Poland is not normally associated with the glorious sport of rugby but in Krakow the true spirit of rugby is thriving and perpetuated by the increasingly popular annual Krakow Rugby Festival or KRF as the organisers refer to it. This 3 day festival of rugby fast becoming a must go to tournament as it is geared up to entertain on and off the field for end of season club tours and the trend of rugby mates forming an out of season summer team. The KRF attracts teams from Europe, UAE, S. Africa, S. Korea and USA to spend a weekend in the historical city of Krakow to play Men’s 10s and Women’s 7s in the Juvenia Krakow RFC stadium, Poland’s top flight Ekstraliga team.
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Hotel vs Krakow hostel during Krakow Rugby Festival?
What makes this tournament so popular among rugby enthusiasts? The clue is in the title, the package deals available to ensure you can enjoy the rugby and social aspects fully with a guaranteed full set of services from the moment you land at the airport. KRF organisers in collaboration with Juvenia Krakow RFC provide a complete service package of your choice offering return airport transfers with a second run if players are arriving at different times, return pitch transfers, all meals freshly cooked pitch-side and accommodation for sports groups right in the very heart of historic Krakow with a modern full service Krakow hostel Draggo House which also has an ensuite cocktail garden, restaurant and a cellar based music club.
The organisers say that all teams remain together in the same building within their network of accommodation. These essentials are in the KRF All Inclusive Package which also gives your team Unlimited Beer & Cider for the tournament starting on the Friday with the Induction Party exclusively for KRF participants in a city centre venue then all day during the KRF Qualifier Matches on Saturday then again all day Sunday for all Krakow Rugby Festival Finals. Saturday evening is a ‘free night’, however, the KRF will provide tickets for a dance club and organise a pub crawl. Remaining with the All Inclusive Package the Sunday evening celebrates the end of the tournament with the Grand Gala Dinner, where the Unlimited Beer & Cider option is still in operation. The Gala Dinner is a boisterous affair with hearty rugby style meals served, flowing beer, sing songs and the 1st Time On Tour rituals played out. The evening also holds a Charity Auction with items brought by the teams for everyone to bid for plus souvenir KRF Training shirts presented. The next package deal is the Standard which has a daily Limited Beer & Cider, 2 meals pitch-side per day but Unlimited Beer & Cider at the Induction Party. Airport, pitch transfers and the Gala Dinner can be added individually to this package deal. There is also the KRF Referees Package as they invite international referees to participate in the fun weekend of rugby,
In addition to the package deals the KRF lays on Live Music & DJs at the Friday night Induction Party and down at the rugby venue. The Sunday Finals also see the rugby drinking games with a humdinger, The Stretcher Race which has vodka, beer and pickles involved and skill games with the very competitive Drop Kick the Bucket competition fiercely contested. Sunday has the Charity Massage Tent available and the awards ceremony to finish. The KRF organisers encourage teams to bring non-players too, they also receive a discount, this means injured players, staff or friends can enjoy the tour even if they can’t or don’t play. Some teams add on extra days to take in the sights of Krakow or even for more convenient flights but once the team has set foot on Polish soil the KRF are there to ensure everything runs smoothly from start to finish. The KRF also set up excursions to Wieliczka Salt Mine which draws over a million visitors a year to this unique and spectacular underground salt mine. On a more respectful but sombre note there is the option to visit the World Heritage UNESCO site, Auschwitz/Birkenau Memorial & Museum, see for yourself the horrors and tragic events suffered by the people imprisoned there.
Krakow as the top tourist destiantion in Europe
The city of Krakow is one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations and the city has a buzzing atmosphere and a truly vibrant nightlife. The two main areas are the Old Town and the Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz which are crammed full of pubs, cellar bars, clubs and international cuisine restaurants. The main square called Rynek is the largest in Europe and always alive with different kinds of festivals, concerts and activities and surrounded by bars, cafes and restaurants.
To recap, why is the KRF one of the best rugby tournaments in Europe? Let’s take it in order, exhibition but competitive rugby for 2 days, 3 nights of partying, food, accommodation, loads of entertainment on and off the pitch, transfers and last but not least all you can drink, yes, unlimited beer & cider for the duration of the tournament and don’t forget the awards and trophies and souvenir KRF shirts. If you opt for the fantastic All Inclusive Package & Draggo House Hostel accommodation, everything you need for the weekend is paid for, so, only a little cash to buy Krakow souvenirs to take back home as the well- worn adage of ‘What Happens On Tour, Stays On Tour’ will probably be required at the full on, high octane tournament weekend of the Krakow Rugby Festival.