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Krakow Guide 2019 header - Wawel Castle in Cracow Old Town at sunset with pink sky and city in background Krakow Guide 2019 header - St. Mary's Basilica in Cracow and Old Town Square with horse carriages and tenement houses in backgorund


krakow guide by a local

visit Krakow (also spelled Cracow) - Poland's most popular city, with unrivaled history and expression to offer - seize it; here's what you need to know.

- what are the things to do in Krakow?
- what are the best restaurants in Krakow?
- how does public transport in Krakow work?





contents

St. Mary's Basilica in Cracow and Old Town Square with horse carriages and tenement houses in backgorund

what to see

what to see
luxurious restaurant in Cracow with modern decor, beige chairs, and white table

where to eat

where to eat
luxurious 5-star hotel in Cracow with scandinavian decor and white bed with nice view

best hotels

best hotels
train entrance to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp with visitors

day trips

day trips
Cracow Balice John Paul II international airport modern building from outside

getting there

getting there
blue and white modern tram on bridge in Cracow

getting around

getting around




CHAPTER 1

what to see in Krakow







Grzegorz says:
Now, those our just our suggestions. There are tons of things to see and do in Krakow, and sometimes it can be best to simply roam the streets and enjoy the Old Town without guidance. But this is a guide, after all.




top 10 attractions in Cracow on greyscale simple map
top 10 attractions in Cracow on greyscale simple map

icon of number 1 with pink text and shadow Wawel Castle

Starting things off in our Krakow guide is, of course, Wawel Castle. First erected in the 13th century, this castle south of Cracow's Old Town has become a symbol of tourism in Poland thanks to its history, surrounding legends, and sheer beauty. The construction was appointed by Casimir III the Great, and the castle has seen Polish royalty ever since. The tale of Wawel Castle is a tale of dragons, kings, and wars - and it's a must see in Cracow, Poland.

The castle is open for visitors year-round. The various exhibitions cost around 20 zł [4.6 EUR] per person, and they feature the beautiful interiors, as well as exploring less conventional areas of the castle.

Wawel Castle official website
view of Wawel Castle in Cracow Old Town from across the Vistula River with green park and red brick towers and walls view of Wawel Castle in Cracow Old Town from across the Vistula River with green park and red brick towers and walls
view of Wawel Castle in Cracow Old Town from across the Vistula River with green park and red brick towers and walls

from the outside

internal square in Wawel Castle in Cracow Old Town with columns and medieval arches internal square in Wawel Castle in Cracow Old Town with columns and medieval arches
internal square in Wawel Castle in Cracow Old Town with columns and medieval arches

internal square



icon of number 2 with pink text and shadow Main Square

Cracow's Main Square is located in the heart of the Old Town, and is the home of a number of world-renowned buildings, such as the 1555 Cloth Hall, St. Mary's Basilica, and the Town Hall Tower. Moreover, it is the epicenter of urban and tourist life in Cracow, with old-fashioned Polish restaurants and rows upon rows of classic Polish tenement houses.
Main Square in Cracow Old Town with view of St. Mary's Catherdal and Cloth Hall at sunset Main Square in Cracow Old Town with view of St. Mary's Catherdal and Cloth Hall at sunset
Main Square in Cracow Old Town with view of St. Mary's Catherdal and Cloth Hall at sunset

view of Cathedral and Cloth Hall

view of Cloth Hall on Main Square in Cracow from above at day with tenement houses and monument in background view of Cloth Hall on Main Square in Cracow from above at day with tenement houses and monument in background
view of Cloth Hall on Main Square in Cracow from above at day with tenement houses and monument in background

Cloth Hall from above



icon of number 3 with pink text and shadow Planty Park

This park encircles the entirety of Cracow's Old Town, giving the area a close-to-nature atmosphere to elevate the awe-inspiring architecture. It features many kilometers of walking paths, dozens of flower displays, monuments, fountains, and unique trees. It was established in the early 1800s and is the home of some of Cracow's major attractions, including the Barbican.
parkway in Planty Park in Old Town Cracow in autumn fall with golden leaves on parkway and benches parkway in Planty Park in Old Town Cracow in autumn fall with golden leaves on parkway and benches
parkway in Planty Park in Old Town Cracow in autumn fall with golden leaves on parkway and benches

Planty in autumn

water pond in Planty Park in Old Town Cracow in summer with bridge and trees in background water pond in Planty Park in Old Town Cracow in summer with bridge and trees in background
water pond in Planty Park in Old Town Cracow in summer with bridge and trees in background

Planty in summer



icon of number 4 with pink text and shadow St. Florian's Gate

Constructed in the 14th century, this gothic-style gate and tower is located on the northern border of Cracow's Old Town, leading into the Cracow Barbican. It once constituted part of the city's fortifications should the Turks attack, but now is the site of a chaple and a source of beautiful photography.
St. Florioan's Gate in Central Cracow Old Town from the south with old buildings and painter booth and city walls St. Florioan's Gate in Central Cracow Old Town from the south with old buildings and painter booth and city walls
St. Florioan's Gate in Central Cracow Old Town from the south with old buildings and painter booth and city walls

view from the south

view of St. Florian's Gate in Old Town Cracow from Planty Park at sunset with trees and city walls in background view of St. Florian's Gate in Old Town Cracow from Planty Park at sunset with trees and city walls in background
view of St. Florian's Gate in Old Town Cracow from Planty Park at sunset with trees and city walls in background

view from the north



icon of number 5 with pink text and shadow Kościuszko Mound

In the name of Polish national leader Tadeusz Kościuszko, the Kościuszko Mound was erected in 1823, inspired by Cracow's prehistoric mounds of Krak and Wanda. It is located in Western Cracow, in a hilly, green area overlooking the city. As such, the mound offers beautiful views of the panorama.
entrance to Kościuszko Mound in Western Cracow Old Town with mound in background and old entrance in foreground and walls entrance to Kościuszko Mound in Western Cracow Old Town with mound in background and old entrance in foreground and walls
entrance to Kościuszko Mound in Western Cracow Old Town with mound in background and old entrance in foreground and walls

