Kraków during Summer Time

Summer gives you unlimited opportunities to spend your free time in Kraków. Check some ideas below:) Krakow during the summertime vibrates with energy and its calendar is full of events! Days filled with sunshine and blue sky are a perfect background for excellent photographic opportunities. A trip to any traveler-friendly Polish city during the summer season means dealing with large crowds, Krakow handles the spike in tourist numbers with a practiced hand, making sure that those who choose to visit during the months of June, July, or August will enjoy their time spent in Poland’s cultural capital. For sporty types it provides a variety of attractions for active people, far away from crazy crowds.

krakow summer mosquito hostel

SUMMER ANIMATION DAYS

Krakow Summer Animation Days is an outdoor event annualy se on Mały Rynek so in the heart of the Old Town. For it’s 7th edition you will have a unique opportunity to see world famous and rewarded on various festivals animation movies. Entrance is free!

cinema mosquito hostel

SUMMER JAZZ FESTIVAL

Over 30 days of live music till 31st July, almost 100 concerts, nearly 200 artists. The opening June concert by Nigel Kennedy is now behind us, but we can go stargazing throughout July – and not only in the night sky. The jazz giant Herbie Hancock, the Grammy-awarded Robert Glasper Trio and a prestigious guitar competition, the star-studded Jazz Night… And that’s just some of the attractions of the 20th Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica Pod Baranami. Plenty of anniversary fun!

jazz-festival mosquito hostel

HOW ABOUT A BICYCLE TRIP…?

While leaving the city you need to take advantage of the charms that are provided bicycle route Kraków-Tyniec. The total route length is less than 12 kilometers, so even novice cyclists should not have problems with defeating it. Being in Tyniec you simply have to visit the Benedictine abbey, existing in this place since 1044 years, which can be visited during limited hours, and where you can stock up on hand-prepared by the brothers products.

tyniec mosquito hostel

ZAKRZÓWEK LAKE

Zakrzówek Lake located in Kraków was named one of the new 7 Wonders of Poland by National Geographic Traveler Magazine.
With it’s white high cliffs and perfect for diving clear water it was chosen in a plebiscite among 15 different places. it’s a perfect place for a hot summer day or a picnic!

zakrzowek krakow mosquito hostel

RUNNING TOUR

Do you like sport? Do you enjoy sight seeing? How about mixing those two? Join a new Kraków Running Tour! It is an alternative of a free walking tour for active tourists!

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See Lajkonik in Kraków

Now it’s time to get to know one of most peculiar Kraków legends. The Lajkonik is one of the unofficial symbols of the city and it is represented as a bearded man resembling a Tatar in a characteristic pointed hat with a wooden horse around his waist (hobby horse). It is the subject of the Lajkonik Festival. It is an annual event that takes place on the first Thursday after the religious holiday of Corpus Christi.He rides through the city streets from Convent in Zwierzyniec to the Main Market Square. People follow him dressed in traditional folklore dress.

Lajkonik pod filharmonia

Lajkonik pod filharmonia

The procession runs its way through the historic streets in the city, followed by musicians and children. On his way the Lajkonik touches spectators with his golden mace and collects money for the traditional ransom. Being touched by Lajkonik’s mace is supposed to bring good luck. At the Market Square, the mayor of the city of Kraków is waiting for the Lajkonik with a pile of ransom money and a chalice with which they make a toast to the wellbeing of Kraków!

lajkonik

Where does this peculiar character hail from? Well, the Lajkonik story stretches all the way back to medieval times, when the Mongol was Poland’s foremost bogey-man. During those days, Tartar hordes sacked Cracow many times, but Genghis Khan did not always get his way….

