Krakow, the second largest city in Poland, leads the country in academic, cultural, and artistic life. You’ll find yourself with a multitude of options waiting on every corner. Hop onto one of the 22 trams in the city to wind up in the Grand Square, also referred to as Rynek Glowny. Hail a horse-drawn carriage and explore the areas around Wawel Castle, and the beautiful Wawel Cathedral. Even without a subway system, navigating the city of Krakow is easy – and if you can tour by foot it will undoubtedly leave you with some breathtaking photographs for your scrapbook.
Food & Culture
P is for Poland – and Pierogi! These delicious dumplings are one of Poland’s national dishes, and can be found pan-fried or boiled all over Krakow. Whether you’re in the mood for spinach, beef, cheese, or mushroom, Pierogis are a must-try for every traveler. Of course, one dish is never enough, so an order of the local Kielbasa (sausage) and Sernik (cheese cake) will satisfy even the heartiest of stomachs. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a liter of Tyskie – the most popular brew in the region.
Krakow is known for its alternative nightlife, and rightly so! With a scene for everyone, it’s not surprising that traveling students and tourists alike flock to the city every year to spend a night on the town. Inside the Grand Square, you’ll find dozens of pubs, clubs, and bars – namely Prozak 2.0, the newly renovated and re-imagined multi-level dance club that attracts locals and expats alike.
Things to Do
Looking for a mellow night? Hit up Shisha Club, Krakow’s most popular hookah lounge. With nightly events (belly dancing, anyone?), Shisha has a great vibe and great prices – and some out-of-this-world flavor combinations. For those of you trying to blur the lines between tonight and tomorrow morning, check out Frantic. You'll just have to trust the locals and experienced Krakow visitors.
The city of Krakow is an eclectic collection of architectural wonders – as the city evolved over time, so did the tastes and trends in architectural style. From a historical standpoint, there are several must-sees located across the city. Main Market Square (Grand Square) is home to towering spires and daunting palaces. A blend of Renaissance and Gothic era architecture, this area offers some of the most picturesque shots you could ever find, especially with the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) and St. Mary’s Basilica looming overhead. Don’t skip out on the Barbican, one of three such military fortifications still standing in all of Europe; this ancient outpost was once connected to the original city walls of Krakow.
Lastly, for more active students, a trip to Kościuszko Mound is definitely in order, while it is a bit further removed than other attractions, it offers a view of the entire city and the Vistula River. Standing over 300 metres (or over 1,00 feet) above sea level, this artificial mound was constructed in 1823 and offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views in all of Europe.