So, you’re planning to visit Krakow without renting a car? Great choice! Krakow public transport is great, so there is no point driving if you’re only planning to visit the city. There are loads of bus and tram lines, and you can get pretty much everywhere without having to use taxis or private transfers. In fact, you can even get to places such as the famous salt mine in Wieliczka on a city bus for a little over one euro.
This guide to Krakow public transport will give you detailed info about getting around the city without a car. You get tips on how to buy tickets and also learn about how much they cost. We’ll talk about the downsides of the network and the safety aspect. Read on…
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What will you find in this guide to Krakow public transport?
The overview of Krakow public transport
Krakow public transport is pretty good and easy to navigate, so you shouldn’t have much trouble getting around the city without having to fork out for cabs. In fact, it’s one of the best transportation networks in Poland, so whether you need to get from the old town to Kazimierz or get from one end of the city to the other, you can do it by hopping on a tram or a bus. Sadly, there is no metro in the city, and it doesn’t look like there will ever be one.
Unfortunately, the public transport in Krakow isn’t always punctual, so you might face severe delays during peak hours. That especially refers to buses that often get stuck in traffic, despite there being some special bus lanes around the city. Trams aren’t immune to disruptions either, especially in the winter, when tracks might freeze and crack.
The cost of using Krakow public transport is much lower than many major European cities. The cheapest, 20-minute tickets start from only 4 PLN (€0.85), and the single journey/60-minute tickets cost 6 PLN (€1.3). If you’re a student under 26 years old, you’re eligible for reduced fares (50% cheaper) too, but make sure you have your student ID to prove it. You can find detailed fare info here.
How to buy tickets?
There are many ways to buy tickets for buses and trams, and there is usually no need to have the exact change. That should be a sigh of relief for those that might’ve visited Krakow a couple of years ago when things were very different. These days, all buses and trams are equipped with easy-to-use ticket machines with different language options, including English and German. Plus, there are also machines at many stops around the city.
Annoyingly, you might find that some machines on board the vehicles only accept cards, while others will only take cash. Don’t ask why… So, if you only have coins (notes are usually no help anyway), it’s safer to pre-buy your tickets from either the machines at the stops or small kiosks. You can also buy tickets online on your phone using some apps which offer the service. We recommend Jak dojade app, which lets you buy tickets online, helps you plan your journey. Plus you’ll get delay updates on some routes.
If you’re staying in Krakow for a long time, it might be worth getting a monthly pass, which is much cheaper than single tickets. However, if you’re only there for a couple of days and planning to use buses and trams a lot, you might want to check the 42, 72-hour or 7-day tickets, but they’re not worth it for people who don’t use the transport daily.
Trams in Krakow
The tram network in Krakow is expanding and hopefully will cover all the most congested parts of the city in the future. At the time of writing, though, there are many parts of the city where buses are your only option. However, if you’re trying to get around the most popular areas of the city, such as the old town, Kazimierz, or Podgorze, you will be able to hop on a tram without having to worry about the traffic.
There are 25 regular tramlines in Krakow altogether, out of which three are night trams. The network is nearly 100 km long. There is no need to go into detail about the specific lines here because you can easily use mobile apps or websites such as city mapper or Polish jak dojade to plan your tram journeys.
The majority of tramlines run throughout the day until around eleven in the evening, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing available at night. There are three additional night-time lines 62, 64, and 69, and the good news is that the fares don’t change. On the flip side, they don’t travel very often, and on weekends most of the lines will be filled with youngsters returning home after a night out. Yup, probably drunk.
Buses in Krakow
While trams are probably the most convenient travel option, you won’t be able to use them in many parts of the city. That’s when buses come in handy because they will take you practically everywhere in the city. There are also many lines that go to the popular spots on the outskirts, such as Wieliczka Salt Mine (line 304) or Ojcow National Park (line 310).
However, you should know that Krakow suffers from a bad congestion problem, and delays on bus routes can be exhausting. It’s especially a problem if you travel during the rush hours between 7 am and 10 am and between 4 pm and 7 pm. Buses are sometimes even an hour late, and you might find that the journey doesn’t go as smoothly as planned.
Luckily Krakow’s traffic problem isn’t as bad in the summer, so getting around the city can be a lot easier during the holidays. Plus, there are currently lots of road works ongoing around the city, so the congestion shouldn’t be so problematic in the near future.
Tickets for buses are the same as for trams, and you can use them regardless of which vehicle you choose to travel. All buses have ticket machines on board, but some might only accept cash, while others will only take card payments. Also, just like trams, there are a couple of night buses, which leave from the centre and head in different directions around the city. That said, they don’t go very often, so we recommend checking the schedules beforehand.
Taxis in Krakow
Public transport in Krakow is well connected, but buses and trams are not always the most time efficient. Plus, while travelling in the late hours is possible thanks to a network of night trams and buses, they don’t travel very often, so taxis will get you around much quicker.
Luckily, there are loads of inexpensive taxi and rideshare companies in the city, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a ride. It only costs around 15 to 20 PLN to get from the old town to Kazimierz and vice versa, and the price stays the same regardless of the number of people in the car. We usually go for Uber or Bolt, but Megataxi is also a good and inexpensive option.
You might have trouble getting a cab at night during the most popular times when the demand is very high. However, we’ve never had to wait longer than 20 minutes to find a ride from old town or Kazimierz, regardless of the time of the day.
Metro in Krakow
Unfortunately, there is no metro in Krakow, and despite previous plans of building a few subway lines, it doesn’t look likely anymore. Instead, the city is focusing on building an underground tram system, that would further enhance the city’s network.
You will notice that there are already a couple of underground tram stops in the city, which include a tunnel by Galeria Krakowska and the train station. That said, the underground tram system is nothing to expect in the near future, so we won’t go into much detail here.
The safety of Krakow public transport
So, what about safety on Krakow public transport? We’d say there is not much to worry about, but you should hold on to your valuables, especially if a bus or a tram is very crowded. Pickpocketing isn’t a massive problem in Krakow, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
These days all buses and trams are equipped with CCTV cameras, so the incidents are less common than they once were. The night travel can be a little less comfortable, especially since there might be plenty of drunk people getting home from the bars and clubs in the centre. That said, incidents on night transport are rare, so there is no reason to avoid them.
Krakow public transport – our conclusion.
Krakow public transport is easy to navigate whether you’re a weathered local or a newbie in the city. You can get pretty much everywhere in the city using buses or trams, so there is no need to rent a car if you’re not planning to venture far from the city. Tickets are cheap and easy to buy, and most ticket machines have different language options. The only problem is that delays are very common, but trams in the city centre are less affected by traffic problems than buses are.