Poland’s two biggest cities are perfect for a weekend away from the UK but which destination gives you more for your city break adventure. Let’s put these two cities against each other and see who wins – Warsaw vs Krakow! Let’s get ready to roll!
What is there to do?
Warsaw – The aptly name “Phoenix City” is a survivor and offers travellers an Old Town which has been painstakingly rebuilt and restored to it’s former glory. The square offers many tourist restaurants and drinking establishments where you can people watch but watch out for the cheeky little birds that visit your table. Many of the famous landmarks of Warsaw are within easy walking distance of each other.
The Warsaw Uprising Museum is one of the best museums you will find in Europe, offering the visitor a detailed history of Poland’s 1944 battle for independence. The museum is very interactive and is worth checking out.
Krakow – As soon as you arrive into Krakow you will feel the very artistic and intellectual vibe that rules this city however the city feels very young at the same time. The main draw card is obviously the Old Town however if you want to avoid the tourists head to Kazimierz which is where all the cool kids hang out and where you can find the best blueberry ice cream and little independent shops run by artists.
Schindler’s Museum offers a great insight into Krakow during WW2 and I highly recommend you make the time to visit the museum if you can. Wawel Castle is just majestic and well worth a guided tour as the Polish have a very deep love for this Castle.
Warsaw – well look no further than the Intercontinental Hotel which offers one of Europe’s highest swimming pools and some of the best views over Warsaw – just a little photo of the view from our 37th floor window. The Club Lounge is even higher up and has stunning 180 degree views over the city. The hotel is about a twenty minute walk from the Old Town which can be a distance on a rather hot day.
Krakow – look no further than the Sheraton – pop upstairs to the rooftop terrace bar for a few cocktails which overlooks Wawel Castle and the river. Or if you are feeling energetic you can borrow bikes from the hotel and ride through the numerous parks in the city. The Sheraton is a winner when it comes to location, Wawel Castle is located within a short walk from the hotel and the Old Town is around a 5 minute walk.
Getting to Poland
Warsaw – Getting to Warsaw is pretty easy as most of the big airlines fly direct to Warsaw including British Airways and at very reasonable prices. You can either catch the train from the airport or take a taxi – as Poland is super cheap (it’s not on the Euro) catching a taxi isn’t going to break the bank.
Krakow – Getting to Krakow is the difficult part – there are some direct flights with Ryanair and EasyJet however the flight times are a little bit chaotic for my liking. No one wants to arrive at 1am in the morning or grabbing a 6am flight! A number of airlines offer a flight via Warsaw ex London – if the layover is only short then I would highly recommend doing this rather than booking a flight into Katowice Airport.
Katowice Airport will add approximately 2 hours onto your journey time – I know this as I took this option and I regretted it!
Overall – Warsaw is perfect if you only have a weekend and are short of time; the direct flights from the UK are a blessing. If you have 3-4 nights then I would highly recommend visiting Krakow due the abundance of things to do however you could see a majority of the sights in a weekend if you were selective of what you wanted to see.
Which city is your favourite?