Krakow – Warsaw – Gdansk in 6 days
Like many others during the pandemic, I had several trips cancelled. My most recent trip was supposed to be Mykonos in Greece, sadly I had to cancel that and my options of places to go were few and far between. Poland was still reporting low numbers and hadn’t been added to the UK quarantine list yet (September 2020), I have always wanted to go, so I booked the flights and off I went.
My itinerary was Kraków – Warsaw – Gdansk. It is very easy to travel round Poland via train and most major cities are only a few hours apart. I flew into Kraków, spent 2 nights here. Took the train to Warsaw, spent 2 nights. Train to Gdansk, again for 2 nights and then home.
Poland is beautiful – absolutely stunning!
Flights / Trains /Hotels
- I flew with Ryanair and Easyjet. Direct flights from Edinburgh are pretty cheap and take around 2.5 hours.
- Trains between the locations were very easy. I just made sure that my hotel was relatively near the train station.
- Train from Krakow-Warsaw 2.5 hours cost 36EUR. Train from Warsaw-Gdansk around 3 hours cost 36EUR.
- Hotels I stayed in – Krakow: Hotel Unicus Great location and my room had a beautiful view of the skyline and I could hear the trumpet call from St Mary’s Basilica.
- PURO Warsawa – very cool hotel with super comfy bed and fab roof top bar.
- PURO Gdansk Stare Miasto – beautiful hotel and an amazing location. Highly recommended.
I found Poland in general to be pretty cheap, the hotels I stayed in were of a high standard yet very economical.
Here are my top things to do/see in Kraków:
UNESCO World Heritage city, walking the main square in the old town you can imagine Krakow’s wealth and authority in Medieval times.
- Hang out in Rynek Główny (The Main square) and soak it all in. This is one of the largest medieval squares in Europe and a real feast for the senses. It is full of bars/cafes/restaurants and has a real buzz about it. As you sit at one of the cafes you will see all the horse and carriages taking people round the square and hear the trumpet call. The architecture is stunning.
- St Mary’s Basilica looming high over the market square. The St. Mary’s Trumpet Call is played from the top of the taller of the two towers, on the hour every hour.
- St Florain’s Gate marks the start of the royal route, heading into the old town.
- Cloth Hall a stuning facade in the main market square, previously a trading hall for 800 years selling spices, silk, wax and leather. Still today a market you can wander through with lots of nick-nacks and souvenirs.
- Wawel Castle displays architecture of every style imaginable and was the seat of the King of Poland from the 13-17th century.
- Salt Mines a unique experience dating back to medieval times.
- Auschwitz one of the top activities to do while in Krakow, an insight into the horrors of the Holocaust and the destruction by the Nazis on the Jews and minorities of the continent. It is located an hour from the city center and if you are planning to visit you should set aside a day on your itinerary.
Here are my top things to do in Warsaw:
In 1945 85% of Warsaw was destroyed, but walking the old town its hard to imagine the atrocities of the German invasion of 1939.
- Old Town colorful buildings and cobblestone streets.
- Old Town Market Place at the end of the 18th century this square was the center of commercial life in Warsaw. The mermaid figure in the fountain has special meaning and people crowd round to get pictures. Get here early for pictures without the crowds.
- Royal Castle square located at the entrance to the Old Town.
- Royal Route nearly all of Warsaw’s historic landmarks are on a single axis beginning at the Castle Square and continuing south for 15 kilometres or so before arriving at Wilanów Palace.
- Palace of culture and science the socialist symbol of Warsaw and the city’s tallest building.
- Krakowskie Przedmieście the most prestigious street in Warsaw, full of palaces, monuments and generally stunning architecture to immerse yourself in.
- St Anne’s Church – located on Krakowskie Przedmieście, one of the cities oldest landmarks.
Here are my top things to do in Gdańsk:
Gdańsk is is situated on the Baltic Sea and is Poland’s principal seaport. The city’s history is complex, in the early-modern age, Gdańsk was a royal city. It was considered the wealthiest and the largest city of Poland, before the 18th century growth of Warsaw.
- Trakt Królewski (Royal Way) I came this way walking from the train station to my hotel in the center of town. Wow, just wow! Probably one of the most stunning places I have visited in Europe. The architecture is just immense, got to be seen to be understood.
- St Mary’s Church Beautiful church in the main square. The view from the top is spectacular, over 400 steps so not for the fainthearted but worth it. One of the largest brick churches in the world.
- Neptune Fountain You can’t miss this elaborate fountain as it is right in the middle of the very beautiful main street. Very popular photo spot, deservedly so. Get there early for photos without the crowds.
- Main Town Hall The town hall, sits at the juncture of the Long Market and Long Lane. Second tallest building in Gdansk (83 meters high) and a fine example of Gothic-Renaissance. The tall tower element is reminiscent of Big Ben in London. Again you cannot really miss this focal point.
- The Great Armoury So much detail in the architecture of this stunning building.
- Dlugie Pobrzeze (Long Embankment) Full of life and tourists, lots of bars and restaurants where you can sit out and watch the world go by. This is the location of the famous crane. Taking a gentle stroll along the picturesque banks is a must do in Gdansk.
- Golden Gate The Golden Gate is located at the eastern end of the Dlugi Targ right next to the Amber museum. Reconstructed in 1957 after it was heavily decimated during WW2 this structure commands the attention.
- Day trip to Sopot beach The cities of Gdasnk, Gdynia and Sopot make up what is called the Tri-City (all located along the baltic coast). Sopot is a ritzy town known for its beaches and nightlife. The train from Gdansk to Sopot is only 15 mins and if you go in summertime you can plan a beach day.
My favorite place was Gdansk, its just so pretty and otherworldly. I loved my time in Poland, so good to tick off 3 places in one trip.