Travel - Getting to Cracow
Above: Everyone looks sexy in a pair of cycling shorts...
Left: The Sky's not the limit - Easyjet, Ryanair, BA, Lot and Germanwings fly here too! Below: Of course there's always Poland's modern railway system...
If you plan to fly to Krakow, you have two options: Cracow or Katowice. Cracow has its own (small) airport, appropriately named after Pope John Paul II, who was born near the city. Most locals and a few signs, though, still refer to it as Krakow Balice or simply "Balice," which is the name of the little town nearest the airport. Many major airlines such as Lufthansa fly to Cracow, albeit often with codeshare partner airlines. In recent years, though, the budget airlines have been appearing in greater and greater numbers with their super bargain rates. If you're up for no-frills flying, the biggest budget operators include EasyJet and Ryanair, to name just to name a few! A fair number of routes also land at nearby Katowice airport, such as the ones offered by Wizzair from London, Paris and Barcelona. Katowice is a perfectly acceptable location to fly to, but it's a bit like Luton is to London, so be prepared for a 90-minute bus or taxi ride into Krakow. If you're flying into or out of Krakow's John Paul II (Balice) during the winter, be prepared for frequent delays due to fog or ice, or the occasional impromptu diversion to Katowice.
Assuming you've arrived at Cracow Balice you shouldn't have any trouble continuing your journey. Taxis are relatively cheap in Poland and you can book one online or grab one from the rank for around 70PLN into town. Alternatively hike 200 metres (or grab the free shuttle bus) to the airport's small train platform and take advantage of the fast and cheap shuttle service to Cracow's central station. Tickets are 8PLN onboard (7PLN if bought at the automated kiosks in advance) and the service runs about every 30 minutes taking about 20 minutes to get there. Bus service into the centre costs the same as a usual fare, about 2.50 PLN one-way from a kiosk, but you should buy a ticket for your larger baggage as well. Make sure you validate the ticket in the orange ticket box onboard in case of a random check by plain-clothes inspectors.
The main station is in walking distance of the city centre, so you may be tempted to go all Dr. Zhivago and come by rail. However, the romance will soon wear off once the reality of the Polish rail system sets in, and you find yourself travelling at near-walking pace at times. Prepare for a five-hour journey from Wroclaw, seven hours from Poznan and eleven hours or more from Gdansk. The express between Cracow and Warsaw is the exception with modern intercity trains taking about three hours to complete the 300 kilometres distance. Find precise details by checking out the timetables courtesy of the Polish Rail Network (PKP). Just remember to use the Polish spellings (ie. Krakow for Cracow, Warszawa for Warsaw). Backpackers will be interested to know that there are also overnight trains to and from Prague and Budapest.
You may not be over-endeared at the thought of 24 hours in a bus from London to Cracow for example, but it is actually not too bad - no smoking is allowed aboard the comfortable buses, and Poles, as ever, are impeccably behaved. Watch the landmass of Europe slip past, as you are treated to Hollywood movies dubbed into Polish. For around 60 (USD 100) return to London, it can't be beaten price-wise. Internal trips, on the other hand, are normally aboard old buses with a distinctly retro feel. Ok in small doses. And be warned, often there are no toilets aboard the old buses and seats can be smaller than you're accustomed.
Only for the intrepid. Poland has the highest accident rate in Europe, mostly because of carelessness on congested roads and a slow-to-change mindset about drink-driving, so only travel by car if you know what you are doing. That said, we've been driving for years and enjoy seeing the country from ground level. If you drive or rent, you likely will need an international certificate of insurance cover, and possibly proof of exhaust emission control on your car. Spot checks on vehicles do happen, and if you plan to stay in central Cracow, remember that much of it is pedestrianised, or has difficult to interpret parking signs and special day/night restrictions.
Alicia from United States Reply
hello, anyone has any idea how can I get to Hotel Qubus from the airport, besides getting a taxi?
