December`s fairy tale. Christmas market in Wrocław

  Mulled wine, food stands, a personal horseshoe, made by a real blacksmith, and gifts are only a few examples you can find at Christmas market in one of the Polish cities, Wrocław. December truly transform, though already magnificent, main square in a very mystical place with an extra hint of a magic, in a place not only kids would enjoy. There is no grumpy look at any face. People loves it, enjoy it, taking part in. Great for family, group of friends, tourists, seniors, everyone. There is a different treat for anyone and the same for us all…the magic Christmas spirit.

Food. Many stands offer an amazing and very tasty traditional Polish delicacies as  szaszlyk, (pork, beef or chicken knuckle), bigos (finely chopped meat of various kinds stewed with sauerkraut and shredded fresh cabbage), home-made bread, Saint Martin’s croissants, szare kluchy (potato dumplings), potatoes with herring, pierogis (dumplings with all kind of fillings), gołąbki (cabbage rolls with rice and mince meat) and kwaśnica (sauerkraut soup from the highlands…not my fav;).

Apart from Polish food, you can enjoy Hungarian lángos with filling and cold meats: spicy smoked pepper sausages or traditional kolozsvári bacon. Lovely Spanish sweet option as churros. Balkans brought an amazing borek (pastry with different fillings, mmm I loved it when I was in Serbia).

Finishing at Alsatian pancakes known as flammkuchen and Turkish baklava.

For kids. Apart from many stands with all kind of sweets, youngsters can watch some animatronic characters behind glass convey fairy tale plays like The Little Red Riding Hood, The Brave Little Tailor, The Snow White or Pinocchio.

Children can also join one of the workshops to learn how to paint, and then practice it, their own baubles. This activity can be found next to the Christmas Windmill. On another corner, next to the Dwarf House, children can meet Santa at parking space of his sleigh with reindeer.

That one museum kids die to see. Hydropolis in Wrocław.

  “Nooooo!” That is the word expected to hear when teacher announces upcoming visit to the museum in a class. Not surprisingly, we all know how difficult is to get an attention of a young mind, the curious mind that needs an extra shot of imagination to hold too, to keep the focus. Proud to admit that my city, Wrocław, managed to achieve that. Hydropolis, in the simplest explanation the museum of water, attracts thousands of visitors from every group of age, especially youngsters. The light, interactive places and modern computer projections became as a top match in the way the knowledge about the purest, simplest and most important substance on the planet Earth, WATER, can be presented.

  Now as a must see attraction while visiting Wrocław, city in Poland, just can not be missed, especially by family. Easily accessible, as close to the city center (address: Na Grobli 19Wroclaw 50-421, Poland), with a very affordable ticket prices: 18 zł (5$) concessionary ticket, 27 zł (7.5$) regular ticket, 72 zł (20$) family ticket (2+2).

By public transport: buses: 145, 146, N; trams: lines – OL, 3 ,5.

Don`t skip it! 

Bosnia, Herzegovina and something else

 Fact that I visited nine countries during my backpacking trip trough stunning Balkans definitely do allow me to make up my mine on the most magnificent one. Though, clearly when it comes to judgments like that, we are all aware about strong subjective side of it. Going even further, I wanted to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina for a very long time, especially because I wrote one chapter in my master thesis about the war there. Starting my journey just from knowledge of the spilled blood and history, though, still young and fresh, I went trough creation of an image in my head from all kind of sources as documentaries, photos, information, to finally finish seeing, visiting, discovering, meeting people and just simply feel this country myself. I knew before planning my trip that it is going to be my favorite country in Europe. And yet again(!), I wasn’t mistaken. Same like with Bolivia and Nepal…I just felt the chemistry before even visiting. Perhaps difficult to explain, or probably my senses are already directed towards one side and my mind sabotaging my opinion, since I am making one in advance. More or less, here we are in Bosnia and Herzegovina…..the most amazing, at least for me, country in Europe with warm people, absolutely stunning and unique rivers, diverse architecture, rich culture and beautiful mountain range all around. Spearing to write more and just adding my recommendation to visiting this absolutely unique place, I just want to share some photos I took.

Getting to Kościeliska Valle in Tatra Mountains by public bus from Zakopane with timetable

  Kościeliska Valle is one of the most beautiful valleys in Poland. Located around Tatra Mountains, on a Polish side of the range, creates an absolutely amazing and breath-taking trial. It is one of the most popular family walks while visiting close by Zakopane, as the whole path up to Ornak Hall (Hala Ornak-Schronisko) is flat and easy done even by a small children. Walk from the entrance right up to hall, even with breaks, wont take longer than 2 hours each way. There are also 4 caves on the way to add, but you have to allow extra time for it, as some of them are located 1h of walk away from the main road of the valley, some just 25 mins. This place is definitely a must see and can be extended to a proper hike trial, if you will carry on after Ornak Hall. More or less, even that the entrance to the park is located 20 mins ride from the center of Zakopane, you do not need to take a taxi. Bus is the best and cheapest option. Some can even get to Kiry, for Kasprowy Wierch cable card, with one of the numerous mini buses operating in the area along with a public PKS bus. The ticket cost just 3zl (less than 1$) each way, and is paid to the bus driver only by cash. There are two main bus stops in Zakopane. One is at the main Bus Station and the other one at the beginning of Krupowki Street, main street in Zakopane. Both places got a signs pointing the bus stop, in polish called Dolina Kościeliska or Kościelisko. Please see the map attached for bus stop near Krupowki street.


