Sipping a coffee, staring at stunning architecture and listening to the clip-clop of passing horse carriages going by as regular as clockwork.
The setting is one of the most beautiful city squares you'll ever see, akin to something you'd see in Disney classics such as Beauty And The Beast. The sun beams down on locals going about their daily business while tourists take it all in for the very first time. Welcome to Kraków.
The Polish city has long been an attractive place to visit for people looking for a European break and having sampled its charms recently myself I'm here to fill you in on all the best things to see and do.
Follow me as I guide you through the city on the Vistula River....
Where to stay - La Fontaine
The city's Market Square is surrounded by umpteen different options when it comes to choosing a place to stay but the one we went for was La Fontaine.
Literally yards from the square, it offers single, double and quadruple rooms as well as two-three bed apartments, all for reasonable prices. The facility also offers breakfast, lunch and dinner all day long but sure you'll be out and about enjoying yourself so you probably won't have much need for it.
Day 1 - Get to know your surroundings
Before you go wandering too far, it's best to get the feelers out and get to know Market Square. The first thing that your eyes will be drawn to is the massive St. Mary's Basilica which overlooks the whole area. It only costs about the equivalent of €2 to head in for a look around and pretty soon you'll be blown away by the centuries-old art and sculptures. A pretty incredible spectacle to kick off your trip.
After that, you should head in for a stroll around Cloth Hall, which is considered by many to be the world's oldest shopping centre. Once a major hub for international trade, the building now houses numerous food stalls, shops and cafés. There's always a nice hum in here at any time of the day and you could certainly spend a while enjoying the hustle and bustle.
After all that walking it's about time you got yourself a drink. Look out onto the square from the outdoor seating at Loza Restaurant and get some local beer into you as well as some delicious Polish dumplings.
Day 2 - Salt Mines
Now you've gotten to know a bit of the city, it's time to take a trip to the surrounding area. The Wieliczka Salt Mine is a short journey from Kraków and is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of your stay. Get lost among the dozens of statues and sculptures at an attraction that will quite simply take your breath away.
There are various different tours you can take with the help of an expert tour guide or if you prefer you can buy a ticket for entry alone.
Visit Jewish Kazimierz
This is a lovely area to explore and at about a 20-minute walk away from Market Square, it's a good opportunity to check out more of the city along your way.
Once you get here, you'll be met by a vibrant atmosphere with plenty of historic buildings to have a look at. Stop for lunch or dinner or if you're only a bit peckish, pick up something small from the numerous food stalls.
A great spot to get a feel for Jewish culture.
Day 3 - Go underneath the city
Probably not what you thought you'd be doing when you booked a trip to Kraków. The Rynek Underground is a museum hidden below Market Square.
Take a walk through medieval market stalls before travelling back to the 21st century with the help of holograms, visual effects and touchscreens.
This is a really cool way to get a sense of what Kraków was like hundreds of years ago and if it's something you're interested in, tickets can be purchased in the aforementioned Cloth Hall.
Round off the weekend with a beer
After all your walking you've certainly earned it. Head over to the House Of Beer where you'll find the best craft beer Kraków has to offer.
If you're hungry, you'll be able to try everything from local cuisine to American-inspired dishes and it's the perfect place to kick back, shoot the breeze and reflect on your visit.
Another option while you're in Kraków is to take a trip to Auschwitz. Unfortunately, I never made it there but from what I have heard it is both a humbling and harrowing experience. Getting a sense of one of the darkest periods in human history is definitely another reason to go back and if you want it to be part of your itinerary your hostel should be able to help you out.
Overall, Kraków is a European gem just waiting to be explored and with flights from Dublin taking just about three hours, it's the perfect location for your next long weekend.