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Three days in Krakow, trying to cram too much in?

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Cork, Ireland
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Three days in Krakow, trying to cram too much in?

Hi all, I am trying to plan our trip to Krakow, it is my husband and I and we have three nights, arriving December 6th and departing December 9th. The main purpose of our visit is to see the Christmas markets, but I am aware they are not as large as some other cities, so I don’t expect them to take more than 2-3 hours. Our flight home isn’t until 7pm, so that leaves us with two and a half days. We have decided not to visit Auschwitz as I think it would take too much of our limited time and I believe it can have a very emotional effect on people, so with this in mind, here are the things I would like to see in the time we have

-Old Square/Christmas markets

- Cloth Hall

- Jewish Quarter

- Oskar Schindlers Factory

- Church of Virgin Mary

- Wawel Castle

- Plaszow concentration camp

- Salt mines

Is all this doable in the time we have? Anything we should add/subtract and any advice on how to group these sights together to avoid back tracking?

Nowy Sacz, Poland
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1. Re: Three days in Krakow, trying to cram too much in?

No problem - 1/2 day for Wielizka and 1 1/2 for the old town, Wawel, Kazimierz and across to Podgorze. Look at the walking tour from St Mary's into Jewish Krakow and ending at the Schindler Factory. NB - Schindler Factory is not 100% Schindler - it is the museum of the occupation.

I'd make a day starting at Wawel, up the royal route to the rynek, then on again to the top end, but you could slip that and do Wawel to the rynek for lunch, then the walk followed by Schindler. Next day |Wieliczka, Podgorze then market and the top half of the royal route. Take a look at the distances and see of this suits your interests. We have all sorts of museums, including the main branch of the National Museum and the Polish Air Museum, a puppet/mask theatre, Nowa Huta for something different ....

Heysham, United...
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2. Re: Three days in Krakow, trying to cram too much in?

Just a point to bare in mind about the walking tour; it is free - gratuities accepted amount up to yourself - but it is approximately 3 hours and if you opt not to take the optional but paid for tour of schindlers factory (quite dear if you use the walking guide as your factory guide too) you will be left to make your own way back, which was totally unexpected to most of the people on the tour we attended and a bit daunting for some. This was the afternoon walk and I'm not sure if the morning walk is the same. No mention was made of the factory tour option till our group was deep into kazimierz and no mention at all of making your own way back until the guide handed out free promo maps of Krakow and took a very small part of the group for a two hour guided tour of the factory. To people well acquainted with the city this may not sound too big a deal but make sure you know the way back ( approximately 1 hours walk) or familiarise yourself with the tram route. That said our guide was informative as was the tour but this impacted on our plans for later in the day. Please do not let me put anyone off the walking tour but it may be best to clarify the details before you set off

Nowy Sacz, Poland
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3. Re: Three days in Krakow, trying to cram too much in?

Good addition beelsybub. There are several groups doing wallking tours, some paid up front and some paid by gratuity, so I'd call neither "free". Check the websites, ncmc, for times and prices.

In theory it's an easy trip back to the old town from Schindler - you just get a tram ftom Ghetto Square - but as you say, that's less of a hurdle for regulars. Ghetto Square is, to my mind, one of Krakow's most moving monuments ... the empty seats and what they represent ... Of course ncmc you can do the walking tour and decide on the day whether to press on into the museum or return straight away on the tram.

Knowing your other plans, I'd also suggest booking a half-day tour with Crazy Tours in one of their Trabants to Nowa Huta to make a complete change from the medieval and WW2 into the attempt to turn Krakow into an industrial city by building a planned city and steel works next door. These light-hearted tours show you anlther side of Poland and our one-time masters

Glasgow, United...
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4. Re: Three days in Krakow, trying to cram too much in?

Sounds just about right. We arrived on a Sunday am and returned home on the Wednesday am. While in Krakow we managed Old Town and Jewish Walking Tours, visited Wieliczka Salt Mines and the Schindler Factory and still managed plenty of 'ad hoc' wandering about. Only time we needed to use public transport was to and from the airport and Wieliczka.

Hit the ground running. Up and out early and you'll easily accomplish your objectives. Enjoy.

Edited: 10 October 2013, 07:20
Cork, Ireland
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5. Re: Three days in Krakow, trying to cram too much in?

Thanks so much for all the replies, some really good suggestions there. I think I will do the walking tour of the Jewish quarter, I think we will play it by ear whether we tour the Schindler factory or not. Sometimes I have the plan that we will visit lots of museums, but by the time we get there, we are too tired and just want to sit and get a coffee!

Is there any company you would recommend for the walking tour over the others? And how much of a gratuity would be appropriate for two people?

Heysham, United...
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6. Re: Three days in Krakow, trying to cram too much in?

I think it is called" free walking tour Krakow" board with that name held aloft by guide in front of st Marys main square. There's loads of reviews on the T.A attractions section giving times etc, there was no pressure where paying was concerned the guide left a bag on a chair and merely asked for donations of you had enjoyed the tour,then gave maps out whilst people put anonymous amounts of money in the bag. I think my wife and i each put 20 zl if i remember correctly.

Wales
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7. Re: Three days in Krakow, trying to cram too much in?

NCMC

Seriously think about going to the Schindler museum if possible. I understand time is restricted and I suppose it's always an excuse to return! We thought it was one of the best museums we had been to. It was so informative it really gave you an idea about how the invasion of Poland began and what they had to suffer.

Hope you get your itinerary sorted so much to see and so little time. I hope you enjoy the city we are returning for New Year our 4th time I can't wait.

Glasgow, United...
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8. Re: Three days in Krakow, trying to cram too much in?

Another vote for the Schindler Factory. Absolutely brilliant exhibition (and even better on a Monday). We spent a couple of hours there and probably still didn't do it justice.

Edited: 10 October 2013, 20:28
Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Three days in Krakow, trying to cram too much in?

What you've got planned sounds fine, a lot of what you want to see is located in the same area, or are quite close by. I stayed three nights in Krakow (didn't land til 5:30pm or so local time, and flew out lunch time a few days later), so I did cram a lot in, but you've got more time then what I did. One thing you might need to take into mind is how you will be after you go to Plaszow concentration camp. I went to Auschwitz (it was an afternoon tour, 2:30 pick up and got back at around 8:30), and I was drained so much that night and the next day still, I don't know what Plaszow would be like

Ronneby, Sweden
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10. Re: Three days in Krakow, trying to cram too much in?

Lots of good info. I'm also looking into going to Krakow about the same time but I would like to get some more (subjective) info about the Christmas market. Is it really a 2-3h event? Can it be compared to the German Christmas markets in size and/or atmosphere and/or things to buy and such? Does this market stand out compared to others in any way?

Or should I wait and visit Krakow another time of the year?