Zakopane – Kościeliska Valle

And here is a timetable, but please be at the stop 10-15 mins before, as the bus is always early and never waits!! Welcome to Poland 🙂IMG_4534

  • Bus line 110 (Zakopane – Dolina Chocholowska) stops at the bus stop marked on the map on the right, at the beginning of Krupowki street at: 7.08 (this service runs only between 01.07-30.09); 7.21 (this service runs only between 25.04-31.10); 8.36; 8;53 (this service runs only between 01.07-30.09); 10.03; 11.21; 13.24; 15.09; 16.29 (this service runs only between 25.04-31.10); 17.42 (this service runs only between 25.04-31.10). Just ask anyone in the bus where to get of for Koscieliska Valley (most tourists will get off there probably anyway).
  • Bus 70 Zakopane – Kościelisko (Koscieliska Valley). This bus-stop is by the FIS Bar, see map on the right, or from bus stop nr 2 at Aleje 3-ego Maja. This timetable is from center, so from FIS Bar please be 15 mins earlier.
    8:00k, 9:10, 10:08, 12:31, 13:42, 14:58, 16:00, 18:05, 19:10, 20:15, 21:15, 22:15b
  • Bus 72 Zakopane (Aleje 3-ego Maja bus stop nr 02) – Dolina Kościeliskiej (Koscieliska Valley):
    7:30k, 8:49, 9:55, 10:59, 12:15, 14:00, 15:06, 16:09, 17:09

legend:

b – only in summer and winter season
k – Monday till Friday only
BUS do not run on 1 and 2 day of Easter, Christmas  01.11 and 15.06

  • Bus “JJAS”near Zakopane main bus station, departing from Bar FIS (see map on IMG_4748the right) towards Dolina Kościeliska (Koscieliska Valley): 6.50, 7.50, 9.00, 10.25, 12.20, 13.20, 14.30, 15.30, 16.25, 17.35, 18.15, 19.20, 20.15
  • Bus “BolBus”near Zakopane main bus station, departing from Bar FIS (see map on the right) via Dolina Kościeliska (Koscieliska Valley) towards Dolina Chochołowska (Chocholowska Valley): 8.15L, 8.50A, 9.15L, 9.50A, 10.15L, 10.40A, 11.05L, 11.30A, 13.00L, 14.00A, 14.30L, 15.00A, 15.30L, 15.55, 16.30L, 16.50A, 17.30L, 18.30L, 19.30L 

legend:
A – Except Sunday, 1 and 2 day of Easter and Christmas 01.11 and 15.06
L- Do not run on 1 and 2 day of Easter, Christmas, 01.11, and New Year and 15.06


Kościeliska Valle-Zakopane

Return bus stop from Kościeliska Valley offers loads of options towards Zakopane, almost every 15-20 minutes in high season time. Just please don’t be later than 18.00 – 19.00 to be sure to catch one. Thought, they run till 21.00, I suggest to take earlier one anyway. Here, I will just write few examples. They all stop in few places in Zakopane (near main street Krupowki, finishing usually near main bus station). The bus stop is located just outside of the entrance to the park (to the left, when leaving the valley)

  • Bus 105 towards Zakopane: 8.40; 9.02; 9.41; 10.27; 11.25; 11.38; 12.32; 13.02; 13.37; 14.15; 14.38; 15.30; 15.52; 16.47; 17.25; 18.02; 18.28 (this last service runs only between 1.07-30.09)
  • Bus 70 Lider Bus towards Zakopane (Kościelisko – Zakopane)
    7:27k, 8:20, 9:32,11:57, 13:00, 14:00, 15:25, 18:25, 19:28, 20:45, 21:35b

legend:
k – Monday till Friday only 
BUS do not run on 1 and 2 day of Easter, Christmas  01.11 and 15.06

  • Bus 72 towards Kuźnice trough Zakopane (Dol. Kościeliska – Zakopane – Kuźnice)
    6:50k, 8:00, 9:20, 10:22, 11:30, 13:20, 14:25 15:30, 16:28

legend:
k – Monday till Friday only 
BUS do not run on 1 and 2 day of Easter, Christmas  01.11 and 15.06

