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Skiing and snowboarding in Poland

The mountainous landscape of Poland is ideal for skiers and snowboarders. In the south of our country there are several dozen resorts, some with a long tradition, some newly opened.

The better known ski slopes are in Zakopane, of course. The longest one in the Tatry leads from the mountain revered by Polish skiers – Kasprowy Peak, to the Gąsienicowa Meadow – and is over 7 km long.

The routes from Nosal and Gubalowka are also very popular, with the Szymoszkowa Clearing the favourite place for the snowboarders. Snowboarders have not been forgotten in Witow and Bialka Tatrzanska near Zakopane, where special slopes for hurdling and tricks have been prepared.

In Sudety the piste near Karpacz and Szklarska Poreba are the most crowded. The most famous Polish cross-country skiing piste is in Jakuszyce, where the biggest winter international event takes place – the Piast Race.

The Beskidy Mountains resorts have modern facilities and are competition for the foreign resorts – the equipment of the skiing resorts in Jaworzyna Krynicka or in Wierchomla matches any on the best European slopes. The Jaworzyna Mountains have modern gondolas and the longest lit route, 2,5 km. Wisła, Szczyrk and Korbielow also have their faithful fans.

In the past few years, due to the increasing popularity of winter sports new piste have been created in Mazury, Podlasie and Kaszuby regions, as well as the artificial slopes which have been created in the Szczesliwice park in Warsaw and the Malta park in Poznan.

The route in Polanczyk, by the Solinski Bay, on the Sosna clearing by the shore of the Czorsztynskie Lake and the Lysa Mountain in Sopot are worth recommending to those who like to ski in surroundings with beautiful views. Perhaps the slope in Sopot is not very impressive from the point of view of altitude but it does give a rather unique experience, a view of the Baltic Sea whilst you ski!

 

January 28, 2013 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations, Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

Travel Advice – Money

KRAKOW TOURS – Here is  a blog aimed at answering many of the questions that travelers have prior to arriving at a holiday destination for the first time. If you have a holiday already booked, or still in the planning stage, this information should prove very useful for you.

Currency Exchange.

Currency can be exchanged at both your departure and arrival airports, but expect to pay hefty commissions and/or obtain a low exchange rate. If you feel you must get your Zloty whilst in the UK then by far the best option is to pre-order from TRAVELEX online and collect it from your departure airport.

In Krakow, currency can be exchanged at hotels, banks and anywhere that you see a sign proclaiming ‘KANTOR’, Kantors will usually provide the best exchange rates and zero commission, but shop around as there can often be as much as 10% difference in the exchange rates offered.

Consistently the best rate available in Krakow is from a Kantor called ‘Grosz’ on Slawkowska, it is only 2om from the north west corner of the main square.

TIP: Try to avoid changing money at a Kantor on sundays, only the smaller independent ones are open, and they seem to all agree to an exchange rate for the day, that is much lower than you should be able to achieve. 

AVOID: Please avoid the Kantors signed CHANGE – KANTOR these are very prominent and look very smart and official, they are usually liveried in Orange or Blue. The rate they display would be the best available if it were real, they display the SELL rate, and if you realise your mistake after handing over your money they will not refund you. Travellers arriving by train will reach 2 of these Kantors before reaching the honest ones.

8th February 2013

Best Krakow Kantor Rates

4.90zł to £1 

4.15zł to €1

Prices

Since EU ascension and becoming a favoured tourist destination, prices in Poland have been on the rise, making the country less of a bargain than it was 5 years ago. Having said that, however, prices for food, drink, cultural venues and transport still remain comparably cheap in contrast to Western Europe, and especially when compared to the Eurozone for travelers from the UK.

In Krakow, expect to pay the highest prices in, and around, the main square. Venture to some of the many side streets and you’ll often find much better value for food, drink and indeed for shopping.

Tipping.

Things have changed a lot since the bad old days when everything had to be tipped. Today it is understood that you tip because the service was good. So if you were satisfied, leave a tip. However you have to bear in mind that catering staff, restaurants, clubs, etc are paid a very minimum wage so if you think it was worth it, add 10% to the bill as a tip, and try to pay it cash to your waiter/waitress.

When paying for a taxi, round up the bill. Generally taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped, so if you do the driver will be surprised and happy, again if it was worth it tip. NO EFFORT NO TIP.

TIP: Be careful in a bar or restaurant when you hand over your cash to pay the bill. In Poland, if you say ‘thank you’ (dziękuje – ‘jen-koo-yeh’)  it can often be taken as a sign that you won’t be wanting any change back. This can prove expensive, say ‘proszę’ (prosheh) and leave the thank you until they return with your change.

