Fashion and lifestyle blogger Margarita Smirnova takes us on a whistle-stop tour of her hometown of Krakow. If you only have 12 hours in the city, this is the only guide you need…

Krakow is not only an absolutely charming, exceptional and inspiring city, but also the cultural capital of Poland. The city often hosts unique events, exhibitions, fairs, festivals, street performances and concerts. In other words, there is always something going on!

The city center often reminds me of the Middle Ages! Sometimes when I’m walking through the Main Square, I feel like I’m in a fairytale: old and cozy streets, lovely, pretty houses, amazing architecture…Nevertheless, Krakow can also surprise you with some stylish and contemporary places too! I’m going to share some of my favorites with you…

In general, Krakow is a small city, which is a big plus because you can walk from one part of city to the another in no time at all. If I had only 12 hours to explore the city, I would start my day in the cafe Blossom ( Ul. Rakowicka, 20). They always serve a delicious and hearty breakfast, along with good music and amazing coffee! I encourage you to try my favorite “latte with rose flavor”. In this cafe, I always feel at home so it’s the perfect combination to start your day!

Another cozy cafe to go for breakfast is Fitagain (Ul. Szczepańska, 7) and they serve a great selection of breakfast dishes all day long. Their coffee has a very pleasant and delicate flavor, which I love – I always want my cup to last forever! Fitagain has a very warm and friendly atmosphere and is right in the heart of the Old Town.

“In my opinion, they serve one of the most delicious coffee’s in the city!”

You can also find some very tasty breakfast choices at Wesola Cafe (Ul. Rakowicka, 17). This place is very popular with locals.  The atmosphere is relaxing, the music is great, the baristas are friendly, and the interior is stylish in its design – basically everything you need to make your day a happy one!

After you have enjoyed your breakfast, it’s time to stroll through the Old Town and take some beautiful pictures! Get your camera at the ready as Krakow’s Old Town is Instagram heaven! Explore the beautifully preserved network of squares and cobbled streets and marvel at the largest medieval market square in Europe, the amazing Rynek Główny. The Old Town was once surrounded by a moat but is now circled by luscious public green space called the ‘Planty’. Don’t forget to explore some of the quaint book stores in the area to really feel transported back in time.

“This place is definitely worth giving an hour of your time. You will enjoy every minute!”

I recommend visiting the very cool MICET Interactive Theatre Museum, which is located near the Central square (ul. Jagiellońska, 1). Here you will experience both traditional crafts and new, experimental technology. You can learn about creating amazing theatre productions from the perspective of a director, actor, set and costume designer, as well as soundtrack artists. This place is definitely worth giving an hour of your time. You will enjoy every minute.

Just a few steps away, across the road from the Museum, there is a great place for lunch – Pino restaurant (Szczepańska, 4).The restaurant has a fabulous modern interior with an edgy, urban style and of course, really delicious food. The coolest thing is the restaurant’s open kitchen. I love seeing the food being cooked.

Another place for a perfect lunch is Bistro 11 (Rakowicka, 11). I love its great atmosphere and charming backyard. The food is delicious – I’ve enjoyed every single dish I have ever ordered here! This place is extremely popular with the locals too.

If you are looking for some vegan or vegetarian food, you shouldn’t miss the VEGANIC restaurant (Dolnych Młynów, 10). I’d recommend this place for everyone, even non-vegetarians, because the food is so tasty and they have a wide selection of unusual dishes. This restaurant is both fancy and cozy at the same time. It’s never over-crowded, so it’s a great choice for a serene lunch.

A trip wouldn’t be complete without shopping, huh? A totally unique space has recently opened in Krakow called the FORUM MODY i FORUM DESIGNU (Focha, 1). This amazing modern design market showcasing apparel and interior pieces from exclusively Polish designers. This hip and stylish market is a super idea if you are looking to shop in Krakow. It’s all about fashion and style!

Want more?  A really interesting shopping place to check out is Passage 13 (Rynek Główny, 13). Two old brick houses at the Market Square were transformed into a snug, stylish, and well-stocked Shopping Center in the heart of the Old Town. Passage 13 is definitely the most elegant place for shopping in Krakow! I really like both the concept and design of the stores inside. It’s not big, but definitely worth visiting.

