A guide for Tartan Army visiting Kraków for the Ukraine v Scotland Nations League game, at Cracovia Stadium, ko. 2045 on Tuesday 27th September 2022.#Auschwitz

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GUIDE UPDATED 20/21.9.22 (click on link to jump to updated section)

POLAND
Poland has a population of 38 million. It is divided into 16 regions known as voivodeships.  It is the fifth largest EU country, located in Central Europe (not East European – many Poles don’t like that label).  Poland is currently in the third Republic, having failed to exist, occupied, partitioned, or consumed into other commonwealths in its history.

The country is at the strategic and trading crossroads of Europe bringing riches from traders and many invasions, from the Swedes, Tartars, and many others.

With increased investment creating  jobs in international corporations and ‘reverse migration’ the country is slowly becoming more multicultural, however Poland was reported as a very monocultural 98% Polish in the 2011 census. (this figure will have changed a fair bit, over the past decade, with a new report awaited following a national census last year)

Read more here or for anyone wanting to dig deeper, get a copy of Norman Davies books ‘God’s Playground’ or ‘Heart of Poland’

KRAKOW  (Cracow) – krakuf    listen     Former Royal Capital, a truly magical City.

Located in Southern Poland in the Małopolska (Lesser Poland) region, around 1.5 hours from the Czech, Slovak and Ukrainian borders.

Kraków is a UNESCO world heritage city of culture and is widely considered to be the intellectual and cultural heart of Poland.

PRESIDENT of KRAKÓW WELCOMES THE TARTAN ARMY TO KRAKÓW.
I contacted Jacek Majchrowski, the President of Kraków, who I know is a keen supporter of the Kraków – Edinburgh partnership and Scottish Polish connections, inviting him to share a welcome message for the Tartan Army visiting Kraków.

He was kind enough to share this message:-

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The upcoming Ukraine-Scotland match, which will be held in Krakow, is an excellent opportunity to emphasise the friendly Polish-Ukrainian-Scottish relations. Polish Krakow, Ukrainian Kyiv and Scottish Edinburgh are interconnected by official cooperation agreements and a rich portfolio of projects implemented over the years.

The flagship project that connects our countries and cities on the promotional level – referring to the culture and heritage of Scotland – is “Scottish Tartan”. Krakow was the first Polish city to receive its own tartan – designed and donated to us in 2017 by Edinburgh.

Ukraine also received its own tartan – in characteristic yellow and blue colours! Designed by ‘Great Scot’ and called “Ukraine Forever”, the checkered pattern is an expression of solidarity with the fighting Ukraine, and the proceeds from the sale of gadgets with this image are to fund the accounts of charity organisations helping Ukrainian refugees.

The clash with the Ukrainian national team – as the previous Scotland-Ukraine matches played as part of the League of Nations in Glasgow, have already shown – will not be an easy task for the Scottish team, but it will be a task worthy of a brave heart.

Because Ukraine is a worthy opponent, which is shown not only by the history of sport, but also by universal history – including the most recent one, unfolding before our eyes. The war between Ukraine and Russia for independence and the right to self-determination is, of course, an inspiration also for Ukrainian footballers.

The history of Ukrainian football – although dating back only to the end of the nineteenth century, and therefore not as old as in the case of Scotland – is full of surprising twists and names of outstanding sportsmen such as Walery Łobanowski and Andrij Szewczenko.

I am sure that the match played on 27th September,  with friends, will be a great spectacle. I invite you to Cracow!

Jacek Majchrowski, President of the City of Krakow


There are many historic and current connections with Scotland – the city is twinned with Edinburgh, and has its own Kraków Tartan, we even had a tartan tram for a year, (ahem, thanks to my proposal, in a city contest seeking suggestions on how best to promote the tartan)

in 1585 King Stefan Batory, the Polish King,  commanded:

‘The Scots who always follow our court and who are at liberty in all places, …in Kraków likewise.  Now We command you to put nothing in their way in this business,…that they should enjoy the same privileges in Kraków as elsewhere. Let a certain district be assigned to them. This We command our faithful subjects’.

I’ve included links to Scottish-Polish links at the end of this article.

This ‘Scots in Poland, Poles in Scotland’ Linkedin Article has a more concise summary of Scottish-Polish- Kraków connections.

Kraków really has something for everyone, culture, lots, and lots and lots of pubs, a great social culture, with many pavement cafes, and beer gardens etc and amazing food. The architecture and history reflect the many influences of the various occupiers of the city over the centuries.  Wawel castle and Cathedral are sacred to Poles.  The Cathedral is the UK equivalent of Westminster abbey where kings, queens and the great of Poland are buried.

The Poles are hugely proud of the ‘Polish Pope, Karol Woytla, JPII, born in nearby Wadowice, but studied, lived, and worked in Kraków. There are plaques and statues all over the city.

MAP OF KRAKÓW – high res – printable  
(I’ve also written to the tourist office asking for a supply of city maps)

The main ‘tourist’ areas of the city are the Old Town (Stary Miasto) with its glorious main square, (Rynek Główny) the largest medieval square in Europe.

Kazimierz, the former Jewish District, Podgórze the former Ghetto and Nowa Huta a communist socialist suburb created to house peasants from the countryside as workers at the huge Lenin steelworks to offset the Kraków intelligentsia. It’s also home to a labyrinth of cold war era tunnels and shelters.

For those spending longer and have free time or planning to return, see the tourist section below.

