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If you’ve sworn off carbs as the crisis of modern nutrition, Kraków may not be the place for you. On the other hand, if you’ve courageously accepted that your ambivalence toward carbs will never undermine your lust for them, then get yourself to this pierogi paradise. The small doughy dumpling is a staple of Polish cuisine for good reason. They can be made savory – filled with meat, potatoes, mushrooms, and sauerkraut – or sweet – bursting with fresh fruit or jam and cheese. Kraków in particular loves these adorable pockets of heaven so much that it hosts an annual Pierogi Festival. With so many hearty traditional foods that will make you lose count of your calories, it’s a good thing Kraków is a modern city with plenty of healthy dining options for the days you’ve had one kielbasa too many.
Despite the Nazi occupation of Kraków throughout the Second World War, the incredible Renaissance halls and Gothic gargoyles of Old Town have remained mostly intact, unlike Warsaw, which was completely bombed out. Tourists tend to stay around the city center’s Rynek Glowny square, the largest medieval archeological site in the world, and venture out to visit the city’s somber memorials to the war – Oskar Schindler’s Emalia Factory, the former Jewish ghetto in Podgórze, the Plaszów Concentration Camp, and further west to Auschwitz. There are of course incredibly uplifting things to see and do in a city that has managed to move forward from its past with incredible confidence – breathtaking historic castles, charming parks, and stunning view of the Vistula River.
Locals and expats know that when it comes to lifestyle, Kraków is where it’s at. The climate is great, living expenses are cheaper than other Poland hubs, and there’s a pretty excellent multicultural events scene. Like Warsaw, the tech startup scene is thriving, maybe even more so. The city has so many creative outlets, startup incubators, and a ton of talent. Google for Entrepreneurs has even been sponsoring events and partnering with dev teams since 2013. The small size of the city has actually proved advantageous for Kraków’s hustling entrepreneurs, who can access resources on the opposite side of the city in minutes and truly get to know everyone involved in their shared ecosystem.
Kraków’s economy, mentality, and spirit have clearly soared since both a devastating war and communist takeover. The city is not just a great place to hustle, but to enjoy the richness of life.
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