We continue our first day in Krakow by heading to the main square. We’ll then discover other churches (including my favourite ever!), our accomodation and Wawel Cathedral.
Main Square and St Barbara’s Church
Remember from our last post, we were having lunch in a nice and cheap bakery. We left to the main crossroad and took the only direction left: the main square. It’s crazy how busy it gets just within a few meters from the square. There you’ll see the Cloth Hall (filled with souvenirs and jewels shops), the Town Hall Tower, Adam Mickiewicz Monument, and of course St Mary’s Basilica.
We wanted to visit St Mary’s Basilica but decided to go first in the little church just behind it, St Barbara’s church (14th century). A free audio guide of around is offered, it lasts around 10 min and it’s very helpful to understand the art pieces in this tiny but interesting church. It was definitely a great discovery.
By the time we came back out, a huge crowd had come to see the trumpet signal (played every hour). Usually the people go and visit the Basilica right after the signal so we decided to come back later or another day. We finally ended up visiting it on our last day, so make sure to check my post about our Day 3 (coming soon) for all the pictures!
We headed North to the edge of the Old town, went through St Florian’s gate to see the Barbican, then back in for a short break and a drink along Pijarska street.
Church of St Anne (14th century)
After the drinks we decided to start heading towards the apartment, going around the West side of the Old Town, following the Planty. We went through the pretty Plac Szczepański with its nice fountain.
We then came across the Church of St Anne, which became my favourite ever! It felt really good to be in there, and the whole inside was amazingly decorated with great sculptures and paintings. For me the best discovery!
It was time to go checkin and drop the bags at the apartment. I chose Wawel Apartments. They have a few in Krakow, I got the one on Zwierzyniecka street, which was a very convenient location, 1km away from the Castle, 400m from the Main Square. It has a nice size and everything you need, and is in a small and super quiet courtyard . And the best part of it… It was only 45e a night!
Now that we dropped our bag, we’re going back to Wawel Hill to visit the Cathedral. You can visit some parts of the cathedral for free. It is possible to buy a ticket that gives you access to the Sigismund Bell, the Royal Tombs, and the Cathedral Museum. I highly recommend you to do so! It costs only 12 zloty per person (3e) and is really worth it. You can add an audioguide for an extra 7 zloty (1.7e), I can’t tell you about it as we didn’t, but there are signs everywhere explaining the main pieces. Unfortunately, it wasn’t permitted to take pictures inside the cathedral, I only have a sneaky picture of the main bell and the view from the bell tower.
For dinner, we went to a tiny local place called Przystanek Pierogarnia, apparently known to be the pest place to eat Pierogi in Krakow! As it’s the specialty we couldn’t do without trying some! I took the mixed plate with all the different type of savoury pierogi (spinach, mushrooms, bacon,… one or two of each), my partner the basic ruskie ones (potatoes and cheese). We drank some compot, the typical juicy polish drink. It was delicious and we paid only 16 zloty (4e) for the whole thing 😀
Finishing the day on the water
The day was coming to an end, the sky getting dark, so we decided to go for a last drink on one of the bar/restaurant boats on the Vistula River. We took the opportunity to also stop at the Wawel Dragon statue to see it breathing fire. An unmissable!
It’s the end of this long post. It’s really hard to stay short as we did and saw so many things! See you in my next post about our second day in Poland and our visits of Auschwitz camps and the Wieliczka Salt Mine!