Average September Weather in Kraków

Where to stay/Accommodation
Anywhere within the ‘Planty Park’ which encircles the old town is prime, or slightly further out, within the ‘ring road’. Alternatively, anywhere in Kazimierz (Jewish District) or in the area between Kazimierz and the Old Town.

The Cracovia stadium is just outside the old town/Planty/Ring Road to the West.  It’s all very walkable. Train Station is just outside the Planty to the Northeast.  Most tourists and I’m sure the TA will gravitate to the Main Square, Rynek Główny.

AirBnB and Booking.com both operate and there are many hotel options from budget to deluxe., and several decent hostels.

High accommodation demand, along with growing international investment/employees, students, tourists and of course the huge influx of people fleeing war in Ukraine, are putting pressure on the long-term rental market, so some short-term holiday lets are moving to long term rental which may adversely affect availability and prices.   Kraków is also home to many universities with a student population of over 200,000.  Students will be starting to return to the city at the end of September for the start of the Winter semester in October.

UKRAINIANS in KRAKÓW
Kraków was already home to around 60,000 registered Ukrainians prior to the war, with many more unregistered.

Following 24th February, around 180,000 plus refugees came to Kraków, some have moved on, but it is estimated that 150,000-200,000 Ukrainians are living in the city, most likely many more, with refugees continuing to arrive daily.

Kraków is also twinned with Lviv and have, like the tartan army sunshine appeal, been supporting the city of Lviv.  There are many refugee support groups and centres still operating in the city.

I wrote a comprehensive article detailing the situation regarding Ukrainians in Kraków here.

The Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal – Donations for Bebiko Appeal
Since the war in Ukraine started, we have had many people approaching us asking how they can do their own little bit to help the children that we will be donating to in Ukraine. Now that we have selected Bebiko in Ternopil as our recipient, we are now able to offer individual fans and Tartan Army Groups their chance to help out in their own way.

Please keep it simple, as all Bebkio are really looking for is donations of things like colouring books (for children and teenagers) and colour pencils/sharpeners/erasers/pens etc

NO CLOTHES, FOOD, FOOTWEAR, MEDICINE, TOYS OR BOOKS IN ENGLISH* PLEASE – IF IN DOUBT, PLEASE ASK. *Please keep in mind that these children will have no command of ANY English, so we ask you to keep it simple and manageable (for storage and transportation purposes). For more information contact Clark Gillies on secretary@tasunshineappeal.scot

There is a book shop/stationers, if you want to pick up items to donate – Empik, Rynek Główny 23 – right on the main square, close to the pre match gigs and charity collection hub at Klub Pod Jaszczurami, which will effectively be Tartan Army HQ for the duration.

The Sunshine Appeal will have use of a room at the rear of Klub Pod Jaszczurami, the prematch gigs venue, for collection of donations, where we would invite any fans who wish to donate some physical items on match day. 

Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal

TARTAN ARMY KRAKÓW T-SHIRTS 
I had a TA Kraków T-shirt printed for the game, and thought other TA may fancy one as a keepsake.   

Thanks to those who pre-ordered. I’ve had to close orders to ensure delivery in time, however… as I was still getting messages, I decided to order a few spare.

I will have 8 XL and 4 L Blue T-shirts available at Klub Pod Jaszczurami, on Monday and Tuesday. 
90zł (£16) (send me a message if you want to reserve one)

TICKET UPDATES (20.9.22)

Ukraine Tickets
‘Home end’ tickets have been released for sale by the Ukrainian FA. They can be bought via the TicketsBox website.  You will need a passport number,. You may have problems receiving the sms code with an O2 number.  Use +44**** rather than 0044****.  There is a 4 ticket per transaction limit. 

Tickets are priced in UAH Ukrainian currency, ranging from 320uah = 40pln = 7.60gbp to  550uah = 70pln = 13.06gbp.  The TA will be in the SFA allocated section J, so the closest ‘home’ section will be i4.
SFA Tickets
The SFA have shared this information regarding ticket collection:-
UKRAINE V SCOTLAND: TICKET INFORMATION
Dear Supporter
Due to the lateness in receiving the tickets and the disruption to Royal Mail services, all lead bookers will be required to collect in Kraków. To minimise queues, we kindly ask that only the lead booker comes to collect their groups tickets. Supporters who have booked for their tickets to be posted will receive a refund for postage in due course.

As the UAF have allocated the seat details against each supporter we cannot guarantee that you will be seated next to the rest of you booking. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

The Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) have allocated us a ticket office, however in the morning of the match, a collection will be done from the city centre. Please come collect your ticket as early as you can to avoid lengthy queues at the stadium.

Ticket Collection Points
Matchday | Tuesday 27 September | City Centre
Location: Hotel Indigo Kraków Old Town
Address: Sw. Filipa 18, 31-150 Kraków
Time: 10am-3pm|

Matchday | Tuesday 27 September | Stadium
Location: Ticket Box 3, Stadion Cracovii Address: Józefa Ignacego Kraszewskiego, 30-110 Kraków

Hotel Indigo is about a 10 min walk from the main Market Square, down Sławkowska.On the way. check out Stary Kleparz, the local food market.

On the way back into town, take a very slight, 100 yard detour to Plac Matejki, for the Grunwald Monument, tomb of the unknown soldier, Barbakan, Florian Gate, then saunter along Florianska, back to the main square.

CRACOVIA STADIUM
Marshal Józef Piłsudski Stadium (Stadion Cracovii im. Józefa Piłsudskiego. Capacity 15,016

A relatively new stadium (2010) which look’s a wee bit like a shopping centre from the road side.

