How to live like a Local in KrakÃ³w, Poland
Learning more about Kraków through its museums and galleries, indulging in its amazing food and vodka, enjoying literary festivals and cosy book shops, and finding new underground cellar bars help to keep the city a fresh and exciting place to live.
When I have friends in town… I like to show off the architecture with a stroll around the city centre, dropping into some of its churches, such as the impressive Church of St. Anne or quaint Church of St. Adalbert. At the main square we’ll take a steep hike up the Town Hall Tower then move onto some browsing and bartering in the Cloth Hall. On a sunny day, a quick drink is in order at Cafe Szał, before getting some fun snaps inside Igor Mitoraj’s sculpture Eros Bendato (also known as The Head). Milkbar Tomasza serves up hearty Polish food, and tucking into a batch of pierogi (stuffed dumplings) is a must before heading to cosy Camelotfor dessert.
When I’m out for some drinks…I’ll head to Kazimierz – the Jewish Quarter – and stop at a couple of shot bars to warm up with some flavoured vodka. On Miodowa, my go-tos are Oliwa Pub for excellent music, and La Habana for a South American feel, chatty bartenders, and quirky furniture. Plac Nowy is the final destination; a small square filled with bars including Alchemia and Mechanoff. In the centre is a circular building serving up zapiekanki (open baguettes), a must at the end of a night.
For cheap eats… You can’t go wrong with a quick stop at a milkbar for some pierogi or gołąbki (stuffed cabbage rolls) served up by no-nonsense Polish women. I can never resist the incredible potato pancakes with goulash at Smakołyki; low prices and a stellar view of the Jagiellonian University make it my go-to place. I can dress down at Gospoda Koko where I get soup, a main, and a side for a mere 14zl in a spacious underground cellar with real Polish character.
When I’m feeling like a culture vulture… I check out the events calendar at Massolit Books & Cafe, where I can grab a slice of tasty pie or cake and settle in to enjoy a talk in intimate surroundings. I love art galleries, and Palace of the Arts is not only a beautiful building, but a fantastic gallery with frequently changing exhibitions and a low admission fee. For something a little more modern, right around the corner is Bunkier Sztuki – literally 'Art Bunker' – which houses contemporary art over three floors. There are also lots of annual festivals celebrating the arts, like the Kraków Film Festival, Miłosz Festival, and Etiuda & Anima.
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