Bartering.

If you intend to shop bazaars, open air markets or farms try bargaining. Accepting the first price is not a good idea there, but remember that price negotiations in Poland are far different from the bartering done in Arabic countries. With a little common sense and good humour you can still have a lot of fun and get a little knocked off the price.

Small Change.

Thinking of paying for your tram ticket with one of the 100zł notes in your pocket? Think again. Small shops, newsagents, public toilets and even the occasional fast food franchise or bar will often refuse to break a large note for you. as annoying as it is to carry coins, do carry small change for such moments.


January 5, 2013 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Krakow In Your Pocket

Krakow In Your Pocket

Download the latest edition of ‘Krakow In Your Pocket’

December 3, 2012 Posted by | Events, Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations | , , , , , | Leave a comment

70th Jubilee Kraków Christmas Crib Contest and Exhibition

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Thursday 6th December to Sunday 24th February, Krzysztofory Palace, Rynek Główny 35

One of Kraków’s most idiosyncratic Christmas traditions is the popular creation of ‘szopki.’ Something of a strange cross between a nativity scene, gingerbread house and dollhouse, these unique structures more resemble colourful, foil covered castles or cathedrals than cribs and are the bizarre result of a folk tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. Re-popularised in 1937 with the first official Christmas Crib Competition, this year marks the historic 70th edition.

On December 6th at 10:00, artists will display their creations to the public around the market square’s Adam Mickiewicz monument. Later they will be moved indoors to the History Museum on the other side of the Rynek, where they will be on display throughout the holidays until February 24th. On Sunday December 9th awards will be given at 14:00 to the winners in a number of categories.

Anyone visiting Kraków should absolutely pay a visit to the History Museum in order to experience this unique folk tradition.

November 30, 2012 Posted by | Events, News, Recommendations | Leave a comment

KRAKOW TOURS Awarded a 2011 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Krakow Tours has won a 2011 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence!

” TripAdvisor awards this certificate to properties who consistently receive excellent ratings from our members. We think your 5 rating is something to be proud of and we hope you do too”

May 30, 2011 Posted by | Recommendations | , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s Adamek vs Klitschko in Wroclaw

Krakow Tours - Boxing

Tomasz Adamek will get his, “Chance of a lifetime,” to fight reigning IBF and WBO World Heavyweight Champion Vladimir Klitschko, in September and in Poland to boot, at Wroclaw’s Euro 2012 football stadium.

Against the background of shenanigans surrounding the Ukrainian’s match with Britain’s David Haye, Adamek’s team put together a proposal and got the ink dry on the contract in double quick time, leaving Adamek to begin preparing for the chance to win a world title at a third weight division.

For now, the two fighters are saying only nice things about each other in a heavyweight love-in. “Adamek’s proposal was extraordinary. To fight in Poland, in a new, big stadium – I really liked that idea,” purred the Ukrainian champ. Meanwhile Adamek, in Przeglad Sportowy, cooed, “I have enormous respect for him, but no worries – I know what I’m fighting for.”

January 20, 2011 Posted by | Events, News, Recommendations, Sport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Euro 2012 blog


KRAKOW TOURS – Countdown to Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

As it’s now only 17 months until the start of Euro 2012 KRAKOW TOURS have added a new Blog, to keep the estimated 1 million fans visiting Poland and Ukraine up to date with news, stories and information about the Euro 2012 championships.

For all you need to know about Euro 2012 have a look here.

January 12, 2011 Posted by | Events, Krakow Travel Advice, News, Recommendations, Sport, Tour Information | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beware the orange (Interchange) Kantors in Krakow

There’s been a lot written already about the ‘Interchange Kantors’ that are cropping up all over Krakow. Yesterday (14/12/2010) I decided to test them out.

I first went to the one on Florianska and asked what the ‘Buy’ rate is for GBP, they appeared very confused and asked if I wanted to buy pounds, i repeated that I wanted to know what their ‘Buy rate’ was for GBP. They asked how much I wanted to change, i replied £200, and I was then offered a rate of 4.29 zloty to the pound, I laughed and left. The ‘Buy’ rate was written on a white board behind the counter which was obviously not meant to be seen by unsuspecting tourists.

Next I went to the shop on Grodzka, pictured below, they proudly announce a rate ‘Sell’ rate of 4.76zl to the pound outside the shop, inside is a different story, again the ‘Buy’ rate is barely visible on a white board behind the counter. I asked to change £200 again and was offered a rate of 3.45 zloty to the pound, I laughed and started to leave, so they offered me 4.29 which apparently is the rate available if you want over 4000 zloty, so they were doing me a big favour!!!