UPDATE 20.9.22 STADIUM WINE BAR
There is a small wine bar ‘Winoteka Krakowska’ on the Al. Focha side of the stadium, the side on the main road in the pic above). They have a few tables outside.  They serve lot’s of wine, it’s a wine bar after all, draft and bottled beer.  beer is 15zl a pint but they do a match day special offer of 12zl.

Obraz nagłówka witryny

The stadium is a short 15-20 min walk from the main square through the Planty, past the national museum, Hotel Cracovia to Błonia Meadow.

Located around 1 km, outside the old town, on the edge of the ‘pointy end’ of the large elongated triangle shaped Błonia meadow park, with bitter rival Wisła’s much larger stadium, a few hundred metres across the park, a short 10 min walk away.

I won’t add much more here, as the Stadium Website is very comprehensive.  Stadium tours can be pre-booked

FOOTBALL IN KRAKÓW
Kraków hosted the England, Italy and Netherlands teams, BBC, ITV, SKY etc, but no games during Euro 2012.

Kraków is home to a fierce rivalry between the two city teams, Cracovia and Wisła.

Wisła have, in the past been the better side, having won the Ekstraklasa championship 8 times in their golden period between 1999 and 2011, last winning it in 2011.

They are currently however having a bit of a nightmare; relegated, financial woes, stadium troubles and criminal court cases against their former board members and high profile case against ‘Misiek’ the leader of their hooligan element, with allegations that the ‘hooligans ran the club’ etc.

The hardcore element of the fans have a reputation for violence, using knives. machetes and pyrotechnics.  There have been a number of murders as a result of inter fan rivalry, 7 in a 3 year period in 2010-13.  Hooliganism, drugs and organised crime go hand in hand.

That said the Polish International fans have a much better reputation, largely keeping the more aggressive club hardcore element separate. I attended the Poland v Scotland game in Warsaw (2014) where Polish fans and TA partied together, applauding each other during and following the game.

Videos from Warsaw:   
Polish fans applauding the Scottish Anthem
Scottish and Polish Fans pre-match fun
Poles applauding the TA leaving the stadium

You can read more about Football in Kraków, in this ‘Krakow in your Pocket’ article.

Ukrainian FA Website

FOOTBALL POLICING
UPDATE
– 20.9.22 – Police Update
I have spoken to the Polish Police Football Unit to ask regarding possible tolerance to drinking in public and their view on any impromptu march to the stadium.

They replied:-
Drinking in Public?:
“I haven’t heard that drinking alcohol in public has ever been suspended in Poland – the police were more tolerant at EURO 2012, but that’s because that was the policy from the start. There are gardens open all the time in Krakow with the possibility to drink beer, or places open for that. Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that the Police won’t issue fines.”

Alcohol at the Stadium?
“I have to ask this because, at the beginning, all matches of teams from Ukraine were supposed to be high-risk events, and during such matches you can’t buy alcohol, only then do they sell non-alcoholic beer”

The game is expected to be mostly families in the UA support (for very obvious reasons) so hopefully it may be reclassified as lower risk?


March to the Stadium?:
“If Scottish fans wish to march from the main square to the stadium police will secure the march. In my experience the Police prefer to have everything under control and everyone in one place, it is easier for them to secure the area and observe the behaviour and watch out for threats.

I spent the day with Kraków Police Football Intelligence Unit, covering the policing of the infamous Kraków Derby,  in the run up to Euro 2012, and was privileged to have unprecedented access thanks to a shared profession in a previous life.

The Policing is robust, but fair and professional.  Look out for shotguns with rubber rounds, water cannon, LRAD acoustic loudspeaker, dogs, flamethrower type CS spray with orange die dispensers, etc.

Private security firms operate within the stadium, dressed in protective gear similar to the Policja.

You can read my account of the day here – Policing the Kraków Derby – The ‘holy War’ and see an album of photographs here –  Policing the Kraków Derby – Online Album.  

Ross Kemp did a documentary on the Kraków derby, which is on youtube here.

LANGUAGE
Polish is the official language. English is pretty common, but less so with older generation or in smaller shops, kiosks etc.

Basic Polish words & phrases   (Scottish – Szkocki, Scot – Szkot)

  • Hi – Czesc 
  • Good morning – Dzien dobry 
  • Good evening – Dobry wieczor
  • Goodnight – dobranoc 
  • Bye – Czesc 
  • Please – Prosze 
  • Thank you – Dziekuje 
  • I’m sorry – Przepraszam 
  • Excuse me – Przepraszam 
  • Yes – Tak
  • No – Nie 
  • My name is ‘James’ – Mam na imie ‘James’
  • I don’t speak Polish – Nie mowie po polsku 
  • Do you speak English? – Czy mówi Pan po angielsku?
  • I don’t understand – Nie rozumiem
  • English language – Język angielski
  • Please write it down – Prosze to napisac 
  • Single room – Pokoj jednoosobowy 
  • Double room – Dwuosobowy 
  • Bathroom – Lazienka 
  • Check-in / checkout – Zameldowanie / wymeldowanie 
  • Reception – Recepcja 
  • Price – Cena 
  • How much for this? – Ile to kosztuje? 
  • Can I pay by credit card? – Czy moge zaplacic karta? 
  • Airport – Lotnisko 
  • Flight – Lot 
  • Train – Pociag 
  • Train station – Dworzec kolejowy 
  • Bus – Autobus 
  • Bus station – Dworzec autobusowy 
  • Ticket office – Kasa biletowa 
  • One ticket to (Warsaw) – Bilet do (Warsaw) 
  • Return ticket – Bilet powrotny 
  • How can I get to… – Jak moge dojsc do… 
  • Street – Ulica 
  • Square – Plac
  • Right – Prawo
  • Left – Lewo 
  • Restaurant – Restauracja 
  • Waiter – Kelner
  • Waitress – Kelnerka
  • Dinner – Obiad
  • Menu – Menu 
  • Wine – Wino 
  • Vegetarian – Wegetarianskie 
  • Where are the toilets? – Gdzie jest toaleta? 
  • One beer please – Jedno piwo prosze 
  • Cheers! – na zdrowie! 
  • Can I have the bill please? – Prosze o rachunek 

