Getting Around Krakow – Your Essential Transportation Handbook

So, you’re planning a trip and looking for ways of getting around Kraków? Let me say, to fully soak in the beauty of this city, even if it’s just a short stay, knowing how to navigate through the different transport options is crucial. Even though Krakow’s city center isn’t too big, moving from one point to another can be a bit tricky at times.

Throw in the frequent roadwork, the ever-changing bus schedules, and those sometimes puzzling Google maps not always in sync with the public transport data. No worries though, I’m here to help. I’ve put together a handy guide on Krakow’s transportation modes, with all the details you need.

Getting Around Krakow – The Nitty-Gritty

If you’re wondering how to get around Krakow, I think the most straightforward, convenient and budget-friendly way is public transport. With Krakow’s efficient network, trams and buses are all you need for zipping around the city, whether for sightseeing or business. I can tell you, there are over 160 bus routes and close to 30 tram lines at your service. Keep reading and we will get to this very soon.

Using Cars

Before we dive in, it’s worth saying that driving in the city center is usually not the best idea. If your plans involve the Market Square area, know that many streets there are off-limits to cars without the right permissions. Most hotels in the center don’t provide parking, and street parking comes with hefty fees, payable at parking meters or through the SkyCash app. As of now, it’s 6 PLN for the every hour of parking (June 2023).

↳ Make sure to read my guide to the most amazing places to stay in Kraków:
How to Find Best Place to Stay in Krakow Old Town – Your Guide

I believe it’s important to mention that Krakow is leading the charge against air pollution too. Kazimierz, a district in Krakow, is designated a „clean transport zone„, allowing only eco-friendly vehicles.

Breakdown of Parking Fees in Kraków

The first and subsequent parking hours are, respectively:

  • subzone A – PLN 6,
  • subzone B – PLN 5,
  • subzone C – PLN 4.

The ticket for not paying the parking fee is PLN 150.

Getting Around Krakow by Bus or Tram

Getting around Krakow is a breeze with their public transportation system which is one of the best in Europe. While the Kraków do not have a metro, their extensive network of bus and tram lines more than makes up for it. These lines cater to both locals and tourists alike, and I am convinced that they’ll fulfill your transportation needs during your stay.

At major stops, you’ll find electronic timetables and ticket vending machines (which accept both card and cash). You can also find ticket machines inside the vehicles, and these accept cash or card, depending on the machine type. Do note, drivers don’t sell tickets if the machines are operational.

When using public transport in Krakow, it’s important to consider the zone in which you’ll be traveling. Ticket options include:

  • Zone I: This covers the heart of the city and all the main attractions. If you plan to stick to Krakow’s highlights, this option will serve you well.
  • Zone I + II Agglomeration: Opt for this if you plan to venture further out from the city center to places like Wieliczka or Balice Airport.

While tickets may not be the cheapest, you can tailor them to your needs, from 20-minute tickets to multi-day passes. Reduced tickets are available for students up to 26 years old with a valid ID card. Additionally, kids up to 7 years old and seniors over 70 can ride for free.

If you want to check a specific route, I suggest using the „Jakdojade” app, as Google maps can sometimes provide incorrect information (Here it is for Android, and here for iPhone).

Bus and Tram Ticket Prices in Kraków (2023):

  • 20-minute ticket: 4 PLN
  • 60-minute or single-ride ticket: 6 PLN
  • 90-minute ticket: 8 PLN
  • Monthly ticket for one line: 54 PLN (with Krakow Card), 80 PLN (without Krakow Card)
  • Monthly network card for Zone I: 80 PLN (with Krakow Card), 148 PLN (without Krakow Card)
  • Semi-annual ticket for Zone I: 420 PLN (with the Krakow Card). Without the Krakow Card, the semi-annual ticket isn’t valid.

Where to Buy Tickets:

  • Vending machines at stops
  • Vending machines in buses and trams
  • Stationary sales points
  • Mobile apps of the Małopolska Agglomeration Card, mPay, moBilet, or SkyCash.