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Kraków city of movies

Spring Time makes the city blossom with cultural events also for movie fans. In Kraków’s cultural calendar, May is filled with dozens of festivals, concerts, outdoor events and endless new exhibitions. Note that May brings two amazing festivals: Film Music Festival and 55th Kraków Film Festival!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmhoAe6kEXM

Film Music Festival (27-31 May)

This year Film Music Festival has prepared extraordinary new venues. Organisers invite audiences to events set in two brand new objects opened in Kraków. Poland’s largest sports and exhibition hall Kraków Arena and the prestigious ICE Kraków Congress Centre that both promise unforgettable experiences. What to expect? Stars  of the film music world (including Oscar winners!), fascinating projects, soundtracks from the most popular TV dramas and video games all the way to compositions for films by Andrzej Wajda and adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as the finale flight aboard the Starship Enterprise… (fo Star Trek fans 🙂 This year’s programme is also accompanied by events for children as part of the FMF4kids cycle. It includies the symphonic concert Young Way Into the Classics and screenings of films from the Gruffalo series with the soundtracks by festival guest René Aubry performed live. Find out more information on festival’s official website: http://fmf.fm/

film music festival krakow

Kraków Film Festival (31 May – 7 June)

Some of the most prestigious awards in the competitions for Polish (Golden Lajkonik) and international (Golden Horn) documentaries, animations and features, short films (Golden Dragon) and music documentaries (Golden Hejnał) are waiting for the best filmmakers. This year’s Dragon of Dragons – a lifetime achievement award is going to the Estonian director Priit Pärn. Other festival attractions include the cycles Somewhere in Europe, Festivals Award Winners and Panorama of the Polish Film. The special guest of the Focus On… cycle will be cinematography from Lithuania. During the eight festival days, four competitions and 11 other sections present a total of around 250 documentaries and short films the majority of which will be shown in Poland for the first time. Screenings will be accompanied by events held as part of the Industry Zone, concerts, meetings with artists, workshops and outdoor cinema. Lear more about the festival on it’s official website: http://www.kff.com.pl

55-Krakowski-Festiwal-Filmowy

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Things you can do in Kraków for under 5€

Kraków is by far the most interesting city in Poland for tourists, and it’s also easy to reach for most people. It is full of attractions even if you travel on a limited budget. There is so many places to see almost for free that coming here is afordable for all backpackers:) If you are wondering what is a must to do activity here’s a little list to help you:

mosquito hostel zapiekanka

1. Eat Zapiekanka in the Jewish Quarter

Famous in Kraków best take out food. Fast and filling but also delicious! Best place to buy it? Okrąglak on Plac Nowy Square! It is a big round building in the centre of the district. Around it  you can dig through stuff selled on the flea market or relax in Alchemia on the corner – one of the most famous bars in Kraków.

mosquito hostel okraglak

2. Learn about the city! Join FREE WALKING TOUR

Are you a kind of tourist that needs to know everything? Or just likes to get some basic information and interesting facts about the city? Join a free walking tour. It is a perfect way to get to know the place better but at the same time it is not a never-ending and boring pilgrimage around the historical centre. The tour takes two hours and meeting point is always in front of St. Mary’s Church on the Main Square. It goes every single day: 10:30am around the Old Town and 2pm around the Jewish Quarter. If you liked it, please leave a small tip for the guide 😉

mosquito hostel free walking tour krakow

3. Buy multiple beers or shots in Pijalnia

We have a few bars in Kraków (occupied by students and tourists almost all the time) where a price for a beer or a shot is excatly 4,00PLN. It is a perfect pre-drink/pre-lush /pre-game place where you can put yourself into a good mood before fancier and of course way more expensive club. Try different kinds of vodka or some local shots such as a mad dog – vodka with raspberry juice and tabasco – amazing combination!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

4. Buy obwarzanek just don’t share it with the peguins!

Obwarzanek is a typical for Kraków kind of a bread roll. It is very similar to a bagel but it is somewhat bigger and has a wider hole. You can buy it almost on every corner while walking through the Old Town.

mosquito hosel obwarzanek

5. Go on a nice long walk and visit Kościuszki Mound

A little bit of the city centre there is an amazing place to enjoy rollerskating, jogging or cycking aroun błonia – big park in Kraków. Very close to it you can climb on the most famous mound in Kraków – Kościuszki Mound. It is a perfect overlook point for the city and entrance is only 10,00PLN. For free you can visit another mound in Kraków – Krakus Mound. Especially during night you can admire from there a spectacular Kraków panorama.

mosquito hostel mound

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Off Camera festival in Kraków

To all fans of cinematography out there: One of the biggest film festivals is coming back in it’s 8th edition this time under the name: PKO Off Camera international Festival of Independent Cinema.