“The former Jewish District is an essential part of Krakow to see –  it’s such a creative, unique and hip area.”

After that you can walk to the famous KAZIMIERZ (ul. Dietla). The former Jewish District is a must-see part of Krakow –  it’s such a creative, unique and hip area. Here it’s all about the artistic and bohemian atmosphere. There are dozens of antique shops, concept stores, art galleries, bars and cafés, all with a really authentic atmosphere. This part of the city is completely different from the Old Town, so it’s great to walk around and get to know a different side of the city.

Whilst in Kazimierz, try not to miss the concept store MARKA (Ul. Józefa, 5). The most interesting products made by Polish designers and artists can be found here – think furniture, lighting, ceramics, decorative elements, graphics, paintings, and cool gifts for children too!

Another magnificent place in the Kazimierz district which I’m totally in love with and recommend that everyone should visit, is the Kładka Ojca Bernatka bridge. This bridge crosses the Wisla river and unites two districts in Krakow: Podgórze and Kazimierz. One part of the bridge is only for pedestrians and the second one for bikes which makes it super easy to move around. I love the figures of various acrobats placed on the metal bridge ropes, they are truly beautiful. In Krakow, this place is also known as the “Bridge of Love.” Newlyweds often attach a lock to the bridge with their names written on it as a sign of the strong love between them. It’s definitely worth visiting the bridge in the evening as the bridge is beautifully lit up. It shines in different colors every day – it is a beautiful experience!

“This area is called the “City within a city”. It is a former tobacco factory reconstructed into a cool urban space and cultural complex.”

Another special must-see place in Krakow is TYTANO (Ul. Dolnych Młynów, 10). This area is called the “city within a city”. It is a former tobacco factory reconstructed into a cool urban space and cultural complex. There are a lot of bars, clubs, cafes in this area. Here, creativity meets business and science. During the summer time many concerts, exhibitions, workshops, outdoor cinema and other inspirational events happen here.

Looking for the perfect pit stop for a drink and dinner? Cargo (Dolnych Młynów, 10) is a fascinating place to drink, eat and spend your evening. They serve up some very delicious food and a huge variety of drinks. I love its interior style: concrete walls and with splashes of red and industrial details. Very atmospheric!

If you prefer to have a dinner in the picturesque Old Town area, Nota_Resto by Tomasz Leśniak (Świętego Krzyża, 17) would be the best choice. They have a great menu from a renowned and talented chef. The food here is simply fantastic – all the dishes have a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. The wine selection is comprehensive too and the restaurant has a very welcoming atmosphere with attentive staff. I also like the modern interior design and outdoor terrace which is great for sitting outside during the summer months!

If you are in the KAZIMIERZ area for dinner, make sure to visit a great restaurant called Plac Nowy 1 (Plac Nowy, 1). The interior is elegant and stylish and the ambience is really friendly. The food is always perfect and with exceptionally beautiful presentation. Perfect for Instagram! I also enjoy the terrace part of this restaurant which is open all, year round.

After dinner, be sure to get to TYTANO. It’s the best place to finish your day, sipping cocktails in one of the best bars in town. The reasonably new Enklawa Restaurant & Cocktail Bar (Ul. Dolnych Młynów, 10) is perfect for after-dinner drinks! This place has an interesting industrial décor and a premium range of spirits, where even the most demanding of palates will find something to enjoy. The atmosphere is relaxed, with good music and tasty food if you aren’t already full! Everything is set up for you, so you can just drink your favorite cocktail here in a good company.

Międzymiastowa (Ul. Dolnych Młynów, 10) -is another cool looking spot in Krakow. I often visit for dinner followed by cocktails! The place has an industrial design with funky retro decor and furnishings.  The bar area in particular looks super cool! Miedzymiastowa is especially great for late evenings, meeting up with friends.

“Very often in the evenings you can catch some cool DJ-sets here too.”

PINAKOTEKA (Ul. Dolnych Młynów, 10, bud. 5) is an awesome place for spending your evening if you are looking for a cozy, relaxed atmosphere with cool, dynamic music. The owner of this place is so friendly and warm – quite often you can see him welcoming the guests personally or working at the bar and serving tea to his guests. Very often in the evenings you can catch some cool DJ-sets here too.

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