Krakow by Bicycle

When the weather’s nice, why not hop on a bike and discover the farther corners of Kraków? The Wavelo public bikes are an excellent choice. All you need to do is register on their app, find the nearest station, and unlock a bike using a code sent to your phone.

When you’re done exploring, simply return the bike to the nearest station. And here’s the kicker: for a small fee of 3 PLN, you can leave it anywhere, and if you retrn a bike left this way by another user to a station, you’ll earn 1 PLN on the app!

The Wavelo network comprises over 1,500 bikes and more than 160 stations where you can rent or return a bike. To use this system, you need to register either via their website or mobile app. Afterward, you’ll receive an account number and a PIN, necessary to unlock a bike. You can rent the bikes with a subscription or on a pay-per-minute basis.

You must use PIN to unlock a bike

Here’s a Look at the Pricing:

  • 20 PLN per month for 60 minutes per day
  • 25 PLN per month for 90 minutes per day
  • 35 PLN (+10 PLN deposit for the card)

Zipping Around Krakow on a Scooter

You’ll find electronic scooters parked at every corner in Krakow, thanks to the Hulaj and Hive apps. These scooters are a fuss-free option as you don’t need to return them to stations. Technicians come around to replace the batteries on discharged scooters. But remember, always leave scooters in safe spots so they don’t obstruct other road users.

Pricing on the Hulaj App:

  • 1 PLN to start
  • 59 gr per minute

You can top up the app with 25 PLN, 50 PLN, or 100 PLN via PayU and PayPal.

Taking a Taxi Ride in Krakow

A taxi ride can be a super convenient choice, especially for late-night returns to your hotel. However, it is worth to say that taxis hired directly from stands tend to be pricier. Although Krakow’s taxi drivers are generally honest and always use meters, the ride can still be expensive. I would recommend waiting a few minutes and calling a taxi from one of the cheaper providers like Icar, Mega, or Eco. You can also make use of Uber and Mytaxi apps in Krakow.

Here’s a Glimpse of Icar’s Pricing:

  • Starting fare: 7 PLN
  • Rate per kilometer: 1.98 PLN

Exploring Krakow via Hop On Hop Off Bus

If you’re someone who wants to blend transportation and sightseing, choosing the Hop On Hop Off tours operated by WowKrakow might be a great choice. These buses stop at Krakow’s key attractions, offering audio guides for the journey. At any stop, you can hop off and then catch the next bus. This way, you can visit places like the Kościuszko Mound and Schindler’s Factory. A water tram ride from the stop at the Grunwaldzki Bridge is also included in the price.

Ticket Pricing:

  • 24-hour ticket: 80 PLN regular, 55 PLN student
  • 48-hour ticket: 95 PLN regular, 75 PLN student
  • Free for children under 12 years old

Traditional Transport – Carriage Ride

Carriages in Kraków

For those in love with traditional transportation modes, why not enjoy a short ride in a horse-drawn carriage? The route typically circles around the Market Square, and while it’s not the cheapest option, it’s definitely memorable. A typical one-hour trip costs about 250 PLN (price for all passengers), but feel free to negotiate!

Getting to Krakow’s Top Attractions

Krakow’s public transportation offers convenient access to the Kraków’s main tourist attractions and museums. These are mainly concentrated around the Market Square and the Old Town where you’ll find landmarks like St. Mary’s Church, Cloth Hall, Jagiellonian University, Wawel Royal Castle, and Dragon’s Den.

Kraków Główny Railway Station and Bus Station are located nearby. From these two points, you can easily reach the Market Square either on foot or by tram. Tram lines 70, 3, and 24 serve this section, and the journey should take about 10 minutes. From both stations, you can also get directly to the Tauron Arena, the venue for many key sports and cultural events. Tram lines 73, 52, and 5 head in this direction. The estimated travel time is about 15 minutes.