IIIII love Kra-kow in the spring-time!… Does everyone know the song, or did that reference just fall completely flat??
So, I’ve been meaning to check out Krakow for some time now. The city is on that well-beaten trail of Australian gap-year backpackers, and I have heard a lot of good things about it from my compatriots.
It will come as no surprise - given its popularity with the demographic mentioned above - that Krakow has a reputation as a party city that’s super affordable. So after I scooped up the first cheap flights there I could find, it seemed only fitting to check myself into a 7€-a-night hostel which promised free meals and drinking games every night.
So that’s exactly what I did, and the rest is history. Until it wasn’t.
The morning of my flight I woke up at 5.00 in the morning. Immediately, three things were clear: 1. I was too old for hostels with free meals and drinking games every night. 2. I was literally exhausted from the previous two months of three-times-per-week German lessons and 3. I was legitimately insane for being awake at 5.00 in the morning (but that’s a whooooole other story!).
So I did the only thing a legitimately insane person could do in such a situation, and checked myself into this apartment on Booking.com. It was probably the best decision I ever made at 5.00 in the morning, and right up with there with the best decisions I ever made during normal human hours.
Anyway… Krakow in Spring!
I’m going to describe Krakow as the cute little sister of Budapest. It’s young, leafy, full of elegant architecture and jam-packed with things to see and do. Perhaps it lacks the grandness of Budapest, but it’s certainly punching above it’s weight in terms of charm.
Here are five things you should check out in Krakow during Spring (if you’re not too busy reading books, doing yoga and napping on the couch in your rented apartment that is…)
1. Main Market Square
Originally built in the 13th Century, it is one of the largest medieval squares in Europe. Back then, it had many diverse functions: it was used for city commerce, regal ceremonies and public executions. Nowadays, you see less public executions, and more tourists on horse drawn carriages.
It is also particularly stunning punctuated with bright spring flowers.
2. Planty Park
Krakow’s city centre is lined with a series of parks and gardens that are practically singing in Spring. One of these is the picturesque Planty Park, which is filled with tulips, young families and rats with wings. I mean pigeons.
Also, a special shout out for the most descriptive park name I have ever come across.
3. Park Bednarskiego
A little outside of the city centre, south of the river, you will find Park Bednarskiego, or as I like to call it “that park with the unpronounceable name that you’ll find south of the river”.
Not only is this park a big green leafy tribute to Spring, it also provides ample coverage for those who drank too much water and suddenly get caught short in the woods. Did I just write that??
4. Krakus Mound
After you’ve checked out Park Bed-... “that park with the unpronounceable name that you’ll find south of the river”, head on to Krakus Mound. This is, true to its name, a huge mound on the top of a hill where you will find some of the best panoramic views of the city.
It is definitely one of the more adorable things I’ve seen in life…
5. Unexplained parades on the street
And if the previous four haven’t convinced you (seriously - tough crowd!) then walk back into the city where you can witness unexplained parades on the street, complete with Polish people dressed in old-fashioned military regalia and other equally strange-yet-wonderful costumes.
(Note: a taxi driver will later explain to you that it’s Polish Constitution Day, and it will make a little more sense to you. Just a little more.)