Located 17km west of the city centre, Kraków Airport is currently the subject of a one billion złoty investment and will partially resemble a construction site until the end of 2015. The project aims to completely renovate, restructure and expand the current passenger terminals, connecting them to the new 4-star Hilton Garden Inn hotel (now open) and new airport train station (open from Sept 1), and better integrate local roadways into the complex.
All the while, the airport will remain open and authorities have promised not to obstruct its basic operation. As it was constructed, the Kraków Airport consisted of two small terminals - creatively referred to as 1 and 2 - with Terminal 2 (for domestic flights) offering little more than a pricey cafe, newsstand and ATM (bankomat); and Terminal 1 (for international flights) featuring a currency exchange, ATMs, a cafe, restaurant and tourist information point (open 09:00 - 19:00). Getting through check-in and security should still be relatively speedy, but we're not sure how these other services will be affected by the construction (if at all). Note that the entrances to the two terminals are idiotically located at opposite ends of the airport complex (one of the main reasons we presume this whole project is being done); to avoid a long walk around the entire perimeter to get from one to the other, take the free shuttle bus between the two.
Getting to/from the Airport:
The best way to get between the airport and Kraków's Old Town has always been by train, and we're happy to report that after a break of 1.5 years, rail service to the airport from Dworzec Główny will resume from September 1st. Trains will run every 30mins between 06:00 and 23:00 and will depart platform 1 of Kraków's train station at :05 and :35 past the hour; and from Balice airport at :16 and :46 past the hour. The journey time is 18mins, and passengers are dropped off at a new Balice station that is closer to the airport terminal (no more shuttles!). Ticket prices have actually been reduced to 8zł, and can be bought from ticket machines on the platform, or on-board from the conductor for no additional fee.
Until September 1st, however, bus remains the best way to get to and from the airport. Public buses 292 (departs every 20mins) and 208 (once an hour) both make the journey; upon leaving Terminal 1, find the bus stop to your right. Note that from Terminal 2 you can take a shuttle bus to Terminal 1 to access public transportation. Night bus 902 also makes the trip from this stop with hourly departures after between 23:20 and 04:50.
The airport is in Zone II, meaning you need to buy a 4/2zł fare from the ticket machine at the bus-stop or on-board the bus. The entire journey from the airport to the bus station takes about 35-45mins, depending on traffic, but during the day you may be able to get to your hotel faster by getting off early and taking a tram; for example both daytime airport buses stop at 'Plac Inwalidów' from which you can catch trams 8 or 13 to 'Teatr Bagatela', Wawel, and Kazimierz ('Stradom' and 'Plac Wolnica' stops).
To get to the airport, both buses 208 and 292 depart from the Kraków Bus Station (ul. Bosacka 18) at the stop 'Dworzec Główny Wschód' - located on the lower level of the bus station, just east of the train station. Exact bus times can be checked online at mpk.krakow.pl and you should calculate that the journey can take up to 45mins, just to make sure you have plenty of time.
The airport has its own 'Krakow Airport Taxi' service with vehicles waiting outside the terminal entrances. The idea is that this ‘trusted’ service offers a set price range of 69-89zł from the airport to the Old Town, with no monkey business and no night time price hikes. In reality, this service is fleecing people by protecting its ridiculously high prices. If you go more than 15km the price jumps from 69zł to 89zł, so expect to pay 89zł unless your hotel is en route on the outskirts of the city centre. We advise confirming the fare for the 25-35min journey (note that it can take longer during peak traffic times) beforehand, and trying to split the cost with other travellers in the same situation.
Conversely, fares from the Old Town back to the airport range from only 35-60zł depending on time of day, and whether you call ahead or hail one in the street. Use our Taxi listings and you should be able to negotiate a daytime fare as low as 40zł from the Old Town. That's a huge difference.