Galeria Krakowska: Largest shopping center in Krakow
Galeria Krakowska is the largest shopping center in the heart of Krakow and probably one of the largest in Poland. It is certainly one of the most modern shopping centers in the country and probably in Europe too. It was opened to the public only in 2006. We certainly find this shopping center to be very attractive and a great place to hang around and to chill out as there are also many cafes and restaurants in the shopping arcade.
Galeria Krakowska has a total area of approximately 56,000 square meters of retail space as well as 5,000 square meters of office space. It has three levels. Some of the well-known tenants are Carrefour, H & M, KFC Restaurant and Mc Donalds. There are approximately 270 shops in the building. The shopping center also has approximately 1,400 car parking space. Customers can also walk on the ground floor into the main railway station and the regional bus station.
Opening hours are between 9.00 a.m. and 10.00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and between 10.00 a.m. and 10.00 p.m. on Sunday. We passed through the shopping center almost everyday since we also made use of the main train station and the regional bus station.Related to:
- Family Travel
Sukiennice or the Cloth Hall in Krakow: Shopping for souvenirs
If you are looking for souvenirs to bring home to your friends and relatives, Sukiennice or the Cloth Hall in the center of the Main Market Square is the right place to puchase souvenirs. We discovered that cost of souvenirs selling in the Cloth Hall is even cheaper than those selling in the shops around Krakow. Sukiennice is located in the Old Town which is listed in UNESCO's world heritage sites. The selling prices of souvenirs especially t-shirts and refrigerators' magnets in most stalls in the Cloth Hall are fixed and they don't allow customers to bargain. Nevertheless if you wish to purchase jewelleries (like amber) and other local crafts (like tankards) from other stalls in the Cloth Hall, we suggest that you bargain with them as they have marked up their prices rather high as we were told. You may even end up paying just half of the asking price! Anyway shopping in Krakow and Zakopane in particular is quite cheap compared to many other cities in Europe.
What to buy: We purchased several t-shirts, postcards, souvenir books on Krakow and refrigerators' magents from Sukiennice.
What to pay: Their selling prices are quite competitive, certainly cheaper than those selling in the shops nearby.Related to:
- Family Travel
Laces from Koniakow
Laces from Koniakow are known all over Poland and abroad. Tableclothes, doilies but also beautiful underwear are all handmade of cotton twine. Frankly speaking, all those g-strings and bras divided the small community of Koniakow in half. Some consider them a real disgrace, the others think that this is a way to keep up with modern times and a chance to develop. Nobody can deny, though, that all those lace 'beauties' are very special and unique. So if you are in Bielsko Biala or another place in Beskid Slaski, go to Koniakow.
You can also buy lace underwear from Koniakow via Internet (the address is below)Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Shops with regional souvenirs, local handicrafts, contemporary and antique art can be found all over the Poland.
The most popular souvenirs from Poland are: amber and silver jevellery, paintings on glass by folk artists, laces and tablecloths from Koniakow and Bobowa, articles made of natural colour lather, Polish contemporary paintings and graphic art, artistic furniture and pottery.
What to buy: A thing to buy at the seaside is amber, of course. But perhaps you don't like amber bracelets, necklaces, rings, etc. How about amber tincture? It's available at the chemist's. It can be used against colds and flu ( add three drops to your tea) or when you have a headache - (rub it on your temples and neck.)
You can make amber tincture by yourself. Take ten decagrams of amber pieces, put them into a dark bottle and fill it with 90% alcohol. It should be kept for ten days in a warm place and then it's ready to use.
Frankly speaking, I haven't tried it myself, but it sounds interesting, doesn't it?
What to buy: This cheese of unique taste and shape is made of ewe's milk according to traditional highlanders' recipes. The shape and decorations of oscypek come from the wooden mould in which the cheese is pressed. Then it is kept in salt water for about a day and finally smoked for a few days, which gives it its characteristic colour. Oscypek can be kept in a fridge up to three months. You can eat it as a snack with beer, it can be put on a sandwich or fried and served hot. You must give it a try when you are in Zakopane or nearby.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Farm Stay
You can often find street vendors in Warsaw. Many of them sell crap: huge Russian bras, plastic radios, chinese lamps and other things you won't buy.
Sometimes however you can meet a person who sells good products at fair price. I personally think that those vendors are at least worth a little attention.
What to buy: In Zakopane and Tatra mountains - oscypek, local cheese. It won't be original but it's worth trying anyway.
In other places - local crafts, fruit, vegetables, sunglasses, sun hats, umbrellas.
What to pay: When buying from street vendors don't expect high prices. And don't expect high quality of what you buy (with some exceptions).
What to buy: For those who like alcoholic beverages I would recommend 'krupnik'. It's a sweet (not very sweet) liqueur with honey and spices flavour made according to old Polish recipes from the 18th century. It has exceptional warming-up properties, so it may be useful when you decide to spend your holidays at the Polish seaside, where the weather can be very capricious.Related to:
- Wine Tasting
monopolowy/monopol- alcohole store: 40% chances to feel good ;)
Sklep monopolowy is a basic name for normal liquor store, which is not hard to find in Poland...