Editor from Poland
Hi Alicia, the best way to get out of the airport is by bus (292) and get off at Politechnika stop (next to last one) and then you'll see an underground passage. Take it - this leads to the underground fragment of line 50 tram, which will take you straight to Cubus hotel (7th stop, if I'm not mistaken, the stop is called Plac Bohaterow Getta - a characteristic spot due to an empty square with lots of chairs - bronze statues). Please remember to always buy your ticket (change for the ticket machines, not all of them have PayPass installed yet) and validate them in a machine inside the bus, otherwise you will be fined when they catch you, and they just love to demonstrate our Polish hospitality at times by fining mercilessly all the unaware tourists;) Have a great stay and feel free to come back to Local Life for more tips:)
Ricardo Maia from Brazil Reply
Can I buy train tickets from Warsaw to Cracow and from Cracow to Praga in advance by Internet? How? Wich are the sites?
Matt Q from United Kingdom Reply
fly to london. get to london stanstead ( easy train ride from London main)and fly Ryanair direct to Krakow. I just paid £44.00 return
oscar from United States Reply
information on this site is noy very accurate
lorek from Poland Reply
Hello, i would suggest you to travel from Cracow to Zakopane by bus as it is very cheap, reliable, interesting for sightseeins, quite fast and stress free compared to car and train unless you would prefer to pay more and spend more time in transport in train and taxi.If you need accomodation in Zakopane, please do check my email address from my previous posts.thanks
rach from United Kingdom Reply
hi, im travelling from kracow to zakopane end of november.....any tips on the best mode of transort. ive heard the bus can be a little slow at times
chuck from Netherlands Reply
hey I am traveling to cracow towards the end of august from amsterdam by myself,if anyone wants to team-up then we can hook-up.
SweHotBoy91 from Sweden Reply
I always want to go to Poland,to Cracow.
lorek from Poland Reply
Hi Kerri and any other person who would be interested .I have on offer the possibility for you to live in a great and comfy apartment in Cracow, suitable for up to 6 pers.,fully equipped,with balcon with view on all Cracow and Tatra mountains, with underground garage.If you are interested send me email on email@example.com Thanks
Kerri from Australia Reply
Hi Ogrodygorskie-Zakopane, Thanks for this! good suggestion will do! Any accommodation hints would be helpful and definately appreciated! Thankyou.
Lorek from Poland Reply
Hello Kerri ,I would suggest you to put post on polishforum.com or gumtree.com You may ave more answer to your request.If you need advice on accomodation in Carcow, please do reply to this comment.Regards from Ogrodygorskie-Zakopane
Kerri from Australia Reply
I am heading to Krakow in around August. Anyone travelling singly from London interested in grouping up?
Ogrodygorskie from Poland Reply
Hi Julian.i checked a bit everywhere and it comes out that the cheapest,most reliable , quite fast way to go from cracow to Poprad is BY BUS. Well, 2 buses: Cracow-Zakopane and then Zakopane-Poprad.it should take about 3 hours to get there if no wait between buses.Hope it helps.Ogrodygorskie from Zakopane
X from Bulgaria Reply
Here is an option to travel from Krakow to Vienna you can use use orange ways bus company. Here is the link: http://www.orangeways.com/en They have a bus line from Krakow to Budapest /about 5 hours/and from Budapest to Vienna /about 3 hours/. Take a chance to visit Budapest it's a very beautiful city. I myself travelled from Budapest to Vienna and was very happy. I think Orangeways is very reliable
Julian from Ireland Reply
Hi, Can someone please tell me the best way to get from krakow to poprad. There is very many different opinions and routes on the internet and on this site but i'm still very confused as to which is the quickest and best way to get there. Thanks in advance for the advice
Lorek from Poland Reply
Hey bitch, What a nice name you have! what were you meaning in those 2 long words?Were you speaking about your life or your socks.Here it is a place for people to ask about travel in Cracow , not fr expressing your feeling of your own life or mess.Cracow life, let keep up your check up on those kind of naughty post.That for the interest of thirsty travellers
bitch from United Kingdom Reply
Andy-Opole from Poland Reply
Hayley look at this page, system of coach tickets res. from Poland to many countries in Europe. Prague-Krakow route departure 5:45, arrival 15:40: / (search for "PRAGA" and "KRAKOW") http://www.euro-ticket.pl/bilety.php?wyjazd=praga&przyjazd=krakow Night bus from Krakow to Vienna is also possible, departure 21:15, arrival 4:55 (in the system search for "KRAKOW" and "WIEDEN") http://www.euro-ticket.pl/bilety.php?wyjazd=krakow&przyjazd=wieden Have a nice holiday
Ogrodygorskie from Poland Reply
Hi Hayley, I replied to your post on the forum(will try to get the price by train). Alex, There are plenty of buses(public or private)going from the bus station to Auschwitz-Birkenau very often .Hope it helps.
