Krakow to Kiev

A visit to the points of interest of Krakow before taking the train to Kiev, Ukraine.

Krakow is a city in southern Poland which is part of the EU and Schenghen community.  Krakow offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;

  • Krakow Old Town, UNESCO world heritage site
  • St. Mary’s Basilica, Krakow Cloth Hall and the Main Square
  • Horse drawn carriage tours of Krakow
  • Wawel Castle and Cathedral
  • Day trip to Auschwitz concentration camp
  • Day trip to Wieliczka Salt Mine, UNESCO world heritage site
  • Day trip to Ogrodzieniec Castle
  • Collegium Maius
  • Krakow Barbican

Finding a place to stay in Krakow is easy, there are over 2000 options, mostly very good value.  Krakow is famous for it’s cheap beer and alcohol, so you’ll have no problem finding bars.

Main Square, Krakow Old Town

Main Square, Krakow Old Town

The old town of Krakow is a UNESCO world heritage site.  At the center of the old town you’ll find the main square of Krakow.  On this main square you’ll find may of the points of interest of the city including, St. Mary’s Basilica (above left), Krakow Cloth Hall (above right) and the Adam Mickiewicz Monument which makes a perfect meeting place.

If you are visiting Krakow with a loved one I’d recommend a romantic horse drawn carriage tour of the city, prices and routes are negotiable and they leave from the main square.

Krakow

Krakow

You can walk everywhere in the old town of Krakow and you’ll pass endless beautiful buildings, almost all the points of interest of the city.  I took a picture of the building above but have been unable to identify it.  If you know which building in Krakow this is, please let me know in the comments!

To go to the Wieliczka Salt Mine (UNESCO world heritage site) you’ll can find a tour or you could visit independently by taking a train to Wieliczka Rynek Kopalnia station.

To go to the Auschwitz concentration camp, I’d recommend a tour, there are many tour agents in town, shop around for the best price.

Auschwitz Ovens, Poland

Auschwitz Ovens, Poland

During the second world war Hitler was on a mission to kill all Jews.  Around Europe he opened killing centers, often referred to as extermination camps or death camps, where he would send Jews to be killed.  Auschwitz is one of Hitlers killing centers, it’s a site of the holocaust, the biggest mass murder in the history of mankind.  About 1 million Jews were killed at Auschwitz alone, mainly in gas chambers on route to Auschwitz but they were killed using a number of other methods too including ovens (above).

You’ll see pictures and videos of prisoners arriving at the camp a lot of them had been promised worked and had no idea they were going to be murdered.  Something that stood out to me was all the prisoners shoes, they had been kept and there were rooms full of thousands of shoes.

Those who have read the Diary of Anne Frank will know when she was discovered in Amsterdam she was brought to Auschwitz concentration camp.

Auschwitz II Quarantine Camp, Poland

Auschwitz II Quarantine Camp, Poland

Many brought to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp were kept in cramped dormitories (above).  The conditions in the dormitory were damp, with lice, rats, and no washing facilities.  This part of the camp is known as the quarantine section.

A lot of people visit the Auschwitz concentration camp so be prepared for crowds, especially during the summer.  Remember how fortunate you are to be in a position to be annoyed by other tourists, the prisoners of the 40’s would have loved to have been in this position.

The movie Schindlers List was filmed at locations in Auschwitz, as well as Krakow city.  If you are interested in the history of Auschwitz concentration camp then I recommend watching this movie.

Train from Krakow to Kiev - changing from Standard to Russian gauge tracks.

Train from Krakow to Kiev – changing from Standard to Russian gauge tracks.

Tracks in Europe are standard gauge which is 1435 mm.  Tracks in the former Soviet Union countries are Russian gauge which is 1520 mm.  For this reason when the train reaches the border of Poland and the Ukraine it must be lifted up and the bogie changed to fit on the Russian gauge tracks.

Whilst the bogie was being changed immigration of Poland and the Ukraine came onto the train and checked documents.  Poland is part of the EU but the Ukraine is not, to enter the Ukraine no visa is required, a 30 day stamp is given.

Kiev to Moscow

2017-04-30T13:16:20+00:00 April 25th, 2017|Eastern Europe, Poland|15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Megan Rose April 25, 2017 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    Great article! I am brushing up on my Polish to visit Poland for familiar reasons, so it’s good to note what else to see while I am there!