off camera

In only 8 days Kraków is going to change into a city filled with great productions and interresting guests from all over the world. In previous editions we hosted a variety of amazing directors, actors and other representants of movie industry. Some of them left famous hand prints as a memorial of ther visit in our city. Invitations to Kraków were already accepted by Melissa Leo, John Rhys-Davis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luc Besson or Tim Roth.

tim roth krakow

This year on 8th edition from 1st till 10th May 2015 you can see hundreds of movies in 12 different sections. For example foreign movies that were very well accepted on various Europian festivals but never made it to to be distributed in Poland. Two main categories are Main Dramatic Competition “Making Way” and Polish Feature Film Competition in which attractive prizes can be won after the jury verdict. The program of this year’s festival was based on the idea of crossing boundaries, be they film, social or spatial. You can also see pernament sections such as ‘Discoveries,’ ‘Catching Up’ and ‘From the Gut.’ This year’s edittion is also a music celebration. Not only because of the section ‘Loud Moving Pictures’”but also because every day during the whole festival you can enjoy live music from bands invited to Kraków both Polish and international.

Claudia Cardinale 1960s

This year you will be able to enjoy movies in different outdoor venues such as roof tops, cinema by the river and even on a boat. This year the guests of festival are going to be for example Stellan Skarsgard and Claudia Cardinale. Learn more about the program on festival’s official website http://www.offcamera.pl and spend your free time in spring in Kraków!

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Kraków for coffee lovers vol.2

Spring time invites more and more people to visit Kraków this month. Here’s a list of places you shouldn’t miss while looking for opportunity to relax and rest after intensive sightseeing:

1. Spokój i Cisza – Bracka 3-5 St.

Lovely interior inspired by the 60’s is a perfect place to enjoy your morning coffee or meet with friends for a beer out in the evening. Spokój i Cisza means Peace and Quiet not accidently. Although located in the centre of the Old Town it is hard to find so if you are sick of overcrowded bars and coffee shops this is a place to be.

spokoj

2. Nowa Prowincja – Bracka 3-5 St.

This place with peculiar atmosphere specializes in breakfast, great coffee and famous hot chocolate. It’s interior brings back memories of Kraków during it’s bohemian era. Perfect for a long evening with a book or friends gathering.

nowa prowincja

3. Massolit Books & Café – Felicjanek 4 St.

A very special coffee shop but coffee is not the most important thing here. Massolit was created for people who love digging through heaps of books. It is an independent English-language bookstore selling both used and new books. Tired after a search for a treasure? Try some delicious American pies in a Massolit bakery close by.

Massolit

4. Alchemia – Estery 5 St.

It’s all about the atmosphere! A place to be while your visit in the Jewish Quarter full of it’s spirit! Great music, fantastic, mystic vibe, live concerts, darkness, candles and intriguing wardrobe that leads to another room. Visit it’s younger sister – restaurant Alchemia od Kuchni.

alchemia

5. Miejsce Bar – Estery 1 St.

Rather moderate 70’s inspired interior with furnitures looking as stolen from grannie’s apartment. Vegetarian sandwiches, coffee and yerba matte for those who need extra energy and good beer selection.

miejsce bar

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Easter Tradiotions in Poland

Easter is the most important holiday according to Catholicism and in Poland it is celebrated in series of unique rituals ranging from joyful to spiritual.

One week before Easter takes place a special celebration called Palm Sunday. According to Catholic tradition, this day was marked as the day of Jesus enetering Jerusalem. Churchgoers bring to Sunday Mass ‘palms’ made of colourful hand woven dried branches often ornated with flowers. Very popular are competitions in which most beautiful or the longest palms are being selected.

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On the Great Saturday before Easter Sunday we paint hard-boiled eggs or prepare Easter decorations called ‘pisanki’. To die eggs some use onion peels and boil them together to create different colour. ‘Pisanki’ are very delicate decorations, as they are just empty egg shells covered and ornamented in different colours. Egg painting is especialy appreciated by children who are eager to play with colours and technics.

bbb

Most important Saturday activity is the preparation of Easter baskets that are later brought to church to be blessed. Baskets contain all the best samples of Easter food, in a symbolic ammount of course. They are lined with a white napkin and often decorated with little branches of boxwood. Usually most common treats that make it to the basket are: bread, a piece of sausage or ham, salt and pepper, a piece of cake and made of sugar Easter Lamb.