 Basic Ukrainian words & phrases. (Scottish – shotlandsʹkyy, Scot – shotlandetsʹ)

  • Hello Добрий день – Dobryi den’             
  • How are you? – Як справи?  – Jak spravy
  • Very good – Дуже добре – Duzhe dobre
  • Thanks – Дякую – Djakuju                
  • You welcome Будь ласка – Bud’ laska             
  • Ok – Гаразд – Gharazd                             
  • Sorry! – Пробачте! – Probatchte
  • Excuse me – Вибачте – vybachte 
  • Good morning – доброго ранку – dobroho ranku
  • Good afternoon or Good Day – добрий день – dobryy denʹ
  • Good evening – (Добрий вечір – Dobryj vetchіr            
  • Goodbye, formally – До побачення – Do pobatchennja
  • Goodbye, informally – Па-па) pa-pa
  • See you later – Побачимось  Pobatchymos’           
  • Yes – Так – Tak             
  • No- Ні – Ni                  
  • How much…? Скільки? – skilky
  • Where is… (De) (=where is/are). “De metro? De restoran?”
  • I don’t understand- (Я не розумію – Ja ne rozumiju
  • I don’t know – Я не знаю – Ja ne znaju     

CURRENCY, CASH, ATM’s etc
The currency is the Polish Złoty (abr. zł  code PLN) and Grosz.  
Currently 5.6 zł to £1
(click for latest)

Polish exchanges are known as Kantor’s.  Be warned, many are connected with organised crime, and often will do the usual trick/scam of highlighting prominently in the window the higher sell rate rather than the lower buy rate to mislead customers.

Card and electronic payments are widely accepted.  Some ATM’s mostly, ones in shops etc, operated by ‘Euronet’ may charge a small fee.  Try to use ATM’s at banks.

Traders are legally compelled to issue a receipt (paragon), if you need to reclaim VAT ask for a Faktura.   You will often be asked if you want a copy of the receipt.

Loose change – Many Polish traders seem incapable of managing point of sale floats and will almost always ask for small change (drobne) if you tender a note.   It’s enough to pat your pockets, shrug your shoulders and shake your head apologetically, or say ‘nie mam drobnych’. It’s not the first time I’ve had to leave a purchase behind after a ‘no small change’ standoff 😉

PHONES/WIFI etc
Like any major city, wifi is widely available.  Play, Orange, Tmobile and Plus are the main mobile providers.

If you’re staying longer, or plan to use a lot of data, You can buy starter packs for call, texts or data at many shops (Zabka etc) , supermarkets, petrol stations kiosks etc.  They can be very cheap, 5zl, 15zl. etc depending on the data included.  You must register the sim using your passport, though this is easy to do online or in a main provider shop Galleria Kazimierz, Galeria Krakowska etc)

Here’s an example of the Play SIM prepaid starter offer. And from Plus

SAFETY, SCAMS  & EMERGENCIES

Crossing the road other than at a crossing or when the red man is showing is an offence, the police regularly conduct checks and will issue an on the spot fine, to tourists & locals alike

Be very careful when crossing at pedestrian crossings – drivers may not always stop, until last year drivers had priority at crossings some still follow this old rule !!!

Watch out for bicycles, scooters, electric carts/segways etc which can approach silently at speed.

If using a tram, always validate (stamp) your tram ticket immediately – plain clothes ticket inspectors operate, they can be unpleasant and don’t care if you are a tourist.

Drinking in public is illegal, and is strictly enforced

Kraków is a very safe city, crime wise, but usual sensible precautions should be taken.  There really are no places to avoid or ‘no go’ areas, though ul Szewska is home to a cluster of clubs and can be quite ‘lively’ in the evenings.

Strip clubs, friendly girl promoters & club bouncers – I used to publish a news magazine here, and by far the biggest news story of all time, was an article on guys getting ripped off, often for hundreds or thousands of zł, in strip clubs.  Don’t do it.  It is widely publicised, and the police do little to help.  The bouncers in these places, and some dance clubs can also be more ready to go ‘hands on’ here and can be aggressive.   Beware of being approached by one or two pretty girls offering to go for a drink, they are in the employ of these clubs, and will rip you off.

Public decency offending religion, polish flag etc.  What can be seen as drunken pranks, and fun in some countries, is frowned upon in more ‘conservative’ or religious countries like Poland.  Loud drunken, indecent behaviour will be tolerated less here, just ask some stag guys who literally paid the price.  I know the TA party hard and behave, respecting locals etc, but just a wee heads up!

Law enforcement:- Polish Police – Policja, Straż Miejska (city guard),  Straż Graniczna (border guard), Służba Celna (customs).  The city guard are responsible for minor offences, parking, illegal traders/buskers, drunks etc.