Hayley from United States Reply
Hello, I am traveling from Prague to Krakow, staying for a two days in Krakow and then going to Vienna. We are doing this mid-April. Does anyone know if there is an overnight bus that runs from Prague to Krakow and from Krakow to Vienna. I know of the night trains, but we were looking for a cheaper option.Thanks!
Alex Law from United Kingdom Reply
Hi does anybody know the best way to get to Auschwitz from Krakow, staying at the Qubus Hotel 2nd April , cheers.
Lorek from Poland Reply
Hello Diane, I cannot help you about the hotel you ask advice on .I have not lived there.However, if it is not good on the first day , then you can find an other hotel .There are plenty.Also, do not forget to come to Zakopane if you do not already know ...for ski practice, snowdoo, thermal spa and sightseeing of where polish highlanders live...Do reply to this review if interested to get some advices on accomodation and activities there.Bye for now
diane from United Kingdom Reply
hi going to krakow on march 22nd has anyone stayed at the wyspianski hotel on westerplatte i know it is not far from train station just wanted to know if it is a nice hotel as there has been some very good,good and bad reviews that i have read
lorek from Poland Reply
By train, from Berlin to Krakow, it takes about 10 hours. By plane, with lufthansa, from 4 to 6 hours(250 euros one way).1 Stop for few hours to Munich before taking second flight. Do not forget to come and visit Zakopane after Krakow the most beautiful city in Poland.If needed information about Zakopane, please ask me
Sue from United States Reply
Any suggestions how to get from Berlin to Krakow. Would it be better to fly or take the train? Does anyone know how long the train would take? Sue
Lorel from Poland Reply
Thailand, i just checked and it seems that only Lufthansa airlines have fights from Frankfurt to Cracow. Otherwise, you may do it by bus or by train (rail). For Cindy, travel in January is like the rest of the year, maybe a bit longer because of the snow but now roads are geeting fixed and finished around Cracow.Specially from Carcow to zakopane, now it takes only 1 h30.(pretty fast).If you do wish visit Zakopane and look for pretty accomodation, please do conatct us at www.ogrodygorskie.pl .Cheers
cindy from United States Reply
what is travel like in January?
Thailand from The Bahamas Reply
How can i fly from Frankfurt to Cracow ?
Cracker from United Kingdom Reply
EasyJ flights London-Warsaw are definitely over. But London-Krakow, Bristol-Krakow still ok....
Bart from United States Reply
Are you sure about that? I am flying to Krakow and coming back two weeks later in a week time using Easyjet, very strange...
Anka from Poland Reply
Yup, easyJet is no longer flying to Warsaw unfortunately
Seb from United States Reply
I heard that some of the Easyjet services to Poland are being cut. Is that correct?
Mike Zawadzki from United Kingdom Reply
The best way I have found from the airport to the city centre is the new railway. Cheap and only 15-18 minutes.
Andrea Mercer from United Kingdom Reply
Got some tips from this website. Usually get cabs from airport into Krakow but we decided to be brave this time. You get the bus ticket from the newsagent upstairs in the airport (above the airport information desk). Come out of airport opposite information desk and walk towards right and bus stop is a little way down the road to the right of the building. Remember to put the ticket in the little machine to get it punched when you get on, there are a couple on there. If you dont you could get fined. We stayed at Hotel Cracovia and bus stopped right outside it (also outside football stadium).
Ania from Poland Reply
Tracy, the journey is not bad, the bus is big and heated and it drops you off at the main Krakow bus station, which is right in the middle of town.