view from the entrance

view of Cracow Old Town from the top or above the Kościuszko Mound at night with lights view of Cracow Old Town from the top or above the Kościuszko Mound at night with lights
view of Cracow Old Town from the top or above the Kościuszko Mound at night with lights

view of Cracow from the top



icon of number 6 with pink text and shadow Cracow Barbican

Cracow's Barbican was once part of the now-demolished city walls, a gateway leading into the Old Town. It was constructed in the late 1400s, and is one of three remaining fortified outposts of its type in Europe. It is located in Planty Park, on the Northern Border of the Old Town.
outside view of medieval Cracow Barbican in Old Town Cracow in Planty Park with park in background and old buildings outside view of medieval Cracow Barbican in Old Town Cracow in Planty Park with park in background and old buildings
outside view of medieval Cracow Barbican in Old Town Cracow in Planty Park with park in background and old buildings

from the outside

view from the inside of medieval Cracow Barbican in Old Town Cracow in Planty Park with towers and red brick walls view from the inside of medieval Cracow Barbican in Old Town Cracow in Planty Park with towers and red brick walls
view from the inside of medieval Cracow Barbican in Old Town Cracow in Planty Park with towers and red brick walls

from the inside



icon of number 7 with pink text and shadow Kazimierz

A historically Jewish district of Cracow, located southeast of the Old Town. The Jewish heritage of the district is very visible in today's Kazimierz, and it is therefore the site of dozens of Jewish tenement houses, restaurants, and museums. During the German occupation, the area's Jews were moved across the river, to the Jewish ghetto. It is a great place for a long walk, photography, painting, but also to wonder about the atrocities of WWII and the culture it almost eradicated.







Grzegorz recommends:
Kazimierz is a great place to witness local life, and is much more authentic than the rest of the Old Town. It's bustling with life, but in all the right ways. It's a local spot.






Jewish restaurant on the streets of Kazimierz in Old Town Cracow with old arch and old buildings and park along cobblestone street Jewish restaurant on the streets of Kazimierz in Old Town Cracow with old arch and old buildings and park along cobblestone street
Jewish restaurant on the streets of Kazimierz in Old Town Cracow with old arch and old buildings and park along cobblestone street

streets of Kazimierz

Jewish tenement houses in ruins in Kazimierz in Old Town Cracow with bike and tourist Jewish tenement houses in ruins in Kazimierz in Old Town Cracow with bike and tourist
Jewish tenement houses in ruins in Kazimierz in Old Town Cracow with bike and tourist

Jewish tenement houses



icon of number 8 with pink text and shadow Old Town Streets

In the Old Town, around the Main Square, there are dozens of small streets that are begging to be explored. They are a great site for photography, but also a place to go to eat, and to explore how Poland's history is slowly mixing with its modern destiny. In those streets, it's good to walk slowly to have time to appreciate all the forgotten architecture that is still home to thousands of people.
Old buildings along tiny road on Kanonicza Street in Old Town Cracow with church in background Old buildings along tiny road on Kanonicza Street in Old Town Cracow with church in background
Old buildings along tiny road on Kanonicza Street in Old Town Cracow with church in background

Kanonicza Street

tiny dead-end street in Old Town Cracow - tiny road with old residential buildings tiny dead-end street in Old Town Cracow - tiny road with old residential buildings
tiny dead-end street in Old Town Cracow - tiny road with old residential buildings

beautiful, hidden architecture



icon of number 9 with pink text and shadow River Banks

After long walks across the Old Town and perhaps some exploration of the newer parts of Cracow, it is time for relaxation and a picnic on the banks of the Vistula River - called Bulwary Wiślane in Polish. Not only is the grass very welcoming and the urban life bustling, it is a place to experience authentic local life not how it was 500 years ago, but how it is now. It is also a place to admire the views scattered along the river.







Grzegorz recommends:
Cracow's Vistula River Banks are the epicenter of modern local life, with crowds of people sitting on the grass, street vendors, and, in the summer, a truly cosmopolitan atmosphere.






view of Wawel Castle in Old Town Cracow across vistula wisła river with promenade along the river and walls view of Wawel Castle in Old Town Cracow across vistula wisła river with promenade along the river and walls
view of Wawel Castle in Old Town Cracow across vistula wisła river with promenade along the river and walls

view of the castle

locals sitting on grass on northern bank of Vistula Wisła river in Cracow Old Town City Centre with boats on river near Wawel Castle locals sitting on grass on northern bank of Vistula Wisła river in Cracow Old Town City Centre with boats on river near Wawel Castle
locals sitting on grass on northern bank of Vistula Wisła river in Cracow Old Town City Centre with boats on river near Wawel Castle

northern bank



CHAPTER 2

best restaurants in Krakow







Grzegorz says:
In Krakow, it may not be worth it to simply roam around the streets in hopes of finding a good restaurant. Chances are, you will get lured into a mediocre Polish place catered to tourists.




best local cuisine

Restauracja Art

food at Restauracja Art restaurant in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs food at Restauracja Art restaurant in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs
food at Restauracja Art restaurant in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs


Restauracja Art is a luxurious Polish-inspired restaurants located in Southren Old Town. It's the place to try Polish cuisine.

Dishes include boar bacon, regional cheeses, venison comber, and currant jelly.

go to official website

go to menu

best affordable local cuisine

Piwnica Wolnica

food at Piwnica Wolnica affordable local restaurant in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs food at Piwnica Wolnica affordable local restaurant in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs
food at Piwnica Wolnica affordable local restaurant in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs


An affordable classic Polish restaurant in Kazimierz District. This is how Polish grandmas make it.

