Finding your way around a new city can either be a fun adventure or a frustrating waste of time. We could say that this is all a matter of perspective, but in place of a philosophical lesson, we’re going to give you some practical information instead. Krakow not only has a fabulously well-connected system of inner city transport but is also cosy enough that you never have to go very far to get to where you need to be. Below we have laid out everything you need to know to make exploring our city a stress-free experience. Scroll down for up-to-date info, tips, prices, timetables about trams, buses, mini-buses, trains, taxis, bicycles & walking.
The tram system is the fastest and most convenient way to visit pretty much every part of the city, right up to the outskirts. Krakow’s trams take you to visit ancient castles and monuments and they also have a fascinating history of their own which traces all the way back to 1882. It was in this year that the very first trams hit our streets but instead of running on electricity or steam, they were pulled by horses! These days, alongside more classic we have lots of fancy new eco-friendly trams complete with air conditioning, bicycle & luggage racks, USB phone chargers and more. However, alongside these there are also lots of classic trams still in operation which make up for in character what they lack in mod cons.
Aboard one of Krakow’s blue trams, we suggest taking yourself on a low cost alternative sightseeing tour of the city. Many tram lines will carry you on a journey from one side of the city to the other through important historical streets lined with architectural magnificence, around tree-filled parks, over bridges and rivers, to the Soviet-built factory worker suburb of Nowa Huta, through Podgorze: former Austro-Hungarian city, right through the middle of Kazimierz Jewish District, the Old Town and even beneath Wawel Castle. You’ll be surprised just how much you can take in from the window of a Krakow tram.
Tickets & Ticket Inspectors
Tickets can be purchased in several ways but honestly, none of them are particularly reliable. To make matters worse, overzealous ticket inspectors are often lurking around, waiting for unfortunate ticketless travellers to pounce on.
There are big blue ticket machines at maybe a third of stops and also in the front carriage of every tram (but not in the back carriage on the older ones). Some of these have a credit card payment option but be aware that it very often does not work. The ticket machines at tram stops should also technically take physical cash in the form of notes and change, but, again, be aware that it very often will not work for notes, only coins… and sometimes not even those. This is alright if you have time to go find change or a store selling tickets, but if you’re in a hurry it can mean being forced to jump on the tram without a ticket.
We recommend always carrying enough change in coins to buy your tickets, or, buying tickets in advance so you don’t have to worry. You can also purchase tickets from many small convenience stores and in a worst-case scenario (such as none of the ticket machines working – unfortunately not so rare), you can go to the very front of the tram, knock on the window & buy a ticket from the actual driver (but don’t do this unless it’s a last resort).
Time for another important note: when you buy a ticket from the machine – you still need to validate it on board the tram in the little yellow/orange boxes. If the ticket inspectors happen to come on board and you present them with an unvalidated ticket they will absolutely not care that you are a tourist and didn’t know any better or that you have any sort of legitimate excuse. Famously robotic, they work on commission, so the more people they give fines to, the more money they make. They will try to make you pay on the spot but if you refuse, they can also give you a ticket to be paid online or in the MPK office. Avoid this by having the right change to buy a ticket and validating it as soon as you board your tram!
There are plenty of ticket types to choose from; including short spans of time such as 20, 40, 60 mins, longer-lasting tickets such daily, weekly, monthly, and inclusive tickets such as the family ticket. Rather conveniently, these tickets can be simultaneously used on busses, giving you the option to switch back and forth between the two to get where you need to be. Within the allotted time of your ticket, you can hop on and off as many inner city trams and busses as you’d like.
Current Fares (2019):
20 min – 3.40zl
50 min – 4.60zl
90 min – 6zl
24 hrs – 15zl
48 hrs – 28zl
72 hrs – 42zl
7 days –- 56zl
Weekend Family Ticket – 16zl
Single Journey Group Ticket (up to 20 people) – 36zl
*These are prices for standard tickets, for reduced prices or further information please visit the official MPK Krakow Tram Price List.
*These prices also apply to city busses.
Krakow’s trams are definitely the main mode of transport when it comes to central city travel, but when it comes to those kinda out of the way, hard to reach corners – a city bus can be the perfect way to scratch that itch.
Bus tickets and tram tickets are one in the same. They can be used interchangeably and bought in the same places: onboard machines, at selected bus/tram stops or in some small convenience stores. However, as you cannot purchase a ticket from the driver as we did once upon a time in less technological days, you should always carry correct change to be on the safe side. See the tram ticket section above for more information.
