Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Krakow
Eating out and attraction entrance fees are quite cheap in Krakow. You usually get great value for money. If you feel that prices in the Main Market Square are too high, try wandering into one of the adjacent streets and look for a bargain there.
Krakow is a sophisticated city and not a seaside resort, so don't dress as though you're bound for the beach! (And always dress respectfully when visiting the many churches. The Krakow Tourist Card offers two- or three-day packages of free travel on all public transport as well as free entry into up to 30 museums in the city.
You can get around the city center and the Kazimierz District easily on foot but I recommend taking public transport — it's cheap, easy, and you'll save time.
In the words of those who've been there before ...
For its stature, Krakow certainly packs a sightseeing punch, with landmark architecture, medieval palaces and hard-hitting museums. It’s also blessed with a well-priced shopping scene, a buzzing nightlife and the best of world cuisines.
Krakow is known as the city of culture. Not only is it brimming with cultural events, from concerts to plays to lectures, but it also boasts renowned museum collections and fascinating temporary exhibitions.
Outside the lanes and cobbled squares of its historic Stare Miasto (Old Town), Krakow is a surprisingly green city. There are parks to laze around in, gardens to hide away in and forests to hike — all within the city limits. Plus, if you choose to travel further afield, you’ll encounter caves to explore, mountains to ski down and rivers to navigate.
What is the best way to get there?
Krakow is served by the Krakow John Paul II International Airport. Trains run regularly from Krakow Airport to the centre of town and take around 20 minutes.
Trains from major Polish cities such as Katowice, Gdansk and Warsaw run regularly from Krakow Glowny train station.
Do I need a visa?
If you’re visiting Poland from overseas, see if you need a visa using the following website.
When is the best time to visit?
Locals say that May and June are the best times to visit Krakow, when temperatures range between highs of 20-24° C (69-75° F) and lows of 9-13° C (49-55° F). Early October is another good option because between mid-October to March, “air pollution is a serious problem in addition to cold and often dreadful weather,” one said.
For more information on Krakow’s weather and when to go, check out some tips here.
Bus and trams
Krakow has an integrated bus and tram system — tickets, which can be purchased at most major stops, can be used on both modes of transport. For timetables and route planning, take a look at this website and this interactive map.
Taxis and ride share
Uber is readily available in Krakow on your smartphone. Download the app here.
On the ground
What is the timezone?
Central European Standard Time.
What are the voltage/plug types?
The standard voltage is 230V and the standard frequency is 50Hz. The two associated plug types are C, which has two round pins, and E, which has two round pins and a hole for the earthing pin.
For plug types, you can reference this international guide
What is the currency?
Polish zloty (PLN).
Are ATMs readily accessible?
Are credit cards widely accepted?
Is it easy to find a bank?
How much do I tip?
Around 10% is expected in Krakow restaurants; leave it in cash rather than adding the amount to your credit card bill.
Are there local customs I should know?
The federal legal age for buying and drinking alcohol is 18 years old. Drinking alcohol in public places is illegal.
Though you buy your public transport ticket at the bus or tram stops, tickets need to be validated using the machines onboard the vehicles.
Crossing the road
It is illegal to cross the road at anywhere except at designated pedestrian crossings, which are identifiable by with white stripes on the road.
For more information on the customs and culture of Krakow, check out the following link.