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The most important day is Easter Sunday when we go to church for the Resurrection mass – a ceremonial service and procession. After begins a joyfull time at homes that come alive with families who gather to eat breakfast. Before the meal starts family members share halfs of the blessed Easter eggs from yesterday’s baskets. They exchange wishes and Joyful Hallelujah.
The breakfast is contained mostly by cold dishes and is a feast for meat lovers so it’s a typical Polish celebration: ham, sausage, roast meats, eggs, horseradish, bread. Easter breakfast is a very rich meal that has to be considered a day-off from the every day diet. For dessert it is usually lamb cake, babka, chrust, mazurek and other treats. The most typical babka is a tall and round multi-yolk sweet yeast cake with a hole in the middle.

The last celebrated day is Easter Monday known as Wet Monday, on which tradition tells that boys throw water over girls.

DLOLU

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Misteria Paschalia Festival

Misteria Paschalia Festival is considered to be one of the most important European festivals devoted to early music. This year from 30th March till 5th April concerts will take place in such venues like ICE Kraków, Philharmonic Hall, St. Catherine‘s Church and Wieliczka Salt Mine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK5FB_XKghM

After many years this annual event is known as a trademark of Kraków as a city of early music. It is considered to be one of Europe’s most important events focusing on Renaissance and Baroque music and has earned a great reputation thanks to its carefully selected programme. Festival is focused on presenting music linked to the Holy Week and Easter. It is being performed by masters and outstanding interpreters of early music from around the world. For the last decade it has been attracting music lovers from across Europe, as well as promoting Kraków as a city hosting cultural events on a global scale.

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One of the concerts this year will take place in a pecial venue which is St. Kinga’s Chapel situated in Wieliczka Salt Mine.

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Tickets are available on sale via www.eventim.pl and at InfoKrakow city information centres.

date and place
concert prices
30th March 2015, 8 p.m.
Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall in Krakow
Niccolò Jommelli: Isacco, figura del Redentore REGULAR PRICE:
Zone I – 80 PLN
Zone II – 60 PLNREDUCED PRICE:
Zone I – 50 PLN
Zone II – 40 PLN
31st March 2015, 8 p.m.
St. Catherine‘s Church
Cipriano de Rore: Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Johannem REGULAR PRICE:
Zone I – 80 PLN
Zone II – 60 PLNREDUCED PRICE:
Zone I – 50 PLN
Zone II – 40 PLN
1st April 2015, 8 p.m.
St. Catherine‘s Church
Various Composers: Le Llibre Vermell de Montserrat REGULAR PRICE:
Zone I – 160 PLN
Zone II – 100 PLNREDUCED PRICE:
Zone I – 120 PLN
Zone II – 60 PLN
2nd April 2015, 8 p.m.
ICE Krakow Congress Centre
Johann Sebastian Bach:Johannes-Passion BWV 245 REGULAR PRICE:
Zone I – 100 PLN
Zone II – 80 PLN
Zone III – 60 PLNREDUCED PRICE:
Zone I – 80 PLN
Zone II – 60 PLN
Zone III – 40 PLN
3rd April 2015, 8 p.m.
Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall in Krakow
Bernardo Pasquini: La sete di Cristo REGULAR PRICE:
Zone I – 100 PLN
Zone II – 80 PLNREDUCED PRICE:
Zone I – 70 PLN
Zone II – 50 PLN
4th April 2015, 7 p.m.
St. Kinga’s Chapel, Wieliczka Salt Mine
Marc-Antoine Charpentier & François Couperin: Leçons de ténèbres REGULAR PRICE:
100 PLNREDUCED PRICE:
80 PLN
5th April 2015, 8 p.m.
ICE Krakow Congress Centre
George Frideric Handel: JephthaHWV 70 REGULAR PRICE:
Zone I – 100 PLN
Zone II – 80 PLN
Zone III – 60 PLNREDUCED PRICE:
Zone I – 80 PLN
Zone II – 60 PLN
Zone III – 40 PLN

 

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Spring time in Kraków

In Poland we have a very special way to celebrate upcoming new season. After few long, cold and dark months it is time to say goodbye to Winter and welcome Spring with all it has to offer. It is a beautifull time to visit Kraków and see how it comes back to life with outdoor activities, beer gardens and festivals.