  • Another bus line towards Zakopane that runs from Mon till Fr: 6.20, 7.30, 8.30, 9.35, 11.30, 14.30, 15.30, 16.35, 18.30. Sat-Sun: 6.20, 8.30, 11.30, 14.30, 16.35, 18.30
  • Another bus line towards Zakopane main bus station (Zakopane PKP) that runs from Mon till Fr: 6.02, 6.37, 7.02, 7.32, 8.22, 9.12, 9.52, 11.07, 12.32, 13.02, 14.02, 14.52, 16.02, 16.52, 17.22, 18.12, 19.42, 20.42, 21.52. Sat-Sun: 6.37, 7.02, 8.42, 9.52, 11.07, 13.02, 14.52, 16.02, 16.52, 18.02, 18.52, 19.42, 21.52.

Best and cheapest restaurants in Wrocław-culinary heaven for backpackers (September 2021 update)

 We all, as backpackers, know way to well what daily budget means to us, and how essential is to stuck to it! We have to fallow the plan on accommodation prices, food,  transport and other pleasures. I can not say that you will find the cheapest hostels and, especially, hotels in Wrocław, city in Poland, but when it comes to meals…luckily we do offer few very good and very affordable restaurants. You can have a breakfast there from 1$ with a coffee, a soup for 1.50$ and a lunch/dinner starting at as little as 2$. And do not think it compares the quality of the food, because it really doesn’t. Food is home-made, traditional and simply delicious!! These restaurants are also very popular among students, that usually have a limited budged themselves. The only minus, I am afraid, is that the staff do not speak almost any English and that might be hard for travellers, but there is always someone around to help. Once you will master the task of getting an order, you just wont be disappointed. Here, I will write about top ten best and cheapest restaurants and some milk bars, as we call them, you can find in the city center in Wroclaw.

Miś Milk Bar (Bar Mleczny Miś)

Definitely my number one and all time favourite. I always dine there when possible and when in the city center area, and not because is very cheap there. Students favourite too and well popular in general in Wroclaw, offering anything from breakfast, lunch and dinner at lowest possible price with and old school vibe present all around. And, most importantly, all is well made and taste very good. Location is just perfect, right next to the University of Wroclaw and very close to the main square and town hall. Please trust me and pop in for a lunch! The only minus is that some dishes, like pierogi, go fast and after 14.00 it`s difficult to order them. Opening hours also may be a problem for travellers who like to eat late, otherwise nothing is stopping you! 

Address: ul. Kuźnicza 48, Wrocław
Opening hours: Mon–Fr: 8.00–18.00, Sat: 8.00–17.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

1. Soups

  • Broth – 1.80$ / Rosół – 4.50
  • Tomato soup – 1.29$/ Pomidorowa – 5
  • Cabbage soup – 1.50$ / Kapuśniak – 5.80
  • Pea soup – 1.80$ / Grochówka – 7.00
  • Sour rye soup with sausage and egg – 1.80$ / Żurek z kiełbasą i jajkiem – 7.00
  • Tripe – 1.80$ / Flaki – 7.00

2. Meat Dishes

  • Minced steak – 1.72$ / Kotlet mielony – 6.70
  • Meatballs in cream sauce 2.25$ / Pulpety w sosie śmietanowym – 8.70
  • Chicken breast in bread crumbs – 2.25$ / Kotlet drobiowy – 8.70
  • Pork goulash – 2.30$ / Gulasz wieprzowy – 8.80
  • Cutlet de volaille (usually made of chicken breast) – 2.40$ / Kotlet de volaille – 9.20
  • Chicken nuggets – 2.40$ / Nugetsy z kurczaka – 9.20
  • Pork neck in sauce – 2.40$ / Karkówka w sosie – 9.20
  • Pork pocket with mushrooms – 2.50$ / Kieszeń schabowa z pieczarkami – 9.60
  • Pork chop XL (like German Schnitzel) – 3.20$ / Kotlet schabowy XL – 12.50
  • Beef tartare with additions – 3.75$ / Tatar wołowy z dodatkami – 14.50
  • A Hungarian meat cake – 4.65$ (only for rich backpackers 😉 / Placek po węgiersku – 18.00
  • Miruna fish – 1.80$/100g / Ryba miruna – 7.00 zł/100g

3. Dumplings, pasta, pancakes

  • Pancakes with cheese (this is a bit sweet dish) – 2.20$ / Naleśniki z serem – 8.50
  • Russian dumplings – 2.30$ / Pierogi ruskie – 9.00
  • Dumplings with spinach – 2.70$ / Pierogi ze szpinakiem – 10.50
  • Dumplings with cabbage and mushrooms – 2.60$ / Pierogi z kapustą i grzybami – 10.00
  • Dumplings with meat – 2.75$ / Pierogi z mięsem – 10.80
  • Spaghetti Bolognese – 4.10$ / Spaghetti po bolońsku – 16.00
  • Pasta with chicken – 4.10$ / Makaron z kurczakiem – 16.00
  • Pasta with salmon – 4.65$ / Makaron z łososiem – 18.00

4. Breakfasts

  • I do apologies, but I don`t have a current breakfast sets prices. However, they are even cheaper than lunches, so you do the math guys. Usually they serve scrambled eggs, sausages, bread rolls, frankfurters, cheeses for bread.

