Known to be one of the most picturesque cities in Europe, it’s no surprise that almost 10 million tourists visit each year. A city which is brimming with history round every turn; Krakow was fortunate enough to survive the Second World War largely untouched which has resulting in the stunning
buildings and monuments that are still standing today. The main attraction in Krakow is the Market Square which is the largest in Europe and the epicentre of everything that happens in the city. Of course there is much more to see if you wander away from the centre such as the spectacular Wawel Castle of the famous Jewish District where the Schindler’s list was filmed. With a number of monuments, museums and spacious parks it’s no wonder the city is so popular amongst visitors. And it is of course close to the Unesco listed Wieliczka salt mine, and the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp which may not fit in with the usual sports tour activities, but it’s still something many people think they should see whilst based so close to it. With Krakow also being a student city it also makes for an awesome night out. Cheap prices, beautiful women and more bars per square metre than any other city in Europe, not to mention a wide variety of clubs with music to suit any tastes mean this is the ultimate place to have your sports tour. In terms of sports Krakow is a very interesting destination for university and adult teams- especially bearing in mind extremely vibrant nightlife and cheap prices- though can be also a great destination for a successful school trip, which wants to combine training with educational programs.
First of all is flying from the UK to Krakow airport with routes from the following cities:
Ryanair: London Stansted, Birmingham, East Midlands, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Edinburgh, Dublin, Shannon. EasyJet: London Gatwick, Bristol, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Belfast. Jet2: Newcastle British Airways: London Heathrow
From the UK to Katowice airport
The other option which can sometimes be cheaper is to fly to Katowice airport which is located 100km away and takes just over an hour by road. Party Krakow can arrange these transfers for you. Flying from the UK to Katowice is possible with these airlines from the following cities:
Ryanair: London Stansted, Birmingham, Dublin. Wizz Air: London Gatwick, Doncaster Sheffield, Belfast, Glasgow.
Ireland:Warszawa, ul. Humańska 10, tel. (+48 22) 849 66 55
Krakow's recent history
Krakow is a city which attracts a huge amount of tourists each year, with this number increasing year on year as more and more people visit to learn about the rich history, enjoy the various activities on offer and also sample the incredible nightlife, not to mention the cheap prices. These reasons are also what is attracting more and more sports groups to Krakow each year, and with Sports Tours Poland this is made even more easy to plan! To put it simply Krakow is the perfect venue for your sports tour, with historic buildings and monuments as well as the aforementioned activities and nightlife. Not to mention it is also close to Auschwitz which although is not really something one would associate with a sports tour, it’s something many people feel they should see when they’re so close to it. Getting to Krakow is also easy, with a number of low cost airlines having routes from the UK and the rest of Europe to Krakow.
What's the weather like in Krakow?
Many people believe Krakow will be cold all year round, however contrary to popular belief the summers are very hot with temperatures reaching up to 35c in July and August. The weather tends to begin getting colder in November, with the low temperatures lasting until March. In recent years the winters have been somewhat warmer, however temperatures can still fall as low as -20c, with heavy snowfall not uncommon.
Prices and local currency
The currency used in Krakow is the Polish Zloty, NOT the Euro as some travellers believe. The exchange rate at the moment is about 5.75 zloty to the pound, which coupled with the cheap prices here means trips to Krakow can be done on a very low budget. You can eat a meal in a restaurant for a low as 5-10 GBP per person, with a beer costing about 1,50 GBP. Polish notes come in 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 denominations, although it’s always worth making sure you have change as many places often don’t have enough coins.
Taxis in Krakow
Krakow is a very compact city so it is usually quite easy to walk around, or to use the excellent public transport network. However, there may be some times when a taxi is the better option so it’s worth reading up on a bit before your arrive. If you just jump into a waiting taxi in and around the centre then you’re quite likely to end up getting ripped off, as they will unfortunately see you as ‘fair game’ if they’re not working for a reputable company. One way to avoid this is to call one of the reputable companies; however this is likely to prove difficult unless you speak Polish.
At Sports Tours Poland we do have a pool of tame drivers which we can supply in special cases. If one or two arrive on separate planes in your group, we will do our best to arrange taxis for them at their own cost. We do this purely as a service and are not making any profit on this. Please ask our guides to arrange taxis for you and then you will be guaranteed a civilised rate. Please do not contact Party Krakow office lines for taxi use while you are here, except under cases of genuine emergency.
Public transport in Krakow is very cheap and also very efficient. A large network of buses and trams cover the entire city making it very easy to get from one point to another if it’s too far to go on foot. Tickets are charged per minute rather than per journey, with a 20 minute ticket costing 2,80zl and a 40 minute ticket costing 3,80zl. Tickets can be bought from machines at bus and tram stops, or also from kiosks as well as on board some buses and trams. Once you’ve bought your ticket you must validate it in one of the on board ticket validators which will stamp it with the date and time. Failure to do this could result in a hefty fine if there is a ticket inspector on board. Please also note that ticket machines on board buses and trams don’t accept notes or cards, so you must make sure you have enough for the ticket in coins. The buses and trams are identified by number, with each bus or tram stop listing the number of each line and the stops it will go to.
Drink in Krakow
Drinking is deeply embedded in the Polish way of life, with alcohol available pretty much anywhere. Bars are open a lot longer here than in the UK, with many bars staying open until the last customer leaves.