There is a police office on the main square and one in Szeroka, one of the main streets in Kazimierz. 

The Polish police are generally less community based and approachable than Scottish police, (speaking from personal experience), though this is gradually changing for the better, however not all are as friendly as cops back home. This is, of course, a generalisation, but worth knowing.
 

Beware of money exchange offices (Kantors) who prominently display the higher sell rate, rather than the lower buy rate,  to trick you. Some ATM’s (Euronet) charge a small fee.

Avoid taking a taxi from the street,  especially the private hire type without roof signs and branding etc. They are more expensive.  See the getting around section.

You must carry your id/passport at all times.

GETTING HELP
In the case of an emergency, mobile phone users should dial 112 to be forwarded to the police, fire department or ambulance.

From a landline or public phone dial the following:

Ambulance:   999
Fire:                  998
Police:              997

UK Embassy in Warsaw
If you’re in Poland and you need urgent help (for example, you’ve been attacked, arrested or someone has died), call +48 22 311 00 00 / +44 1908 51 6666.

Emergency travel document – You can apply for an emergency travel document if you’re abroad and your passport has been lost or stolen, damaged or expired, and you can’t get a new or replacement passport in time to travel..

Apply online for an emergency travel document – If the person needing the emergency travel document is under 16, a parent or guardian should apply on their behalf.

GETTING THERE

First things first, Getting from the airport into town
The Airport is known as – John Paul II Kraków-Balice Airport, approximately 11km West of the city centre – 20-30 mins travel time by car.

I’ve added some info below for those flying to Katowice or Warsaw.

Krakow Airport Website
Due to the increased traffic, passengers traveling with both hand luggage and checked baggage are asked to come to Kraków Airport earlier. Please arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before the scheduled departure time.

Train from Airport – 14zl (approx. 16 mins from airport to main railway station)
Timetable

Where to buy a ticket:

  • ticket machine in the passenger terminal, level 0 (cash payment or payment with credit/debit card)
  • ticket machine at the train station (cash payment or payment with credit/debit card)
  • train conductor on board (cash payment or payment with credit/debit card)

Bus from Airport to City Centre approx. 45 mins
The cheapest option but very slow.  Take the train or Uber/Bolt
Ticket costs about 8-10zl

Car/taxi/ private transfer etc – Journey time 20-30mins

Taxi from airport to city centre, one company has exclusive ‘airport taxi’ rights charging 90-100 zl – don’t do it, there are better/cheaper options.

Bolt from 31 zl
Uber approx 60 zl
Free Now from30zl

Private Transfer approx 65 zl >. May work out to be a good option if travelling in a group.  Often your accommodation or tour operator, if you have tours booked, will offer a special airport transfer option.

Arriving to other airports?

Katowice (Pyrzowice Airport) – Matuszek Mini Bus – 55zl, 2hrs
Warsaw (Chopin & Modlin Airports) –Train/Pendolino – 2h 40m, Flixbus, BlaBla car etc 4-5hrs

GETTING AROUND IN KRAKÓW

Walk! – Seriously!, Kraków is a very walkable city.  There is a ‘Royal Route’ from the Barbikan to Wawel Castle, cutting through the Market Square.  Kazimierz and Podgórze are slightly South of the old town, still walkable, but if you want to use some wheels, read on…

Bus/Tram
Kraków is well served by trams and buses.  The same ticket works on both.  There are night buses, on limited routes.  You must validate your ticket immediately.  Plain clothes and uniform inspectors do regular controls.  They are known for being merciless to tourists, locals, grannies, schoolkids, they have no mercy.

I use ‘Skycash’ app for tickets and ‘Jakdojade’ for routes/stops etc.

There are ticket machines at some key stops and on almost all trams & buses.

Public Transport Guide (Polish)

e-SCOOTERS, Bolt, Tier, Lime etc.

e-Bikes/e-Mopeds – relatively new and fewer around.

There are new laws regarding operating scooters when drunk, or carrying passenger, responsible parking etc. (read more here)

In some areas speed is restricted or scooters banned completely.

UBER, BOLT & FREE NOW OPERATE IN KRAKÓW
Keep in mind that the ‘ride sharing’ services – Uber, Bolt etc,  cannot enter some of the restricted zones, in the old town and Kazimierz/Jewish District. Taxis can enter most zones (excluding main market square).

I reckon it’s still worth walking a little bit, generally to outside of the ‘Planty Park’ which encircles the old town, to use the cheaper ride sharing options.

TAXIS
Avoid taking a taxi or private hire from the street, especially ones without full taxi door & roof signs. I use iCar, EKO Taxi.

TOURIST BUGGIES – Known as Melex
As with the Kartors there have been many widely reported cases of the Melex operators being linked to criminal groups.  They do however serve a purpose, and are popular with tourists, especially those with mobility issues.

SANGS & CLATTER (Bevy, Scran, Boogie etc)

Booze/Drinks
Kraków has many fab pubs; cellar bars, pavement cafes, beer gardens, river barges, café/bars etc Until about a decade ago, you would be hard pressed to find a decent beer, but there has been a bit of an explosion of craft beers, from International, and some fab Polish breweries.

Beer (Piwo) – The standard Polish beers are; Zywiecz, Okocim, Tyskie, and my favourite ‘mainstream’ brewery beers – Perłą, Łomza, Miłosław, Książęce. 

Beer is sold in large and small measures; dużę piwo (½ litre) and Małe piwo (0.3 litre).

