Planning a fall vacation comes with a unique set of challenges.
Since most travelers tend to prioritize their tropical summer trips and festive winter getaways, finding room in the budget for an autumnal retreat can prove to be difficult.
The good news is that there are still some hidden gems scattered around the world that provide excellent value to tourists.
The Travel recently compiled a list of the top 10 most affordable destinations to visit this fall.
While the list was, expectedly, filled with some of the world’s trendiest hotspots like Prague, Bangkok, and Hanoi, there was one lesser-known Central European city that made its way into the top 5.
Krakow Is Poland’s Best Budget-Friendly Destination
When most travelers think of Poland, their mind immediately goes to Warsaw.
However, as the capital has become more commercialized, tourists are finding the suffocating crowds and ever-increasing prices to be too dampening to the overall experience.
So, if you’re thinking about enjoying another, more authentic side of Poland this fall, consider adding Krakow to your travel bucket list.
While the sprawling city of over 750,000 residents is by no means the cheapest in the country, it’s arguably the best in terms of the overall value it offers to travelers.
Krakow provides all of the perks of experiencing a big European city while still maintaining reasonable prices, especially compared to other destinations of its kind.
Visitors can go sightseeing to some of the country’s most remarkable landmarks while enjoying a $0.5 (~2 zł) traditional Polish pretzel.
According to Numbeo, the average three-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant costs $40 (165 zł), while a 0.5 l (17 oz) pint of locally-brewed beer will set you back $3.4 (14 zł).
Considering the size and overall allure of the city, it’s safe to say that you’ll get a lot of value for your money during a visit here.
Here’s what you can expect to enjoy in Krakow:
Krakow is famously one of the oldest cities in Poland, dating back to the 7th century.
Moreover, the area’s main historical landmarks are remarkably well-preserved. The city’s historical value lies mainly in its medieval core and Jewish quarters.
Krakow’s list of must-sees includes the old town that’s still full of remnants of medieval walls, the Wawel Castle, St. Mary’s Basilica, the Wieliczka salt mines, and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.
The latter, while not directly in Krakow, is one of the most significant historical landmarks in the area and it’s only an hour’s drive away from the city center.
The old town and Wieliczka salt mines are even part of UNESCO’s world heritage list, so if you’re ever in the city, make sure to move them right to the top of your itinerary.
Don’t let the city’s reasonable prices fool you into thinking that you’ll be getting sub-par goods and services. The people here are friendly, and the food is excellent.
Speaking of food, while there are some big chains in Krakow you might be more familiar with (i.e., McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC), I can’t recommend prioritizing local cuisine enough.
Kaczka po krakowsku (a flaky dessert filled with cream), Kremówka paprika (a duck and mushroom dish), Plac Nowy zapiekanka (a toasted and stuffed baguette), and Obwarzanek krakowski (the traditional Polish Bagel) are all must-tries.
Most bars and restaurants, especially those located in touristy areas, boast a long history and evident experience with tourists from all over the world, so communication shouldn’t be an issue.
As far as safety goes, Poland, in general, is considered a safe country, even being named one of the best European countries for solo female travelers.
The Polish take their nightlife seriously, and the people of Krakow are no exception.
The city is filled to the brim with clubs, bars, and pubs that stay open until the early hours of the morning.
Seeing as a shot of vodka will only set you back $1.2-$5 (5-20 zł), be sure to have a taxi or designated driver on standby that can take you back to your hotel safely at the end of the night.
This isn’t to say that those who aren’t into the whole nightclub scene can’t enjoy a quiet trip here.
There are plenty of peaceful, family-friendly neighborhoods in the city, so whether you’re looking for a quiet fall vacation or a fun getaway to blow off some steam, Krakow has something to offer to everyone.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com