Mis.jpgTu dla moich polskich braci moj ulubiony fragmet z Misia:

“Jedziecie do stolicy kraju kapitalistycznego, ktory to kraj ma byc moze tam i swoje plusy. Rozchodzi sie o to jednak zeby te plusy……nie przyslonily wam minusow”.


SWOJSKA CHATA BAR

Just opened recently, so does recently became one of my favourite. Highly recommended for tourists, students and “grandma`s kitchen” lovers”. You can find here pierogi, mash potatoes with meat, loads of salads, krokets and recently pizza. Its very close to the city center (main square). You just must to pop in!!!

Address: ul. Kazimierza Wielkiego 17 (next to NH cinema) 

Opening hours: Mon-Fr: 11:00 – 17:00

They also have a bar at Main Railway Station in Wroclaw (ul. Piłsudskiego 105, opened: everyday from 9.30-19.00, Sunday 10.00-19.00) and one more at ul. Mikołaja Reja 2C, 50-353 Wrocław (opened Mon-Fr 11.00-17.00)

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

  • Traditional Polish dumplings (6 pieces) – 1.95$ / 6 pierogów ruskich – 7.90
  • Full main dinner (mash potato or rice, chicken breast in bread crumbs, salad) – 3.90$ / Ziemniaki puree z koperkiem, kotlet z kurczaka, surówka) – 15.60
  • Soup of the day – 1.40$ / Zupa dnia – 5,40 zł
  • Meat dumplings – 2.50$ / Kluski śląskie – 9.50
  • Krokets with yellow cheese and mushrooms (2 pieces) – 1.95$ / 2 krokiety z serem i pieczarkami – 7.80
  • Salads like: beatroots, cabbage, carrot – 0.75$ / Surówki z buraczków, kapusty, marchewki – 2.80
  • Sweet pancakes – 0.95$ / Nalesniki na slodko – 3.60
  • Drinks – 1$ / Kompot 4
  • Pizzas from 4$ to 6.50$

 Mewa Milk Bar (Bar Mleczny Mewa)

Another milk bar very similar to Miś Milk Bar. Also in the city center area, just a bit further north. Prices and menu are very similar to Miś, so you can have a tasty, homemade, delicious meal at a very affordable price again. The big plus is that this place seems less busy than Miś, but also popular. Pierogi are served from 13.00 and are the most popular dish, so you need to pop in earlier to have a chance to get them.

Address: ul. Drobnera 4, Wrocław
Opening hours: Mon–Fr: 9.00–17.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

All dishes and prices are very similar to Miś Bar (see above).


HOMEMADE Dumplings bar (PIEROGARNIA KUCHNIA DOMOWA)

Address: ul. Legnicka 23, Wrocław
Opening hours: 
Mon–Fr: 11.00–19.00, Sat: 11.00-17.00

Examples:

  • Russian dumplings – 3.30$ / Pierogi ruskie – 12.50
  • Lunches sets with meat (many different) + potatoes + salad – 4.90$ / Zestaw z mięsem ( ziemniaki, mięso dnia, zestaw surówek) – 18,90
  • Goulash (meat, potatoes, salad)- 4.10$ / Gulasz ( ziemniaki, gulasz, zestaw surówek) – 16,00


Witek Bar (Bar Witek)

This bar offers a great traditional range of our old school PRL toasts – a typical Polish fast food during the communism time. It has been opened in 1979 and still serve one of the best and very cheesy toasts with mushrooms. Portions are very big and very filling.

Address: ul. Wita Stwosza 40/1a, Wrocław
Opening hours: Mon–Fr: 12.00-19.00, Sat: 12.00-18.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

  • Traditional toast with cheese and mushrooms – 2.70$ / Tost tradycyjny z pieczarkami i serem – 9.50 zł
  • Village style toast with mushrooms, cheese, sausage and onion – 3.40$ / Tost wiejski – pieczarki, ser, kiełbasa wiejska, cebula – 11.20 zł
  • Greek toast with olives  – 3$ / Tost grecki – 11.40 zł
  • Open-faced toasted cheese sandwich with mushrooms – 2.40$ / Zapiekanka tradycyjna z pieczarkami i serem – 8.50 zł

    Bar Mały (Mały Bar)

Another amazing milk bar near the city center. This one is open a bit longer. You can find loads of tourists here, as its very close to the main train and bus station. Food is homemade and very traditional, however a bit more expensive than other milk bars like Miś or Mewa.