Dishes include mushroom rolade, beef roast, honey-glazed goose, plum-filled pork chop, and pancakes with apples.

go to official website

go to menu

best international cuisine

Albertina Restaurant

food at international mediterranean Albertina restaurant in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs food at international mediterranean Albertina restaurant in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs
food at international mediterranean Albertina restaurant in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs


Located in the heart of Old Town, this is an unparalleled fusion restaurant.

Dishes include baked plums, venison tartare, lobster raviolo, foie gras monkfish, and birch mousse.

go to official website

go to menu

best affordable international cuisine

Hummus Amamamusi

food at international affordable arabic hummus restaurant Hummus Amamamusi in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs food at international affordable arabic hummus restaurant Hummus Amamamusi in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs
food at international affordable arabic hummus restaurant Hummus Amamamusi in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs


A fantastic hummus-centered restaurant in Kazimierz District - perfect for a light meal.

Dishes include hummus in various forms and sizes and all the vegetables and snacks to go with it.

go to official website

go to menu

best luxurious restaurant

Restauracja Pod Różą

food at luxurious restaurant Restauracja Pod Różą in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs food at luxurious restaurant Restauracja Pod Różą in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs
food at luxurious restaurant Restauracja Pod Różą in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs


For a splash of luxury, go to this centrally-located, neatly-designed restaurant.

Dishes include chicken liver parfait, pumpkin ravioli, goose breast, and hazelnut semifredo.

go to official website

go to menu

best cheap restaurant

Pierożki u Vincenta

food at affordable pierogi dumpling restaurant Pierożki u Vincenta in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs food at affordable pierogi dumpling restaurant Pierożki u Vincenta in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs
food at affordable pierogi dumpling restaurant Pierożki u Vincenta in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs


A tiny, authentic "pierogarnia" - a restaurant focused on one thing only - Polish dumplings.

Dishes include dozens of types of dumplings, including sweet, savory, and cheesy.

go to official website

go to menu

best cafe

Big Hat of Coffee

food at great cafe in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs food at great cafe in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs
food at great cafe in Cracow Old Town and decor and chairs


A charming cafe located a bit west of the Old Town with a beautiful decor and vibe.

Dishes include various types of coffee, Polish cakes and pastry, cocktails, and teas.

go to official website

go to menu

best bar

Polski Pub

beer at great traditional pub Polski Pub and decor and chairs beer at great traditional pub Polski Pub and decor and chairs
beer at great traditional pub Polski Pub and decor and chairs


A classic Polish pub in the absolute centre of Cracow with a unique urban atmosphere.

Drinks include various types of Polish beer, as well as smoked cheese, snacks, and drinks.

go to official website

go to menu

best bakery

Stara Pączkarnia

donuts at traditional bakery Stara Pączkarnia and decor and chairs donuts at traditional bakery Stara Pączkarnia and decor and chairs
donuts at traditional bakery Stara Pączkarnia and decor and chairs


A fantastic Polish-style donut chain with a rustic approach - 1950's-like.

The donuts come in a variety of flavors, including chocolate, rose jelly (a classic!) and more.

go to official website

go to menu

best breakfast

Gossip Cafe

breakfast and food at cafe Gossip Cafe and decor and chairs breakfast and food at cafe Gossip Cafe and decor and chairs
breakfast and food at cafe Gossip Cafe and decor and chairs


Located adjacent to the Old Town, this is an easy-going cafe/bakery to go to for a relaxing breakfast.

Dishes include beautifully-served scrambled eggs, toast, orange juice, and fruits.

go to official website

go to menu


CHAPTER 3

best hotels in Krakow







Grzegorz says:
There are literally hundreds of hotels in Krakow, and it can be a real waste of time looking through them all. Those are my choices for every type of traveler. No need to book long in advance.





our super low-budget picks


it's no bed of roses; it's no pleasure cruise - but these picks get the job done with dignity for a penny on the dollar.

Hostel
B Movie

interior of Hostel B Movie in Cracow Old Town inside interior of Hostel B Movie in Cracow Old Town inside
interior of Hostel B Movie in Cracow Old Town inside


rooms of Hostel B Movie in Cracow Old Town inside rooms of Hostel B Movie in Cracow Old Town inside
rooms of Hostel B Movie in Cracow Old Town inside


A classic movie-inspired dormitory-style hostel in the south of Cracow's Old Town.

Prices start at 23 zł [5.3 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

Welcome
2

interior of Welcome 2 in Cracow Old Town inside interior of Welcome 2 in Cracow Old Town inside
interior of Welcome 2 in Cracow Old Town inside


rooms of Welcome 2 in Cracow Old Town inside rooms of Welcome 2 in Cracow Old Town inside
rooms of Welcome 2 in Cracow Old Town inside


A basic & essential-focused clean bunk-bed hostel adjacent to the Old Town.

Prices start at 27 zł [6.3 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

Pink Panther's Hostel

interior of Pink Panther's Hostel in Cracow Old Town inside interior of Pink Panther's Hostel in Cracow Old Town inside
interior of Pink Panther's Hostel in Cracow Old Town inside


rooms of Pink Panther's Hostel in Cracow Old Town inside rooms of Pink Panther's Hostel in Cracow Old Town inside
rooms of Pink Panther's Hostel in Cracow Old Town inside


A nicely-decorated hostel in the dead centre of Cracow's Old Town - you won't find a better location.

Prices start at 38 zł [8.8 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com


our low-budget picks


for those who want to spend the minimum, but not the bare minimum.