The best rate I saw available in Krakow yesterday afternoon was 4.675 to the pound. Almost 10% more than the best offer from Interchange, and a massive 35% more than 1 of their offers.

The Interchange Kantors are there to RIP OFF the tourists and should be avoided at all cost.

Related Blog – Travel Advice – Money

Related Facebook Page

December 15, 2010 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, News, Recommendations | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Krakow Guide on Ebay

KRAKOW TOURS – You can get the great ‘Krakow Inyour Pocket’ guide book HERE on EBAY.

October 4, 2010 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Niepolomice Castle, and the stolen Wawel Chakra.

Krakow Tours to Niepolomice and the castle.

KRAKOW TOURS – Commonly known throughout history as the ‘Second Wawel,’ it shouldn’t come as surprise that the Royal Castle in Niepołomice shares (steals?) a bit of lore from the more famous royal residence in Kraków.

No there’s no tale of a dragon (though you’d think with all the dark, spooky woods surrounding it they could at least cook up some kind of Grendel story), but Niepołomice does try to get some of the good vibes from one of Wawel’s more famous legends – that of the fabled chakra stone.

According to many eastern religious, spiritual and yogic traditions, a chakra (if you don’t know) is a specific point where the powerful network of energy connecting all living things can be felt the strongest. Apparently when the Hindu goddess Shiva sent seven sacred stones – corresponding with the seven natural chakra points on the body – hurtling across the earth, one just happened to end up on Wawel Hill in Kraków and has since become a hit with travellers seeking to channel its powers.

According to local legend, King Kazimierz the Great liked his Niepołomice retreat so much he brought a piece of the Wawel chakra stone here and buried it beneath the castle in one of its gothic cellars. Since all this Hindu mumbo-jumbo doesn’t jive with Wawel’s status as a Catholic spiritual centre, Wawel authorities have done everything possible to downplay the legend; however keen observors will notice a plaque in the courtyard of Niepołomice Castle vaguely identifying the place where Kazimierz His Greatness deposited the chakra chunk in 1340.

Tours to Niepolomice and the castle are available from Krakow Tours, why not combine it with your Wieliczka Salt Mine trip?

Extracted from Krakow In Your Pocket Guide Book, available here.

August 5, 2010 Posted by | Recommendations, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Teetotal weddings in Poland ???

KRAKOW TOURS – A traditional Polish wedding party includes a free flow of alcohol. But there is an increasing trend in Poland of newly weds deciding to have alcohol free wedding receptions, with one-in-ten being teetotal.

In 1986, Archbishop of Krakow Franciszek Macharski wrote a letter in which he condemned drunkenness at weddings calling it “a plague”. In response, Priest Wladyslaw Zazel from the south-eastern region of Podbeskidzie asked his parishioners to stop stocking vodka or other alcoholic beverages at weddings and funerals.

The priest also came up with the idea to encourage people to stay sober during important family events. He created a Book of Non-Alcoholic Weddings, which bares the names of newly weds who decided to organize a wedding reception without alcohol. And the practice seems to be catching on.

In 2009, every tenth wedding in Poland was alcohol free, reports Dziennik Polski.

On the first page of the book there is an entry by Pope John Paul II: “Such initiatives should not be ridiculed or played down. The stake here is too high. It is worth to go against the flow, against the social habit and shallow public opinion.”

Two famous Polish folk musicians from the Golec brothers band are included on the list containing 300 names.

Those who declare that they will organize a non-alcoholic wedding need to pay a deposit and if they fail to fulfill the promise they lose money to the benefit of the church. On the other hand, if they keep the promise the priest pays them twice the deposit.

Krakow Based Wedding Photographer

August 3, 2010 Posted by | News, Recommendations | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Krakow Break Dancers start young

July 23, 2010 Posted by | Events, Krakow Travel Advice, News, Recommendations, Sport, Tour Information | , , , , | Leave a comment

Roman Polanski Free After Switzerland Rejects Extradition

KRAKOW TOURS – One of Krakow’s most famous sons (well sort of), is now a free man.

Find out more about Polanski and his incredible links to the Krakow Ghetto when you visit Poland with Krakow Tours.

Roman Polanski Free After Switzerland Rejects Extradition Roman Polanski Free After Switzerland Rejects Extradition Oscar-winning director will not be sent to U.S. for sentencing in 1977 child sex case.

