Legend has it that Krakow was founded after a dragon got defeated. We might not be able to provide you with any Polish dragons on the Baltic Run, but we do plan to puff out of Krakow across Poland and onto the Baltic States on our rally. But before revving your engine, make the most of this wonderful city and explore the cobbled streets and the historic surroundings. Have a bit of vodka to drink in one of Krakow’s numerous pubs, or get there early and take a day trip. The world is your pierogi!
Here are some reasons why Krakow is awesome, and why we’ve decided to kick-start the Baltic Run from this gorgeous city.
A living museum
Krakow’s famous Old Town, Wawel Castle and former Jewish quarter, Kazimierz, are living relics of this ancient city. The historic downtown has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s easy to see why. From small winding streets leading to palaces, squares, churches, monasteries and tree-lined parks, downtown Krakow looks like something form a fairy tale.
Next to the Old Town, the district of Kazimierz was the city’s historic Jewish quarter since the 15th century until the Holocaust. Since it became a poor rundown neighbourhood full of abandoned buildings and became a bad neighbourhood, but since the 1990s, it’s seen a revival as a new bohemian community, with renovated old synagogues, cafes, clubs and galleries.
Ok, for us coming from Budapest the prices found in Krakow won’t be so different, but if you hail from a more expensive part of the world, we’re looking at you England, then Krakow is definitely a hit for those looking for a place where their money will go further. You can get a good three-course meal for 10 pounds, which is a bargain for most of you.
Once the Baltic Run kicks off we’re going to shoot across Poland, but because Krakow is our starting point, if you get there a couple of days before, you can make the most of the nearby sites. The Tatra Mountains on the doorstep offer plenty of hiking ops, although in the winter this might not be the ideal time to go, but you can always go skiing in nearby Zakopane.
Auschwitz is a poignant reminder of the Holocaust, and many pay pilgrimage to those who died in the concentration camp. There is an impressive museum here, and it’s a haunting site that merits a visit.
If that is too depressing, then there is the nearby Wieliczka salt mine, where you can find a cathedral, chapels and statues made entirely out of salt!
If you’ve been on one of our other rallies, then you’ll know that we like to party. In fact, we’ve got plenty of partying scheduled on the Baltic Run, but if you want to warm up, Krakow is the place to do it.
Krakow is a student city, so it goes without saying there are plenty of bars and clubs to hit before we take off on our winter race up to the Baltic States. While Budapest has its ruin bars, Krakow has basement bars, which are open all night. Get out and explore the city by night for some memorable experiences. Just don’t miss the start of the rally!
Food and drink
Poland might not have the reputation for having world-class cuisine, but it does provide excellent and delicious comfort food, especially in the winter months. Tuck into some barszcz, a famous soup made from beetroot and classic pierogi, dumplings that can be filled with meat or cheese.
Of course, you will need to wash all that food down with a vodka… or five.