Krakow's Other Side
The banks of the Vistula are popular for those looking to escape the noise of the city center.
Krakow, Poland’s most alluring and attractive city, has a wide range of activities to do and places to visit. Most tourists spend their time in the Old Town, for obvious reasons as there is a lot to see there and a myriad of restaurants and nightlife options to choose from, but below are some alternatives, which are not so far from the city centre.
When leaving the Old Town, Kanonicza Street, is a less crowded and more attractive route, which leads to Wawel Castle. Slowly walk along this quiet cobbled side street and admire the fine examples of Baroque and Renaissance architecture.
The banks of the Vistula are extremely popular for those looking to escape the noise of the city centre. Lots of people cycle, jog and walk along this peaceful area. This is a great place for picnics in the summer or a cruise along on the Vistula River. From Debnicki Bridge, check out the fantastic view of Wawel Castle from the other side of the Vistula River. If you walk just a short distance from here, Konfederacka 4 (named after its location) is a café and wine bar that is highly recommended. This is a cosy, intimate place which has still somehow remained relatively undiscovered by tourists but has also managed to built up a large group of returning customers. Have a glass of wine from the rich selection here and wind down the evening in style.
Kladka Bernatka is a relatively new footbridge across the River Vistula and is popular for cyclists and pedestrians alike. It has breathed fresh life into the area of Old Podgorze by connecting it to the Jewish district of Kazimierz. Those in love can display their devotion to each other by engraving their names on a padlock and locking it to the rails to add to the multitude already lining both sides of the bridge.
Kopiec Krakusa (Krakus Mound) is located not so far from Kladka Bernatka and is definitely worth visiting. In the summer this area is lush and green with a lot of space to enjoy a picnic. The mound, said to have pagan origins, dates from the 8th – 10th centuries and a quick climb to the top will provide you with the perfect photo opportunity to capture the panoramic view of the whole city.
Not far from the mound is Kosciol Benedykta (St. Benedictine’s Church). This dates back to the 10th / 11th century and is built upon the spot of former pagan ceremonies. This quaint church, located on Lasota Hill, opens its doors only once a year during the time of the Rekawka Festival which takes place on the first Tuesday after Easter. Very close to this church is an 18th century Austrian fort, which is closed for visitors but worth a peak from the outside.
Another green space where you can escape the bustle of the city is Bednarski Park which stretches out over a distance of 8.5 acres. In this park, there are the remains of an 18th century fort, impressive limestone cliffs and over 100 types of trees. It’s a relaxing place to stroll through as it’s usually not very busy. Watch out for the squirrels which scurry around this interestingly landscaped public area.
Kopiec Pilsudskiego, at 35m high, is the tallest of the four mounds in the city. It was erected in honour of Josef Pilsudski after his death in 1935 using soil from WWI battle sites. The mound is only 1km to the zoo and is surrounded by Wolski Forest. The view from the top is breathtaking, and on a clear day, even the Tatra Mountains are visible to the south.
Restaurant U Ziyada in Przegorzaly is a picturesque location not so far from Wolski Forest. This romantic setting is the perfect way to spend an evening with someone special. The view from the enormous semi-circular terrace here offers a stunning view of the city, Vistula River and the Tatra Mountains.
Tyniec Abbey is a biking or cruise destination that is great to visit. The abbey dates back to the 11th century and stands lording over grassy meadows and country homes. Many people choose this church as the special setting for their wedding which is hardly surprising. For those interested, the abbey is also famous for hosting organ concerts.
Zakrzowek was a limestone quarry that became a lake when the water table was pierced. The resulting crystal blue water which rose up from the depths of the earth now combines with the backdrop of limestone cliffs to make this a very special place to visit. People come here especially on hot summer days to have picnics, go swimming or diving.
All of the places mentioned in this article have something very different to offer, showing you another side to Krakow - a softer and more romantic side. Above all, they will be sure to leave you with memories worth savouring forever.