We were last in Krakow four years ago on a trip around Central and Eastern Europe and we found it so affordable back then that we decided to stay a while and do some writing. We rented an apartment slap bang in the old centre for three weeks and it was absolutely wonderful.
It was so wonderful, we could have stayed longer except we had to move on and make our way to Greece where we had a guidebook to update. So naturally, we were thrilled to return for Grantourismo.
Aside from its beauty and other attributes, Krakow is a brilliantly affordable destination with its low apartment rental fees, affordable restaurant and drinks prices, cheap prices, and low grocery prices, especially when compared to so many other European cities.
It’s also an easy place to shop. There are 24-hour supermarkets and mini-markets scattered around the city, though mysteriously these weren’t always open 24 hours. There are 24-hour liquor stores on almost every block. These are well and truly open 24 hours!
There are also local markets, though more convenient to us were the well-stocked Carrefour supermarkets (yes, two!) in excellent Galeria Krakowska shopping mall, just a ten-minute walk from our apartment and a quick cab ride back.
You’ll find virtually everything at the Carrefour here that you’ll find at Carrefours all over the world, but you’ll also find plenty of distinctively Polish products: shelves and shelves of gherkins (picked cucumbers), fridges and freezers full of both fresh and frozen pierogi (Polish dumplings) in all kinds of flavours, and plenty of vodka on the shelves of the liquor section!
Our Price Check shopping list for Krakow is slightly skewed as it was for a few other destinations due to high priced items such as wine and pistachios that could easily be replaced by vodka (more commonly drank here; most wine in Poland is imported so expensive) and peanuts or some other kind of snack. Knock those off the list and Krakow could probably be Central Europe’s best value destination.
|2 litre water||Zł1.40||£0.31||US$0.49|
|1 litre milk||Zł1.90||£0.42||US$0.66|
|Bottle of local wine||Zł15.00||£3.28||US$5.24|
|250g coffee beans||Zł4.40||£0.96||US$1.54|
|50 tea bags||Zł9.70||£2.12||US$3.39|
|1 kg sugar||Zł2.80||£0.61||US$0.98|
|Jar of jam||Zł4.00||£0.88||US$1.40|
|1 loaf of bread||Zł2.20||£0.48||US$0.77|
|250g quality butter||Zł3.90||£0.85||US$1.36|
|500 ml oil||Zł13.80||£3.02||US$4.82|
|1 doz organic eggs||Zł5.90||£1.29||US$2.06|
|1 kilo tomatoes||Zł5.95||£1.30||US$2.08|
|1 kilo onions||Zł2.95||£0.65||US$1.03|
|1 kilo apples||Zł4.50||£0.98||US$1.57|
|250 g pistachios||Zł16.00||£3.50||US$5.59|
|Packet of Pierogi Ruskie||Zł3.80||£0.83||US$1.33|
* Price Check is a series of posts from every destination we visit where we settle in for a while, that could serve as a shopping list to stock the kitchen at the start of your stay, as well as a cost of living index, giving you an idea as to what things cost in that place. We include some basic items to get you started, plus a local specialty or two from the place.