Here’s a list of official timetables which can be sorted either by line, bus stop or street.
To get to and from the John Paul II International Airport Krakow-Balice, you can take public bus lines: 208, 252, 308 (express) or night bus 902 (click on number for full timetable & stops). Night bus 902 is the only bus which stops in the Old Town, and the closest the other busses come near the centre is at stop ‘Plac Invalidow’ from which you can take a 15 min walk down the historical ul.Karmeliczka to the centre, or jump on tram 18, 14 or 70. Be aware that as the airport lies outside of Krakow city limits, the approx. 50-minute bus journey will cost a little extra, setting you back 4.60zl for the ride. This is the cheapest method of transport to and from the airport.
Click here for more info on Krakow Airport transit via bus.
This is the transport for the real adventurers. When it comes to exploring the green, mountainous countryside embracing Krakow with its infinity of picturesque hidden villages – the iconic rural minibuses are a great way to discover the true off-the-tourist-trail beauty of Poland for just a few coins. Visit regional Małopolska, Podkarpackie, Beskidy, Gorce or Spiz for pristine nature, flora & fauna, lakeside castles, ancient wooden architecture, villages lost in time, farm life, rolling meadows, spectacular mountain top views and more.
Running the gamut from a large vintage van to a very small modern bus, these private company vehicles are on their own kind of laid back, village schedule. So, don’t expect high class luxury but do expect super friendly and helpful drivers who will go out of their way to drop you off wherever you like, while your fellow passengers (who often all know each other) will be sure to offer you plenty of useful information about the area, gossip about their neighbours and invite you back to their place for tea.
There are so many small family companies running these little bus lines that it can be a muddle trying to find the right one or the right times. Doubling down the confusion, the people running these minibus companies often have little to no interest in putting up timetables online or even at the bus stop, so, your best bet is often just to ask locals (who usually know it by heart). That said – this uncertainty can take you out of your shell and make your trip ten times as fun. Jump on one of these spirited busses from numerous locations such as Krakow’s Main Bus Station, Rondo Matezcnego, Plac Bohaterow Getta and Plac Invalidow. Forget your plans and let yourself get lost 🙂
You can only buy them old school: onboard from the driver and with coins or small notes. Sometimes you will pay when you get on, stating your destination, other times you will just pay wherever you decide to get off. Either way, it’s very cheap and will only cost you a few złoty.
From Krakow’s Main Train Station, you can explore the whole of Poland and Europe beyond. Our fantastically connected train system allows for generally direct and comfortable travel between Krakow and a huge range of locations. Fascinating nearby cities, towns and sites such as Wieliczka with it’s world famous Salt Mine, Tarnow with its charming historical centre, Auschwitz with its harrowing concentration camp, Zakopane at the foot of the mountains & Muszyna spa town, surrounded by Pieniny National Park on the Slovakian border. Head even further afield on the express train (Pendolino) to Polish capital city Warsaw (only 2 hours), to the river-lined, sleepy bohemian city of Wrocław, right up north to seaside Baltic coast beauties Gdansk & Gdynia or get international with trains direct to neighbouring European cities such as Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Moscow and Berlin.
Search here for all trains, timetables & fares
Prices will change depending on the time and day of your travel and how far in advance you book it. Some trains you can book online, others you will need to book in person at Krakow Głowny aka the Main Train Station.
The airport transfer train can be the most convenient way to get to and from your flight. Running back and forth all day between Krakow Main Station and Krakow Airport, this comfortable, spacious and modern train has air conditioning & heating, ample room for you and your baggage, onboard ticket machines & conductors and a no fuss direct delivery and pick up from right inside the main building of the Krakow Airport. The train station really is the most closely and conveniently located we have come across in any airport across the world. For those who are staying a bit out of the centre, it’s worth mentioning that this train also stops at several other stations such as Zabłocie/Podgórze, Wieliczka and Łobzów.
Purchase with cash or card from machines at the station, on board from the machine (cash/card) or from the train conductor (only cash).
Taxis in Krakow can be a perfectly reasonable and affordable option – given you know which companies to use and which to avoid! As in every country, taxi prices can vary wildly and there are some taxi drivers who regularly scam unknowing tourists by driving in random directions to build up the fare meter, or most commonly by overcharging. It’s something most well-travelled people have encountered at some point but it’s easy to avoid if you learn beforehand how much a journey should generally cost and have the number of a reliable taxi company.
