Need To Know
Practical information & general advice to prepare your trip
With 2 days in Kraków you will have time to see the most important spots in the city centre & the jewish quarter.
Winter tends to be cold, so take a good coat ;) Kraków is full of unique and charming places like cafes, bars, restuarants. Get lost in the city centre and discover all the small streets: Bracka, Sw Anny, Szewska, Jagiellonska, Szpitalna, Sw. Jana, Sw. Tomasza, Sw. Marka.
Jewish Quarter: a lovely and unique district in Cracow. Get lost in its small streets too to feel its authentic atmosphere.
One of the good things about Kraków is that most of it's architecture is authentic, it wasn't bombarded as much as other occupied cities.
Walking alone late at night: maybe better take a cab. A regular drive is 2 zlotys / km so it would be around 15-20 zlotys (jewish quarter to the city centre).
As in every city, watch out for your mobile phone in touristic places!
City centre is quite secure but try to avoid strangely looking groups of guys, you never know.
The best way to enjoy and get to know the city's Old Town is walking.
For further distances you can use both buses and trams, which run from 5:00 to 23:00, and with less frequency after that. Google Maps doesn't work well with the transport routes, instead try searching in this link. You can also download the app on your phone.
Tickets are the same ones for trams and buses and they are timed, allowing you to change between tram or bus lines within the alloted time. The cheapest fare is good for 20mins at a cost of 2.80zł. You must stamp your ticket immediately as you board the tram or bus in the small machines on-board, even if you bought your ticket on-board. Beware that inspectors regularly travel on the lines handing out fines to those without valid tickets, and are very unsympathetic towards tourists.
If you are planning to buy the Kraków City Card (explained in a square below) you'll have bus and tram tickets included in it. Here's a link if you want to check it out.
You could also take taxis, they are cheaper than average western european cities.
The most comfy & Panoramic way: Hop On- Hop Off buses
Perfect option for those who don’t like crowded trams or buses. The City Sightseeing company offers tickets for 24 or 48 hours and it has 11 stops at the most interesting attractions of the city. You can book tickets through this link.
The official language is Polish, but there's no problem with communicating in English (less common in older people). Here are some words that will let you make people smile for a second or two if you say them, or at least try them:
Hello: część (pronounced "chesch")
Good morning: dzień dobry (pronounced "Jin dohbre")
Thank you: dziękuję (pronounced "jinkuie)
Because of the horrible past related to Auschwitz Concentration Camp, there are many movies and books that you can read that have connections to Kraków. Here are some of them:
- Schindler's list
- The boy in the Striped Pajamas
- Documentaries like The Final Journey
- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne.
- Ballerina of Auschwitz by Edith Eger. (This one is my favourite of all times, Edith was the ballerina and she gives not only an insight of what happened in Auschwitz but also of what her life was like when it was over:)
- The Dragon of Krakow: and other Polish Stories by Richard Monte. Poland in general is full of tales and legends and this book is a good start to learn about them.
The John Paul II International Airport is located just 15 km away from the city center and there are various ways in which you can get there:
The most comfortable door-to-door option: Private transfer
The vans can take up to 3 people and costs approx. 79.50zł per group, so you can divide the price between the group to make it cheaper for each one. You can book the vehicle through this link and the company will be waiting for you when you land at the airport. Also, the rate is flat so you won't get charged more if there's heavy traffic.
The fastest option to the city center: Train
This train connects the Airport with Kraków Glowny Main Station in the center of the city. It runs every 30 minutes and the journey takes under 20 minutes. A one-way ticket costs 9 zł and a roundtrip costs 16 zł. It's a little bit more expensive than buses but the trip will be faster because it avoids traffic.
The cheapest option: Buses
There are two bus lines that connect the airport to the city center. Line 208 gets to the central bus depot and Kraków Glowny Main Station and it runs every hour. Line 252 gets to downtown Kraków and it runs every 30 minutes. At night, Line 902 operates with the same route as line 208, leaving every hour. The fare for bus tickets is 4 zł per way. As buses have more stops than trains, it may be more comfortable for you depending on your hotel location.
The other door-to-door option: Taxis
They charge between 69 zł or 89 zł for a one way trip to the city center. The price could go up if you find heavy traffic on the road. Beware of unauthorized taxis, they will charge more than they should.
This card is available for 2 or 3 consecutive days, depending on how long you need it for. It's valid for 40 museums and attractions in the city (including St. Mary's Basilica, Oskar Schindler's Factory and the Eagle's Pharmacy) and for riding buses and trams.
You can check the list of attractions it includes and the price in this link.
Have you just started to plan your trip? Too many things to decide? Too long do it all by yourself? Special needs or wishes? Then, you should plan your trip with a local to get tailored travel plans & advices.