indeks

For many years to welcome Spring Poles have an unusual tradition. It is an ancient pageant that requires to build and drown the “witch” called Marzanna. Marzanna is a puppet made especially for this occasion. It is a tradition for people, but mostly children or students, to make dolls that impersonate winter, and then take them out into the river or burn them on this day, as if to say good-bye to winter. This is an annual event.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first day of spring in Poland is actually another unofficial occasion popular among students. It is celebrated on March 21st and it is sometimes called a day of being a truant. Students often skip their classes on this day 🙂

With more direct sun light people of Kraków go out more often and become more physicaly active. Which means the path that goes along Vistula River is going to get crowded again with cyclists and jogging enthusiasts. On this occasion the marathon season is going to start on Sunday 22nd March with a Spring-welcoming 21km run to warm up before the biggest event of the year – Cracovia Marathon. It is going to take place in Kraków on 19th April 2015. Are you ready? You can still sign up!

25.04.2010 KRAKOW , IX CRACOVIA MARATON . FOT. MICHAL LEPECKI / AGENCJA GAZETA

For less sporty but still outdoorsy people Kraków offers a great fun during an international pillow fight day. Just grab a pillow and come to the Main Market Square at 1pm on April 4th. The rules are pretty simple 🙂

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Searching for Monuments in Kraków

Kraków may surprise you in many ways! While walking around do you pay attention to monuments and memorials? If not, you should definitely start as it may be more interesting than you think!

1. Wojtek the Soldier Bear in Jordan Park

“He liked a cigarette, he liked a bottle of beer – he drank a bottle of beer like any man.” Yep, it’s a bear we’re talking about:) Wojtek was found in Iran in 1942 by Polish soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of Polish II Corps. They were fiding him with condensed milk from… a vodka bottle. He was also fed by fruits, honey and even beer (that became his favourite drink). He enjoyed as well smoking or maybe eating cigarettes.

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Bear became a maskot of the team, he was tought to salute and was even driving with soldiers in jeeps. He was a good companion during their journey from Iran to Palestine. During the battle for Monte Casino Wojtek carried boxes of ammunition. Rest of his days he spent in Edinburgh Zoo. The unveiling of his statue took place on the 70th anniversary of the conclusion of the Battle of Monte Cassino.

2. ‘Eros Bound’ on the Main Square

Ever wondered what does the lying head represent in the Main Square? It is a sculpture called “Eros Bound” created by Polish artist Igor Mitoraj. His pieces often refer to mythology heroes and classic ancient monuments but with an emphasis on their human nature.

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3. ‘Zak’ at St Mary’s Square

It was erected in 1958 by Jan Budziłło  as a tribute to Wit Stwosz – artist and designer of  the famous alter in St, Marie’s Church nearby. Guy sitting on the fontain is simply a student (former ‘żak’:) The legend says if you throw a coin to the fountain you will come back to Kraków in the future!

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4. Dzok monument on Vistula Boulevards

Dzok monument is placed on the boulevards between the Wawel Hill and the Vistula river, nearby the Dragon’s Den. It was created by the famous sculptor Bronisław Chromy in 2001. Dog was a happy animal until one day when he was left tragically orphaned in 1990 after his owner had a heart attack in his car. Left behind when his master was taken away in an ambulance, Dżok waited patiently for his friend to return for a year before finally going to live with a lady who used to come and feed him. After this kind lady also died in 1998 poor Dżok was orphaned again and taken to a local dog hostel, from where he escaped on his second day of captivity and was swiftly run over by a train.

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The Dzok Dog symbolises dog’s loyalty and devotion and a sculpture of Dżok was unveiled only a short walk from Wawel at Bulwar Czerwieński close to where his original master passed away, with an inscription reading “Most faithful canine friend ever, and symbol of a dog’s boundless devotion to his master.”

5. The Wawel Dragon is a famous dragon in Polish folklore. Standing on the Wisła riverbank in the shade of Wawel Castle is a rather ugly likeness of the Wawel Dragon who according to local legend once reposed in the large cave behind him between terrorising virgins and eating sheep. It’s worth to see it while being in Krakow! The statue even gasps with fire every few minutes 🙂

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