Krakow, a picturesque city in Poland, offers various modes of transportation for tourists and locals alike. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and lively atmosphere, you’ll want to know the best ways to get around and experience everything this city has to offer.
One efficient way to navigate Krakow is by utilising its integrated tram and bus system, which operates between 05:00 and 23:00. Night trams and buses are also available for those exploring the city after hours. Familiarise yourself with this extensive network beforehand to make the most of your visit.
If you prefer a more active and eco-friendly mode of transportation, consider hiring a bike or an electric scooter. These options not only allow for greater flexibility but also provide you with an up-close experience of the city’s charm.
No matter your preferred mode of transport, Krakow is waiting to be discovered.
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Krakow, also known as Kraków, is a beautiful and historic city in Poland. Rich in history and culture, it is a popular destination not only for tourists, but also for students. As you explore the city, you’ll find that getting around is quite easy and efficient.
The Polish public transport system in Krakow is well-developed and reasonably priced, offering you various options for traversing the city.
You can make use of trams, buses, and taxis – all of which are reliable means of transportation. Besides, cycling or simply walking can be a fantastic way to soak in the city’s charm and lively atmosphere.
Students, in particular, may appreciate the excellent accessibility around the city. Whether you are on your way to the university, visiting cultural sites, or just trying to explore the city with friends, navigating Krakow is simple and enjoyable.
While moving around Krakow, you will notice its incredible history reflected in the breathtaking monuments and architecture. Delving a bit into the city’s past may enrich your experience and grant you an appreciation for the significance of the historical sites you’ll see.
Taking into consideration the public transport options, walkability, and fascinating history, you can feel confident while navigating the streets of Krakow and making the most of your time in this amazing Polish city.
Main Attractions in Krakow
Old Town and Main Square
The Old Town is the heart of Krakow, boasting stunning architecture and historical sites, all within walking distance.
The Main Square (Rynek Glówny) is the largest medieval market square in Europe. Here, you can explore the Cloth Hall, St. Mary’s Basilica, and the Town Hall Tower, among other landmarks.
Wawel Castle is a symbol of Poland’s rich history and a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can tour the royal chambers, admire the architectural mix of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles, and marvel at its extensive art collection, including the famous Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci.
Kazimierz, the former Jewish district, offers a unique blend of history, culture, and trendy cafes.
Roam the narrow streets, visit the synagogues, explore art galleries, or indulge in the vibrant culinary scene.
Nowa Huta is a fascinating socialist-era neighbourhood, showcasing the ideal communist city’s urban planning.
Here, you can explore the Central Square, admire the Soviet architecture, and visit the interactive Museum of Contemporary Art.
Surrounding Krakow’s Old Town, Planty Park is a lush green belt that replaced the city’s medieval walls. It’s an ideal place to stroll, unwind, and take in the picturesque scenes amidst the busy city.
The Market Square is more than just a bustling marketplace; here, you can explore the Cloth Hall, a historical trading centre, housing a variety of souvenir shops and handicraft stalls.
The Royal Castle, located on Wawel Hill, holds significant importance in Polish history. Beyond its stunning architecture, you can also visit the Wawel Cathedral and gaze upon the historical artefacts adorning the castle’s walls.
Lady With an Ermine
As part of the Wawel Castle’s museum collection, the Lady with an Ermine is a must-see masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci. This stunning portrait is a testament to his artistic prowess and skill.
The Underground Museum, situated beneath the Main Square in Krakow’s Old Town, takes you on a journey through the city’s rich history. The exhibitions display archaeological findings and showcase life in medieval times.
The Vistula River is the perfect spot for a leisurely walk or bike ride along the riverbank. Take in the breathtaking views of the city’s skyline, and don’t miss seeing the historic Wawel Castle majestically overlooking the river.
Getting Around Krakow
Krakow has an efficient public transport system consisting of trams and buses to help you navigate the city with ease.
The extensive network of trams allows you to reach major attractions and monuments, while buses connect local neighbourhoods and suburban areas. You can use the jakdojade app to plan your route and check schedules.
Bicycles and Walking
If you prefer a more eco-friendly mode of transportation, consider renting a bike or simply exploring the city on foot.
Krakow is quite compact and most attractions are within walking distance from each other. Additionally, there are dedicated bike lanes throughout the city, making cycling a safe and convenient option.
Car rentals are available in Krakow if you want the flexibility and freedom to explore at your own pace.
However, do note that parking can be difficult and expensive in some areas, and traffic may be a challenge. Consider this option if you plan to visit locations outside the city centre or to explore the surrounding region.
