Wroclaw is the fifth largest city in Poland and the capital of the western region known as Silesia. Many people land in the city’s Nicolaus Copernicus Airport attracted by cheap Ryanair flights, before making their way east to the more popular Krakow. The good news is that there are oodles of options to travel from Wroclaw to Krakow, but which one is the best?
This guide on getting from Wroclaw to Krakow will talk you through all available options for travelling between these two Polish cities. You will learn which mode of transport is the fastest and which one will cost you the least.
So, let’s take a look at how you can travel from the city built on five rivers, well-known for beautiful bridges and quirky islands to the historical residence of the monarchy, Krakow, renowned for beautiful architecture and rich culture.
What’s in this guide on getting from Wroclaw to Krakow?
- Wroclaw to Krakow by train
- Wroclaw to Krakow by sleeper train
- Wroclaw to Krakow by bus
- Wroclaw to Krakow by plane
- Wroclaw to Krakow by car
Wroclaw to Krakow by train
Time: 3h06m – 3h55m
Cost: 19 PLN – 69 PLN (second class)
It’s not an uncommon opinion that the best way to travel between European cities is by railway. We’re of the same belief when it comes to getting from Wroclaw to Krakow, even though it’s not always the cheapest or the fastest way to travel between these two Polish cities. However, the fastest trains that run from Wroclaw to Krakow will take slightly less time than any other mode of transport, plus you are guaranteed that you won’t be stuck in traffic along the way.
The main train station in Wroclaw is centrally located, around 20 minutes walk away from the old town square. If you’re staying around the oldest part of town, you can also easily catch a bus or a tram to the station, so there is no need to pay for taxis. There are many trains a day leaving around every 40 minutes up to every two hours between 6 am and 8 pm. The fastest ones travel a little over an hour, but the slightly slower trains might take closer to four hours.
Although there is no high-speed railway between Krakow and Wroclaw, the trains on this route are pretty reliable. You will travel on comfortable Intercity trains that come with separate compartments or rows of double seats with big windows on each side.
You can buy the tickets at the station and online, up to 30 days before departure. It’s not usually necessary to purchase them in advance, but they do get pricier as the date comes closer. At the time of writing, the tickets cost between 63 PLN and 69 PLN when sold at their full price. Usually, though, you’ll be able to buy them at discounted rates if you book them in advance. The lowest prices start at 19 PLN, but those often sell out minutes after release.
Wroclaw to Krakow by sleeper train
Cost: 19 PLN – 384 PLN
The distance between Wroclaw and Krakow doesn’t really justify a necessity for a sleeper train, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one there. That’s because the train known as Przemyslanin runs all the way from Swinoujscie, a city in the northwestern part of Poland, to Przemysl in the southeast. The journey takes 15h32m, but the part from Wroclaw to Krakow only takes 4h40m.
This train departs from Wroclaw at 1 am and arrives at Krakow Main Station at 5.45 am. You can purchase a couchette in six berth compartments for 123 PLN per person. By couchette, we mean a simple, padded bunk bed with a blanket, sheet, and pillow. You can pay an additional 20 PLN on top of that for a spot in a three-bed compartment. The cheapest option, though, is to book a seat, which can cost you as little as 19 PLN.
We wouldn’t say it’s worth forking out extra for a bed on this short route, but it’s an option worth considering if you have to travel at night. It will also save you money on a night’s accommodation, which could actually be a significant saving.
Wroclaw to Krakow by bus
Cost: From 18 PLN
Although trains are our favourite way to travel from Wroclaw to Krakow, the second-best public transport option is a bus. There are oodles of coaches that travel on this route every day, which is often your cheapest option, especially if you don’t manage to secure the early train reductions.
There are currently only two companies that run the route, Flixbus and Neobus. The former is a well-known European company recognized for its characteristic green double-decker buses. They do about 14 trips a day that takes anything between 3h15 to 4h from Wroclaw to Krakow. Their prices start from around 29 PLN, and you can only book the tickets online.
When it comes to Neobus, it’s a smaller Polish company that does five trips a day on this route. They usually take longer than the competitor’s (3h40m – 4h15m), but Neobus is slightly cheaper. You can find tickets from 18 PLN, and there is no need to book them in advance. We would still recommend doing so to guarantee a spot and secure the best deals available.
Wroclaw to Krakow by plane
Cost: From 290 PLN
Is it possible to catch a plane from Wroclaw to Krakow? Technically, the answer is yes, but it’s not very practical. The truth is that it’s a too short distance for commercial airlines to fly on this route, which means that there are no direct connections between the two cities. The reason we said you could potentially fly, though, is because there are connecting flights via Warsaw with a national carrier, LOT.
On paper, flying could be your fastest way to travel from Wroclaw to Krakow, even though you have to change flights in the capital. The flight time that includes a connection in Warsaw is 2h40m. That said, if you add up the times you need at the airport, forking out extra for tickets that usually start from 290 PLN doesn’t seem to make much sense.
Flight prices are not set in stone, so you might be able to find much lower rates during LOTs promotions. The advantage of flying is that you will avoid traffic problems and technical issues that are more common with overland travel. However, no one can say that your flight will definitely run without delays.
Wroclaw to Krakow by car
In an ideal world without any traffic and roadworks, you can save the most time on your journey from Wroclaw to Krakow by driving. Crossing the two-lane motorway A4 that connects the two cities could take as little as 2h30m. From our experience, though, that’s rarely possible due to ongoing road works and congestion that this route struggles with. The more accurate estimation of the drive is between 2h50m-3h20m.
Avoiding rush hours and popular holidays would mean that you can get closer to the shortest possible travel time. However, at the time of writing, there are plenty of roadworks going on along the way that you cannot skip. You should also know that there are tolls to pay to drive across the A4 motorway, but that shouldn’t cost you more than 40 PLN if you’re in a car. The total distance is 270 km, and unfortunately, it’s not the most scenic route.
This is just one part of our guide of travelling in and around Krakow
Which is better Wroclaw or Kraków?
There is no objective answer to which city is better, Wroclaw or Krakow. We would always edge on the side of the latter, though, because there is more to do and see in Krakow. Wroclaw, on the other hand is still largely under the radar, so you can expect thinner crowds and lower prices.
Is Wroclaw close to Kraków?
Wroclaw is close enough to Krakow to visit it on a day trip. That said, the one-way journey takes around three hours one way, so we would recommend staying in Wroclaw overnight to make the most of the trip.