Address: ul. Kołłątaja 27/28, Wrocław
Opening hours: Mon–Fr: 11.00–18.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

  • Traditional Polish dumplings – 3.80$/Pierogi ruskie – 15 zł
  • Full lunch Meat (many kinds) + side (potatoes, fries, rice) + salad – 5.20$ / Dania głowne mieso do wyboru, dodatek (fryty, ziemniaki, ryz) + sałatka.
  • Pancakes with cheese or apples or spinach – 3.30$ / Naleśniki z serem, jabłkami lub szpinakiem – 13 zł

     Lepione Restaurant (Restauracja Lepione)

There is no way I will not think about Lepione (old Bazylia restaurant) without remembering my time at university. This buffet style restaurant is located inside one of the law department buildings, where I studied. I can’t say the food is top mach, but I love the fact that its cheap, you can fill your plate with everything you like, and you pay the same price of 0.90$ (1.20 zł) per 100g. I used to eat there after my lectures, exams, alone, with friends or family. The other thing about this place is location and surrounded stunning architecture you can enjoy while eating.

Address: ul. Kuźnicza 42, Wrocław 
Opening hours: everyday: 12.00–23.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

This is a buffet style restaurant where you add to the plate anything you like and pay for 100g. You will find there anything from traditional dumplings, salads, fish, chicken, goulash to Chinese chicken with bamboo. Price is 4.19 zł, that’s 1.30$, for 100g.

Promotions

After 17.00 all 15% cheaper, after 17.30 all 25% cheaper and after 18.00 all cheaper by 50%.


Karmazyn Bar (Bar Karmazyn)

This amazing bar is located in one of the biggest indoor markets in Wroclaw, called Hala Targowa, so after a very tasty traditional, homemade meal you can have a look around.

Address: ul. Piaskowa 17, Wrocław
Opening hours: Mon–Fr: 9.00–18.30, Sat: 9.00–15.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

All dishes and prices are very similar to Miś Bar (see above).


Sunny Bar (Bar Słoneczny) PLEASE NOTE, I CANT FIND INFO if its still open

One of my earliest discovery of a great food at a very low price. However, this bar is special for me for another reason. Staff keeps some unused food to share later with homeless people and that is a huge plus for me!

Address: ul. Komandorska 147, Wrocław
Opening hours: Mon–Fr 10.00–18.00, Sat: 10.00–17.00

Examples of dishes and prices (English/Polish)

  • Traditional Polish dumplings – 2.50$ / Pierogi ruskie – 8 zł
  • Greek fish (100g) – 1.5$ / Ryba po grecku (100g) – 4.20 zł
  • Fish filet in bread crumbs (100g) – 2$ / Filet z ryby (100g) – 6.90 zł
  • Pork liver (100g) – 1.5$ / Wątróbka wieprzowa (100g) – 4.80 zł
  • Goulash from pork meat (200g) – 2$ / Gulasz wieprzowy (200g) – 6.90 zł
  • Sweet rice with strowberrys – 1.40$ / Ryż z truskawkami – 4,20 zł
  • Pancakes with white cheese and strawberries (1 pancake) – 1$ / naleśniki z serem i truskawkami (sztuka) – 3,20 zł
  • Dumplings with meat (300g) – 2.80$ /  Pyzy z mięsem (300g) – 8.50 zł
  • Traditional salad from cucumber and sour cream (100g) – 0.90$/Mizeria (100g) – 2.90 zł
  • Chicken breast in bread crumbs (120g) – 2.5$ / Filet z kurczaka (120g) – 8.80 zł
  • Ribbs (100g) – 1$ / Żeberka (100g) – 3.60 zł
  • Lasagne (100g) – 1.20$ / Lasagne (100g) – 4 zł
  • Potatoes (200g) – 0.80$ / Ziemniaki (200g) – 2.40 zł
  • Chips (120g) – 1$ / Frytki (120)g – 3.50 zł
  • All soups from 0.80 to 1.5$ / Zupy od 2.50 do 4.20 zł


Day tour around Sofia

  Everyone of us, or at least most, do some itinerary before traveling. Its is always a significant question on the length of stay in each place, especially for a first-time visitors.  Capitals, as usually the biggest cites in the country, are no estrange to that doubt. Many of them in Europe vary from Barcelona, where you can stay for weeks, to smaller ones, where you can discover the place in just even less than few days, and feel satisfy. Good internet research always help to plan your trip better. And here I come with my blog post to answer that questions about one capital in Europe.

 

So where are we this time? Sophia, a capital of Bulgaria, a magnificent, and massively underrated (!), country, with stunning mountain range Vitosha, that is a volcanic mountain massif on the outskirts of the capital, visible literally all around from the city. Vitosha is one of the symbols of this city and the closest site for hiking and skiing. However, when it comes to Sofia, and as much as I loved Bulgaria myself, I can not say that capital itself offers a lot. One day is all you need to discover the place. I would even suggest going to see Rila Monastery in the morning and do the sight-seen after. All could be done in one day. Most of the major attractions are very close by, almost all located on one street. If you are staying in the city center area, you can start your tour from Ancient Complex Serdica, site situated just above the Serdika metro station, that displays the remains of the Roman city.

