Krakow

Facts, travel tips and tourist information.

Index:

Airport
Trains
Transportation
Where to stay?
Restaurants
Tipping
Drinking water
Sights
Banks and money
Shopping
Literature

Inhabitants: about 800,000 (Poland's third biggest city)
Location: Southern Poland - Krakow on Google Maps.
Area code: 0048
Currency: Zloty (PLN). 1 PLN = 0.27

Airport

John Paul II international airport lies 11 km west of Krakow.

There are trains to Krakow's station. It leaves about 200 metres from the terminal. A ticket costs 4 PLN if you buy it from a machine, or 8 PLN if you buy it on the train. There are also buses to Krakow. It costs 2.5 PLN if you buy the ticket from a machine, or 3 PLN if you buy it on the bus. If you have bigger a piece of luggage you need a ticket for that as well. Remember to validate the ticket once you are on the bus.

Of course there are also taxis. A taxi from the airport to the centre will usually cost 60 - 70 PLN.

There is an ATM in arrivals where you can draw cash.

See Cracow-life.com for more detailed information.

Trains

Krakow has a railway station, Krakow Glowny. For timetables see The Polish railways' website.

Transportation

Buses and trams are a good and cheap way to get around outside the old city centre. Tickets are sold in small kiosks all over the city. It costs 2.5 PLN regardless of distance. You can also rent a bike if your behind is not sensitive to bumpy cobblestones.

Taxis are fairly cheap, but don't flag them in the streets! It is 30 % cheaper if you phone. I presume this is to discourage pirate taxis.

If you drive a car you should beware that it is very difficult to find a place to park in the old city centre.

Where to stay?

Krakow's old centre is the city's biggest attraction, so of course it is convenient to stay here or in the vicinity. There are many hotels, and of course it will cost you extra to stay in the centre. However hotels are still fairly cheap compared to Western Europe.

Restaurants in Krakow

Krakow's old city is a minefield of restaurants and there are some top-notch places. You can read about our culinary adventures in my travelogues from 2005 and 2007. At Cracow-life.com one can read about the many restaurants. If you leave the old city centre you can find some very cheap eateries.

Tipping

Usually tips are included and not expected. You can tip taxi drivers, but it is not expected.

Drinking Water

Tap water contains so much chlorine that using toothpaste with fluoride is overkill.

Sights

The city's old centre is a sight in itself and there are lots of exiting things to look at and visit. There is the market hall and the tower of the city hall. There are many churches and museums. Just south of the city centre is Wawel, the royal castle and the cathedral. Further south (but within walking distance) is the old Jewish district, Kazimierz, where Spielberg shot "Schindler's List". 12 km southeast of Krakow the old salt mine Wielieczka deservedly attracts many visitors, and 60 km to the west is Auschwitz, the World War II concentration camp.

Banks and Money

Banks are open 08:30-18:00 Monday to Friday. There are many ATMs (at least in the centre) that accept the usual plastic cards.

Shopping

There are many shops in Krakow. I am not much of a shopper myself and therefore not the best of guides, but clothes, shoes, leather stuff and amber jewellery seemed to be cheap. Krakow's top shopping street is ul. Florianska, but imported international brands are not the best buy.

Literature

There are several good sources on the web, and my own travelogues have some links:

Have a nice trip!


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Updated 28th July 2007