The most popular drinks in Poland are beer, and of course vodka. Polish beers are very strong, but they also taste great with even the most common brands such as Tyskie or Kasztelan being of the highest quality. The strength of each one is usually a minimum of 5%, although there are a few weaker ‘session’ beers available. Dark beers or porters are also very popular here, and whilst they taste great they are often quite heavy and usually stronger than the lagers. You can also get some imported beers such as Heineken, however these are more expensive and roughly the same price you’d pay in the UK. For a Polish beer (500ml) you’re looking at between 6-10zl. Polish vodka is also known to be some of the best in Europe, with a number of different flavours available in each bar. It is also very cheap, with a large shot of vodka usually costing around 5 zl (less than one pound). Good quality wine is also readily available, with the prices often a lot cheaper than in the UK. Common sense rules do apply though, so never order a bottle of wine without checking the price first as you may end up with a nasty shock once the bill arrives.
Food in Krakow
The Poles have a phrase which describes their duties to their lucky guests: “A guest in my house is like God in my house”. This means that it’s very hard to go hungry in Poland!Restaurants in Krakow are known for having good quality food and also very generous portions. Polish food is very good and also very cheap, with a restaurant meal costing you between 5 and 10 pounds on average. Krakow is a city with a fascinating history, with a spectacular mix of Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Austro-Hungarian, and Stalinist architecture providing a snapshot of this. It’s perhaps no surprise that its cuisine follows this history, with traditional Polish restaurants sitting next to Ukrainian, English, French, Italian, Indian, and Chinese amongst others. Of course not unlike any major European city there are also the typical array of chain restaurants and fast-food joints.
Top 5 sights to visit when in Krakow
1. Visit Wawel Castle
One of the main tourist attractions in Krakow, Wawel Castle is situated on the banks of the river and is something your simply can’t miss whilst in Krakow. Built on top of a natural limestone hill, legend has it that a dragon lived underneath the castle and terrorised the local people until a local cobbler tricked the dragon into eating a sulphur filled sheep’s carcass. There is a statue of the dragon at the foot of Wawel Hill which breathes fire every five minutes making for a great photo opportunity. In the castle its self it is well worth visiting the cathedral, as well as the various museums and exhibitions dotted around the castle grounds.
2. Check out the sites on Market Square
Whilst it’s almost impossible to miss the Market Square during your time in Krakow, you should definitely delve slightly deeper and check out some of the attractions based there. First of all is Sukiennice which is the large building in the centre of the square. Nowadays this houses a number of market sellers selling souvenirs of Krakow, as well as handmade clothes and jewellery, but it used to be a major centre of international trade with travelling merchants meeting here to do business. Also worth a look is the St Mary’s Basilica Church, which stands proudly on the corner of the square. On the stroke of every hour you can hear a trumpet signal being played called the Hejnal Mariacki from the top of the tower. And if you’re interested in the history of Krakow there is a great museum underneath the square which details everything about the history of the city.
3. Visit Kazimierz
If the streets in Krakow’s Jewish District, Kazimierz, look familiar to you then it may well be from the film Schindler’s List which was largely shot in this area. Kazimierz is a part of the city which is brimming with history and interesting buildings and monuments. The main sights to see here are the large number of synagogues such as Old Synagogue (now home to the Jewish history museum) and the Temple Synagogue. Also make sure you check out Plac Nowy market where you can also try another Polish tradition, Zapiekanka. There is also no shortage of nightlife on offer as well, with a number of locals, as well as tourists taking advantage of the growing number of trendy bars and clubs on offer.
4. Visit Wieliczka Saltmine
One of the major tourist attractions near Krakow is the Wieliczka Salt Mine. UNESCO entered the salt mine in its world heritage register in 1978, and the site is visited by huge numbers of tourists each year. The mine has been worked for 900 years and it used to be one of the world’s most profitable industrial establishments, however it has also been used as a tourist attraction since the mid-18th century. Today it is possible to walk for about 2000 metres in the oldest part of the salt mine in a tour which lasts for about three hours. Attractions inside the mine include the various tunnels, sculptures, a museum and a chapel.
5. Visit Auschwitz
Whilst this sort of activity may not fit in with the usual mood of a sports tour, many people feel that it’s something they simply should see when they’re staying so close to it. Located just over an hour’s drive from Krakow, you will visit both parts of the camp – Auschwitz and Birkenau, with an English speaking guide for both parts of the tour. The tour takes about four hours in total so you will need the best part of a day if you are to visit, but whilst staying in Krakow it’s something well worth experiencing.
There are a wide range of sports on offer. We can arrange fixtures for football, rugby, basketball, volleyball, hockey, handball, and American football. As well as fixtures we can arrange training camps there, and also get you tickets to one of the city’s two Ekstraklasa
There are a wide variety of extra activities to do. Whether you’re interesting in site seeing, nightlife tours or something more active, there are plenty of things on offer to suit everybody’s tastes.
The city is brimming with history. It seems everywhere you go in this historic city there is something of interest with stunning architecture and impressive monuments around every turn. It’s no wonder that this city is one of the most popular in Europe amongst tourists. Not to mention the infamous Auschwitz which is located a short drive away.
The nightlife is known to be some of the best in Europe. With Krakow being a student city, the centre in buzzing most nights of the week. And if rumours are to be believed Krakow has more pubs per square meter than any other city in Europe. The prices! With Poland still not yet using the Euro it means that prices here are a lot cheaper than other cities in Europe. You can expect to pay 5 – 10 GBP for a restaurant meal and only 1,50 GBP for a beer!
It’s easy to get to. There are many low cost airlines running many flights to Krakow everyday meaning wherever you are in the UK it’s easy to get there!