Peregrinus Rooms & Apartments

interior of Peregrinus Rooms & Apartments in Cracow Old Town inside interior of Peregrinus Rooms & Apartments in Cracow Old Town inside
interior of Peregrinus Rooms & Apartments in Cracow Old Town inside


rooms of Peregrinus Rooms & Apartments in Cracow Old Town inside rooms of Peregrinus Rooms & Apartments in Cracow Old Town inside
rooms of Peregrinus Rooms & Apartments in Cracow Old Town inside


A neatly-decorated shared-bathroom double-room hostel directly adjacent to the Old Town.

Prices start at 40 zł [9.3 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

Flower
Rooms

rooms of Flower Rooms in Cracow Old Town inside rooms of Flower Rooms in Cracow Old Town inside
rooms of Flower Rooms in Cracow Old Town inside


interior of Flower Rooms in Cracow Old Town inside interior of Flower Rooms in Cracow Old Town inside
interior of Flower Rooms in Cracow Old Town inside


A double-room private-bathroom hostel in thee heart of the Old Town, right next to the Barbican.

Prices start at 44 zł [10.2 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

Aparthostel Cinnamon

rooms of Aparthostel Cinnamon in Cracow Old Town inside rooms of Aparthostel Cinnamon in Cracow Old Town inside
rooms of Aparthostel Cinnamon in Cracow Old Town inside


interior of Aparthostel Cinnamon in Cracow Old Town inside interior of Aparthostel Cinnamon in Cracow Old Town inside
interior of Aparthostel Cinnamon in Cracow Old Town inside


A neat shared-bathroom hostel north of the Old Town with clean, inviting decor.

Prices start at 46 zł [10.7 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com


our mid-budget picks


you don't want to miss out on any amenities, but you're not paying extra for fancy decor - this one's for you.


Nobilton
Hotel

rooms of Nobilton Hotel in Cracow Old Town inside rooms of Nobilton Hotel in Cracow Old Town inside
rooms of Nobilton Hotel in Cracow Old Town inside


interior of Nobilton Hotel in Cracow Old Town inside interior of Nobilton Hotel in Cracow Old Town inside
interior of Nobilton Hotel in Cracow Old Town inside


A great-value 3-star hotel with beautiful surroundings very close to the Old Town.

Prices start at 105 zł [24.4 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

Hotel
Lavender

rooms of Hotel Lavender in Cracow Old Town inside rooms of Hotel Lavender in Cracow Old Town inside
rooms of Hotel Lavender in Cracow Old Town inside


interior of Hotel Lavender in Cracow Old Town inside interior of Hotel Lavender in Cracow Old Town inside
interior of Hotel Lavender in Cracow Old Town inside


A beautifully-decorated 3-star hotel a bit north of the Old Town, with great food.

Prices start at 125 zł [29.0 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

Blue
Aparthotel

rooms of Blue Aparthotel in Cracow Old Town inside rooms of Blue Aparthotel in Cracow Old Town inside
rooms of Blue Aparthotel in Cracow Old Town inside


interior of Blue Aparthotel in Cracow Old Town inside interior of Blue Aparthotel in Cracow Old Town inside
interior of Blue Aparthotel in Cracow Old Town inside


An aparthotel right next to the Old Town with a pleasant, clean look and nice bathrooms.

Prices start at 117 zł [27.1 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com


our high-budget picks


for the ones who are coming to Poland for the trip of their lives - or just for the one's who always want the best of the best.


Hotel Unicus Palace

rooms of Hotel Unicus Palace in Cracow Old Town inside rooms of Hotel Unicus Palace in Cracow Old Town inside
rooms of Hotel Unicus Palace in Cracow Old Town inside


interior of Hotel Unicus Palace in Cracow Old Town inside interior of Hotel Unicus Palace in Cracow Old Town inside
interior of Hotel Unicus Palace in Cracow Old Town inside


An excuisite choice in the heart of the Old Town with beautiful decor and amenities.

Prices start at 220 zł [51.1 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

PURO Kraków Kazimierz

rooms of PURO Kraków Kazimierz in Cracow Old Town inside rooms of PURO Kraków Kazimierz in Cracow Old Town inside
rooms of PURO Kraków Kazimierz in Cracow Old Town inside


interior of PURO Kraków Kazimierz in Cracow Old Town inside interior of PURO Kraków Kazimierz in Cracow Old Town inside
interior of PURO Kraków Kazimierz in Cracow Old Town inside


Located in Kazimierz, it is a fantastic choice for Cracow's 2nd timers who want to explore new areas.

Prices start at 257 zł [59.7 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com

Privilege
Suites

rooms of Privilege Suites in Cracow Old Town inside rooms of Privilege Suites in Cracow Old Town inside
rooms of Privilege Suites in Cracow Old Town inside


interior of Privilege Suites in Cracow Old Town inside interior of Privilege Suites in Cracow Old Town inside
interior of Privilege Suites in Cracow Old Town inside


An aparthotel in Kazimierz with beautiful, professional decor and bathrooms.

Prices start at 197 zł [45.8 EUR] per person.

go to booking.com


CHAPTER 4

day trips from Krakow







Grzegorz says:
Day trips are great, but I would only recommend taking them after you've seen the city itself. Though this does not apply to Auschwitz, which every adult should witness. Remember to lick the walls of Wieliczka, too!




top 5 day trips from Cracow on greyscale simple map
top 5 day trips from Cracow on greyscale simple map

icon of number 1 with pink text and shadow Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps

The two concentration camps are located 50 kilometers west of Central Cracow, and are infamous for being the site of extermination of upwards of 1.1 million people during World War II. Today, it is a museum in memorial of "the martyrdom of the Polish nation and other nations in Oswiecim". A visit to eye-opening the museum should be a must for every adult during their lifetime.

It costs 45 zł [10.4 EUR] to enter the park. This entrance fee includes a guide in English. The park is about 1 hour and 15 minutes away by car, or about 2 hours away by public transport. To get there by public transport, you must first take a train to Oświęcim, and then take a short walk to the site. The journey will cost you 9 zł [2.1 EUR] each way.