By Gil Kaufman

The decades-long legal saga of Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski took another twist on Monday (July 12), when Switzerland’s Ministry of Justice announced that it would not extradite the director of “The Pianist” to the U.S. to fa … Read More

via Hannab11’s Blog

July 12, 2010 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, News, Recommendations, Tour Information | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Polish Legends # 6 – The Pigeons of Krakow (Ver 1)

KRAKOW TOURS – When it comes to Polish cities, Krakow certainly has the highest pigeon-per-square-foot rate.

The Krakow pigeons – mostly residing on the Main Square – have become one of the city’s symbols, and many-a-legend has been told about their impact on Krakow’s history.

It seems, though, that it’s only the Krakow tourists who are so fond of the pigeons, and many inhabitants seem to feel that they do more harm than good. Apart from the obvious threat they might pose to the landing and starting airplanes of the Krakow Airport, the pigeons are also a threat to the city’s landmarks, especially when it comes to aesthetics.

Anyway, tradition is tradition, and hardly anyone can imagine Krakow without its pigeons.

Back in the medieval ages, Poland was divided into several regions of relative autonomy – this period of “Regional Disintegration” lasted between the 12th and 14th centuries, and the lack of a strong central authority weakened the Polish lands. No wonder then, that Henry IV, a Polish prince residing in Krakow, decided to try and become the king of all of the Polish lands. As it usually happens in legends, Henry contacted a witch, who told the Krakow prince that to achieve his goal, he should go alone to Rome and present the pope with a large quantity of gold. She offered him assistance – she turned the prince’s knights into pigeons, and they quickly flew all the way up to theSt Mary’s Church’s tower, and started to rip out small parts of the stone and bricks, that fell on the ground turned into gold. Having collected enough, Henry left Krakow, leaving his knights-pigeons behind to keep the city safe. However, the Krakow prince never got to Rome – he spent all of his gold on girls, food and drink, got lost along the way, and never even returned to Krakow. Poland wasn’t re-united until Wladyslaw Lokietek was crowned Polish king in theWawel Cathedral in 1320, and Henry’s knights are still waiting for their king on the Main Square.

June 11, 2010 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations, Tour Information | , , , , | Leave a comment

Polish Legends # 3 – The Legend of Wanda

KRAKOW TOURS – The Polish Woman who chose to drown herself rather that marry a German!

Her name was Wanda, and she was very beautiful and although she was but a young girl when she became Queen, she had wisdom and understanding far beyond her years. She loved her country very dearly and she ruled wisely and justly over the people who looked upon her with the greatest of love and respect.

With all her qualities, her beauty and her wisdom, many princes sought to marry her, but Wanda would accept none of them, for she had not yet found one who was pleasing to her and who would help her to rule wisely and well over her beloved country. Poland was dear to Wanda, above all else, and she spared no effort to make her people happy. She waged war against aggressors who tried to invade her country, herself leading her soldiers in the battlefield. Her presence inspired them to defeat many foes.

Wanda’s fame spread far and wide, and even a German prince, named Rytigier, heard of her beauty, her valour and, what was even more attractive to him, he heard that the lands of Poland were fruitful and rich. He therefore sent messengers with a letter to Wanda. The messengers were received at Wanda’s court with courtesy and hospitality, as was always the custom in Poland. It was noticed that they were rough, uncivilized men who seemed surprised at the luxury and comfort of Wanda’s Court. After they had rested and changed their apparel, they were ushered into Wanda’s presence. Although on the face of it they seemed respectful, they looked about them with an air of appraising the value of everything they saw before them, as though it would soon be theirs.

Wanda read the letter and turned deathly pale. The contents were clear enough; Rytigier asked her for her hand in marriage, stipulating that as her dowry she should bring him the lands of Poland, and threatening war in the event of a refusal . Now Rytigier had a very powerful army, famed all over Europe as the strongest and best equipped of any prince. Wanda’s army, on the other hand, had lost heavily in recent wars. To accept Rytigier’s proposal of marriage was unthinkable. Wanda could not, would not subject her country to a German rule. She looked at the messengers and shuddered. To wage war might be fatal with the armies so ill-matched. Defeat at the hands of the Germans would certainly bring the cruellest possible reprisals to the Poles. But, in a firm voice, Wanda made her answer. She refused to surrender herself and her country to the Germans. She had made her decision. Wanda would sacrifice her life for Poland.

She retired to her private quarters and there prayed to the gods that they would grant Poland freedom from the Germans in return for her sacrificing her life. Her prayer was granted, and Wanda threw herself into the river Vistula. When her body was recovered, she was buried with all honours, and a mound was raised to her memory beside that of her father, Krakus.

June 7, 2010 Posted by | Events, Krakow Travel Advice, Recommendations, Tour Information | , , , , | Leave a comment

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