Krakow

Getting Around Kraków

Getting Around Kraków

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Though there's no underground metro in Kraków (yet), the city boasts a comprehensive and easy-to-use public transportation system, which some visitors won't even find necessary thanks to most attractions being within easy walking distance of one another (not to mention walking being one of the best ways to enjoy Kraków). In this section you'll find all you need to know about getting around the city with general ease via tram, bus and taxi.

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Car Rental

All you need to rent a car in PL is a credit card and a valid foreign licence or international driving permit. Be aware, however, that citizens from countries that didn't ratify the Vienna Convention (tsk, tsk America, Australia) cannot legally drive on their licences and run the risk of hassle from the police (not that it ever stopped anyone we know from borrowing their girlfriend's car, or renting one for that matter). Enjoy cruising the EU, but don't try leaving it in a rental car.

Private Transport

The companies listed here offer customised transport services for groups and individuals, including airport transfers.

Public Transport

While Krakow has no underground metro system it does have an integrated bus and tram system which runs from 05:00 - 23:00, with night trams and buses continuing less frequently after that. Check timetables and network maps online at mpk.krakow.pl (which has English functionality), and purchase tickets from the handy ticket machines (also in English) at major stops, on-board most trams and buses, or from the driver immediately on boarding if there is no ticket machine. Note that the ticket machines at stops take bills and bank cards, but most of those on board trams and buses take coins only, so have some change handy.


Tickets are the same for trams and buses, and are timed, allowing you to change between tram or bus lines within the alloted time. The cheapest fare is good for 20mins at a cost of 2.80zł. By our estimation, this is about the time it should take to go 5-8 stops, depending on traffic, and ideal for travel around the Old Town, Kazimierz and Podgórze. If you're going outside the centre (Nowa Huta, for example), we recommend you purchase a 40min ticket for 3.80zł. 1-hour, 24-hour, 48-hour, 72-hour, and unlimited weekend family passes for 16.00zł are also options, or consider the Kraków Tourist Card, which includes unlimited free travel on trams and buses amongst its benefits. Note that those over the age of 70 ride for free, as do kids until age 4 (ages must be proven with ID). ISIC and Euro<26 Student cards are valid for transport ticket discounts, but you must carry your ID and be under 26.

Most importantly, you must stamp your ticket immediately on boarding the tram or bus in the small machines on-board, even if you bought your ticket on-board. Beware that inspectors regularly travel on the lines handing out costly fines to those without valid tickets, and are notoriously unsympathetic towards tourists. Seriously, riding without a ticket can not only ruin your day, but your entire trip to Kraków.

Taxis

Not the dodgy enterprise it once was, most taxis are reliable and use their metres without any fiddling around. Calling ahead will get you a better fare, but if you hail one from the street make sure it is clearly marked with a company name and phone number displayed, as well as a sticker demarcating prices in the window. Taxis are now legally obliged to give you a printed receipt at journey's end further limiting the likelihood of any funny business. You can expect a standard fare to be about 7zł plus about 2.30zł per kilometre; at night and on Sundays, however, fares increase by up to 50%.

For those just arriving in town, taxis await you on the rooftop parking lot of the train station, and outside the airport where ‘Kraków Airport Taxi’ has a monopoly on service to the Old Town, charging an outrageous 69-89zł for the fare. We suggest you split it with like-minded travellers in the same predicament.

Whether or not to tip your taxi driver is a bit of a point of contention. Many Poles do not consider taxis a service that necessitates a tip and thereby, if you're Polish, the driver may not expect one. But double standards being what they are, it's anticipated that foreigners will leave a tip, in which case 10% is appropriate, or simply rounding up the bill. We leave it to you.

Alternative taxi service Uber (much-loathed by Kraków's taxi companies) is also now available in Poland, and has in fact chosen Kraków as its European hub. Uber (uber.com) offers one-tap, cashless transport via their popular worldwide mobile application. Those already familiar with Uber will find Kraków well-covered by the service, however there are some drawbacks. Specifically, Uber drivers don't have the same permissions as regular cabbies and may not be able to take you as close to your destination, or get you there as directly; such is the trade-off for cheaper rates.

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