Just returned from a short stay in Krakow. Had a superb time with really good weather - sitting outside in t shirts drinking nice cold Polish beer - not bad and most unexpected!
What might be helpful:
Stayed at the Hotel Matejko on Plac Matejko. Nice clean and comfortable. Decent breakfasts and really handy for bus/train stations. Couple of minutes stroll to Barbican and up to main square and lived up to good previous postings
Got the bus in from the airport and the train back. Inexpensive and clean and comfortable. If there is only a couple of you and it is daylight hours - why would you not use the train. It is a 200 metre walk from the airport terminal. You pass the bus stop on the way!
Go to Auschwitz by Public Transport. It is extremely easy to do. The bus leaves every 20 minutes from the D8 in the bus station and costs just 9 zloty each way. Entrance is free, Buy a guide book for 3 zloyts and there is a free shuttle service to Birkenau and back. You can save a huge amount of money. Is it better - personal choice. Undeniable though is that it is cheaper by a considerable margin and very easy.
Salt Mines - same as above. Worth a visit but use public transport. Costs aboy 18 zloty return and 63 zloty for the guided tour. You have control when you go and can avoid the crowded afternoons. Again- very easy and cheaper.
We used restuarants recommended on this site - thanks folks. Ate at Pod aniolami and at Miod Malina. Both on Grodska. Good food, excellent service. You can get a good three course meal and a drink for about £20 or so. Or just buy a pizza at the Malina. A beer and a pizza can cost you just about £7.00 upwards. We also ate at Wierzynek on the square.
We tried to eat local dishes where we could and we were not disappointed. Depends what you want. These were nice relaxing restaurants. I would strongly recommend that you stick your head around the door the night before or in the morning/afternoon and book. They are good so they are popular.
The town feels safe and is well policed.
The people - you cannot characterise a whole nation from a short trip. However, the people we met were friendly and helpful. English is fairly widely spoken or enough to make yourself understood and the people we encountered were happy to take the trouble to speak in English or to try to help through (friendly) gestures!
Overall. A good trip and worth a few days of anyone's time.