Krakow, the second largest city in Poland and former capital, is a good choice for an incredibly affordable destination with a medieval vibe and great architecture. However, there are a few things that may surprise you in a good or a bad way.
1. Money makes the world go round
The exchange rates in Krakow are quite high, especially at the airport. If you want to exchange currencies after you arrive, think again.
By far, the best choice is to roughly calculate how much money you are going to need and exchange this sum of money from your hometown.
The tickets from the airport to the city cost 9 PLN per person for a one-way ticket. The food is quite cheap. Try to research a few of the places you want to eat at and see their menus for prices.
2. Google Maps is worthless
When arriving in Krakow, your first instinct will be to open Google Maps and find the best way to go to the city. But for some reason, Google Maps will simply not cooperate with you. The only way it shows is to use the LEO EXPRESS, which is nowhere to be found.
Instead, follow the sign ´Train to the city´. This train is scheduled to depart every 30 mins.
3. Ticket Madness
At the train station outside the airport, there are only 2 ticket machines with MANY people waiting. You may find yourself waiting for more than 40 minutes, and you will definitely lose at least one train.
What you must know is that if you have Polish money, you can enter the train and pay inside.
4. Shop your heart out
Any Polish city is great for shopping since everything is quite affordable with sales up to 80%.
Besides well-known clothing stores, such as Bershka, C&A, Pull&Bear and more you will find many Polish ones with better prices and more unique clothes.
The drugstore Hebe, has two stores in Krakow and has a variety of brands at very low prices.
5. Gotta love the bakeries
Who does not love baked goods that smell great and taste even better? In every corner in Krakow, you will come across bakeries with a variety of pastries and local goodies. Just get inside and try as much as you can.
6. Smell your lungs out
Polish people love cleanliness. ANYWHERE and I mean anywhere you go, you will realise that everything smells amazing. People, malls, streets, sights, restaurants, hotels, even public bathrooms smell amazing.
7. Souvenir without existence
Every city will always promote some specific sights. Every city makes a big profit from tourists that buy souvenirs of those famous sights.
What if, Krakow had a souvenir of a sight that was nowhere to be found???
The fire-breathing dragon is located in the Wavel Castle, but only from April to October.
While in Krakow, you will see the dragon in every kind of souvenir; fridge magnets, teddy bears, chocolates, postcards and more have the dragon in them, possibly making it the ´maskot´of the town.
However, no one will buy a souvenir to remind them something they never saw…