Do you always want to go to Europe but your pocket doesn’t really support your traveling passion? Paris, London, or Amsterdam can be a very expensive place to spend your holiday. I know you will visit places you’ve always dream off but you don’t want to be depressed when you got home by looking at your bank account, lol (personal experience hahaha).
So if you still want to visit Europe but your pocket isn’t as deep as your friend and as shallow as mine, you may consider eastern Europe. I have been to some places in Europe and I might say they are quite similar, in term of building architecture and food (at least for my asian palate lol). Eastern European countries are so pretty and won’t take all of your saving money (unless a pickpocket stole your wallet, protect it as it is your other half hahaha).
Anyway, I suggest you to go to Krakow in Poland, this city is super pretty, not too crowded, everything tourist destination is close to one another (but the Salt Mine – only 16 km outside the city tho), a popular tourism destination for Brits (mostly to do Stag Do – you know Bachelor Party is how American say it) and it is a quiet safe place in Europe (compare to Rome and the scammers there, cheesus).
I went to Krakow in summer 2019 for 4 days/3 nights, flying in from Edinburgh, Scotland. The flight was cheap during that time, it was 60 GBP return trip. We stayed in an Airbnb, a very cute one very close to the Krakow Square where all of the bars, restaurant and cafes are (I will break down the cost below this post).
So what should you do there? Drinking until you can’t remember any single things you experience? Well if that is your preference, I don’t judge. But here it is what we did :
- Visiting the main square
I was super hungry when we got to Krakow and I can be a quiet dangerous person when I am starving. SO my boyfriend insisted we should check the square. It was quite late, so we went to a bar and get some food……freaking expensive (for me personally), we decide not to come back haha. We didn’t have any other option because most of the place were close at the time we got there.
If you visit it in the day time tho, you will find plenty of options to get food there and it is pretty affordable (I mean cheap), like there was this food market just next to the main square where you could buy some Polish Sausage and traditional food, it was awesome. Also, there are so many local cafes and restaurant around the square as well where you can get a better food option.
There is this Cloth Hall in the middle of the square as well. This place is full of souvenirs from Poland. So if you want to get your loved ones something from Krakow, you might want to check this hall. The main square with the Cloth Hall are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978.
- Visit the Wawel Royal Castle
If you walk about 950 meters south from the main square, you will find the Wawel Castle and Cathedral (yes yes I know 1 km walk, are you insane? I promise you the walk is so pretty and on a good walking path in a park surrounded with big trees, you will be fine). The Wawel Castle was built at the behest of King Casimir III the great in 13th and 14th centuries and it is also UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is free on most of the area of the castle, but you will need to pay to enter some of the hall inside and to visit some of its exhibit. Here is the website for it.
- Try walk around the Planty park
The main square is surrounded by a park, a 4 km long park! My paradise! So if you fancy exercising and breathing fresh air, you can always go to the park and just take a stroll. Because it is around the main square, if you are tire, thirsty or hungry you can always go to a cafe or restaurant there. We did love the park, we considered moving to Krakow hahaha.
- Eat in Jewish Quarter
As you all know, I am pretty careful with my money (I mean stingy lol), I didn’t want to eat in the square again. If you have the same value as me (lol), you need to visit the Jewish Quarter. There are a traditional market, many local restaurants and bars there and they aren’t expensive and touristy (all touristy places are expensive no?). We went there one night and found a very great bar with amazing food and cheap mango beer!
- Explore Botanical Garden
Botanical garden is like my “things”. People who know me personally will know that I love plants. So wherever we go, I will try to visit the local botanical garden. Krakow Botanic Garden of the Jagiellonian University located in 1.5 km east from the main square. You can take bus or walk there. We paid 9 PLN ( Poland złoty) to enter the garden (around GBP 1.7). I will say the botanical garden is clean and nicely taken care of. Roses garden and tropical house are probably my most favorite part of it. There are many benches to sit down as well if you wanna have a picnic lunch in the garden.
- Learn about history in Wieliczka Salt Mine
On our last day in Krakow, we checked out from the Airbnb and took a bus to the salt mine. It is located 16 km from the central. The bus costs 3.5 PLN for one way trip. You can buy the ticket with the machine inside the bus. It accepts cash and card. I honestly was a bit tired and didn’t really pay attention to our tour leader lol. But I remember the entrance ticket is 66 PLN. You can book it online or wait in line to purchase it on site. You can get more information about it here. I know it is in polish but now google can automatically translate it for you 🙂 cheers
So those above are my suggestion if you want to visit Krakow. Here is the cost we spend during our visit there :
- Plane tickets Edinburgh – Krakow return : GBP 60
- Bus from/to Airport – Central : 3.50 PLN ( less than GBP 1) – normal bus costs the same
- Airbnb for 3 nights : GBP 100 (min booking 3 night)
- The Botanical Garden entrance fee : 9 PLN (GBP 1.76)
- Salt Mine entrance fee : PLN 66 (GBP 13)
- Food cost around GBP 4 per meal
Krakow is overall a very great place with a lot of thing to visit and enjoy. We had such a great time there. And one question, do you fancy a tips and trick to travel low budget? Let me know in comment section! Happy travelling!!!