Grzegorz recommends:
If you haven't yet been to Auschwitz-Birkenau, please go. In my opinion, every adult should visit the camp at least once to pay respect and ensure this never happens again.






road entrance to auschwitz with iron sign and barrier and red brick house in background road entrance to auschwitz with iron sign and barrier and red brick house in background
road entrance to auschwitz with iron sign and barrier and red brick house in background

road entrance to Auschwitz

ruins of bunk beds in Auschwitz prisoner's housing ruins of bunk beds in Auschwitz prisoner's housing
ruins of bunk beds in Auschwitz prisoner's housing

prisoner bunk-beds

rail entrance to auschwitz concentration camp with station entrance in background rail entrance to auschwitz concentration camp with station entrance in background
rail entrance to auschwitz concentration camp with station entrance in background

rail entrance to Auschwitz

prisoners' confiscated belongings in Auschwitz concentration camp prisoners' confiscated belongings in Auschwitz concentration camp
prisoners' confiscated belongings in Auschwitz concentration camp

prisoners' confiscated belongings



icon of number 2 with pink text and shadow Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine lies around 10 kilometers southeast from Central Cracow. It has been operational since the Neolithic times, and is one of Cracow's main attractions. Everything in the mine is made of salt - the sculptures, the walls, the ceilings. This creates an unparalleled, cave-like, almost divine atmosphere. There is an oddity to the underground architecture of the mine, and it is truly something to experience.

It costs up to 94 zł [21.8 EUR] per person to visit Wieliczka Salt Mine, but we consider that price to be worth it. It takes around 25 minutes to drive to the mine from Central Cracow, or about 30 minutes by local carrier train. The train ride will cost you 4 zł [0.8 EUR] each way.

main hall of Wieliczka Salt Mine near Cracow main hall of Wieliczka Salt Mine near Cracow
main hall of Wieliczka Salt Mine near Cracow

main hall of salt mine

ornaments on the wall of Wieliczka Salt Mine near Cracow ornaments on the wall of Wieliczka Salt Mine near Cracow
ornaments on the wall of Wieliczka Salt Mine near Cracow

ornaments on the wall



icon of number 3 with pink text and shadow Katowice

Katowice is one of Poland's largest cities, though it remains completely unexplored compared to Cracow. It is a more authentic Polish experience, away from tourism, and it is located only 70 kilometers west of Central Cracow. We have an entire dedicated article to Katowice, where you can read up on everything you need to know for your day trip.

It takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes to go from Central Cracow to Central Katowice by car (it's a motorway all the way there). Alternatively, you can take the train, which takes a bit under 2 hours and costs as little as 12 zł [2.8 EUR].
Spodek multipurpose arena in Katowice near Cracow with city in background Spodek multipurpose arena in Katowice near Cracow with city in background
Spodek multipurpose arena in Katowice near Cracow with city in background

Katowice's "Spodek"

Katowice St. Mary's Street with tenement houses along street and church in background Katowice St. Mary's Street with tenement houses along street and church in background
Katowice St. Mary's Street with tenement houses along street and church in background

Mariacka Street



icon of number 4 with pink text and shadow Zakopane & Tatra Mountains

Zakopane is a huge tourist attraction in Southern Poland and an epicenter of a Polish mountainous cultural group called Górale. The unique architecture of the mountains is truly on display in Zakopane, and so are the Tatran tastes, smells, and craftsmanship. Surrounding Zakopane are the Tatra Mountains, beautiful both in summer and in winter, and perfect for trekking, admiring views, and photography.

Zakopane lies 85 kilometers south of Central Cracow and is reachable by car (taking around 2 hours and 15 minutes) and by train (taking around 4.5 hours from Kraków Płaszów Station and costing 14 zł [3.2 EUR] each way). The general area of Tatra Mountains is best reachable by car, but can also be reached by PKS buses from Zakopane.
Krupówki area in Zakopane in Tatra Mountains with mountain-style houses and shops in background and horse carriage Krupówki area in Zakopane in Tatra Mountains with mountain-style houses and shops in background and horse carriage
Krupówki area in Zakopane in Tatra Mountains with mountain-style houses and shops in background and horse carriage

Zakopane's Krupówki

Zakopane in winter sunset with tatra mountains with snow in background, view from above Zakopane in winter sunset with tatra mountains with snow in background, view from above
Zakopane in winter sunset with tatra mountains with snow in background, view from above

Zakopane in winter

grasslands of Tatra Mountains near Zakopane with forests in Summer with Tatra Mountains in background grasslands of Tatra Mountains near Zakopane with forests in Summer with Tatra Mountains in background
grasslands of Tatra Mountains near Zakopane with forests in Summer with Tatra Mountains in background

mountain grasslands

Morskie Oko mountain lake in Tatra Mountains with mountains in background and stone beach Morskie Oko mountain lake in Tatra Mountains with mountains in background and stone beach
Morskie Oko mountain lake in Tatra Mountains with mountains in background and stone beach

mountain lake



icon of number 5 with pink text and shadow Ojcowski National Park

A small national park located 20 kilometers northwest of Central Cracow, known for its boulders and odd stone structures. It's the perfect place for a picnic, trekking, and photography. The nature in the park is truly breathtaking, and so are the ruins of Ojców Castle. Apart from flora, it is also known for its fauna, and especially the hundreds of types of birds and hundreds of bats living in the park's caves - but also deer, polecats, hares, and boards.

Ojcowski National Park is best accessible via Ojców, which is reachable by car in 30 minutes. You can also take a Unibus bus from Kraków Nowy Kleparz/Prądnicka station, which takes 35 minutes, departs roughly every 4 hours, and costs 10 zł [2.3 EUR].







