Even though I was born in Poland, I didn’t get to see my own country much before moving to the US with my parents when I was 12. I have been back a few times since then but most of the time was spent visiting family and eating my Babcia’s favorite pierogi. I’ve talked to many travelers that have raved about Poland or asked me for tips and to be honest, I was embarrassed to say that I’ve never been to Krakow! This summer I decided to change that – I spent a few days visiting my family but also tagged on a few days in Warsaw and Kraków.
Stay: Westin Warsaw
Eat: Bar Prasowy
Stay: Sheraton Grand Kraków
Serious kudos to Sheraton for snagging the best location in Kraków! The hotel is located right on Wisla River and steps away from Wawel Castle and Old Town. There is nothing better than catching the sunset at the rooftop terrace overlooking the river and the castle. Step out from the hotel and you’ll be right on the Wisla riverfront. There is a trail on both side of the River- it even motivated me to go for a run to burn off the pierogi that I’ve been stuffing my face with during my stay in Poland. If the river trail is not enough, the Sheraton has got you covered with their very well equipped gym and pool.
My room had a spacious desk and couchette that came in handy when I was trying to catch up on work… don’t let me forget about the gorgeous view of the river too! The breakfast buffet had everything that I needed to start my day (and probably the best omelette station chef I’ve ever seen).
Eat: U Babci Maliny
Finding this place is not easy but once you do- you’re in for a serious treat! Look for a sign on Sławkowska street and enter the courtyard to find the stairs to the hidden restaurant in the cellar. I didn’t take many photos of the location but the key thing to remember is order the fried pierogi! Oh-my-god… my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Likely my most memorable plate of pierogi of the trip (and trust me… there were MANY).
See: Day trip to Wieliczka Salt Mine
Wieliczka was established in the 13th century, but already people were using the salt from the site 6,000 years ago making it the oldest salt mine in the world. Since the salt mine is only 20 kilometers away from Kraków, it’s a perfect easy day trip from the city. You can purchase a tour that picks you up directly from your hotel but we decided to take an Uber and purchase the tour tickets on site. Again- make sure to wear comfortable shoes because there is a lot of walking and STAIRS! On the way down to the salt mine, you descend via stairs… so so many stairs. Luckily, there is an elevator to come back up.
Another day trip that’s worth looking into is visiting Auschwitz Concentration camps. It’s definitely not a fun activity but it is very eye opening to see the camps. After touring the camps, it’s insane to think that this tragedy happened less than 75 years ago.
Poland will always hold a special place in my heart being my home country but after spending a week being a tourist, I have learned to appreciate it even more. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I never pictured myself in these gorgeous hotels or sipping fancy AF cocktails on rooftop bars!
I was welcomed as a guest by Westin Warsaw and Sheraton Grand Krakow. As always all opinions are my own.