Uber and Bolt
Uber and Bolt are popular ride-hailing services in Krakow, offering affordable and convenient transportation options.
They can be a great alternative to traditional taxis, as they usually have lower prices and are accessible through their respective smartphone apps.
You can choose from various car types based on your preferences and budget.
Traditional taxi services are widely available in Krakow. To avoid overcharging or scams, it’s best to use a reputable taxi company or order your taxi by phone or through an app. You can recognise official taxis by the clear markings and logo of the taxi company, as well as a working meter inside the vehicle.
Public Transport Tickets
To use public transport in Krakow, you need to purchase tickets, which are available in various types depending on your needs:
- Single trip
- Short-term (20 or 40 minutes)
- Long-term (24, 48, or 72 hours)
Tickets can be bought from ticket machines located at major tram and bus stops. They can also be purchased from some kiosks around the city or via the jakdojade app. Remember to validate your ticket when boarding trams or buses to avoid fines.
Seasons and Weather
However, this also means that the city can be crowded with tourists and accommodation prices might be higher. Be sure to pack sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
Finding the perfect accommodation in Krakow is crucial to make your stay enjoyable. The best place to stay is the Old Town, which offers a variety of options at reasonable prices.
To find the best deals, use websites like Booking.com to compare prices and read reviews from fellow travellers.
Booking in advance is also recommended to secure the best rates and availability.
Krakow offers a wide range of dining options, from traditional Polish cuisine to international choices. Food is often affordable, but remember that prices could be higher in tourist-heavy areas.
Don’t miss trying local specialties like pierogi and kielbasa. Don’t be afraid to venture out to less crowded areas and explore smaller, local restaurants to find some hidden gems and potentially save money on your meals.
Tipping is appreciated in Krakow, although it is not mandatory. As a general guideline, you can tip around 10-15% of the bill for good service in restaurants and bars.
For other services, like taxis or hotel staff, a small amount or rounding up the fare is a nice gesture.
Safety and Insurance
Krakow is generally a safe city, but it’s always a good idea to take standard precautions. Keep your belongings secure and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas.
It’s advisable to have travel insurance to cover any unexpected situations, such as medical expenses, theft, or trip cancellations. In case of emergency, the police can be reached by dialling 112.
Nearby Landmarks and Sights
Auschwitz, a complex of Nazi concentration camps, is an essential place for anyone who wants to understand humanity’s darker chapters.
Located just over an hour’s drive from Krakow, visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site imparts a sobering experience. It’s best to plan a guided tour which typically covers both Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau.
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A short distance from Krakow, you can find the Wieliczka Salt Mine. This extraordinary underground world consists of over 300 km of chambers and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here, you can marvel at the sculptures, chapels, and chandeliers, all carved from salt. Allocate at least half a day for this unforgettable excursion, which includes taking a guided tour to fully appreciate its history.
Nestled in the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane is a charming town popular for its wooden architecture and natural beauty.
Easily accessible by bus or train, this picturesque location offers skiing in the winter and hiking in the milder months. Make sure to check out the bustling Krupowki Street, Gubalowka Hill, and Morskie Oko – one of the most beautiful lakes in Poland.
While not exactly nearby, the Polish capital of Warsaw is well worth your time. Located roughly 3 hours away by train, it showcases a rich history, with a striking mix of old and modern architecture.
Top attractions include the Old Town, Royal Castle, and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. If you have a spare day, visiting Warsaw will give you a broader understanding of Poland and its diverse culture.
Arriving and Departing Krakow
When arriving at Kraków Airport, located just 11km east of the city centre, you’ll find it modern, comfortable, and easy to navigate.
If you’re looking for convenience and hassle-free transportation, you can book an airport private transfer which will take you directly to your accommodation at a reasonable cost with no surprises. You can arrange this service through GetYourGuide.
Main Bus Station
After exiting the airport terminal, head to the bus stop located just to the left. From there, you can jump on any bus as they all head to the city centre. These buses are equipped with real-time maps that display the name of each stop well in advance, making it easy for you to find your way around.
The main bus station is located close to the main train station, providing easy access to other parts of Krakow and beyond.
The main station, also known as the Kraków Główny railway station, offers a comfortable and convenient way to arrive in the city if you’re travelling by train.
Kraków’s extensive network of trams connects the main station to other parts of the city, providing you with an excellent way to explore famous monuments, such as the medieval Barbican, along the way.
In order to make your journey hassle-free, consider purchasing a City Pass that includes access to public transport and various attractions during your visit.