One of the greatest advantages of Kraków is that it is very easy to move around. In this article you will find all necessary information about public transportation and the best ways to arrive in town and effectively commute here.
As Kraków is not too overwhelming (the city has officially 750 k citizens, but it’s fair to say there are around a million people living here) and coming from the airport to the centre shouldn’t be a challenge. Actually, it can take you even less than 20 min. Of course, only if you are able to avoid the high traffic and the peak hours.
You can choose transport by car from the terminal, so you will just need to cross the highway and follow the navigation. Alternatively you can grab a taxi - should be easy, you need to exit the main building so you will be in the main Kiss n Ride zone, the taxis are waiting just over there. The official airport taxis will charge you between 30 to 90 PLN (around 6 to 20 Euro) which is rather expensive compared to standard taxi fare here. However, recently the airport management started to keep other companies (and app drivers like Uber) away from the airport area, limiting their daily entry allowance. That is why using your favourite app (most popular here are Uber and Bolt) you must be prepared to walk around 300 m to go behind the airport gates.
The good news is, you have plenty of other choices, even faster and cheaper ones! The unbeatable one is the local train. You can get to the station just by following the signs and you don’t even need to exit the terminal building. The train leaves every 30 min and the standard price is 17 PLN (less than 4 Euro). The whole journey to the main station takes less than 20 min. Then there is only a few minutes walk to the famous Main Market Square!
With this option, you can even extend your journey, because the same line can take you to Wieliczka Salt Mines and it can be really the highlight of your stay in Kraków. It would only cost 1 Euro more and another 22 min ride. It’s also worth noting that the train stops at Zabłocie station and that’s perfect if you want to easily access the Schindler’s Factory Museum, it is just next to it.
Check all the details concerning the train here.
If you look for the cheapest option, then you should walk out and look for the bus station. It’s not too far away, you have to walk a few metres to the right from the main entrance where Kiss n Ride is ending. Local lines are 209, 300, 902 and the cost is just 6 PLN. The only drawback is that this journey can take you around 40-60 min when the traffic is high.
If you are already in Poland, you may easily access Kraków from other big agglomerations, like Warsaw, Gdańsk or Wrocław. For many years Poland couldn’t boast of a modern highway network, but choosing the car finally starts to be a reasonable option. However the most popular route would be the one between Warsaw and Kraków and it is taking approximately 4 h to make it driving. So if you are planning to travel between those two cities the best option will be the fast Pendolino train - it can shorten that time to just over 2 hours. On the other hand, some cities don't have such a good connection (for instance Lublin or Poznań). That is why you can always consider travelling by coach. Flixbus is the most recognizable pan European network that can allow you to travel for a pretty low price.
If you like planning ahead, then you can also consider keeping to the aircrafts. LOT Polish Airlines offers very convenient connections between all main cities, and every flight is shorter than one hour, which makes it quite a good alternative.
So here is the thing - it’s not that we think badly about Kraków’s transportation system, but honestly, the best way to move around will be… on foot! It is all thanks to the city’s topography. A vast majority of points of interest are located in a strict historical centre, in old districts like the Old Town, Kazimierz, Podgórze and Kleparz. You can move between them and any distance you choose shouldn’t take more than half an hour (and at least 50% of the top attractions you will find max 15 min from the Main Square).
Most of the Old Town and a big part of Jewish Quarter is also a car-free zone. Some streets are also limited for only official taxi operators. That means Uber is always a nice option here, but be aware that it will not always take you to every door you choose. That makes Kraków a perfect place for walking tours! We definitely recommend taking the Old Town Tour, the Jewish Kraków or Macabre in order to get to know Kraków better. There is only one that will require taking the tram - you will need to use it if you decide to go for Communist Tour and visit Nowa Huta district.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Kraków has nothing to offer except the city centre, so here are more details on how to use the public transport here.
In Kraków you travel by bus or by tram and it is all covered by the same ticket system. There are plenty of stops and stations here, each one should have a ticket machine where you can pay by card or cash. Still, you don’t have to worry about them, it's just enough to hop on as every vehicle is supposed to have the same machine in it. Some of them take credit cards but some only coins so hopping in bear that in mind! One thing you have to always remember - each ticket you buy must be validated, so look around for those simple yellow boxes that allow you to make a stamp on it! Otherwise you expose yourself to the meeting with Kraków’s controllers. They can be pretty straightforward but also stiff-necked and usually don’t speak other languages than Polish, so please keep that in mind.
Unfortunately, Kraków doesn’t have easy-to-buy travel cards yet, but you are not limited to single ride tickets. You may choose between daily, weekend or weekly tickets so you can choose the best one for your needs. You can find out that Kraków has two public transport zones. Unless you decide to go by bus to Wieliczka Salt Mines, the city itself is always Zone I, so you don’t have to worry about the second one here.
However, a fantastic option is to buy your tickets online. With an app Jakdojade.pl (App Store or Google Play) that is operating in most of the big cities in Poland, you can easily open your virtual wallet (it is Apple Pay and Google Pay integrated, so just one click) and charge it with prepaids anytime you want. In that case you just need to look for the vehicle number (usually something like RB424, not to confuse with the line number!) that is always placed inside just above the door you entered and write it down when you “stamp” the new ticket in your app. It’s a perfect option if you are planning to visit multiple cities in this country. Also, Jakdojade.pl is the best navigation app for almost all public transportation in Poland - apart from city trams and buses, it also includes PKP intercity trains and allows you to buy ticket for those too!
Since common internet access made a true revolution to the way we travel and commute now, it gives you many alternatives in Kraków. Not to mention car rental, there are two pretty cheap car sharing companies here, known as Traficar and Panek. Both have many cars around the whole city, but it only makes sense if you are planning to leave the city centre (otherwise you will spend half of your holidays in packed one-way narrow streets here and pay a fortune for parking). Please mind that using their apps requires sharing and scanning your ID/driving licence that must be also verified so it is better to deal with it in advance. The verification usually takes less than an hour, but can sometimes last up to 24 hours so don’t leave it until the last moment, just in case. Apart from that using them is a blast, you just come to the nearest car, scan the QR code and the vehicle is yours, from a couple of minutes to several days for a low cost of around 70 PLN per 24 hours plus 1 PLN per kilometre. (Pssst! Some of us have sold our car and only use those!)
As many cities nowadays, Kraków is full of electric scooters. The most popular providers here are Bolt and Lime. However, they have to follow several restrictions like speed limit and the fact that they have to be parked in special areas, so please check your destination with your app first.
We hope that, after reading our article, you feel encouraged to choose your way to move around Kraków. All those tips will come very useful if you decide to stay here for more than just a few days and discover the full extent of what Krakow has to offer. Look for next articles in which we will tell you more about Kraków’s attractions, including a few spots out of the city centre. Stay tuned!
Ticket fares: https://www.mpk.krakow.pl/en/prices-of-tickets/
Jakdojade app route planner: https://jakdojade.pl/krakow/trasa?locale=en
Public transport maps: https://ztp.krakow.pl/en/public-transport/kmk-public-transport/kmk-maps
Polish trains: https://www.polishtrains.eu/
Flixbus routes & tickets: https://www.flixbus.com/bus/krakow