Krakow or Warsaw – Which One Should You Visit?
Our comparison will help you make up your mind!

06.10.2018

krakow_or_warsaw_question

  So you’re planning a holiday in Poland.

  Still not sure whether to visit Krakow or Warsaw?

  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

 

 

 

 

 

In general, Warsaw is a larger city that is more spread out and cosmopolitan. Krakow, on the   other hand, is much more compact but still gets the bulk of the tourist attention.

While Warsaw is larger and more sophisticated, most foreign visitors go to Krakow, the most popular tourist destination in Poland.

Read on to find out more about these two Polish gems to which one makes a perfect holiday destination for you.

krakow_or_warsaw_poland_map

Which one should you choose?


Krakow – what’s it all about?

  • Krakow is unique because it’s one of the few larger Polish cities that were not damaged during the Second World War.
  • It’s rich in beautiful historical architecture that spans many centuries.
  • All the attractions are located in the compact Old Town, so it’s very walkable and accessible to explore.
  • The Jewish district, Kazimierz, is one of the most exciting areas of the city.
  • You can easily explore Krakow over the weekend. But give yourself more time if you also want to visit popular attractions in Krakow’s surroundings such as the Wieliczka Salt Mine, the Tatra mountains and the picturesque town of Zakopane, or Auschwitz concentration camp.

A few words about Warsaw

Warsaw is an entirely different city from Krakow.

  • Since it was destroyed during the Second World War, its historical center is a complete reproduction (a fact people from Krakow always mention when comparing Warsaw to Krakow).
  • While the historical streets are quite charming, the rest of the city is business-oriented and cosmopolitan, with plenty of offices, high-rise buildings, and shopping malls.
  • But Warsaw is also home to vibrant cultural life with plenty of museums and art on display.

The battle begins

Now that you know the basics about Krakow and Warsaw, it’s time to begin our battle.

Read on to find out which of these two amazing cities wins in every round of the battle.

Round 1: History

krakow_or_warsaw_old_town

Warsaw’s charming Old Town...

When it comes to history, Krakow might seem like an obvious winner.

After all, its stunning architecture has been left intact throughout the country’s turbulent history.

However, if you’re interested in recent history, then Warsaw might turn out to be more interesting. You’ll get to admire the Socialist Realist architecture constructed during the Soviet era and learn more about the history of the Second World War in the city’s many museums. It is also interesting to see how the reconstruction of the historical center maintains the traditional character of Warsaw.

Visitors also get to admire the city’s many monuments that are evocative and impressive.

krakow_or_warsaw_wawel_castle

...or Krakow’s historic Wawel Hill?

Since Krakow wasn’t destroyed during the Second World War, it houses a broad range of historical attractions including the Wawel Castle which served as the centre of the Polish monarchy for centuries. However, those interested in more recent history will also benefit from visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps located in Oswiecim.

Far from a typical tourist attraction, these sites provide an emotional and harrowing visiting experience, documenting the atrocities of the Second World War like no other place in this part of Europe.

krakow_or_warsaw_winner  Winner: It’s a tie!


Round 2: Speed of the city life

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Warsaw’s modern big-city speed...

There’s no denying that Warsaw is larger than Krakow and far more cosmopolitan.

While Krakow is overflowing with international tourists, Warsaw attracts business people and students who are looking for all kinds of opportunities in this vibrant city.

krakow_or_warsaw_bridge

...or Krakow’s chilled and relaxed atmosphere?

Moreover, Warsaw is full of modern skyscrapers, and the pace of life is much faster than Krakow.

While Krakow is an excellent place for learning more about the Polish history and tradition, Warsaw provides a much more exciting entry point into Poland.

krakow_or_warsaw_winner  Winner: Warsaw!

 

Round 3: Nightlife

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Warsaw’s fancy bars...

While Warsaw is a large city that caters to many tastes, Krakow’s famous old and smoky cellar bars and captivating clubs in the Jewish district make it a more exciting choice.

Have you ever heard of the urban myth which says:

there are more bars per square meter in Krakow’s Old Town than any other city in Europe

I think that’s not far from the truth.

Both cities are full of the classic Polish walk in bars where you order a drink for one euro and a bite for two. You will find all kinds of exciting clubbing opportunities in both cities.

krakow_or_warsaw_nightlife

...or Krakow’s unique places?

However, it’s Krakow that attracts people from all over Europe to its unique bars, pubs, and clubs.

krakow_or_warsaw_winner  Winner: Krakow!


Round 4: Pricing

krakow_or_warsaw_view

Warsaw’s 'business' prices...

When it comes to prices, Warsaw is definitely more expensive than Krakow.

Dining in Krakow is cheaper, and the same can be said for accommodation.

However, both cities offer a broad range of budget accommodation and dining options. For example, you will find fantastic milk bars serving inexpensive traditional Polish cuisine in both cities. Entrance tickets to many tourist attractions are also cheaper when bought in sets or prebooked.

krakow_or_warsaw_vistula

...or Krakow’s cheaper options?

Still, when it comes to hotels, taxis, and other expenses, Krakow is clearly the winner.

krakow_or_warsaw_winner  Winner: Krakow!


Round 5: Food

krakow_or_warsaw_food

Warsaw’s fusion cuisine...

Warsaw is a cosmopolitan city with many sophisticated dining options that will satisfy all palates.

However, Krakow with the local traditional treats such as the smoky sheep cheese, red sausage, and the delicious pierogi is a winner.

In general, Krakow offers a broader choice of traditional Polish cuisine dishes. Additionally, there is the local, regional tradition that is just incomparably richer to the Polish cuisine offered in Warsaw eateries.

krakow_or_warsaw_pierogi

...or Krakow’s traditional dishes?

All in all, both cities offer great dining options but assuming that tourists come to Poland to try the local treats, Krakow is a clear winner.

krakow_or_warsaw_winner  Winner: Krakow!



Krakow or Warsaw? Which wins the battle?

There’s no denying that Krakow is the most popular tourist destination in Poland.

Many reasons account for that – from inexpensive food and exciting nightlife to amazing cultural offerings and beautiful historical architecture.

While both cities are worth a visit, those who have never been Poland should start with KRAKOW.

It offers a much more accessible entry point to the amazing history and culture of the Polish nation.

And once you become a returning guest in Poland – check out how modern and amazing Warsaw is!

(or extend your stay in Poland! Why limit yourself?)

Do you know any other reasons why Krakow makes a better destination for visitors?

Or perhaps you think Warsaw should be the winner of the battle? We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences in comments.

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