Grzegorz recommends:
Most tourists go to Zakopane and Tatra Mountains. Locals, on the other hand, often like the tranquility and openness of Ojcowski National Park. It's unexplored Poland, really.






The Glove rock formation in Ojcowski Ojców National Park near Cracow with forest in background The Glove rock formation in Ojcowski Ojców National Park with forest in background
The Glove rock formation in Ojcowski Ojców National Park near Cracow with forest in background

"the Glove"

Ruins of Ojców Castle in Ojców Ojcowski National Park near Cracow with stone formation Ruins of Ojców Castle in Ojców Ojcowski National Park near Cracow with stone formation
Ruins of Ojców Castle in Ojców Ojcowski National Park near Cracow with stone formation

Ojców castle ruins



CHAPTER 5

travel to Krakow







Grzegorz says:
Cracow is quite well connected, and, if you can take the train, do it. Trains in Poland are great - and you don't need to book in advance, most of the time. Or go by car. Just don't fly domestically, take it from a local.




plane

The most popular way of getting to Cracow is by plane. There is a number of things you should know in relation to that.

To learn about the standards of Polish airports, as well as about destinations, go to our transport by plane article.

Cracow John Paul II Airport (KRK)

This is Cracow's one and only airport, quite inconveniently located almost 20 kilometers west of the city. It has one terminal, (quite ridiculously) making it the 2nd busiest airport in Poland.
Cracow John Paul II Balice Airport landside terminal depatures hall Cracow John Paul II Balice Airport landside terminal depatures hall
Cracow John Paul II Balice Airport landside terminal depatures hall

Cracow John Paul II landside

Cracow John Paul II Balice Airport airside near gates Cracow John Paul II Balice Airport airside near gates
Cracow John Paul II Balice Airport airside near gates

Cracow John Paul II airside

getting to the city centre

There are two popular ways of getting to Cracow from the airport. By far the best way is to take a train directly from the airport to the city center. It runs every hour and costs 9 zł [2.1 EUR] each way, taking less than 20 minutes. The second option is to take a taxi, which will take about 25 minutes and cost you 70 zł [16.3 EUR] for a regular taxi or around 50 zł [11.6 EUR] by Uber.



train

The other fastest, though much less conventional way of getting to Cracow, is by train. This is a great option if you're coming to Cracow from a different Polish city, but can also be done internationally if you're all about train travel.

You can learn everything there is to know about the standards of Polish trains, as well as about types of trains, buying tickets, and destinations by going to our transport by train article.








Grzegorz recommends:
Trains are how locals travel, they are fastest, they are flexible, and they are inexpensive. Don't underestimate them! They will make your trip to Poland more memorable.






stations

In truth, Cracow has one very large station, Kraków Główny (Cracow Main), located to the northeast of the Old Town.
Cracow Main Train Station outside, white with building Kraków Główny sign Cracow Main Train Station outside, white with building Kraków Główny sign
Cracow Main Train Station outside, white with building Kraków Główny sign

Cracow Main Station outside

Cracow Main Train Station inside departure hall with depature sign and ticket counters Cracow Main Train Station inside departure hall with depature sign and ticket counters
Cracow Main Train Station inside departure hall with depature sign and ticket counters

Cracow Main Station inside

destinations and prices

domestic

  • Warsaw - 4:30h | 62 zł [14.4 EUR]
  • Łódź - 2:30h | 45 zł [10.4 EUR]
  • Poznań - 6:30h | 72 zł [16.7 EUR]
  • Gdańsk - 8:00h | 80 zł [18.6 EUR]
  • Wrocław - 3:30h | 45 zł [10.4 EUR]
  • Katowice - 2:00h | 12 zł [2.8 EUR]
  • Szczecin - 8:00h | 80 zł [18.6 EUR]
  • international

    All relevant international connections to Poland, along with their prices and times, can be seen in the transport by train article.



    bus

    As long-haul buses re-gain popularity with the rise of companies like Flixbus, so does traveling to Cracow by bus. However, with the availability of cheap flights to Cracow, travel to Cracow by bus makes the most sense from other Polish cities.

    To learn about bus companies in Poland, as well as about how to find buses, buy tickets, and about the quality of buses, head to our transport by bus article.

    bus stations

    In Cracow, long-haul buses typically stop and depart simply at what is called the main bus station, adjacent to the main train station. What's great about this is that the main station is the most accessible spot in the city.
    bus station in Cracow Krakow PKS Dworzec Autobusowy for long-haul buses bus station in Cracow Krakow PKS Dworzec Autobusowy for long-haul buses
    bus station in Cracow Krakow PKS Dworzec Autobusowy for long-haul buses

    the bus station in Cracow (called MDA)

    Flixbus at the Cracow Kraków PKS long-haul bus station Flixbus at the Cracow Kraków PKS long-haul bus station
    Flixbus at the Cracow Kraków PKS long-haul bus station

    Flixbus at the Cracow bus station

    direct destinations

    domestic

    Currently, from Cracow you can go to all major Polish cities via direct connections.

    international

    The main direct bus destinations from Cracow are Berlin, Dresden, Nurnberg, Ljubljana, Kiev, Mannheim, Prague, Minsk, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Vilnius, Riga, Copenhagen, Paris, Amsterdam, Milan, and many, many more.



    car

    Taking a road trip to Poland, or to Cracow in this case, is a great idea, especially from Germany, Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Everything you need to know is explained in our transport by car article.




    CHAPTER 6

    public transport in Krakow







    Grzegorz says:
    Look, you can rent a car and drive around the city, but if you want to be like a real local, you need to get up close and personal with trams and buses. It may seem scary at first, but it's super intuitive. Here's how I do it.




    tickets

    To learn about ticket validation in a given vehicle, as well as how to check how long your journey will be, head to the vehicle's dedicated article.