Tracy from United Kingdom Reply
I booked a flight to Katowice by mistake and have booked a bus to Krakow with wizzair. Is the journey enjoyable, I believe it takes around 2 hours?????
stephen from United Kingdom Reply
very nice place indeed to visite , friendly and very helpfull ,we was there 8days,would recomend 2 friends and family 2 visit ,we stayed in petrus hotel were the rooms was very comfe and clean ,staff was very polite and very helpfull ,most of the young one's speak very good english if need help ,fag's beer and sum food resturants was cheep ,iv nothing bad at all 2 say about krakow ,we was there from 31st oct till 7th nov,08,do go and visit
gordon stove from United Kingdom Reply
Dressed for chilly winter and had 3 days of glorious summer 21-24th Oct. to add to the wonderful sights and sounds of a safe friendly and atmospheric city - and our pound was fetching 4.7 zloty - another bonus. Old time Hotel - just to the north ( 5 mins walk) of the market sq/St marys is to be thoroughly recommended as are escape2poland.com
Erik Cronquist from Denmark Reply
Our first visit to Cracow. Really nice and clean city with helpfull and friendly people. A lot of good restaurants to different prices.
joe from United Kingdom Reply
lovely place but lots of graffiti. went to Austwitch, very memorable.
P Jordan from United Kingdom Reply
Just been to Krakow for the first time, it will not be my last, we stayed in the Hotel Andels beside the staion which was excellent. Can't wait to return.
mike t from United Kingdom Reply
Myself and my wife have just returned home after 4 glorious days in Krakow. It was our first time to Poland, and what a suprise, the place is beautiful, the people are very friendly, helpful and welcoming. Krakow itself is a lovely place with lots to see and do, the historical Wewel(castle),the river, the brilliant, vibrant market square,and the hundreds of resteraunts and bars in and around the old town, the place is outstanding. The whole city has a lovely feel to it, and although very its very busy there was not an ounce of trouble or loutish behaviour, i just hope it can manage to stay that way. Exellent. Cant wait to go back.
john from United Kingdom Reply
KRAKOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! wonderful place easy to get around people fantastic already planning another visit
kasia from Poland Reply
http://www.rda.krakow.pl/pl/odjazdy.php?t=1&d=1207825200 tu mozna sprawdzic odjazdy autobusow wiem ze o 12.30 odjerzdza z zdworca autobus do Krynicy:)
Danuta Mazurkiewicz from United States Reply
Prosze o pomoc w znalezieniu polaczenia z Krakowa do Krynicy najlepiej autobusowego. Nigdzie nie znalazlam linku do stacji autobusowej PKS i rozkladu jazdy. Dziekuje za pomoc
Cracow Life Team from Poland Reply
Graeme, there is an overnight train that goes from Krakow to Vienna (also to Prague), it takes about 8 hours and I would recommend buying a ticket for it as soon as you get into town.
Graeme from United Kingdom Reply
I am heading to Krakow in October and want to know how easy is to get south to vienna from krakow on rail system ie times and cost if I book in advance or can I just get a ticket while I am there. Thanks
Petter from Norway Reply
Nice people, good food. Do not need international certificate
Neil from United States Reply
Krakow is a really nice place to visit. As an American Jew whose great grand parents immigrated to America during WWII, It's very interesting for me to go back and see the places my ancestors have lived in. Not only that, Krakow also has many historical buildings which have to be seen in order to appreciate there magnificence. Some places one might want to visit are: The barbakon, Issac's temple, Wawal Castle and if you can, take a boat ride on the river Wisla. Finally, Krakow has some VERY cool shopping and food. In the Galleria Krakow, be sure to indulge in that Italian Ice Cream shop... The ice cream is BIG! The shopping in this mall is also cool however, it isn't cheap and it's very similar to most malls in the US. For a unique shopping experience, you have to spend a whole day (maybe two or three) walking around Rynek Growna. This is the main square of Krakow and contains not only fascinating shopping but also various street entertainers, bars, restaurants etc. This square is a MUST go when you visit Krakow. Missing it would be CRIMINAL!! Have fun.
