Last Updated on 24 February 2024
Spending a weekend trip abroad is something I have never done before. It wasn’t until Black Friday 2021 that my friend told me there were flight deals I should check out and we both spontaneously decided to take a weekend trip to Poland in January. COVID travel restrictions meant that we had to take a PCR test before and after arriving and fill in a passenger locator form. It was a lot of paperwork for only a weekend but those 48 hours in Krakow were great. Read on to see how to spend a weekend in Krakow if you plan to visit.
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The First Night + The Hostel
We arrived in Krakow at 6:30 in the evening and were able to get to our hostel via Uber, which cost 139 zloty (around £8). After dropping our bags off at Atlantis Hostel (booked via Hostelworld), we headed off to the city centre. After walking around for a bit, we returned to the hostel for the night. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the hostel due to the smell and environment, however, the booking only cost just above £5 each a night, so, £11 each in total (non-refundable), we were barely there anyway and the city centre was a walking distance.
If you’re spending 48 hours in Krakow, you have got to take a walking tour! On our first official day, we did a walking tour with Walkative. We took the Old Town Tour, with the meeting point being between Barbican and St Florian’s Gate. This tour was a good couple of hours, where we explored Main Market Square, St. Mary’s Basilica, Cloth Hall, Jagiellonian University, including Collegium Maius (the oldest university building in Poland) and Wawel Hill.
If you love learning about history and visiting historical places, you will adore this walking tour. Don’t forget to tip your guide at the end!
I knew Poland was cold but I didn’t expect it to be cold. Although I was wearing leggings underneath my flares, 3 layers of tops and a puffer jacket, the weather was still making me shiver. Suffice to say, I wasn’t prepared for the cold. So I strongly advise layering up a ton when you visit Poland, especially in the winter. That includes layering your socks too!
Rynek Underground Museum
Located underneath the Market Square, Rynek Underground Museum takes you through the history of Krakow in the Middle Ages.
One notable thing about the museum is the huge weighing scale that shows you how much you weighed in the system of units in the 14th century. The whole experience was very affordable but it’ll take you hours to explore the museum. We didn’t realise just how much our day had gone by after we left, and by that time, it was evening so places were starting to close.
Cost for general admission: 32 zloty (around £6.30) but free on Tuesdays!
There’s always the option to take a guided tour of Rynek Museum too!
Museum of Illusions
I was able to visit for the last half hour it was open and the guide was incredibly nice to show me around (considering I arrived at quite an inconvenient time). There were cool photo illusions, zoetropes (motion picture spinners), warped mirrors, and of course, dedicated rooms to take optical illusion photos.
Cost for general admission: 55 zloty (around £11) for a student ticket
So, for the first half of our 48 hours in Krakow trip, we explored a large amount of the city, including the Rynek Underground Museum and I visited the Museum of Illusions.
Our last day consisted of visiting Auschwitz, Auschwitz II-Birkenau and the Wieliczka Salt Mine. We booked this through Mr Shuttle and I would highly recommend them to anyone else, especially due to the full-packed lunches they provide for the full-day tours. I’m talking about a nice sandwich, fruit, water, a snack and even mints! You can also inform them prior about your dietary requirements, such as whether you’re a vegetarian, and they will adjust your meal accordingly. We checked out of our hostel very early in the morning to our meeting point to get picked up by the minivan to take us to Auschwitz first then the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Book your Auschwitz, Auschwitz-Birkenau & Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour with Mr Shuttle below
Auschwitz and Auschwitz II-Birkenau
We first toured Auschwitz and then took the minivan to Auschwitz II-Birkenau. This was a very sorrowful experience and for obvious reasons, photographs were not taken inside.
Our guide was a local historian who provided a different but informative insight into the history of the Holocaust in Poland (different from what I was taught in school in the UK). So I would highly recommend being guided by a local historian.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
The journey from Auschwitz II-Birkenau to Wieliczka Salt Mine took around an hour. Our tour guide was hilarious and made visiting Wieliczka Salt Mine a really fun experience. We travelled more than 1000 ft underground where we passed some really cool sculptures, caves and underground lakes while learning about the history of the mine.
I wholeheartedly think that the best part of the Salt Mine tour, was St Kinga’s Chapel, a whole underground cathedral made of salt, including a salty wall sculpture of The Last Supper and salt chandeliers! Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the full beauty of the Chapel as there was some construction going on, but it still looked really cool!
More Places to Visit in Krakow
As we only spent 48 hours in Krakow, we couldn’t explore much of the city as we would’ve liked. But if you’re spending more than 2 days in Krakow, a few other places to visit are Dragon’s Den, Kazimierz Jewish Quarter, Starà Synagogue, Oskar Schindler’s Factory, and Wawel Castle.
48 Hours in Krakow: Final Thoughts
To round up, the 48 hours in Krakow consisted of a late-night exploration of the city centre, doing a free walking tour, and visiting Rynek Underground Museum, Museum of Illusions, Auschwitz, Auschwitz II-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine. I really enjoyed Krakow and would especially recommend visiting if you are interested in history.
If you’re planning on visiting Krakow on a budget make sure to check out my post showing a complete budget breakdown for a weekend trip to Krakow!
For more on Poland travel, head to my Poland Travel Guide!
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