Krakow Information and images

Currency

Poland joined the European Union in May 2004 but for the time being the Polish currency is still Zloty (one Zloty is subdivided into 100 groszy). You will see Zloty written as either zl or pln. The latest exchange rate can be found on www.xe.com. It is sensible to take some local currency with you when you go but you may well obtain a slightly better deal from the exchange bureaux in Krakow. (The airport exchange bureau may not give as good a rate as you will find in Krakow centre).

How to use trams

All trams from the stop near the apartment go to the old town - trams are frequent and very cheap. You can either buy single journey tickets on the tram (from the driver or from the ticket machine on the newer trams) but as the cost of travel is so inexpensive we buy a mutiple-journey ticket which is available for varying lengths of time - 24, 48, 72 hours or one week.

The single journey and mutiple-journey tickets are available from MPK ticket machines, with English language instructions, situated next to many of the tram stops. (Full instructions and tram maps are in our information folder at Apartment Limona).

If you buy a single journey ticket you will need to stamp your ticket in the machine on the tram immediately after boarding (only the first time with a mutiple-journey ticket). Best not to get caught with either an unstamped ticket or without a ticket (being a hapless tourist doesn't cut any ice and there will be a big on-the-spot fine).

Krakow Tourist Cards — Tourist Information Centers, selected hotels and travel agencies offer Krakow Tourist Cards which entitle holders to unlimited travel on Krakow buses and trams and free admission to 32 museums. See www.krakowcard.com

Are the locals friendly?

Polish people do not smile at you or say 'Good Morning' in the same way that Brits do but we have found them to be incredibly helpful and friendly. A lot of Poles will understand your questions but may be too shy to answer you in English. When asking for directions, on more than one occasion we have been accompanied to where we want to go even if this is several streets away. And when we asked a lad where the nearest Taxi rank was he went and asked someone else then got out his mobile phone and called a taxi for us.

Add to our list of places

We are starting this list with some of our favourite places but please e-mail us with any recommendations so that we can add them to the list.

email: info@apartmentlimona.co.uk

Tea and coffee houses

Redolphi — Rynek Glowny 38, +48 (12) 4230579 Elegant coffee shop first opened in 1823 (the Polish cheesecake is brilliant).

Bars

Harris Piano Jazz Bar — Rynek Glowny 28 Tel. + 48 (12) 421 57 41 Underground bar hosting concerts and sessions where anyone can join in and jam (helpful if you've got your sax with you). Website

Alchemia — ul. Estery 5, +48 (12) 428 47 80 Alchemia is dark, smoky, strikingly decorated with old paintings and furniture (you walk through an open wardrobe to get from one bar to another), but utterly without pretence. It's the perfect place to forget about being PC and get lost for half an hour with a chilled vodka and a cigarette. Website

Restaurants

Alef — 17 Szeroka Street, Tel. + 48 (12) 421 28 Jewish, pre-war decor. Go for the intimate surroundings and music, not so much the food. Website

Szara na Kazimierzu — ul. Szeroka 39, +48 (12) 4291219 Touristy but very pleasant decor and really fab food. Website

Portofino — ul. Waska 2, Cosy with good reasonably priced pasta type dishes. Website

Miod Malina — ul. Grodzka 40, +48 (12) 430 04 11 Traditional Polish food in nice surroundings. Website

Pod Aniolami — ul. Grodzka 35, +48 (12) 4213999 Fascinating to visit but not impressed with the food. Website

Chlopskie Jadlo — ul. Grodzka 9, +48 (12) 4296187 A chain of good value, good Polish country food and plenty of it! Website

Useful phone numbers

John Paul II International Airport in Kraków-Balice, phone 012-639-30-00, fax 012 411-79-77 www.lotnisko-balice.pl
Poland international code +48
Kraków area code +12
Phone number enquiries line 118913
Kraków buses and trams 9150, www.mpk.krakow.pl
Trains 9436, www.pkp.krakow.pl
Emergency services 112
Ambulance 999
Municipal Police 986
National Police (emergencies) 997
Fire brigade 998

Useful websites

Tourist information — www.karnet.krakow.pl
Bus tours — www.krakow-tours.com
Bus tours — www.krakowshuttle.com
General tourist info — www.cracow-life.com
National Museum of Krakow — www.muzeum.krakow.pl
Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology — www.manggha.krakow.pl
List of Krakow art galleries — www.krakow-info.com/galerie.htm
Weather — www.bbc.co.uk/weather
Currency exchange rate — www.xe.com
Cycle hire form Cruising Krakowwww.cruisingkrakow.com
HiFlyer balloon trips — www.hiflyer.pl

Walking in Krakow

The Planty — A circular walk around the Planty encircling the old town takes about an hour and is enjoyable in leafy summer and magical in thick snow.

The Planty is a narrow ring of greenery extending from the Barbican and embracing the city centre in an irregular, oval-like shape. It was designed as a garden ring in the 19th century to replace the demolished city walls that used to contain the most ancient part of Krakow. The area, where nearly every building is of historical value, houses several dozen museums and galleries, a number of churches, theatres, cinemas, bookshops and antique shops.

Kosciuszko's Mound (Kopiec Kosciuszki) — "The mound of Tadeusz Kosciuszko (1746-1817)- Polish patriot and soldier, was heaped up in years 1820-23 on the hill of blessed Bronislawa. Thirty years later Austrian authorities, turning the town into a fortress, erected a fort surrounding the mound. After the Second World War the decision was taken to pull down the fort. Luckily the resolute action of Krakow's scholars saved the rest of the structure".

Fantastic views from the top and very easy to get to — take the number 1, 2 or 36 tram to Salwator then follow the second road on the right, Swietej Bronislawy. A lovely walk up through the trees, past the Cemetary Na Salwatorze on your left (also worth a visit) takes you to the mound. Once you get there it costs 6pln to trace your way around the mound to the summit. The views are stunning and there is a museum and cafe on the site.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that any of the 'useful information' on this website is for guidance only and may be subject to change. If you book trips through any of these websites always confirm your bookings by e-mail before you travel.