 

There is also a History Museum to see. Just 2 mins away you can see a Rotonda st. George, The Church of St George is an Early Christian red brick rotunda that is considered the oldest building in Sofia.

Now heading forward on pl. Knyaz Aleksandar, you can visit Ethnographic Museum (showcasing folk costumes & regional art & artifacts) and Russian Church. A bit further, on a left hand side, you can visit a stunning Alexander Nevski Cathedral. Built in Neo-Byzantine style serves as the cathedral church of the Patriarch of Bulgaria, and it is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world, as well as one of the symbols of the Sofia and a primary tourist attraction. Heading more towards Crystal Palace, you can see on the way a building of a National Assembly.

 

Close by National Stadium, called Vasil Levski, could be an a attraction too, but to be honest, can be skipped. At the end I would suggest adding a National Palace of Culture, but its located a bit far away. However, can be easily reached by trolley line 1,2,5,8 and 9 just from the Crystal Palace.

This is a main itinerary for Sophia city center. Please keep in your mind that Rila Monastery is a must see place too, so if you want to spend one day around capital, please do add an extra day to see this stunning monastery hidden in a mountains.

That newly old capital, Skopje as Ive seen

 The stream of thoughts can probably come to loads of first time “Skopje arrivers”. I guess I was one of them. This small-sized capital of Macedonia creates an easy and quick access to the city center, so the surrounding architecture can be noticed right away. You may be experiencing thinking that you haven’t seen quiet a capital like this before. What history did not leave, you can always bring back, or can you really? The design of, so called, project Skopje 2014 completely transformed the way city center looks like today. There are loads of stories, loads of reasons behind this “clearly original” change. Big budget got involved too. And there is that sour question at the end: who is this really for? Tourists, as in the first place? It’s not a secret that it is one of the fastest growing industry. How about the locals? How do they find them self around? Maybe a show off, or the way to stand out to bust the tourism. You really have to get to the bottom of all this. The path trough, almost baroque kitsch like drooping richness in a country with not so great economy, may leave you with loads of questions.

 This, once plain, maze of Europe became a place for many neo-classic buildings and bridges along the river. Perhaps too white and too clean structures may turn out way too difficult to help you to get the vibe of past-time travel. Yet, you can’t really say they are not impressive. Shall we be grateful Macedonia is showing us how newly done acropolis possibly looked like for Greeks back in the days? Perhaps. Could be a plus. It can be left only for an individual opinion. But the feeling of fakery is still a bit present. The project has two main aims: to draw in more tourists and to try to reclaim aspects of the country’s history from neighborhood Greece, appealing to the patriotism of many ethnic Macedonians. Walking by the rich bronze statues full of bridges definitely wont make your head to turn away. You gladly will take your camera to photograph the things around. You will see, you will capture and then you will start to think. How? I do not see any problem investing in tourism. I do adore Moroccan king for doing so. And so do Moroccans, as I spoke with many of them. Yet, the King do it differently. He want to keep the culture present, but just making the country more accessible, safe and inviting. But here we have a bit different situation.

We are discussing a country  where 21.5% of the population live below poverty line with minimal wage at 231 Euros. Macedonia is also very vulnerable to economic developments in Europe, with a strong banking and trade ties and dependent on regional integration and progress toward EU membership for continued economic growth. And yet, on another hand we have a government spending loads of public founds. It been known that cost lay somewhere between €200-€500m (depending on who you talk to) and may have resulted in drop in minimal wage. Than we have a beautiful new buildings and statues. Quiet two opposite situations that divided the nations. The project, known as Skopje 2014, instigated by prime minister Nikola Gruevski, is just as questionable and arguably as diverse as it was when first announced.

  Many Macedonians are questioning the scheme’s vast public expense – not to mention its aesthetic qualities. We have also this sticky problem of complete ignorance towards a very large Muslim community, religion and culture that, sadly, did not get to participate in the project. I visited Skopje in March 2017. Being around city center area for few days, I witness anti-government demonstrations on a daily base. Thought, peaceful, yet shouting for attention a lot.  But there’s no doubting it has put the city on the tourist map. 

  Foreign visitors used to come to Skopje primarily to wander around the beautiful Old Bazaar district, with its alleys, mosques and old hilltop fort. But now they can go in less than five minutes from drinking a Turkish coffee among people and architecture that wouldn’t be out-of-place in a traditional city of the Middle East, to being surrounded by faux-classical European architecture and imagery. Maybe not a bad thing. Diversity. Something for us. 

