellers.

The city has a variety of dining options - including excellent affordable vegan food - and architectural splendour from the Renaissance to Art Nouveau.

Here’s why Kraków, dubbed Poland’s culture capital, should be on your bucket list for 2023.

What to see in Kraków: A town centre of architectural excellence

With 1,000 years of architectural history under its belt, Kraków is a design masterpiece - and most of it you can see without spending a penny.

Start by hiking up to the formidable fortified Wawel Royal Castle. Built on a limestone outcrop, it boasts some of the earliest examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture in Poland.

For a microcosm of Kraków’s changing architectural styles, head to the Rynek Główny square in the heart of the city.

Katarzyna Pracuch
In the centre of the square, you can admire the fanciful 16th century Cloth Hall, with a sweeping portico and scroll-topped facade.Katarzyna Pracuch

Here, you can find the world's largest late-Gothic altarpiece housed in the dim interiors of St Mary's Basilica, recognisable by its asymmetrical soaring spires.

In contrast, the simple, squat church of St Wojciech is an example of the earlier Romanesque structures and is one of the oldest in Poland.

In the centre of the square, you can admire the fanciful 16th century Cloth Hall, with a sweeping portico and scroll-topped facade.

Where to eat in Kraków: Stuffed dumplings and Polish pizza

In Kraków, you can eat well and affordably from dawn to dusk. A meal in an informal restaurant can cost as little as €7.50 per person while a 0.5l beer is under €3, according to global database Numbeo.

Start the day as you mean to go on with breakfast at LAS. You can try sticky cinnamon pastries or indulgent cheesecake and you are actively encouraged to order prosecco alongside your coffee.

For a lunchtime snack, head to bakery Piekarnia Awiteks for a kapusniak cabbage pastry.

For a dinner that feels luxury without the price tag, try Mieta Restobar inside a cream palazzo of elegant neoclassical design. Make sure you try their homemade pierogi dumplings with a variety of fillings.

Alternatively, Poland’s answer to pizza makes for a satisfying, cheap dinner. The street food classic is served at Zapiekanki on Plac Nowy and consists of a half baguette topped with whatever you fancy.

Vegan and vegetarian restaurants are having something of a moment in Kraków and a study recently ranked the city as the most affordable destination in Europe to be vegan.

Try Youmiko sushi or the self-service Glonojad cafeteria serving potato pancakes, falafel and soups.

If you’ve had your fill of Polish fare, try out Molam, a Thai canteen and bar with an edgy interior of industrial lighting and neon signs. Or sample some ramen in the whitewashed interior of Akita Ramen decorated with trailing plants.

Share this articleComments

You might also like