The average price of a large beer is around 15 zł, there are still a very few places where you will find beer for 6zl or so, but mainly outside the centre, spit & sawdust or student places.

Bottled beer is very popular, if, like me, you prefer draft, ask for Piwo Lane (pronounced ‘lannae’ not like penny lane.

Buying ‘carry oots’ is obviously much cheaper, with beer costing from around 1.70zł to 5+ for craft beer. You will find a Żabka shop on every other street, they’re everywhere, here’s their beer offers. The other main general stores are Lewiatan, and of course supermarkets such as Biedronka, Lidl, Aldi, Carrefour, Auchan etc. Please keep in mind that drinking in public is illegal and strictly enforced!

Wine and wine bars are becoming more common, though many pubs still only carry a couple of basic wine choices. Wine is more expensive than beer or vodka.

Vodka (wódka) – A few places do flavoured vodkas, popular vodka drinks are Mad Dog (Wściekły pies), one of my favourites, it’s a combo of ice cold vodka, raspberry syrup and tabasco. You have to try it. Another easier to drink option is a ‘tatanka’ which is Żubrówka vodka (the one with the bison grass in the bottle supposedly pissed on by bisons) and apple juice, very easy – too easy! To drink.

Coffee (Kawa) and Tea (Herbata) are popular in café bars, often with a large choice of flavoured teas. Hot chocolate (gorąca czekolada) here is the delish, gooey thick, mega-sweet type.

Soft Drinks – Sadly no Irn Bru, but usual soft drinks are available, home made  lemonade is popular.

Cocktails? – nah didn’t think so, but for those interested; There are a few great cocktail bars such as. Mercy Brown’s, Movida, Mr Black, Sababa. Top Kraków cocktail bars.

I will add more information, over the next few days to include short descriptions etc, to the section below.  In the meantime, here’s a list of some of the pubs cafes and eating places to look out for:

Some of my favourite bars:-
Old Town

Klub Pod Jaszczurami  – Tartan Army HQ, prematch gigs, Sunshine  Appeal base
Vis a Vis – The oldest original bar on the market square (next to Police Office)
Neolita – On Grodzka just off the market square, offering cheap beer and pizza slices.
Multi Qlti Tap Bar | Craft Beer
Ambasada Śledzia – Herring Embassy – A favourite with locals and tourists alike.
Pierwszy Lokal na Stolarskiej po lewej stronie, idąc od Małego Rynku. (The first pub in Stolarska on the left,  going from Mały Rynek – that’s actually the name of the pub and the directions to find it!)
Piwnica Pod Baranami – Great cellar bar on the corner of market square, opposite head sculpture
Klub Kulturalny – Another super cellar bar, with different rooms 

Riverside
Forum – One of the coolest places in Poland, the whole lower floor of a former Communist era hotel have been taken over as bars, food halls, and event spaces.  Great food,, fine selection of craft beers, nice – huge – outside space. A must visit IMHO.
Barka – other barges are available
T.E.A. Time Brewpub – Owned by a Yorkshireman, brew their own craft beer.

Kazimierz
Singers – Where all the tables are Singer sewing machines, a truly fabulous pub in the wee sma hoors, great eclectic music mix, dancing on tables.  It’s a club, not a club, gets busy but is great to visit.
Alchemia – A Kraków legend, go through to the back rooms and old kitchen via the wardrobe.  Also has a good eatery next door.
Eszeweria – A really quaint delightful cafe bar, like stepping back in time, a must see.
Klub Piękny Pies
Siedem miliardów uśmiechów, a Twój jest moim ulubionym – (Seven billion smiles and yours is my favourite)

Indeed it’s hard to argue with many of the choices in this Guide to Kraków Bars

These areas/streets have the best collection of bars:-
Stolarska – Old Town – A quiet street, just off the Rynek, home to the American, French and German consulates, hence the bollards at each end fo the road and 24/7 armed Police presence.  But also home to a cluster of decent wee pubs, with a cool vibe.

Plac Nowy – Kazimierz – The social heart of the Jewish District.  Plac Nowy is the small square with the rotunda in the centre surrounded by food and market stalls.  Grab a Zapiekanka at one of the windows of the rotunda, or a Kielbasa (gilled sausage) from Kazimierz Grill.  Best bars are the legendary Alchemia (which also has a fine eatery next door),  Nowy Kraftowy , just a wee single door tucked into the corner of the square, but enter to find a large selection of 25 craft beers on tap. also check out Kolory cafe and Zakąski u Ani, a reminder of how Kazimierz bars used to be, simple, but great, vodka shots, and traditional bar food.

Plac Wolnica/Mostowa – A line of small pavement cafes and bars with an old school atmosphere.  On the small street leading from Plac Wolnica to the footbridge to Podgórze 9former Ghetto area)

ul Szewska – Old Town – The street with several nightclubs, which get’s a bit lively in the evening.  Also in this street you will find Klub Kuluralny, not a nightclub, but definitely worth a visit as one of the best Cellar bars in Kraków. Also Multi Qlti pub on Szewska, has craft beer on tap, 

Bożego Ciała – Kazimierz – Hevre is a nice cafe bar in an old Jewish prayer house, and there are a number of small bars, often with live music. 

Not my favourite, indeed definitely not my kinda place, but there are a few cheap tourist boozers, filled with drunk loud tourists and students, look out for Pijalnia.or Bania Luka. 

Clubs– I don’t use them, I need to ask around for recommendations.  Teatro Cubano seems popular, and there are a cluster of clubs on ul Szewska, one of the streets leading off the main square.  I’ll update this section soon. 