    There are a number of types of tickets in Cracow, with the main difference between them being validity time and zone validity. There are also reduced-fare tickets, but because of the inconsistency of the information given on the website with the information given by ticket controllers, we do not recommend buying reduced-fare tickets no matter your status.

    It's important that we first underline that all public transport tickets in Cracow are valid on all means of public transport (though this does not include urban rail and regular trains - more on that below).

    Cracow's zones

    Cracow is divided into two public transport zones - the inner zone, called zone 1, includes the entire municipality of Cracow, though excluding the airport and Wieliczka Salt Mine. Those are included in the second zone, which also includes orbital towns, cities, and villages.

    Cracow public transport zones aglomeration city proper

    types of tickets

  • 20-minute ticket - zone 1 - 2.8 zł [0.7 EUR]
    This type of ticket is great for short inner-city trips, such as to your hotel. In 20 minutes, you can traverse most of the city centre.
  • 40-minute ticket - zone 1 - 3.8 zł [0.9 EUR]
    A 40-minute ticket covers most of Cracow, and especially the areas you are likely to visit as a tourist.
  • single-journey ticket - zone 1 - 3.8 zł [0.9 EUR]
    This ticket allows you to travel any one journey or for up to 40 minutes by any public transport. This means that this ticket is only valid in the vehicle you validate it in (or for 40 minutes if you leave the vehicle you validated your ticket in).
  • single-journey ticket - zones 1 and 2 - 4.0 zł [0.93 EUR]
    This ticket allows you to travel any one journey or for up to 40 minutes by any public transport in the entire aglomeration. This, however, means that this ticket is only valid in the vehicle you validate it in (or for 40 minutes if you leave the vehicle you validated your ticket in).
  • 60-minute ticket - zone 1 - 5.0 zł [1.2 EUR]
    This ticket covers the entirety of Cracow, and can even be used for two-way travel if you're only going to the store to pick something up.
  • 60-minute ticket - zones 1 and 2 - 5.0 zł [1.2 EUR]
    This ticket covers most of the aglomeration, and can even be used for two-way travel if you're only going to the store to pick something up.
  • 90-minute ticket - zone 1 - 6.0 zł [1.4 EUR]
    This ticket easily covers the entirety of Cracow, and can easily be used for two-way travel if you're only going to the store to pick something up, or perhaps even to a fast-food restaurant.
  • 90-minute ticket - zones 1 and 2 - 6.0 zł [1.4 EUR]
    This ticket covers pretty much the entire aglomeration, and can even be used for two-way travel if you're only going to the store to pick something up, or perhaps even to a fast-food restaurant.
  • double-journey ticket - zone 1 - 7.2 zł [1.7 EUR]
    This ticket allows you to travel any two journeys with Cracow Municipality or for up to 40 minutes per validation by any public transport. This means that this ticket must be validated twice (see instructions on the ticket) and is only valid in the vehicles it has been validated in (or for 40 minutes if you leave the vehicle you validated your ticket in).
  • double-journey ticket - zones 1 and 2 - 7.6 zł [1.8 EUR]
    This ticket allows you to travel any two journeys within Cracow's Aglomeration or for up to 40 minutes per validation by any public transport. This means that this ticket must be validated twice (see instructions on the ticket) and is only valid in the vehicles it has been validated in (or for 40 minutes if you leave the vehicle you validated your ticket in).
  • 24-hour ticket - zone 1 - 15 zł [3.5 EUR]
    A great option for tourists; this ticket allows you to travel by public transport freely within Cracow Municipality for 24 hours after validation.
  • 24-hour ticket - zones 1 and 2 - 20 zł [4.6 EUR]
    A great option for tourists living outside the Cracow Municipality; this ticket allows you to travel by public transport freely within Cracow Municipality for 24 hours after validation.
  • 72-hour ticket - zone 1 - 36 zł [8.4 EUR]
    A great option for tourists staying in Cracow for 3 days; this ticket allows you to travel by public transport freely within Cracow Municipality for 72 hours after validation, allowing you to see all of the attractions.
  • 7-day ticket - zone 1 - 48 zł [11.1 EUR]
    A great option for tourists staying in Cracow for a week; this ticket allows you to travel by public transport freely within Cracow Municipality for 72 hours after validation, allowing you to see all of the attractions. The great thing about it is that you only have to buy a ticket once, and won't have to worry about it for the rest of your trip.
  • 7-day ticket - zones 1 and 2 - 62 zł [14.4 EUR]
    A great option for tourists staying in Cracow Aglomeration for a week; this ticket allows you to travel by public transport freely within Cracow Municipality for 72 hours after validation, allowing you to see all of the attractions. The great thing about it is that you only have to buy a ticket once, and won't have to worry about it for the rest of your trip.
  • weekend family ticket - zone 1 - 16 zł [3.7 EUR]
    This ticket allows up to 2 parents and their children to travel freely within the Cracow Municipaliy on Saturday and Sunday. This is great if it fits your intinerary.
  • weekend family ticket - zones 1 and 2 - 16 zł [3.7 EUR]
    This ticket costs the same as its 1-zone equivalent and allows up to 2 parents and their children to travel freely within the Cracow Aglomeration on Saturday and Sunday. This is great if it fits your intinerary.
  • single-journey group ticket - zone 1 - 36 zł [8.4 EUR]
    This ticket allows a group of up to 20 persons to travel any one journey or for up to 40 minutes by any public transport within Cracow's Municipality. This means that this ticket is only valid in the vehicle you validate it in (or for 40 minutes if you leave the vehicle you validated your ticket in).
  • single-journey group ticket - zones 1 and 2 - 46 zł [10.7 EUR]
    This ticket allows a group of up to 20 persons to travel any one journey or for up to 40 minutes by any public transport within the entire Aglomeration. This means that this ticket is only valid in the vehicle you validate it in (or for 40 minutes if you leave the vehicle you validated your ticket in).

