I Heart My City: Ewelina’s Krakow

Ewelina Tłuczek isn’t originally from Krakow, but after living there for the last 10 years, it has become her city of choice — and one she writes about for Spotted by Locals – a series of blogs, PDF city guides, and smartphone apps on 44 cities in Europe. For Ewelina, someone whose motto is carpe diem and who wishes there were more than 24 hours in a day, Krakow is the perfect fit: not too big, not too small — a place where “you can do everything you want.” Check out Ewelina on her Spotted By Locals blog, then add your own recommendations for the city she hearts: Krakow.

Kraków is My City

When I have visitors, the first place I take them is Wawel Hill, which is pretty close to the Main Market and has a nice view of the Vistula River.

Oskar Schindler's factory is now a museum. (Photograph by Poland MFA, Flickr)

My city’s best museum is Fabryka Schindlera (Schindler’s Factory) where you can find out how the city looked under Nazi occupation during World War II and Sukiennice Underground where you can see the history of Krakow from the very beginning.

Krakuska is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs. 

You can see my city best from Kościuszki Mound. If the weather is good you can see all of Krakow’s many neighborhoods. There are also great views to be had from the tower of St. Mary’s Church and Wawel Hill.

Locals know to skip the trams when visiting the city center or Kazimierz and check out little walks instead.

The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is along the Vistula River (I recommend taking a bike ride), at Błonia (one of Europe’s biggest urban meadows), or Wisla River’s boulevards (a popular recreational space with walking alleys and bicycle paths).

Krakow's main square, Rynek Główny. (Photograph by Skittledog, Flickr)

You can tell a lot about my city by sitting in one of the beer gardens on the Main Market, drinking coffee, and just looking at the city and people.

For a fancy night out, I treat myself to Asian food at Edo Sushi Bar.

Just outside my city, you can visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines where, as one of my friends said, you will see that Polish people are crazy because they’ve even built a church underground.

Charlotte at Plac Szczepański (you can order breakfast ’til 23:00) is my favorite place to grab breakfast, and Plac Nowy with its zapiekanki (halved bread topped with cheese, meats, and vegetables and baked in the oven) and Hala Targowa with its sausages are the spots for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read Moje Miasto or Dzieje się w Krakowie‘s Facebook page.

The Botanic Garden is owned by Jagiellonian University, the oldest university in Poland. (Photograph by Ewelina Tuczek)

When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to Pod Temidą.

To escape the crowds, I visit one of the many parks in Krakow (like Park Lotników, Park Bednarskiego in Podgórze, Willa Decjusza en Wola Justowska) or the Botanical Garden. In Kraków you just need to find your own “quiet place.”

If my city were a celebrity it’d be James Bond played by Daniel Craig – not the youngest one, but still interesting and full of secrets. Someone with class and charisma who’s changing all the time.

The most random thing about my city is that despite the lack of access to the sea we have a beach located vis-a-vis Wawel Castle. There’s also a march dedicated to the dachshund in Krakow every year.

A participant in Krakow's annual Dachshund Parade. (Photograph by Simczuk, Flickr)

Lizard King and Showtime are the best places to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out Stajnia in Kazimierz.

A trumpeter playing the bugle call “Hejnał Mariacki” four times consecutively each hour from the highest tower of St. Mary’s Church could only happen in my city.

In the spring you should take a walk to Krakus Mound at Podgórze; a nice, green hill where you can take a blanket and relax.

In the summer you should drink a beer outside Drukarnia on Podgórze and take in the great view of the sunset or check out the Coke Live Music Festival in August.

In the fall you should take an evening walk through the misty Planty gardens.

Take in the view (and hourly bugling) at St. Mary's Church. (Photograph by _perSona_, Flickr)

In the winter you should visit the Christmas Market and try hot beer or wine with fruits and spices.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss the Stanislaw Lem Garden of Experiences, an open-air education exhibition allowing kids to explore the natural world and the laws of physics.

The best book about my city is Z pamiętnika niemłodej już mężatki by Magdalena Samozwaniec. It depicts Kraków at the beginning of the 20th century and is full of anecdotes, characters, and events from a world that no longer exists.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is “Krakow,” a collaboration between the band Myslovitz and Marek Grechuta, a Polish famous singer, songwriter, composer, and lyricist strongly associated with the city.

In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because it’s a magical place where you can do everything you want. Quoting song lyrics: “today Kraków has such a strength, like never before.”

Comments

  1. Rohit
    Delhi
    November 24, 2012, 4:17 am

    wow… this has to be one place worth adding to ‘places to go’ list. I have been planning to travel to Europe and Poland and Germany have been on my mind. I read about Stuttgart on this source: http://on.fb.me/UeRICe and have been interested since. Would like to read about this place in some blog

  2. Ricky Flintoff
    November 26, 2012, 7:49 am

    Really a Great post. . . . . I was looking for Krakow travel guide and information; this article will help me to plan my trip. I am using an online social trip planning tool “JoGuru.com”, has anyone used it? Please tell me your suggestions.

  3. Lidia Melby
    December 14, 2012, 8:27 am

    I love Krakow, very beautiful city!!