 So where this all bring us, tourist, the recipients of the project? I hope very close to Skopje. You have to remember that it is one of the most amazing countries in Europe, with magnificent landscape, mountain ranges, canyons (Matka Canyon) and lakes. All that comes at a very affordable price. Public transport is good and very cheap. People are very friendly and possible to interact to in English. Food is absolutely a heaven with a kebab to die for! So yes! Whether the project of 2014 worked or not, we will have to leave it for individual opinion. I think even for the one who are not so keen on it, Macedonia will not be disappointing in any single way. I absolutely loved my time in this Balkan country. I’ve met loads of warm people, and I saw a beauty of the landscape. I am satisfy, happy and richer than the newly build Skopje surrounded architecture.

Postcard from Bosnia and Herzegovina

  Following the footsteps of our one and only Mother Nature, it’s clearly quiet significant that the Balkans are the quintessence of her arty work in Europe. This area notably stands out with their beautifully turquoise colored rivers, that you just want jump in to, amazing high range of mountains, and a clear Adriatic Sea coast. What more would you wish for. The locals surly are aware of the beautiful land, they are very fortunate to live in, as they do mention it on every possible occasion. I personally left my heart in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Rich culture, spread by the different nations, history and still fresh feel of shadow of the violent war from 90s participate in the way Bosnia and Herzegovina looks like today. Thought, most of the cities, like Sarajevo, has been almost fully rebuild, even so well that you can hardly notice sights of any fights, the memories are still held in minds of most of the people who got to witness the horror of those dark days. Yet, locals are happy nova days, cherishing every moment, enjoying the daily life, sharing a smile. Seems for me also that architects had an easy job creating, what you can call, today’s urban panorama trough all the centuries. Designing anything from houses, town halls, churches, to mosques, could just possibly not go wrong in such a magnificent environment. It almost feel like the nature already did most of the work here. The history also made Bosnia and Herzegovina very unique. The influence of the different religions could be spot on every street in every town. The “like-fantasy” medieval castles and fortresses proudly stands next to the Ottoman`s era architecture. It looks like a chest board with just one difference… that all black and white squares, trough some historical conflicts, became to an acceptance, unity, tolerance and friendship? Is it too early to use the last world? Maybe not, not in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that’s why I loved it.

  Cities and towns are not too busy, not too crowded, people seems less stressed and rushed than western countries. Balkans are still very undiscovered and untouched by mass tourism.sarajevo2.jpg This fact makes it easy to find a peacefulness literally just around the corner. 10 minutes drive from Sarajevo already can bring you to the stunning river side, lake or forest where’s nobody around, just you and the nature. It gives you also the opportunity to listen to the most uncommercial music in the world….the music of nature. Birds, waters, even wind can enhance your experience around this remarkable landscape.

Thought, mentioning the virginity of this part of the Europe, please note that accommodation can be found easily in most of the places in Bosnia. The infrastructure works well too, making it accessible from every neighborhood country or just between domestic towns. Hostels are cute, nice, very clean and affordable even for a budget backpacker. Eating out, whether it is a traditional meal or just a good old pizza, wont make any difference from own cooking, as of a taste and price.  ss.jpgMerchants are very friendly and not pushy whatsoever, they really don’t try to just make money of you. They will be around to help, but also will leave you in peace, giving you some space to look. That makes the whole experience of walking in old towns much nicer. Yet, there is so many cute things from tea pots, glasses, dishes to cloths, so you will be back to your hotel with a full bag. Why not, if you can, it really is 3 times cheaper than in Western Europe, not even mentioning the uniqueness of the staff there. I personally had to thrown away few pairs of jeans and shoes to make a space for the things I purchased there. Well worth it!DSC_0706

Some of the people speak a very good English, the rest can communicate well too. This fact is very important in making connections with locals. You can hear loads of stories about the war that can give you a very good image if these past years. Though, you can clearly see that people moved on, yet they do well remember those bloody, violent, dark days that took so many lives. People went trough a lot, seen a lot and experienced. Hard to believe that western countries turned their back on. Though past shows very well that less resource in the country for benefit, less help you can get. History is the worst teacher ever, I got to know.

  But what the war cannon take is the beauty of the land. Clearly Bosnia and Herzegovina got the most outstanding and most pretty rivers, lakes and hills. What else should I add to convince you to visit this country? I hope nothing. Be happy, appreciate what you have, respect others, travel, if you can, and visit this stunning place that will not disappoint you in any way.

Getting from the Airport to the city center in Wrocław (updated June 2018)

 Welcome to Wrocław, the coolest city on Earth. The best place on the planet. Most beautiful, amazing, interesting, with the tastiest food ever and the best nightlife, you will experience. Yes, you guessed it right, I am from there. Been born there, raised, studied and worked. Welcome to my home. However, since I wont pick you up from the airport, at least I can guide you on getting from there to your hotel.

