Would you like to visit Krakow? Join Gisela, one of our eDreams Travel Guides, on her trip to this amazing Polish city. Discover what to see in Krakow and make a note of the most useful tips to plan your trip: what to pack in your suitcase, the most famous markets, curiosities about traditional celebrations and even a very special sweet treat.
Press play and don’t miss anything Krakow has to offer!
The delicious kürtőskalács
Also known as ‘chimney cake’, this sweet is not typical of Poland, but of neighbouring Hungary. The truth is that it is consumed in many countries in Central Europe, where they can be found mostly at local fairs and markets.
Its shape is as interesting as the way it is cooked. The kürtőskalács is a basic dough of flour, eggs, milk, sugar and yeast that is rolled on a special kind of cylindrical spit. Once placed, it is cooked in charcoals over an open fire, turned until it is cooked on all sides. When the dough is golden brown, it is covered with toppings such as sugar, cinnamon, chocolate chips, chopped nuts or grated coconut. There are also kürtőskalács filled with cream or ice cream – the possibilities are endless!
If you are a sweetie lover, you cannot miss other Polish desserts during your visit to Krakow, such as the poppy seed roll, the Polish version of the cheesecake and the sweet pierogis.
Easter celebrations in Poland
Did you know that Easter is the most important celebration of the year in Krakow and the rest of Poland? More than 80% of the population of Poland is Catholic, and Easter is considered to be more important than Christmas. A country famous for its Easter markets, if you travel to Krakow or any other Polish city during this time, you will find the streets and squares decorated with seasonal motifs such as eggs, storks, nests and flowers. The one in Krakow is held every year in the Great Market Square, exhibiting locally-made products of all kinds, as well as food stalls.
Polish Easter is full of traditions and rituals, such as the blessing of baskets during Holy Saturday. Entire families come to churches with wicker baskets full of eggs, cold cuts and cookies to be blessed. These foods will be consumed the following morning, during Easter Sunday’s breakfast.
Living this great celebration in Krakow is an unmissable experience, but bear in mind that if you travel in and around Easter, you may find many of the points of interest in the city are closed on Easter Sunday or Monday. This is the case of the Wawel Castle, Oscar Schindler’s Factory and the city’s museums.
How to pack your suitcase
The best time to travel to Krakow is either in spring, or in autumn. During these two seasons, temperatures tend to be milder and visits to the city become more pleasant than in winter or summer.
If you plan to visit the city in spring, as in the case of the video above, the weather may vary. It is advisable to check the weather forecast before you fly, but expect temperatures of anywhere up to around 20 degrees celsius. The most practical option is to layer up and bring a coat just in case, so you can put on or take off clothes depending on the temperature. At the same time, you should always carry an umbrella in your suitcase, as it can rain without notice.
Saint Mary’s Basilica of Krakow
Saint Mary’s Basilica of Krakow is the most visited cathedral in Krakow and one of the most famous in the whole country. It is located in the Great Market Square, in the nerve centre of the city, and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1978. It is a Gothic-style building with two imposing towers; the highest of 80 metres, with a golden crown at the top, and a second tower of 69 metres high. The interior of the cathedral is definitely worth a visit. Contrasting with its sober orange brick exterior, the vaults, walls and inner columns are painted with brightly coloured murals that will surprise you.
If you visit the cathedral, every hour you can see a trumpeter playing a traditional Polish song from the highest tower. Where does this tradition come from and why is the song abruptly interrupted? According to the legend, in the Middle Ages, a guard stood day and night in this tower and, if there was any danger, he warned the inhabitants of the city by playing the trumpet. In 1241, Krakow suffered a tartar invasion and, while the trumpeter gave the alarm, an enemy arrow pierced his throat. For this reason, the melody suddenly ends, on the same note that the trumpeter played when he died.
Now that you have the best tips for visiting Krakow, when will you book your ticket to go?