Naresh Kumar from India Reply
i entrasted by study in u r univresty
kate from United Kingdom Reply
stayed in krakow 5th-8th nov 07. what a fantastic place! so much too see. I found polish people to be very friendly and polite. If you plan on visiting auschwitz then id recommend going early as it takes all day to see it properly. We made our own way there and found it to be alot cheaper than organising a trip. cant wait to go back to this wonderful place. Our trip cost only £178 for two thats thanks to easyjet and krakows ample cheap accomodation.
Ronin2Cold from United States Reply
Krakow was awesome! Great Piwo (beer) food was super, especially the zapikanka and kabobs! Wonderful atmosphere in the Rynek and took a trip to Bochnia in the suburbs! People were very nice and never had trouble communicating, or trying my Polish. I was fascinated to be able to pick out someone speaking in a bar with my accent, and asked if they were also from Chicago. They answered yes, and we drank more Piwo (Lech) than I could probably handle. Two thumbs up! I'm coming back this spring
chunk from United Kingdom Reply
when i went to krakow i really enjoyed it. it was good. well wworth a visit only because you can go on a trip to auschwitz which was really goo.
Mary from United Kingdom Reply
Been to Krakow several times, and always had a great time. Place, people and pivo great. Any ideas though how to get from Katowice to Krakow at approx 0200hrs on a Wed morning? Does the Wizzair shuttle bus run at this time and if so, where do we get it. Would be beter to organise a taxi and if so, what could we expect to pay?
McGoo from United Kingdom Reply
Good news, well for me at least as a frequent visitor from Scotland to Krakow. Just announced today by Easyjet:- NEW ROUTE:- EDINBURGH - KRAKOW Commencing 29th October Four time weekly (Mon, Wed, Fri, sat) Bookings being taken now Good flight times:- Dep Edin 07:50 arr. Krakow 11:30 Dep Krakow 20:30 Arr Edin 22:10 FARES: ONE WAY INCLUDING TAXES & CHARGES = GBP £ 21.99 (Also new route , Bournemouth - Krakow) This is fantastic news. Until today, Ryanair was the only direct route from Scotland (Prestwick) to Krakow. This wasn't ideal as the baggage limit was a measly 15kg. Easyjet are flying from Edinburgh and allow a more reasonable 20kg, and fly 4 days a week !! This more than makes up for the previous Sky Europe flight from Edinburgh to Krakow which stopped operating last December.
Suzanne Ruczynska from United Kingdom Reply
My husband and I along with my sister and her husband spent from 11th June till 16th June in Krakow. All over the city there are leaflets and billboards advertising trips to The Salt Mines, Auchwitz etc and when calculated back into GBP it worked out really expensive. There is a cheaper way, there are local buses which travel regularly to both of these places. To the Salt Mines it cost 2.50 zl on the bus one-way and 45 zl entrance fee, so altogether 50 zl per person instead of 130 zl on the organsied trip. As far as Auchwitz is concerned, I couldn't believe that it only cost 7 zl each on the bus one-way and admission to the museum is free, whereas the organised trips were being charged again at 130 zl per person, also there wouldn't be enough time to see everything (it takes the whole day - honestly) if you went on a guided tour, obviously because they are kept to a tight schedule - Auchwitz is worth a visit - not something to be rushed, so same your money and get there under your own steam - 14 zl return instead of 130 zl - no brainer me thinks!!!
Suzanne Ruczynska from United Kingdom Reply
My husband and I along with my sister and her husband spent from 11th June till 16th June in Krakow - what a fabulous city. The people are really friendly and there is so much to see. My only complaint is how differently the tourists are charged from locals or other Polish people. When I enquired about a trip around the city for 4 people I was told it would cost 50 zl one way or 100 zl for a return trip, and when my husband asked the same question but talking to the same guy in Polish he was quoted ½ the price - although 50 zl was only about £10 / £20 round-trip it certainly makes a difference to your holiday spends if the tourists are getting charged double!! Come on guys, don't put people off visiting your beautiful city by overcharging them coz they will find out and some won't be as nice as me in their reviews.
henry from Italy Reply
the polish food is really bad.
Indokarasan from United Kingdom Reply
The only criticism i have is to do with taxis. If they know you are a tourist they will overcharge you. Get a price guide from someone for your destination and agree a price before setting off--I was nearly had but survived. Railway station to city--approx 400 krunas