Bus

  • Update April 2018. New bus available from the airport to the city center called WRO AIRPORT EXPRESS, a nice and easy option for tourists.

A shuttle bus operates on the route Airport –  City Centre (Plac Dominikański) – Dworzec Wrocław (Central Bus and Railway Station). A ticket will cost PLN 10 or 2.5 Euro (to be paid directly to the driver by cash or by card). The journey will take about 30 minutes. Bus is waiting just outside the airport, blue colored, can`t be missed.

Departures from the airport:

04:10 05:00 05:50 06:40 07:30 08:20 09:10
10:00 10:50 11:40 12:30 13:20 14:10 15:00
15:50 16:40 17:30 18:20 19:10 20:00 21:05
22:55* 23:40* 01:00*        

* departure time depending on the aircraft’s’ arrivals

Price: 3$ or 2.5 Euro or 10 PLN (but paid only in Polish currency PLN) 

Length: 30 minutes

  •   Nice, easy and cheap option. The bus stand is located just outside the main entrance on the right hand side and runs very frequently (mostly every 20 minutes). The number is 106, but no need to remember that, as it is the only one there anyway. Night bus 206 is also available available. See the timetables below. The ticket cost 3.40 złote (around 1$) and is valid for a single journey. Ultimately, for the same price, you can buy a time one for 30 minutes, if you need to change. Students and pupils have 50% off on all public transport, but I am not sure if polish authorities do accept foreign student cards. You can buy a ticket at the kiosk inside the airport, from the dispenser close the stand, or just from the machine inside the bus that is, actually, inside every public transport in Wroclaw, but accepts only cards. The bus will terminate at the main railway and bus station (called Dworcowa), from where you can continue your journey, if Wrocław is not your final destination. The railway station will be just in front of you, and the main bus station, called Wroclavia (with shopping mall), is hidden behind it.

  For the city center (where your hotel/hostel probably will be) you have to get off just one stop before the last one. The stand is called Renoma, and from there you will, I assume, just walk to your accommodation. It takes around 30-40 minutes to get to the city center, unless traffic is very bad.

106: PORT LOTNICZY (Airport bus stop) Day Bus

PORT LOTNICZY – DWORCOWA

Airport-Main railway/bus station

W dni robocze (Mon-Fr)
Sobota (Saturday)
Niedziela (Sunday)
05 20 43 53W  
06 03 23 38 53W
07 03 18 35  
08 01 26 40Z 53
09 13 28 53  
10 13 28 53  
11 13 28 53  
12 13 28 53  
13 13 38 53  
14 02 10 25 50
15 08 24 49  
16 08 24 50  
17 07 29 42 54
18 09 31 56  
19 11 21 31  
20 03 33    
21 03 33    
22 03 18 33  
23 04 34G    
05 32 52  
06 12 32 52
07 12 32 52
08 12 32 51
09 11 31 51
10 11 31 51
11 11 31 51
12 11 31 51
13 11 31 51
14 11 31 51
15 11 31 51
16 11 31 51
17 11 31 51
18 11 31 51
19 11 31 58
20 12Z 33  
21 03 33  
22 03 33  
23 04 34G  
05 32 52  
06 12 32 52
07 12 32 52
08 12 32 51
09 11 31 51
10 11 31 51
11 11 31 51
12 11 31 51
13 11 31 51
14 11 31 51
15 11 31 51
16 11 31 51
17 11 31 51
18 11 31 51
19 11 31 58
20 12Z 33  
21 03 33  
22 03 33  
23 04 34G

206: PORT LOTNICZY (Airport bus stop) Night Bus

PORT LOTNICZY – DWORZEC AUTOBUSOWY

Airport-Main railway/bus station

niedz. (Sun)/ pon. (Mon) – czw. (Thur)/ pt. (Fr) pt. (FR)/ sob. (Sat) sob. (Sat)/ niedz. (Sun)
00 07 37
01    
02 07  
03 37Z  
04 37Z  
05 03Z  
00 07 37
01    
02 07  
03 37Z  
04 37Z  
05 03Z  
00 07 37
01    
02 07  
03 37Z  
04 37Z  
05 03Z

PLEASE NOTE that the night bus 206 with Z letter does not go straight to the city center, you have to change, so during the night I really would suggest taxi or Wro Airport Express buss!!

Price: 1$ 

Length: 30-40 minutes

Taxi

  Nice, quick and comfortable way. Please always agree on the price before getting in! You shouldn’t pay more than 50-60 złoty to the city center area. That`s around 15$. Taxis are just outside the main entrance, and driver should speak good/enough English.

Price: 15$

length: 15-20 minutes

Other

I am sorry, but there are no more options, unless you want me to come and pick you on my bike. The tram does not go there, and we do not have an underground. Walking is not an option too, since the airport is on the edge of the city.

Please contact me if you need any tips. I will be more than happy to help and thank you for visiting my city 🙂