The low down:
Poland is an increasingly popular option for students, as you can easily have a great trip on a tiny budget. Having mostly escaped from war time destruction, Krakow dates back to the seventh Century, and possesses both the largest medieval market square in Europe and some of the most atmospheric drinking holes on the planet. Although fast becoming the new Prague for stag and hen nights, for the moment, at least, it remains charmingly inept at the tourist game.
Flights with Easyjet to Krakow from £25.99 return.
Where to stay:
Krakow has no shortage of cheap beds, with private facilities from as little as £10 pppn. For a quieter place to stay, ‘Trzy Kafki Plus’ offers twin ensuite rooms with shared kitchen facilities from £15 pp/pn.
Three of the best:
>> Instead of the usual open-top bus tours, try a golf-buggy, available starting from the Market Square (Rynek G?ówny), throughout the day for around £4. With your own tour guide/driver, they’re a great way to get around the smaller streets, but become a little terrifying when you find yourselves on the road with nothing more than a plastic sheet between you and the rush-hour traffic.
>> The ghostly remains of the vibrant Jewish community, awash with crumbling Synagogues, can be found in Kazimierz, providing a both fascinating and haunting stroll through Krakow’s outskirts. Schindler’s List was filmed here in the early nineties, and with Auschwitz concentration camp just a few miles out of the city, this is history at its most heartbreaking.
>> Alchemia Bar (Ul Estery 5Pl Nowy) is lit exclusively by candelabra and a few scattered candles and it is notorious for its potent mulled vodka. Get drunk in good East European style, and make sure that, whatever else you do, you eat some dumplings.