Prozak 2.0
Frantic
Shine
Społem – Styled as a communist era (PRL) club.

TED & TAM’s PRE MATCH PARTIES
 icon-location Klub Pod Jaszczurami (KPJ) 
Rynek Główny 8, Kraków

Good Evening Krakow – Night Afore Perty –  Ted Christopher and Tam Coyle
 icon-day Monday 26th September 

 icon-time 8pm till 4am
 icon-cart Tickets £6 advance (PLN50 on door )


Pre Match Party
 icon-day Tuesday 27th September 
 icon-time 2pm till 8pm
 icon-cart Tickets £6 advance (PLN50 on door)

 icon-mail TICKETS FOR BOTH EVENTS FROM:-  fwg@tedchristopher.scot
Please send number required. (You don’t need to have Paypal – you can pay invoice with any card.

 icon-facebook   Tartan Army Kraków Parties – FB Event 

Right on the main square.   Located on the same side of the square as the large Mariacki church (St Mary’s) with the twin towers, Adam Mickiewicz statue (the only statue on the square) and the small white church (Church of St. Adalbert) .  

Look for the small white church and horseless carriage (Poczta Polska post office), KPJ is to the left of the red/pink building.

The klub (Under the Lizard in English) is one of the oldest student clubs in Poland, a great event space in a prime location, right on the main market square (Ryenk Głowny).  There is an outdoor pavement café section.

Here’s more photos of inside/outside of the Klub

Here’s their drinks menu
(beer is currently 14 zl, but prices rise to 16 zl on 1st Sept, due to the cost of living crisis that’s currently hurting us all!)  

Trip Advisor
Facebook
Website
Google Map

What 3 Words – (a precise map location of the club) https://w3w.co/circling.loaf.trace
This what3words address refers to a 3 metre square location. Tap the link or enter the 3 words ///circling.loaf.trace  into the free what3words app to find it.

SPORTS BARS – Where to watch the game for ticketless TA
For a city with so many bars, there’s not a great number of sport bars.
Here’s a few which I visited this week, to check out for the ticketless fans to watch the game.  They are all within a short distance of each other, on and just off the main square, and not far from the main prematch gigs.

Bull Pub
Ronnie Drews Irish Bar (sister pub to and next door to Bull Pub
Bulldog Bar
Polski Pub
442 Pub

There are other Sports bars listed in this guide, but I haven’t visited them to confirm they are showing the game. (Don’t go to the English Football Club mentioned in the sports bar guide – not at all to do with the name, in fact I visited as I loved the possible irony of watching the game in this place, but the manager told me they are only showing premier league games.)

Food
Kraków has some really amazing restaurants offering International cuisine, traditional Polish food and the usual fast food joints.  There are dozens of kebab shops, often serving tortilla wrap kebabs.  It seems like there is a new Sushi and Indian restaurant opening every other week, however there are few Chinese options and those that exist are best avoided.

A uniquely Polish option is a Milk Bar or Bar Mleczny.  think of a student or workers canteen from the 60’s-70’s selling basic food very cheaply.

If you’re looking for a good English Breakfast to feed your hangover, try, Moments Resto bar, Milk bar Tomasza (run by Tom Naughton, a very nice Irishman), Scandale Royal, Kolanko.  You won’t get real bangers or bacon like at home, but some of them are close enough to do the job.

Here are some popular Polish dishes:-

Pierogi – Always wrongly translated to dumplings in English menus – Think of a larger and tastier ravioli, with either a cheese/potato, meat or fruit filling.  Some places are great, some are a bit stodgy. 

Zapiekanka – Very popular, especially in Plac Nowy, Kazimierz, where most of the windows in the central rotunda building offer Zapikanka in various fillings.  A great filling snack, look’s like, but much larger and better than, a French stick pizza.  Watch out some are a bit processed, try to find somewhere selling fresh toppings, just watch other folks see what they get.  (sometimes listed in English translation as Casserole – nope no idea why either!)

Obwarzanek – Unique to Kraków, sold at small carts around the city, for about 1.50-2.50zl, topped in pepper, cheese, or poppyseeds.

Kielbasa
– Polish sausage on the grill, one of my favourites, often served with a slice of bread and some mustard.  The Kazimierz grill on the corner of Plac Nowy or the world famous ‘Blue Van Kielbasa’ at Hala Targowa are the best.

Kaszanka (Polish version of Haggis, not bad at all, but it’s not Haggis!)

Oscypek – Small, grilled sheep’s cheese with a dollop of cranberry jam, a bit salty but tasty, slightly rubbery texture.

For the sweet tooth:-
Paczki – filled doughnuts, traditionally with rose jam, but many options are available in shops on Grodzka and Florianska.  Try to get them hot from the oven, and try the caramel one. Did you Know: On Fat Thursday over 100 million pączki are sold in Poland – (that’s not a typo!)  Read more here.

Chimney Cakes
– Originally Hungarian. Cone shaped sweet and hot hollow cakes, dipped in cinnamon or sugar or coconut etc.  Yummy.

Good Lood Ice Cream – Krakowians love their Ice Cream, one of the main outlets is known as Good Lood, don’t be surprised to see queues at the ice cream shop.

Best Pizza – Placek Wolnica (Kazimierz)
Best Burger – MoaBurger (Old Town)

My favourite Restaurants:-
Starka
Szara – Try the Plankstek
Oranzeria
Molam
Warzstat
Euskadi
Vidok

This Guide to Polish Food covers many of the dishes above and more in greater detail.

