Things to do when visiting Krakow
When most people think of Krakow, the first thing that comes to their minds are the Main Market Square, historical monuments, such as Sukiennice or the Barbican, and legendary creatures, such as the Wawel Dragon. However, if you know where to look, you can also find some more unusual, but equally unique attractions, that are impossible to find anywhere else in Poland. In this article, you’ll be able to read about some intriguing activities that are only possible to experience in Krakow.
Cracknels and casserolles in Kazimierz
If you want to try some scrumptious cracknels (obwarzanki), there are plenty booths selling this delicacy all over Krakow. The oldest surviving documents about baking cracknels date all the way back to the 14th century. In the beginning, they could only be baked during the Lent period by bakers, who were specially selected to do so by the guild.
Another delicious treat from Krakow are casserolles (zapiekanka called polish pizza). Abd if you want to taste them, look no further, than the Okraglak (Rotunda) building. The Okraglak is a monumental trading pavilion, constructed in 1900, in the middle of Nowy Square in the Kazimierz district. This building was dedicated to culinary purposes since the very beginning. Between 1927 and 1939, the Jewish people had a traditional, ritual poultry slaughterhouse. After the war, the building served as a food magazine, and today, you can come here to enjoy the delicious casserolles.
The Bugle Call from st. Mary’s church
The Bugle Call (hejnał) from st. Mary’s church is a famous melody from Krakow, played every hour from the northern tower of the Church under the calling of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Every day at noon, the Bugle Call is broadcast by Program 1 of Polskie Radio (Polish Radio’s Channel 1).
The Bugle Call was originally played only at noon. Since Febraury 13th 1838, it pointed exactly the time of 12 o’clock. That way, Krakow became the very first Polish town to tell the exact time.
According to legend, many centuries ago, the town’s guard played his trumpet to open the town’s gates in the morning and close them in the evening. But he also trumpeted for alarm, when he noticed a fire, or the incoming enemies. Once, when the Tatars tried to invade Krakow, the bugler played his trumpet. The gates were closed in time, but sadly, the Tatar arow pierced the bugler’s throat. As a tribute to this event, the melody is always interrupted.
The „Niebieska Nyska” sausages in the Market Hall
The sausages from „Niebieska Nyska” in the Krakow Market Hall (Hala Targowa) are one of the most popular types of street food in this city. These sausages, paired with orangeade is often an obligatory experience for many people coming back from a club night or an evening walk.
The story of the „Niebieska Nyska” sausages began in 1991. Food is sold here by former taxi drivers. These gentlemen can e found every day, except for sundays and holidays. The sellers begin roasting sasuages in the Market Hall around 8:00 p.m., and finish late at night, around 3:00 a.m.
Unlike Max Grill in Nowa Huta, the iconic place, which was popularized by a movie called
„Aniol w Krakowie”, doesn’t really have a very extensive menu. There’s not much to choose from except for sausages and orangeades, which were popular in Communist Poland.
Ice cream at Starowislna street
One of the most famous and delicious treats in Krakow, apart from the „Niebieska Nyska” suasages and cracknels, is ice cream at Starowislna street, also known as ice cream from the confectionery workshop at 83 Starowislna street.
This confectionery workshop already existed long before the modern, fashionable ice cream parlors appeared in Krakow. Although the interior might look a bit Spartan, or even repulsive, there’s still something about this place, that attracts giagantic crowds of customers every warm, summertime weekend.
The modest place, promoted by a humble signboard is located on the right side of Starowislna street, if you look in the direction of Podgorze. Because it is one of the main streets of the Kazimierz district in Krakow, it might be difficult to find a parking place, although there are some moments, when you can leave your car directly under the ice cream parlor.
The Krakow mounds
One of the most interesting attractions in Krakow is climbing one of its iconic mounds.
The Krakow mounds have an interesting history, and from the top of them, you can admire some truely spectacular views. Here are some of the mounds in Krakow that are definitely worth visiting:
The Krakus Mound, or the Krak Mound, is located at the right bank of the Vistula river, in the Podgorze dsitrict. The historical Lasota hill, which is the location of the Krak mound, was originally owned by the Polish, noble Awdaniec family of Scandinavian origin.
A chronicler named Jan Dlugosz associated the creation of the Krak Mound with the person of Krak, who, according to legend, was the founder of the city of Krakow.
The Kosciuszko Mound is located on the st. Bronislawa Hill, in the western part of Krakow. It is dedicated to Tadeusz Kosciuszko, who was Poland’s national hero. After his death in 1817, the public demanded a monument worthy of Tadeusz Kosciuszko and began a fundraising to create the mound.