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Krakow, Poland: A Weekend in Krakow




I will say it again and again, Poland is one of the most underrated countries in Europe. It has beautiful small towns with gorgeous architecture, so many historical museums and locations, shockingly stunning mountains, and - of course - some delicious foods. We spent the weekend in Krakow, a favorite of mine, and I thought I’d share how we enjoyed this historic and tasty town.



Start the day by walking over to the Main Square (Rynek Główny) of Krakow Old Town (Kraków Stare Miasto). I highly recommend arriving in the morning before the plaza completely fills. In the center, you’ll find the historic Cloth Hall. Cloth Hall is one of the oldest marketplaces in all of Europe, and has some great souvenirs. Poland is known for its gorgeous Amber which can be found all over the marketplace, and although authentic Amber can be quite pricey, I bought myself some Amber earrings as a nice Krakow gift!



Right outside is a cafe where you can enjoy some coffee and a delicious Polish brunch of breads, Kaszanka sausage, and Polish cheeses like Oscypek and Bursztyn.


What is Kaszanka? Kaszanka is a pigs blood sausage

Tell me more about Oscypek! It is a delicious smoked cheese made of salted sheep's milk that hails from Poland's Tatra Mountains.



After a bite, visit the famous lop-sided St. Mary Basilica, an absolutely gorgeous church right in the city center. Then make your way over to the St. Florian’s Gate. This old city gate is down the cutest street, perfect for those who enjoy strolling around new cities!



After getting a good tour of the city center area, I might recommend having some traditional pierogi as a lighter local meal to rest your feet.


What are pierogi? Pierogi are one of the most famous Polish foods that you can find, and it's for good reason. This dumpling-like food is filled with meats and cheeses, often plated with sauerkraut (aka fermented cabbage, a popular addition in Poland) and sauces. Yum, yum, yum.



Then, maybe try a fun vodka tasting just down the street! Why not? Poland is known for having some of the best vodka in the world, and unknown to many Americans, can come in a wide variety of local flavors. I highly recommend going to the adorable Wodka Café Bar, where you can get a flight of flavors you’d like to taste test. We shared a tasting of hazelnut, chili chocolate, sloe, plum, elderberry, and more!


After that, I take a stroll through the park, through the beautiful St. Florian's Gate and over to the famous Jewish Quarters, where you can visit one of the oldest Synagogues in Europe (the oldest in Poland!). If you’re up for it, you can even make your way down to the riverfront where across the way, you’ll find the historic Jewish Ghetto and Schindler locations.



Walking down the riverfront, you’ll find lovely views and riverboats to grab a drink. I recommend stopping at a cart to try a obwarzanek krakowski as a snack.



What is obwarzanek?

It is ring-shaped, braided bread (similar to a bagel) that is boiled and often topped with sesame or poppy seeds. It’s famously sold from street carts in Krakow, where it apparently has been granted status of regional food with protected geographical indication.


The waterfront walkway will take you through the parks until you find your way to the famous Wawel Castle. Here, you can pay to enter and explore the gorgeous interior and church, or you can simply walk around the property and enjoy the castle architecture.



I know by this point you’re probably stuffed, but the best is yet to come! We sat down and enjoyed a delicious Polish meal at Restauracja Wentzl. Here we had an amazing (and amazingly adorable) meal of traditional Polish dishes. We started with the appetizers of steak tartar and Golabki.



What is Steak Tatar? Steak Tartar (pictured above left) is raw steak minced up with onions and egg yolk, and absolutely packed with flavor. A great way to start the meal and a personal favorite!


What is Golabki? Golabki (pictured above center), otherwise known as cabbage rolls, have a delicious thin cabbage layer to hold together amazing minced meat inside. Even if you don’t love cabbage, don’t let that deter you. The inside is typically stuffed with amazing minced, flavorful meats.


Finally, it’s time to roll back to the hotel & sleep off all the deliciousness and beauty Poland has to offer.


Enjoy!



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