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Need help arranging a cut-short Krakow / Lviv itinerary

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Aug 27th, 2018, 07:59 PM
  #1
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Need help arranging a cut-short Krakow / Lviv itinerary

What was going to be a relaxing 8-day trip to Krakow and Lviv just got cut much shorter, because when I first began planning, I had been reading outdated books and reports describing convenient overnight sleeper trains between the two cities. I thought by taking the night train each way and staying one night in Ukraine, we would have two full days of sightseeing in Lviv, and 5 1/2 days for Krakow (plenty of time to add in Auschwitz and Wieliczka). Then I find out that train schedules have changed, and there are no more night trains, so we have to lose 3/4 day each way riding day trains.

Can't extend the trip because it is too late to change the plane tickets or our time off from work, so we now have only 4 full days in Krakow and one in Lviv. With such a tight schedule, I'd rather skip Auschwitz, but my companion really does not want to miss it. So, tentatively the itinerary looks like this now:

Saturday-- Flight lands 10am in Krakow. Settle in, do self-guided walks to get oriented.
Sunday-- Full day sightseeing in Kazimierz; Klezmer concert at Isaac Synagogue in the evening.
Monday-- Auschwitz(?)
Tuesday-- 8:36am train gets to Lviv at 4pm; walk around, dinner.
Wednesday-- full day sightseeing in Lviv; Lviv Opera Ballet in the evening.
Thursday-- 11:18 train gets back to Krakow 4:12pm. Walk around, dinner.
Friday-- Old town; maybe Wieliczka Salt Mines in the late afternoon/evening?
Saturday-- Full day sightseeing in old town. Dinner at Pod Aniolami?
Sunday-- Morning flight home.

My past vacations were mostly 8 or 9 days in one city, so this hectic schedule is freaking me out a little, but then those were usually big cities like Rome and Paris, so maybe these compact places are more manageable? Does the Krakow portion of this itinerary look doable for someone who's not used to rushing on multiple day-trips? Would you drop Wieliczka and/or Auschwitz from this schedule? My main interest is old architecture.

The hotels I found in both places are relative inexpensive, so I'm considering keeping the Krakow hotel (in Kazimierz) for the entire stay (overlapping two nights)-- then we only have to bring a small day bag on the side trip and don't waste time transporting luggage and checking in and out multiple times. Or would it make more sense to check out Tuesday morning and find an Old Town hotel for the final 3 nights?

Trip is mid-October, when sunset will be around 5:45pm in Krakow and 6:30pm in Lviv. (We are not morning people, so the early sunrise in both places doesn't really add more usable daylight hours).

Last edited by MademoiselleFifi; Aug 27th, 2018 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Additional questions
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Aug 27th, 2018, 10:19 PM
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kja
 
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Originally Posted by MademoiselleFifi View Post
My past vacations were mostly 8 or 9 days in one city, so this hectic schedule is freaking me out a little, but then those were usually big cities like Rome and Paris, so maybe these compact places are more manageable?
Yes, these places are more manageable that Rome or Paris.

BTW, while in Krakow consider making time for Lady with an Ermine -- she is very special.

Originally Posted by MademoiselleFifi View Post
Would you drop Wieliczka and/or Auschwitz from this schedule?
Your call! I didn't have time for Wieliczka, and so can't comment on it. I did visit Auschwitz / Birkenau, and am very glad I did, because I wanted to gain the level of insight into concentration camps that can only come from actually being there. But it was definitely an emotionally charged experience. My visit took the full day, and I was glad that I had planned just a very quiet evening -- a bit of a walk and a nice dinner.

Originally Posted by MademoiselleFifi View Post
I'm considering keeping the Krakow hotel (in Kazimierz) for the entire stay (overlapping two nights)-- then we only have to bring a small day bag on the side trip and don't waste time transporting luggage and checking in and out multiple times. Or would it make more sense to check out Tuesday morning and find an Old Town hotel for the final 3 nights?
I'm glad I stayed in Old Town -- but why would you have to take all your luggage with you? Many hotels will accept luggage in advance, or even hold it for a few days.
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Aug 28th, 2018, 04:16 AM
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We had six full days in Krakow on our visit, and found it sufficient to see everything we wanted to see, including Auschwitz and Wieliczka, and even took a day trip to Wrocław. But if you are feeling rushed, can you perhaps cut Lviv out altogether and remain in Krakow?
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Aug 28th, 2018, 10:21 AM
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Would you drop Wieliczka and/or Auschwitz from this schedule?>>

well, I would but it's not my trip. Your companion really wants to go to Auschwitz. I've been to Krakow at least twice and never went to the Salt Mines because it just didn't sound interesting to me, I'm not interested in salt mines. I am more interested in history, art and architecture so did those things in Krakow. I imagine you'll visit the castle, that will take up at least half a day. I enjoyed a guided tour to Nowa Huta, and visited numerous sites related to WWII history, there are some good ones there, like Schindler's Factory.

I think you have enough time to see some important things in Krakow, you seem to have about 3 days for sightseeing in the city (Fri-Sat and your first Sunday). I don't think the Kazimierz district takes up a full day myself, it has some old synagogues and cemetery and one small museum. Schindler's Factor is not there, if that's what you are thinking. But maybe you have plans for your day that take up all day. On the other hand, I did really enjoy the Krakow ethnographic museum which is in that District, but most tourists don't go there, it's not near the synagogues. Muzeum Etnograficzne - etnomuzeum
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Aug 28th, 2018, 09:32 PM
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Thank you all for your thoughtful input!

Kja, what a coincidence-- just before you posted, I was trying it track down the latest location of "Lady with an Ermine," as it seems to have been moved a couple of times recently and there is a lot of conflicting or outdated information on various sites. Looks like it will now stay at the main hall of the National Museum for at least two years. Regarding why I wasn't planning to have a hotel store our luggage: we are not looking at luxurious hotels, and in a few of the smaller mid-priced European hotels I used in the past, sometimes "luggage storage" may just mean a corner of of the breakfast room or an unlocked closet where guests retrieve their own bags without any tags. I've done that for a few hours but wouldn't want to do it for two days. Worth asking though, and one website says the Krakow Glowny train station has left luggage facilities (not sure how current the the article is).

Fourfortravel, we included Lviv because it's the town where my boyfriend's Polish grandparents immigrated from. I also find its multicultural history fascinating, and the from pictures and Google Maps Street View, its architecture looks grander than Krakow's.

Christina, yes I did lump Schindler's factory museum together with Kazimierz area because on the Rick Steves map it looked to be just across the river from there, but then his maps are often not drawn to scale. Is it a much longer walk than it looks, or just a dreary uninteresting walk? Would you recommend taking a tram to get there? Wieliczka is under consideration only because one of my former colleagues, who came from Poland, kept raving about how amazing the carvings were; the website seems kitschy though. I guess I'll leave the option open and decide after we get to Krakow.
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Aug 28th, 2018, 09:40 PM
  #6
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I'm glad you've been tracking down the Lady with an Ermine! If there's any doubt about her current residence (and yes, she has moved around a bit in recent years), I'm sure someone at the tourist information office can help you find her.

Ah, now I understand your concern about luggage. Good luck finding a solution!
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Aug 28th, 2018, 09:45 PM
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I walked from Kazimierz to Podgórze--it's not far. Can't recall whether it is an interesting walk or not, but it's not far. I would think you will want to stop at the Podgórze Memorial.

We stayed between outside the center (but not in Kazimierz). Hotel Pugetow. I liked the location. I don't think one has to stay in the center in Krakow unless one has very limited time or has mobility problems.

Had five days in Krakow and didn't get to the salt mines.
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