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Krakow and Warsaw

I am planning a trip to Poland in the beginning of November. I will only have time to visit Krakow and Warsaw. Should I divide my time evenly or spend more time in one city than the other.
Also, has anyone had any experience flying Lot airlines?
Thank you for your help.

Posted by
2092 posts

I spent 4 days in each, with a long day trip to Gdansk from Warsaw by train--highly recommended if you have an interest. I also took the train from Krakow to Warsaw, very easy trip. I flew from Warsaw to Prague on LOT and found it to be affordable and comfortable--what do you need to know about it, specifically? Of the 2 I preferred Krakow a bit more, but both have many interesting things to see and do, the food is incredible and the people very kind. Definitely a country I will return to.

Posted by
13968 posts

I'm going there at the end of this week. My only suggestion is to read a couple of guide books and/or do some internet research and get a feel for which attractions most interest you and then work out how much time you'll need to see them.

Someone interested in Old World charm will choose differently from someone interested in WWII history and from an art buff. Food and drink are about the same in both.

Posted by
5029 posts

Gwen we were there in 2013. We flew LOT direct (they are the only direct we found) from the US to Warsaw. No problems or complaints. It was a brand new 787 Dreamliner.

You don't say how much time you have. To me the difference is whether you want to see more museums, monuments, memorials, and cosmopolitan nightlife/restaurants (Warsaw) or old history, art, authentic architecture, etc. (Krakow). Either way, they both have plenty of things to do and see. I'd split the time if you are not going on side trips. Lean towards Krakow if you are going to also see Auschwitz-Birkenau, the salt mines, or Zakopane while there.

Posted by
11154 posts

Do you have Rick Steves Snapshot: Kraków, Warsaw & Gdansk? If not, get it right away. I found it excellent, and by reading about the attractions in each place, you can figure out how much time you will need in each. As a bonus, I see the new edition just came out, so it's as up to date as any print material can be.

I flew LOT from New York to Krakow (via Warsaw) and then back from Warsaw to New York. LOT was fine, and I'd definitely fly them again. One nice feature is that they offer Premium Economy for only about $225 more than regular economy. This not only has more legroom, but also wider and fancier seats (2-2-2 instead of 2-3-2 in regular coach). I stayed in coach, but the plane was still nice (a 787 as said above).

Two things to be aware of if you are flying through Warsaw to Krakow or anywhere else in Poland. First, these intra-Poland flights are on propeller planes (at least they were in 2013). I have no problem with these (the flights are very short), but I know some don't like them. And, if you're changing in Warsaw, IMMEDIATELY after passport control you go through security for your next flight. If I had known this, I'd have prepared better to take off my belt, have my 3-1-1 bag handy, etc (I had used things during the flight and wasn't expecting to have to deal with it so quickly on landing). Warsaw airport is otherwise very easy to deal with, as it's not a behemoth like Heathrow, JFK, etc.

Posted by
72 posts

I fly frequently intra-Poland for work and around half of my flights are on Embraer 170, 175 and 195. These are not propeller planes. In 2013 you were most probably flying Eurolot on ATR planes, not LOT itself. Eurolot ceased operations in 2015.

In any case, if anyone is afraid of propeller planes (LOT has De Havilland Canada DHC-8-400 Dash 8Q) - equipment is known at the time of booking, pick a connection on Embraer (or if not available, go by fast train).

Posted by
242 posts

I would spend the bulk of my time in Krakow. I have been to both and feel like I saw much of Warsaw in a few days but Krakow's history that still stands is amazing! I was very impressed with LOT airlines. It was like going back to the 1960's as far as the look, helpfulness, and polish of its employees.

Posted by
13968 posts

I flew from Warsaw to Gdansk yesterday on a Lot prop jet. It was a little noisy and bumpy on the tarmac (I was sitting just a row or so in front of the prop) but in the air just like the "bigger birds." The flight was excellent for all of 45 minutes and then we were back on the ground. They managed to serve a candy bar and drink. The flight was on time, the seat was comfortable and the crew were very good. In Warsaw we were shuttled to the plane (it's only about 5-6 steps from the ground to the door) but hin Gdansk we just walked a few meters from the plane to the terminal.

I'm sorry you won't have time for Gdansk. It's lovely.

Posted by
11154 posts

I just had a chance to look at Rick's new Poland book in a store. Guess what - for whatever reason, my two favorite Krakow restaurants are no longer in there. I don't know if this is because they've declined in quality (I was there a few years ago, so it's possible) or because he now prefers other places. However, I see that some places I thought were good but not great are still listed, so I want to post about my two favorites that are now missing.

Polskie Smaki is a milk bar with traditional Polish foods. I was worried that it would resemble a canteen, but it has a very nice, warm atmosphere, and all kinds of people eating there (despite being in my guidebook, I seemed to be one of the few non-Poles there). The servers spoke enough English to explain the dishes, and the prices are so low that if you get something you don't like, you can afford to go back and get something else! The food was great - just as good as, or better than, other places I went charging much more. Don't miss the żurek, usually translated as sour soup; it's not sour, but it is delicious. http://www.polskie-smaki.pl/en/

Aqua e Vino is an Italian restaurant, charging high prices for Krakow, but much lower than you'd pay in Italy or the US for food of this high quality. Worth going to as an affordable "splurge," even if you're not seeking a change from Polish food. http://aquaevino.pl/en/

Posted by
5029 posts

Harold, what new RS Poland Book? You mean the Eastern European Guidebook? Or the snapshot book.

Posted by
11154 posts

The new edition of the Snapshot Krakow, Warsaw, and Gdansk book, which is the same text as those chapters in the new Eastern Europe book.

I was typing quickly, so I just called it the "Poland book" - sorry for the confusion.

Posted by
2353 posts

We just left Krakow yesterday and were in Warsaw before that. I would give Krakow more time - especially if you will be day tripping to Auschwitz and/or the Salt Mine. Krakow itself also has more to see and is just a pretty neat neat place to just hang.

Posted by
123 posts

Both cities are interesting. You can visit them and decide to travel to Poland once again to get to know them and other places better. There is a good connection between Warsaw and Cracow by LOT or train
http://www.lot.com/us/en/
http://rozklad-pkp.pl/en
Next time it is worth to see e.g. Poznań, Szczecin, Świnoujście, Kołobrzeg, Gdynia, Gdańsk, Malbork, Toruń, Gniezno, Wrocław, Wałbrzych-Książ, Karpacz, Kłodzko and the area, Częstochowa, Zakopane, Bukowina Tatrzańska, Bochnia, Tarnów, Rzeszów, Zamość, Lublin and Puławy.
Have a nice stay in Poland!