  • As you can see, there are a lot of types, but they are well-designed and catered to both tourists and locals. All of the tickets above can be purchased in any location that sells tickets.

    public transport tickets in Cracow Kraków collage

    buying tickets

    In Cracow, the only sensible way to buy public transport tickets is using the ticket machines located all over the city. Whenever you will need to use public transport, you will easily find a machine. If not, there are also in-vehicle machines in most trams and buses. You can read more about buying and validating tickets in the dedicated articles of the various means of transport.



    tram

    To learn about ticket validation, standards in buses in Poland, finding routes, and the types of tram stops, head to our tram article.

    Cracow has a medium-sized tram system for Polish standards, with 27 lines and about 95 kilometers of tracks. Below is a metro-style map of the system.

    metro-style tram map in Cracow Kraków map

    what are trams in Cracow like?

    Most of them are quite modern, especially those on more popular routes, meaning the routes you are more likely to take as a tourist. Moreover, most Cracovian trams have in-tram ticket machines.
    modern blue and white tram in Cracow Kraków with city in background modern blue and white tram in Cracow Kraków with city in background
    modern blue and white tram in Cracow Kraków with city in background

    Cracow tram outside

    modern grey and blue seats in Cracow Kraków tram with ticket validation machine in background modern grey and blue seats in Cracow Kraków tram with ticket validation machine in background
    modern grey and blue seats in Cracow Kraków tram with ticket validation machine in background

    Cracow tram seats





    bus

    There is nothing unique about the bus system in Cracow. For everything you need to know, head to our general city bus article.









    Grzegorz recommends:
    I hate saying this, but, if you can, take the tram over the bus. It's not a huge hassle to take the bus, but there's a reason why trams exist in the first place.






    blue and white modern bus in Cracow Kraków mercedes at bus stop blue and white modern bus in Cracow Kraków mercedes at bus stop
    blue and white modern bus in Cracow Kraków mercedes at bus stop

    bus outside

    seats of modern bus in Cracow Kraków with ticket machine and validation machine seats of modern bus in Cracow Kraków with ticket machine and validation machine
    seats of modern bus in Cracow Kraków with ticket machine and validation machine

    bus inside




    urban rail

    To learn about ticket validation, standards of urban rail in Poland, finding routes, and stations, head to our urban rail article.

    Cracow's urban rail system is called Szybka Kolej Aglomeracyjna (SKA for short) and is a rather unique one. It is comprised of 3 lines, out of which 2 are East-West lines and one is a North-South line.

    Cracow SKA map

    map of Cracow Kraków SKA Szybka Kolej Aglomeracyjna urban rail system

    The ticket system in SKA trains is only partially inteegrated with the ticket system of the rest of the public transport network in Cracow.

    For journeys on the Wieliczka Rynek Kopalnia - Kraków Główny (Cracow Main Station) line, you can either buy an integrated ticket valid for 70 minutes on all public transport in the Cracow Municipality (for 5.4 zł [1.3 EUR]), or a one-time ticket valid 2 hours after validation for 4 zł [0.8 EUR].

    For journeys on the Wieliczka Rynek Kopalnia - Kraków Olszanica segment, the same applies to journeys from 1 to 14 kilometers. For journeys up to 20 kilometers, the 2-hour ticket costs 5 zł [1.2 EUR]. For journeys up to 25 kilometers, it's 7 zł [1.6 EUR].

    For journeys to Cracow Airport, you can only buy dedicated tickets for that specific route, which cost between 9 zł [2.1 EUR] and 12.5 zł [2.9 EUR].

    For trips between Cracow Main Station and Skawina, there are only one-way tickets for 4.5 zł [1 EUR].

    For trips between Cracow Main Station and Tarnów, Nowy Sącz, Krynica, or Jasło, there are only one-way tickets, which cost between 12 zł [2.8 EUR] and 18 zł [4.2 EUR].

    An updated price scheme (in Polish, unfortunately) can be found on the Lesser Poland Railways website.
    Cracow Kraków SKA Szybka Kolej Aglomeracyjna train outside Cracow Kraków SKA Szybka Kolej Aglomeracyjna train outside
    Cracow Kraków SKA Szybka Kolej Aglomeracyjna train outside

    SKA train

    Cracow Kraków SKA Szybka Kolej Aglomeracyjna train inside seats Cracow Kraków SKA Szybka Kolej Aglomeracyjna train inside seats
    Cracow Kraków SKA Szybka Kolej Aglomeracyjna train inside seats

    SKA train inside




    bike

    Cracow's bike sharing system (Wavelo) and bike rental scene is very generic. Everything you need to know can be found in the bike article.

    Wavelo Cracow bike sharing system rental station with bikes Wavelo Cracow bike sharing system rental station with bikes
    Wavelo Cracow bike sharing system rental station with bikes

    Wavelo rental station

    Wavelo Cracow bike sharing system locking unit at rental station Wavelo Cracow bike sharing system locking unit at rental station
    Wavelo Cracow bike sharing system locking unit at rental station

    Wavelo locking unit




    taxi/Uber

    Read all about calling taxis and Ubers, as well as the prices in Poland, in our taxi/Uber article.

    Our recommended taxi company, Taxi Barbakan, is reachable under +48 609 400 400, and costs 7 zł [1.6 EUR] initiation fee and 2.3 zł [0.5 EUR] per kilometer.
    black taxi barbakan audi taxi at waiting area in Cracow black taxi barbakan audi taxi at waiting area in Cracow
    black taxi barbakan audi taxi at waiting area in Cracow

    good availability in Cracow

    taxi waiting area in Cracow next to shopping centre with taxi sign taxi waiting area in Cracow next to shopping centre with taxi sign
    taxi waiting area in Cracow next to shopping centre with taxi sign

    taxi waiting area in Cracow