  2. Aditi April 25, 2017 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    Great article!! Your website is so interesting. i would love to share some of these articles on Raising World Chidlren page on fb and twitter. If you feel up to writing with us please let me know. I think you would bring a great perspective to the table. Thank you for all the work you are doing to share the world with your readers.

  3. GiGi Eats April 27, 2017 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    TRULY miss travel right now. MISS IT. I have zero travel plans right now (out of the country that is)… Except I do know I plan on going to Africa in December. I went to Europe last October – to countries I had never been to and it was a phenomenal experience, and this article makes me want to just hop on a plane and GOOOOO!

  4. Mimi May 1, 2017 at 4:44 am - Reply

    That’s a route I would love to be able to do very soon. Never have been to Poland, but would like to save it to go with my partner. Going to Budapest next week and I am so tempted to extend to go do this journey of yours!

  5. This is a fantastic article. I love that you only travel by land.

  6. Paulina May 1, 2017 at 5:32 am - Reply

    I loved Krakow, it s such a medieval place and the food is awesome. I would love to visit Kiev as well. All those countries are fascinating to me

  7. Hendrik May 1, 2017 at 5:42 am - Reply

    So many places you have already seen James. Always excited what your next destination will be. Auschwitz of course must have been surely complete different experience to see, but I like a lot your impressions from Krakov. The first photo reminded me somehow even a bit to Venice 🙂
    But as always – lovely impressions from great destinations that you share here with us.

  8. Rhiannon May 1, 2017 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    Krakow is one of my favourite cities ever, but you definitely missed out on not mentioning the amazing dirt cheap pierogi here 😉 I didn’t do one of the horse-drawn carriages, mostly because my fingers were threatening to fall off due to frostbite at any moment, so the thought of sitting on an open carriage for however long was not my idea of fun! If I go back in the warmer months I’ll definitely give it a go though, just to be able to pretend I’m back in Victorian Britain (in Poland…). Also, I still need to watch Schindler’s List! Thanks for the reminder!

  9. clare May 1, 2017 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    I loved Krakow it is a great city and a place I had far too much vodka. I did go to Auschwitz and it was so moving but I think its a place everyone should visit to be reminded that this should never happen again!! I also visited the salt mine too which was an interesting place!! Ukraine is on my list and I am hoping to be able to go some time this summer 🙂

  10. Abhinav Singh May 1, 2017 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Krakow is so pretty. I am keen on visiting both Poland as well as Ukraine. I am yet to see Europe and I hope I make at least one Euro Trip this year. I am saving this blog for future reference.

  11. Jean May 2, 2017 at 4:16 am - Reply

    Krakow looks utterly charming. Especially if you can do horse drawn carriage rides round the town. It’s one of my favourite parts of being in Europe.

  12. Iza Abao May 2, 2017 at 6:03 am - Reply

    Auschwitz Concentration Camp is eerie. I got sad a bit while I was reading your description of this place. I’m interested in visiting this place but it will probably make me feel empty.
    Your photo of the Krakow Old Town is beautiful. It would be nice to spend a day just walking around in that place.

  13. Ioanna May 7, 2017 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    Kraków is absolutely beautiful. I used to study and live there for six years and it’s just amazing. If I may, I would add a suggestion to go and see Kazimierz – the Jewish quarter only about 15min walk from the Main Square. It’s the only one like that that survived the war, you can see seven synagogues still standing and enjoy a walk among narrow streets of this district, now a hot spot for artists, students and all pub-goers.

    When on the Main Square I would also suggest seeing the Underground Museum, which I find mind-blowing. This is a treat for all history buffs but even regular tourists will find it fascinating.

    Happy travels!
    Ioanna (A Woman Afoot)

  14. RJ May 9, 2017 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    I loved visiting Krakow! I took an overnight train to Auschwitz from Prague, then a bus to Krakow. Such a beautiful country!

  15. Souparna May 22, 2017 at 6:27 am - Reply

    The photos are very appealing. While I was reading about the concentration camps it felt very weird. I have seen the movie Schindler’s List numerous times and thank you for being so elaborative throughout the post. I have always loved reading your content. Hoping to see Krakow and other beautiful places of Europe, soon.

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