Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Krakow- Poland with Wowcher | Travel

On my interrailing trip earlier this year we stopped over in Krakow for 2 days, with the intention to visit the famous Wieliczka Salt Mine (we actually stayed here overnight which was absolutely incredible and surprisingly very cheap- keep eyes peeled for a blog post reviewing our night spent 135m underground! You can have a look at their accommodation options here.)
We also had the intention of visiting (for the second time for me) Auschwitz concentration camp. Unfortunately we had somehow miscalculated our time spent in Poland and with two night trains on either side of our stay, one night sleeping underground and a pre-booked tour round the salt mine had meant that we were left with not enough time to visit Auschwitz. And so for the rest of our time in Krakow we had decided to dedicate to exploring the city- not that this is a burden in the slightest!
As we were wandering through the beautiful cobbled streets and exploring the grounds of the stunning Wawel castle we had decided that New York may be The Restless City, Rome may be The Eternal City, but Krakow, Krakow was most definitely The Charmed City. So falling in love with all the lovely things that Poland had to offer had confirmed it for us- we would come back to Krakow and spend more time indulging in Polish food and visit Auschwitz.
And then came Wowcher, oh beautiful Wowcher.
£99 for two nights stay in Krakow.
Of course we jumped on this before we could even get back to England, booking it whilst still sunbathing on a beach in Cannes.
For those who do not know what Wowcher is, it's basically a website that offers new discounts for a limited time every day, their deals can be anything so if you've ever fancied having your own photo shoot or learning to sky dive, this is the perfect website to use when you're on a budget! You can even get cheap holidays, or, if you fancy, job lots of toilet paper! You can sign up with your email address to get daily updates on new additions to the site.
I have never had any problems using Wowcher before, from buying teeth whitening strips to booking days out in London so I had high hopes, but unfortunately the small print got us. Having it been advertised as a 2 night stay we had assumed we would get 3 days in Krakow, unfortunately the reality was we only had 1 and a half.
The main thing that catches people out on these bargain breaks is the flights, given that the morning is renowned for being the cheapest time to fly this meant that both our flights were early morning, this was not too bad heading out there as it meant we touched down in Poland around midday, but it did mean we were up at half 6 on the Saturday to get back to the airport and grab our flight. And so in total we had the whole day Friday and half a day on Thursday.
Our other situation with getting out there was that the flights were leaving from airports that were no where near where either of us live. Hello another £35 on top to fly out from London Gatwick. And that my friends, is where they catch you out, to fly from a different airport or fly at a different time of the day you will, inevitably, get bundled with extra expenses piling on top of your mini break.
excited snapchat woooo

So although we were feeling that things had started out a tad shaky, we were still full of beans, besides, surely after managing to conquer 16 cities in 4 weeks we could easily cover what we wanted to in one and a half days in Krakow.
So flights out the way, the next review point is the hotel. Ah, now. I was not expecting to be disappointed, after sleeping in every hostel/bog standard hotel whilst travelling, I was no longer picky with where I got to lay my head. Having said that, when you pay out for a holiday you do want a nice place to stay. Wowcher booked us in at Atelier Aparthotel which, in itself, was actually very pleasant, all the staff were very friendly and eager to help wherever they could, the reception area was full of leaflets and weather information, as soon as we walked through the door they were extremely accommodating and all spoke fantastic English.
But first, location. As advertised on Wowcher this was a 'central location'. Oh, we should have known better, central does not always mean central. And this hotel was clearly more 'business central' than 'tourist central'. We had previously looked the hotel up on a map before we flew out there and having seen it was by the train station we thought, brilliant. Having been there before we knew the station was a mere 10 minute stroll from all the action the Old Town has to offer.
Little did we expect to then have to walk another 10-15 minutes to our hotel from the station. So we were by no means ridiculously far out, but I would hardly describe the hotel as central with a 25 minute walk to get to any tourist attractions.
So all in all, we had a hotel that wasn't very central, had no wifi (it did have wifi, just didn't reach our room) and a bathroom with a funny smell. However there were chocolates on our cushions and everyone was so lovely, so everything was forgiven. Fickle creatures we are.
Check in with me tomorrow for a low down on our brief time in Poland, including restaurant reviews and a low down on our visit to Auschwitz.
- ams xo

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