What to buy: As well as other Eastern (although Central:P) countries like Ukraine or Russia, Poland is a country rich in "high-voltage" alcohole, there are tens of kinds of vodka (wódka really), produced by tens of companies, drank during prestigous banquets and on village weddings...
What to choose???
CZYSTA- clear transparent vodka, the traditional and most common one, basis of many drinks, here drank with a few specific rituals. 0,5L of a decent brand (Soplica, Sobieski, Wyborowa, Zytnia, Cracovia or other Polish one- I won't mention the international brands, because you've got them there) cost some 20-25zl (some €5-6), depending where you buy them.
KRUPNIK- my personal favourite, it's produced with old recepies, with different roots and honey. Easy to drink although as strong as normal. Pricing like above
ZOLADKOWA GORZKA- quite similar, very tasty with milk. similar pricing.
ZUBROWKA- quite well known, produced "on" the grass from specific places (secret:P), great with apple juice. Pricing the same.
Finally- the best brands. Those are also czyste/clear ones, but the most excuisite. Don't expect to pay less than 50zl (some €13), but prepare for expenses like 100-200zl or more (€50). Those brands are Chopin, Biala Dama, Original Polish Vodka (how original:P) and a few others.
PS: There also are some that cost like €2, but I don't advise those, or Ukrainian contrabanda :PRelated to:
- Luxury Travel
Try the little roadside shops
This little market was along the road to Pajezsno. Not every shopping experience needs to be glamorous or pricey to be satisfying. My daughter takes a lesson from our wonderful guide, Gosia here. An attempt at the language and the money exchange can be a challenge...but fun.
Wicker stuff in Rudnik nad Sanem
This place is known for its workshops producing almost everything from wicker-from different baskets, boxes, toys to furniture.
What to buy: We bought there armchairs and baskets, and boxes...
What to pay: As usually it's up to you how much money you could spend and how many items you are able to pack into your car, but prices are very low. Armchairs are 12-20 euro, baskets 2,5-7, boxes 7-25.
Tax rebate: Save your money
Look for the Tax Free Shopping signs on shops' windows.
The foreigners leaving Poland, who purchased goods at the value exceeding PLN 200 in shops bearing special label, have had right to repayment of VAT. The repayment is conditional upon exportation of goods within 3 months from the date of purchase and production of special name-bearing document, on which a confirmation by a customs officer is entered about the exportation of purchased goods (in practice, it means stamping it with "VAT-REPAYMENT" stamp). Before the confirmation, the customs officer must check the identity of the traveller and goods as well as the purchase note constituting an annex to the said document.
Most goods and services in Poland are subject to 22% Vat (Value Added Tax). There is also a 7 % charge for some goods.
And here is a link to a document, which will be necessary: click!
Not applying for UE citizen!Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
Everywhere!: Krakow's Main Square
There are so many things to see, browse and shop for in Krakow's main square, which is called "Rynek Główny" in Polish. The square itself is quite huge, and branching off from it are tons of tiny little streets with all kinds of little boutiques, souvenir shops, clothing stores, perogie restaurants and more. Also, it is a short walk from the Jewish quarter and the Royal Palace of Krakow. I had to come back to the main square several times during my stay before I felt like I'd seen everything there was to see! Take an afternoon or two just to stroll around here and see what you can find.
What to buy: Souvenirs, clothing, perogies, same sorts of things you'd buy in any large city. There are several traditional Polish restuarants, Mexican and Japanese food (with Polish influence) and horse-carriage rides.
What to pay: Things are a lot cheaper in Poland than in Western Europe and North America, even in the capital. Espect to pay maybe $10 for shirts and general clothing items, a few dollars for a couple souvenirs and only $3 for lunch! (all USD)Related to:
Sukiennice: amber stones at low prices
Sukiennice is the Cloth Hall. It's under the (not) Town Hall (well, people often think it is). it's a long arcade in which, in the 14th century, the cloth trade took place. Today it houses several stalls selling about everything - and amber jewels in particular.
What to buy: amber jewels: poland is famous for its amber
What to pay: Roughly they were 1/3 of the price of what I would spend in Switzerland
Stores: Stores - general information
Place when you can buy goods we call "SKLEP" (shop/store). often with appropriate adjunctive:
SKLEP SPOZYWCZY = food store, grocery (sometimes it's written on it: ARTYKULY SPOZYWCZE = food articles or DELIKATESY);
sklep monopolowy = liquor store;
sklep motoryzacyjny = store with goods for cars;
sklep fotograficzny = store with photo/camera equipment etc.
Usually stores selling various goods (not food) operate from 11am till 7pm Mo-Fri (i.e. Krakow, Warsaw) or 10am-6pm (i.e. Tychy, Katowice), on Sat 9am-3pm or 10am-4pm, closed on Sunday.
Food stores (groceries) are usually opened longer: 6/7/8am-6/7/8pm.
Usually in cities there is at least one grocery opened from 6am to 8 or even 10pm and opened the same hours on Sat and Sun.
In smaller towns and villages opening hours are various: in some you can find grocery opened even on Sunday all the day (i.e. Sopotnia Wielka), in some forget it, Sat-Sun all groceries are closed.
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