5 tips for the out-of-beaten track activities in Krakow
Hate crushing crowds of tourists, exploding from every possible street? Tired of standing the whole day in endless queues? Interested in alternative ways of sightseeing? Check our recommendations and discover a more relaxing (but not boring!) way of traveling through Krakow.
1. Make your piece of art in Stained Glass Museum
Start with a coffee in the cozy cafeteria and move in time to the beginning of the 20th century, where the story has begun… Stained Glass Workshop & Museum is a real gem of Polish Art Nouveau and a place like no others. You can feel it by watching the master craftsmen at work. You can look everywhere and touch everything, learning about the process of stained glass production, which remains unchanged since the Middle Ages. And it’s all in the building designed for special request in 1908! Don’t miss your chance to check your manual skills during special workshops – you may create your own piece stained glass object and take it home. Feel like a real artist!
2. Indulge in self-reflection in the Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec
On the outskirts of Krakow, on a steep limestone rock over the Vistula River, you will find a magical place with almost one thousand years of history. The Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec, the oldest monastery in Poland, was carefully rebuilt from ruins after II World War. Now it is opened for the public, giving a chance to experience the living Benedictine traditions, where the hours of prayers and work mark the daily rhythm. By taking part in vespers and contemplation you can listen to Gregorian chants. If you attend the local workshops, you can learn skills that are almost forgotten nowadays: calligraphy and illumination. During your stay it is a must to visit the Baroque monastery church of St. Peter & St. Paul, where you may adore magnificent high altar made of black marble and beautiful wooden stalls. In the local shop you may buy some delicious Benedictine products, like mass wine, rowan juice or various herbs.
3. Experience the real taste of Krakow on the food walking tour
Explore buzzling markets, locally-owned bars and food vendors off the main tourist trail. Get up early and spend some time in Stary Kleparz, the oldest market in Krakow, where merchants have been meeting their clients continuously since 1335! The meat, cheese and fruits offered here are second to none. Keep moving your steps toward the most delicious place ever, the Obwarzanek Museum! You will learn there about the culinary symbol of Krakow – the inconspicuous ring made of parboiled dough sprinkled with salt, poppy seed or sesame. Its spherical shape symbolizes the circle of life and is said to bring happiness. Loved by both Cracovians and tourists, some say even the Wawel Dragon adore it! During the culinary show, full of secrets, histories and hard work, you will prepare your own obwarzanek, which you can take away as a hot and fragrant souvenir. And what about dinner? The best choice is to try local specialties: zapiekanka (Polish open-faced sandwich) at Endzior in the heart of Kazimierz district or juicy sausage from the blue Nysa from the market hall. Mustard and orangeade are obligatory!
4. Get to the top of Kosciuszko Mound and feel like a king of the world
Are you looking for amazing views? Go to Podgorze district and head on a winding path to the top of the Kosciuszko Mound (326 meters above sea level) to see one of the most beautiful panoramas of Krakow. All the main tourist attractions of Krakow can be seen from the top, including Wawel Castle, St. Mary’s Basilica, the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) and the Main Square. With a little luck you will be able to notice even the Tatra Mountains! But the fantastic landscape is not the only reason why this place is worth visiting. You can also learn here about the history of the Polish road to freedom, see memorials of famous Poles and visit a unique historic citadel, one of the oldest preserved elements of the Krakow’s fortress. After visiting Kosciuszko Mound you should know why Count Paul Strzelecki named the highest mountain in Australia Mount Kosciuszko. 😊
5. Get a crazy ride through Nowa Huta
Nowa Huta is the youngest district of Krakow, founded in 1949 as a showcase of Poland in the world. Its urban and architectural plan was designed as a mix of Renaissance and communist influences. To not lose anything from this unique, old-fashioned atmosphere, you should choose the special transportation – Trabant automobile. Make yourself comfortable in this small plastic-bodied car, manufactured in the former East German Democratic Republic, and begin the journey! You will visit the most well-known places, like the Central Square of Promenades and the so-called Dozow Palace. You will also see the churches known for their essential role during the creation and activity of the “Solidarnosc” movement and demonstrations against the communist regime in the 1980s. The adventure would be incomplete without dinner in the climatic “Stylowa” restaurant and a visit to an apartment in a block-of-flats from the 1970s.
Now it’s your turn! Choose the best solution and remember – the unforgettable places are just around the corner! You just have to stray from the crowded tourist trails and go on to a whole new adventure!