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Poland : Krakow - September 2010

Country Code: Dial ++48 for Poland

Vibrant, cosmopolitan Krakow’s cobbled streets, cellar pubs, cafés and Grand Square make it a must-see eastern European city. September sees Beit Khaddash at the Centre of Jewish Culture, presenting a fascinating look at Jewish culture, while mid-month the Sacrum Profanum Festival stages classical concerts at the Philharmonic Hall (sacrumprofanum.pl). Rosa Pyczek is our city guide

Getting around

Balice Airport

Bus: Radtur runs regular buses into the city centre. A single journey costs about €1,90/PLN 7 and takes 30 minutes.
Taxi: A taxi costs around €13/PLN 50 and takes about 30 minutes.
Tourist information: The main office is at 1 Rynek Główny (tel. (0)12 433 7310, krakow.pl). Orbis (41 Rynek Główny) also provides lots of useful information.

OLD TOWN

The heart of the city overflows with cafés, churches and restaurants; it’s a delightful place to explore.

Sleep soundly – The sumptuous Hotel Senacki (51 Ulica Grodzka, tel (0)12 422 7686, hotelsenacki.pl, rooms from €80/PLN 327) is amazing value for the location and quality it offers. For the more budget-conscious or those keen on private accommodation, try Apartments Krakow (office address 39 Ulica Florianska, tel. (0)12 431 0026, apartmentcracow.com, rooms from €45/PLN 184), with five apartments for groups of up to six people, 15 minutes from the Rynek Główny (grand square).

Culture vultures – St Mary’s Basilica (4 Rynek Główny) is the site of two of Krakow’s most enduring traditions: the daily opening of the altarpiece (at noon), and the hourly bugle call from the tower. This marks the Tartar invasion of 1241, when the bugler alerted the sleeping city to the approaching danger. To this day the call is cut short mid-tune, which was when the unfortunate bugler was pierced through the throat by an arrow.

Must eat – Wierzynek (15 Rynek Główny, tel. (0)12 424 9600) is a city institution – during its long history it has fed and watered kings and statesmen including Bush, Castro and De Gaulle. For perfect Polish food it’s a must – but the price reflects its clientele. Try pierogi (dumplings) at boisterous Chłopskie Jadło (3 Ulica Sw Jana, tel. (0)12 429 5157) for something more affordable.

Must drink – Jazz lovers will dig Piec’ Art (12 Ulica Szewska), a sleekly elegant club for sipping a superb cocktail, while Café Bunkier (3a Plac Szczepanski) is an aesthetically quirky place to grab a decent coffee or local beer.

Dance the night away – The local saying goes that Afera (13/15 Ulica Sławkowska) is a good place to start affairs, where the women are young and gorgeous and the party goes on all night. Or try stylish and sophisticated Baccarat (13 Ulica Stolarska), draped in velvet with twinkling chandeliers above, this is a smoke-free dance zone.

Shop til you drop – Krakow’s best buys are in the Sukiennice (Draper’s Hall, Rynek Główny); pick up Polish amber, carvings, hand-painted eggs and iconographic art.

JEWISH KRAKOW – KAZIMIERZ

Once a neglected reminder of World War II, this district now attracts philanthropists, artists and entrepreneurs, all determined to revive its unique spirit.

Sleep soundly – The Good Bye Lenin Hostel (23 Ulica Joselewicza, tel. (0)12 421 2030, goodbyelenin.pl, rooms from €9/PLN 40) offers a ‘cool Communist’ stay, complete with propaganda posters and busts of Lenin scattered about. The rooms at CDR (Ulica Meiselska, (0)12 424 0555, rooms from €44/PLN 180) are set in a conference centre, which makes them slightly impersonal, but they’re clean, comfortable and very good value for money.

Culture vultures – See Beit Khaddash – Month of Encounters with Jewish Culture at the Centre of Jewish Culture (17 Ulica Meiselsa, (12 September – 30 November). There will be exhibitions, films, artists and discussions about the role of Jewish culture in Poland.

Must eat – If you love avocado, head straight for Avocado Resto Bar (1 Ulica Bozego Ciało, tel. (0)12 422 0486), where the fruit is used in soups, sides and sorbets. Kazimierz is famous for its Jewish cuisine, and at Ariel (17 Ulica Szeroka, tel. (0)12 421 7920), the mascarpone with raisins and orange is delectable.

Dance the night away – Expect things to heat up in Buena Vista (26 Ulica Józefa), a Cuban-inspired bar and club where salsa dancing continues into the small hours. Equally cool is Mechanoff (8 Ulica Estery), where the flashing lights and louder-than-life DJs add to the surreal ambience of metal and vibrant paint.

Shop til you drop – Galeria Kazimierz (34 Ulica Podgórska) is the most prestigious mall in the region. With over 140 fashion and cosmetics shops, a massive selection of gourmet food and wine, some high-end restaurants and a 10-screen Cinema City complex, you can do your credit card some serious damage here.



Compiled by Rosa Pyczek

Previous issues for Krakow
 
   
Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy,
please confirm event/venue details in advance.

 

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