RELAXING SPA & SAUNA
Pamper yourself at expat owned Emerald Spa, who got in touch to offer a discount for the TA to ‘warm their bones’ – “we could organise an English-speaking sauna night to warm the bones (max 20 people) and provide some food and jacuzzi hot tub etc for folks. We usually charge 150 zl per person no, but would do it for 120zl per person as a group.”

TOURISTY TIPS – Staying longer or coming back? Read on…

AUSCHWITZ, SALT MINE, CITY TOURS & TRANSFERS etc

I only do Photo tours, but if you are looking for a tour of Auschwitz, Wieliczka Salt Mine, or elsewhere, I’ve done a fair bit of research, and wanted to update the previous information.   

I ended up contacting 15 tour companies, 7 replied from which I’ve selected the top 4.

1. MR SHUTTLE – with TA Discount Code
Auschwitz- Click to Book from 199zł
Salt Mine  – Click to Book from 199zł
Auschwitz & Salt Mine Combo from 369zł

This is the only company who agreed to provide a discount for the TA booking tours.  They agreed to a 5% discount (not much, but enough to cover a couple of beers!) if you use the code:-  TARTAN ARMY DISCOUNT

They also provide private or semi-private tours and offer a more premium, luxury service, with a fleet including Mercedes V-class, Mercedes and BMW, etc. They also provide different type of service as well as the regular tours.

Enter the code at Extra Information (your order summary). Then Proceed to checkout and enter it again at the Promo Code section , which is under t:he price summary-

zbpfYEAS3YqWW0xZvsJSSiX6ffYe-N8bUjAFW13_oivOlFJWT8h4_tGVjRWO9w8HVlMQB5vVMhBYvMZ2Z7TWougk7046Jl-K6KYe8-zk1gW_7sNrXhXugMhR7kvXQkOvevsi04XbVXpc2FRTHCQOjtswsXHRt2_I1vX_K4aRXFCW1FC4Z1e3FG4lnwkIDyrqO6nuFQnzwk9Dy2mXDunxCxMjddocYiasuq3AQS7UF5Ac8mkUSeYw5Qm8l-3lkSrOOqVcAFQJIlCVTrBf-8zgHkKIGQ7CLc1SZ9QzAz6GDc-QMqnk5z_2-iD5c_b1aBSSbBr30O3aqJwb_I2kLRqPdzl97qrIS-Zwl-t2Ymvbh8XlXy6xBHAQ


2. YES KRAKÓW  (not to be confused with my FB page of the same name – no connection 😉 )
A premium, private service.
AUSCHWITZ – from 47 euros – price varies depending on no. of people
SALT MINE – from 44 euros – price varies depending on no. of people

TO BOOK USE THE CODE :- TARTAN ARMY
Yes Kraków do not have an online booking form, instead they use a very responsive, 24hr Live Chat, or you can email them.

“Our company provides only private transportation services. It means that always car with the driver is only for people who order our services. If it will be a couple that car will be only for them, provided mostly by premium vehicles like BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Audi. On board we provide bottled water for each passenger and access to free Wi-Fi.   In our offer we don’t have shuttle services as our priority is comfort of the passengers and their freedom of choice in all ways. With private transportation services they always could adjust the trip to their needs.”

3. CRACOW TOURS  – CLICK HERE TO BOOK
Auschwitz from 42 euros

4. DISCOVER CRACOW – CLICK HERE TO BOOK
Auschwitz from 50 euros
Salt Mine from 50 euros

If you have any questions please let me know.

Remember for Auschwitz you need to supply your details as shown on your passport and take your passport with you.

Tourist Information Offices
Look for ‘info KRAKOW’ signs, there are a number of them in the main tourist areas, the one at Wyspanski Pavilion, on ul Grodzka, next to city hall, is one of the better ones.

The ‘info KRAKOW’ offices are listed here.

RECOMMENDED APPS AND WEBSITES
Jakdojade                                 App for Public transport – Highly recommended
Krakow In Your Pocket        Online and print
Karnet                                         Events/Whats On Guide
AutoMapa                                 The best GPS for drivers

Weather
Kraków Web Cameras

The popular tourist portals:      
Krakow in your Pocket
Trip Advisor
Cracow Local Life

 

Did you know? – Nigel Kennedy is married to a Krakowian lady, he lives in London but has an apartment in Kraków on Florianska.  He performs with and supports Polish music including Kroke, a local Klezmer band.  Check out the CD ‘East Meets West’.  

When I met him he wanted to talk about Stenhousemuir FC his favourite Scottish. team!, and gave me one of his beloved Villa tops to wear.  Nice guy, likes a swally, throws a great New Years party.

POPULAR ‘THINGS TO DO’

Auschwitz
Wieliczka Salt Mine  

The above tours require to be pre-booked, just follow the links here:-
BOOK DISCOVER CRACOW TOURS & TRANSFERS

MOCAK (Museum of Contemporary Art Kraków)
Schindler Factory Museum (mostly about German occupation with just a little Schindler content)
Blonia  Meadow (really just a big field, close to stadium)
Planty  Park (encircles old town)
Kazimierz  – Jewish District
St Mary’s Church
Kopiec Kusciousko  (Mound)
Krakus Mound/Liban Quarry/Plaszow/Amon Goeth House
Wawel Castle

I’ve compiled this Mini Tourist Guide, which I usually share with my photo tour clients as it covers the main locations on the tour, but will give you an insight also into the main tourist spots in the city.

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