Poland had always been one of the places in Europe I wanted to visit, so when I got the opportunity, I grabbed it! Myself & Megan had just returned home from a week in Lanzarote and decided to plan another trip for two months later. We decided to book Poland and I could not wait to go. I have always read so much about Poland and looked at many pictures online of how beautiful it was.
We booked return flights from Shannon airport which cost €250 for the both of us. The hotel cost €370 for the week, which was a lovely hotel in a great location in the middle of the city. We flew out on Good Friday, and landed later that night! We got a taxi to our hotel in Krakow and we went out for food and a few drinks. The one thing I had always presumed about Poland is that their currency is Euro, considering it is in the European Union. The currency in Poland is złoty, we discovered this only a few days before traveling, so we were panicking to have our money changed on time.
I have to say that Krakow was one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited, it looked very old fashioned but still quite modern at the same time. There were lots of horses and carriages around the main square which brought people on a trip around the city.
Our hotel was just around the corner from the Wawel Cathedral which was breathtaking from the outside and inside as shown in the photos below! There were various mass times on a sign as you enter, but we didn’t stay for a ceremony.
As it was just the two of us in Poland, we researched the nightlife online and found a pub crawl which helps tourists meet up with different people from all over the world and head out in the city for the night! We contacted them and booked our places. The pub crawl is called ‘Krawl Through Krakow’ and we met the group at 9PM that night in the main square. Immediately we got to meet new people from Spain, America, England, Ireland, just to name a few.
We got to meet so many lovely people including a few which I still have contact with since returning home! The pub crawl cost us €15 each which included all you can drink alcohol for two hours, and entry to all the top pubs/clubs in Krakow. We joined up with the pub crawl group a few more times during the week as they went to different venues every night and it was nice to chat to new people.
There’s lots to do in Krakow, including shopping centers, restaurants, etc. The streets were always busy and had a nice atmosphere around the whole city. We went in March, which was a fairly cold time of year to visit Poland. It was around 11 degrees Celsius during the day but dropped to -1 at night time. The weather stayed dry for the trip so it was nothing that a pair of gloves and a jacket wouldn’t sort out!
We planned two trips while we were there, the first was to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine. This is a UNESCO site and is visited by over a million tourists every year. We booked this tour at a tourist office (which are all over the place). The cost of the tour was about €25 each which included a return taxi to and from the salt mine. The salt mine was absolutely amazing but the thing I didn’t like was the amount of steps we had to walk down to get to it! I think there were approx 300 steps which seemed to take us ages and we had been out the night before so we felt a bit sick halfway through it haha. It was all worth it once we got to the bottom and saw how nice it was.
It was like a city underground, I wasn’t sure what to expect before seeing this, but it did not disappoint! They have a gift shop and a restaurant there too! I must also say that when you are in your tour group, do not leave it! We left the group for a few minutes which caused a big scene with our guide and the entire group of 30 people had to be stopped until they found us at the restaurant eating our chicken nuggets lol.
The next trip we did was to go and see the concentration camp. We visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau sites. We had been advised not to do this tour until a day or two before flying home, as it’s a very sad sight to see and I just could not stop thinking about it for the rest of our holiday!
Now don’t get me wrong, it was nice to get to see this world famous concentration camp, but at the same time I found it very eery and upsetting to hear about the shocking things that happened the people who were sent there. They had rooms full of real hair which was taken from the people before they were killed. They also had a full room of suitcases with the children’s names wrote onto them, along with old clothes and shoes which were all kept behind large glass walls.
The tour guide told us stories of what happened when the people arrived at the camp, and even brought us into the gas chamber where thousands of people were killed. I didn’t take any photos in the chambers, to be honest I didn’t like that part and could not wait to get out of it. We also got the see the shooting wall where people had to stand and got shot while at the wall.
Overall I would definitely recommend a visit to this site, but as I said above, leave it last on your bucket list before you go home!
I nearly forgot to mention, halfway through the week, we got a train to Warsaw where we spent the night at a 5 star hotel which my sister Majella booked for us! Warsaw is a lovely city but to be honest it’s full of tall buildings and felt like visiting a city in Ireland. There were still a few lovely parts to see but it looked very built up. The picture below was the view from our bedroom on the 17th floor!
Warsaw old town was lovely, it’s just like you see in the pictures. The buildings were lovely colours and there was a great atmosphere around with all the different restaurants and locals selling gifts at the side of the footpath. There’s a large shopping center about a five minute walk away from the old town which had every type of shop you could want!
Oh and one more thing, don’t lose your train ticket as the train workers don’t speak much English, and you will get a fine! I know this from our personal experience haha.
Overall it was a great trip and I would love to go back again, but i wouldn’t bother going to Warsaw again! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. Thanks for reading!