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BillJ Feb 13th, 2014 08:36 PM

Poland for 5 - 6 nights - Krackow / Warsaw
Before we (wife and I - 50 years!) have to be in Frankfurt, we have 6 nights max (maybe only 5) to spend and DW wants to be in Poland. I have read a bit, and it seems I could split for 3 night each in Warsaw and Krackow. But the more I read, the more I think I'd need at least 4 nights in Krackow. If I did that, then only two nights in Warsaw, means only 1 full day "on the ground." Doesn't seem like enough.
So I'm thinking maybe 4 or 5 nights in Krackow only, gives enough time to get over some jet lag and have a relatively relaxed few days in a great old city of Europe. Am I missing something amazing if I don't go to Warsaw? Is three days on the ground (4 nights) in Krackow sufficient to get a good look at the old part of town?
We are older (early 70's), not driving this trip, but on our own. Will stay in larger hotels in or near the "old town" in each city. Interested in culture, history, 'old towns', medieval, etc. We like the HOHO buses in the European cities that have them. Gives us a good orientation and can help us decide what to go back to and what we don't have to go back to. both K and W apparently have these buses.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.

fourfortravel Feb 13th, 2014 08:48 PM

I can offer that our family (2 adults, 2 Tween/Teen children) spent 7 days (6 nights) in Krakow in 2012, and including jet lag recovery time, found it to be a good orientation of the beautiful city. Even at our pace, we missed a few things in Krakow in favor of a day outing to Wroclaw (we had a car) and two partial day outings to Auschwitz and the salt mines, though. We now live in Austria and are planning a return visit next month to Krakow over the Easter holiday (to enjoy the markets in better weather than we had) and to see a few things that we missed on the first trip, that's how much we enjoyed the city.

Leely2 Feb 13th, 2014 08:51 PM

I spent five+ days in Krakow this past summer. One day in Warsaw. Was there more I wanted to see in Warsaw? Yes, but given your time frame I'd just spend the whole time in Krakow. Krakow is beautiful and has lots to see, and if you have an interest, a trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau is unforgettable--heartbreaking, haunting, but I am glad we went.

kja Feb 13th, 2014 09:20 PM

I would NOT recommend splitting 3 - 3. I don't think you would lose much by spending all of your time n Krakow, but if you do have 6 nights, a day+ in Warsaw would not be a bad idea IMO. You could probably fly into Warsaw, spend the rest of that day and maybe part of the next day there, seeing the sites that most capture your interest and getting over jet lag, and then move on to Krakow by train.

I agree that Auschwitz/Birkenau is incredibly moving and well worth seeing. Leely has described it very well.

And in Krakow, don't miss the Lady with an Ermine -- she is very special.

adrienne Feb 14th, 2014 05:15 AM

I spent 2 days in Warsaw and 3 + 5 days in Krakow (2 different trips). I would spend the entire time in Krakow since it is so beautiful and offers so much to see and do. Warsaw is mostly a sprawling city with Communist era buildings and not very pretty. Krakow is compact and you can walk many places.

Another reason to spend enough time in Krakow is that there are 3 things that take a substantial part of the day - the Salt Mine, Auschwitz, and Wawel (castle). You can really only see one of these places in a day and then add on something nearer the Old Town.

I hired a guide (with car) to see the Jewish Quarter and part of the Old Town. We spent the entire day (9-5) with Marta and I thought the price was reasonable. She is knowledgeable and friendly and I highly recommend hiring her for a day. Her email is:
[email protected]

I have a trip report which you can read - just scroll down to the Krakow part. There's a link to my photos in the trip report. I had seen the Salt Mine and Wawel on my first trip.

I recommend seeing the Krakow Under the Occupation Museum but go on a weekend morning to avoid the school groups. There were only a few people in the museum on Saturday morning when I went. You can buy tickets at the Cloth Hall (on the side away from the basilica). There's an office selling tickets for the Cloth Hall excavations and Krakow Under the Occupation Museum.

BigRuss Feb 14th, 2014 08:10 AM

I'd split Krakow and Gdansk. Gdansk is about 1.5 hours from Frankfurt by plane. It's the city where WWII started and the city in which the collapse of Communism essentially began.

Oh wait, I did that in the past.

But if your choice is Krakow and Warsaw or just Krakow, the scale probably tilts more toward just Krakow. Warsaw was leveled in WWII. What isn't Commie-era in Warsaw is modern. What isn't modern or Soviet-styled is an architectural reenactment of previous styles.

BillJ Feb 14th, 2014 03:00 PM

Thank you one and all. The scales are definitely tipped in favor of Krakow for time that I have available. I was kind of leaning that way, and you all have confirmed it. I also like the ideas of the day trips out of K.
Thanks again, and Happy Valentine Day. Don't forget to get some flowers or candy for someone.

iris1745 Feb 14th, 2014 05:08 PM

Krakow is wonderful. You could consider two nights in Warsaw and four nights in Krakow.

There is a fast train from Warsaw to Krakow, probably three hours.

Have a great trip.

kja Feb 15th, 2014 12:35 AM

BTW, if you do stop in Warsaw, give thought to visiting not only the Old Town (which I believe was restored after WWII by the people of the city at their own cost and through their own efforts), but also the John Paul II Collection.

iris1745 Feb 15th, 2014 05:57 AM

<if you do stop in Warsaw> during the summer months on a Sunday, there is a free Chopin concert in the park.

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