Just back from Krakow, had an amazing time with not a single problem partially because of the helpful advice I received from this forum so thought I'd add a few thoughts that might help other first time visitors.
1. Don't be scared of the train. It's slow, but well worth the effort, as trains are punctual, generally quiet during the day and very very cheap. The nice ladies in the ticket office did their best to understand our appalling pronounciation!!!! and we got every where we needed to with no fuss. We used the train both from and to the airport, to Osweicim (for Auschwitz) and had a day trip to Tarnow. Prices were approx 9.5 zl ( £2) each way on the Osweicim train, 12zl/ £3 e/w on the airport train and 16.5 zl e/w on th Tarnow train. Both the Tarnow and Osweicim trains were 1.5 hrs long or more so really good value.
2.Trams. I can't state enough how important it is to validate the ticket. We got checked by the ticket inspectors twice, on our way from the station/old town on the 10 tram, and on our way to the station/old town, again on the 10 tram. Inspectors got on just behind us and looked like ordinary passengers. The tram starts moving and they whip out an id and scanner. If I'm honest they looked almost disappointed when they found we not only had a ticket, but had validated it correctly!!!!
3. Walk. It's amazing just how far you will walk so wear comfy shoes, nothing is too far but the miles soon add up.
4. Try and get out of the touristy areas if possible. We went to a Saturday morning flea market at Plac Targowy and it really did show us another side to Poland, no tourists, just local Poles trying to sell a few measly wares. Very interesting though: inyourpocket.com/poland/krakow/shopping/mark…
5. Get used to seeing drunks, alot. To be honest we found this aspect of Krakow very depressing. Many of the benches in the Planty were occupied by drunks either sleeping off the effects of too much to drink or just drinking. They don't bother you, but it's sad to see. We also got approached by a very drunk local at 6.30 in the morning while waiting for the tram, and saw a man so drunk that he had dropped and smashed his bottle of whatever. He was so drunk that he was unable to stand back up . despite trying, having fallen down. Again, this was 9 am in the morning. We also saw alot of alcoholics sitting outside the 24 hr beer shop at the market on the Sunday morning. I must stress none of these men were problematic in any way, but it's not something we are used to seeing and I was saddened by it. It also slighty worried my daughter.
Hopefully my tips are helpful to somebody. All in all we had a fantastic time and would recommend Krakow to anyone as a really interesting, friendly and good value destination.Edited: 29 August 2013, 13:21