Here are two of the best companies to use, which are most popularly frequented by locals for both their trustworthiness, cleanliness and their low prices:
+48 12 644 22 22
Accepts cash & card
Initial Fee: 7zl
Plus Tarif: 1.80zl per k/m travelled.
+48 12 653 5555
+48 12 888 0000
Accepts cash & card
Initial Fee: 7zl
Plus Tarif: 1.98zl per k/m travelled.
These companies all have ONE rate which applies within Zone I (Krakow City Limits), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week & including holidays. So, you will never be told the price is ten times as much because it’s Sunday or after 10 pm or something. One set price, all the time.
However, if you are taking a trip outside of city limits, be aware that the tariff can almost double per k/m. In this case, it’s better to find a taxi company who specialise in these things. For trips outside of Krakow such as airport pickup, Wieliczka Salt Mine, Auschwitz or Zakopane, we highly recommend krakowtaxi.com
When it comes to exploring Krakow’s infinite labyrinth of pastel streets, leafy parks and large pedestrian-only areas such as the Old Town, bikes are the most useful form of transport you can have and will get you where nothing else will.
There are many places to hire bicycles but Krakow’s official city bike Wawelo is probably the most budget friendly option and it’s very easy to use. All you have to do is sign up to their service online, receive your personal code, type into the bike to unlock it and off you go.
Their bike ports are stationed at important locations all over Krakow, so rather than having to return your bicycle to the hire shop at the end of the day, you can just leave it wherever is most convenient for you. This also means that you only pay for the time you’re actually cycling and not all the time in between.
For example: you can ride to the museum, return the bike to the Wawelo rack, spend three hours looking around inside and then come out, pick up a new bicycle and start all over again. You can also leave your bicycle somewhere out of the racks but Wawelo will charge you 3zl extra for this.
To open your account costs a one-time 10zl fee, after this you have two options of how to proceed.
Pay As You Go:
Top-up your account mobile phone style
0.17zl per minute = 1.70zl for 10 mins = 10.20zl per actual hour cycled.
Pay for the Day:
24hrs in which to use up 12 hours of actual cycle time.
29zl flat fee.
KRK Bike Rental
If Wawelo seems all too new fangled and you’d prefer to go the old-fashioned route of straight up renting a bicycle from a storefront, we can recommend this place for their reliable service, price and quality.
These guys have a great reputation among locals and expats and their bicycles have a rather funky style. From their central headquarters, just 40 metres from the Old Town, you can hire bikes, tandems, children’s bikes, electric, children’s chairs and bicycle trailers.
Per hour: 9zl
Per day: 50zl
We offer a couple of fantastic two-wheeler tours on cool beachcruiser style bicycles. A fun and playful few hours throughout which we will laugh and learn together, feel the wind in our hair and experience the city and the countryside like locals.
Krakow City Bicycle Tour
We will take you around the inner city, weaving through beautiful historical streets and visiting loads of Krakow’s most fascinating places including Wawel Castle, Schindler’s Factory, bohemian Kazimierz, the ancient Old Town, the Dragon Cave and the Vistula River.
Krakow Country Bicycle Tour
Spend the afternoon exploring Krakow’s truly beautiful surrounding countryside as we cycle along the riverside bike paths leading to majestic Tyniec Monastery. Relax and unwind as we gently cruise past forests, meadows and picturesque farmland dotted with ancient fortresses, palaces and villages to reach the hilltop Abbey with it’s famous organic food store and cafe, just in time for the perfect sunset.
This is the perfect city for peaceful wandering. Slow your day down with a huge range of fascinating and diverse cafes, museums, galleries, historical buildings and more all packed into several cosy and neighbouring districts. Gorgeous green parks and beautiful cobbled streets connect everything, making this city not only easily walkable but enjoyably so. We highly recommend taking your time to wander through the Old Town, Kazimierz, Podgorze and Debniki, or along the picturesque banks of the river Vistula in order to make the most out of your stay in Krakow.
It would be unkind of us not to let you in on Krakow’s little public transport secret: Jakdojade.com. This genie of trams, trains and busses will be your best friend when it comes to getting from one place to another. Type in your starting location and your desired destination, plus the time you want to leave, and Jakdojade will display all the forms of transport available to get you from point A to point B. It will show you the exact route you need to take, including any bits you have to walk, on a detailed map alongside all the possible times and alternative versions of your trip in existence. No more getting lost or confused, no matter how complicated the journey might be.