travel guide

Kraków

Cultural center of Poland

Kraków is 800 years old city located at the south of Poland. It is the former capital of Poland and the seat of former kings. Visitors are enchanted by the Old Town, Wawel royal castle, the former Jewish quarter, and grey communist-era apartment blocks of Nowa Huta.

Getting to Krakow, Poland

By plane

Poland has a few international airports located nearby major cities. We recommend flying to Kraków Balice (KRK) or Katowice Pyrzowice (KTW). From Krakow airport you can get to city center via direct train connection. The airport is small so you can find the stop easily and buy a ticket there before embarking the train (9 PLN / 2,10€). From Katowice airport there are frequent buses to Kraków (book upfront). Check:

By train

There are train connections to Kraków from Lviv, Praha, Wien, Bratislava, Budapest. Check:

By bus

There are bus connections to Krakow from Kiev, Minsk, Berlin, Budapest, Wien and many more. Check:

Accommodation

You can choose from a range of hotels and hostels located in the old city center. Alternatively you can rent an AirBnB apartment or ask fellow dancers for hosting on “Lindy Hop in Cracow” Facebook Group. Check:

Transportation

Getting around Krakow

Public transportation

The easiest way to get around Kraków is by using buses and trams. Look for connections on JakDojade website/mobile app or on Google Maps. Buy tickets using ticket machines placed on bus/tram stops (cash or card) or in a bus or tram (coins only!). Make sure you validate your ticket immediately after embarking or buying in a tram/bus. Alternatively, you can download SkyCash mobile app and buy virtual tickets. This one is validated automatically. 20 min ticket is 3,40 PLN (0,80€), one ride ticket is 4,60 PLN (1,10€) and 72h ticket is 42 PLN (9,80€). Check:

Bike

With a plenty of bike tracks, biking in Kraków is very convenient and safe. Download Wavelo app to rent city bikes. It costs 0,20 PLN (0,05€) / minute + 10 PLN (2,30€) activation fee. Check:

On foot

Old Town is large but it can be explored on foot.

Taxi

Single ride costs 15-30 PLN (3,5-7€). It’s cheaper when you order using an app, but the cheapest providers (Uber, Bolt) do not use city licensed cars and cannot enter Old Town streets. Check:

Good to know

FAQ

Can I communicate in English?

Most people under 35 speak English at least on the basic level. The older the person, the less chance you have that they speak English.

Do I need to bring cash with me?

No. Vast majority of shops and restaurants accept credit/debit card payment and ATMs are located on every corner.

How much should I tip?

10% in bars and restaurants is a standard, 15% if the service was really good. It’s OK not to tip if you didn’t like the service. Nothing in taxis unless the service was exceptional.

Where is the closest shopping center?

Galeria Krakowska, placed next to the main train station, 10 mins away from the main square.

Are shops opened on Sundays?

In general shops are closed on Sundays and public holidays. During Christmas (Dec 25-26), New Year’s Day (1 Jan), following Sunday (Jan 5) and Epiphany (Jan 6) you can expect all shops to be closed. Sunday 29 Dec is an exception due to Christmas proximity and shops will be opened that day.

Sightseeing

https://www.staypoland.com/tours/krakow/

Old town & jewish district

Catch one of multiple free walking tours or explore our beautiful, old city at your own pace.

Wawel castle

10 mins walk from Market Square, plenty of things to see, including cathedral, catacombs, bell tower, king’s chamber, armory.

Museums

  • Rynek Underground (book upfront!)
  • Oskar Schindler’s factory
  • National Museum in Krakow with Da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine

Outside of Krakow

If you plan to stay a little longer, we really recommend going to at least one of the following places:

  • Wieliczka Salt Mine - underground tour of one of the world’s oldest salt mine
  • German Nazi Death Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau - moving, memorial place from WWII
  • Las Wolski - biking, running and walking place, city Zoo and Kosciuszki Mound close by
  • Tyniec - really nice 14 km long bike trail from city center along Vistula river

Kraków trivia

  • Krakow is named after Krakus (a.k.a. Krak), a legendary Polish prince, king and founder of Kraków, the ruler of the tribe of Lechitians (Poles). Krakus is also credited with building Wawel Castle and slaying the Wawel Dragon by feeding him a dead sheep full of sulfur.
  • St. Mary's Trumpet Call is a traditional Polish anthem closely bound to the history and traditions of Kraków. It is played every hour on the hour, four times in succession in each of the four cardinal directions, by a trumpeter on the highest tower of the city's Saint Mary's Church.
  • According to a legend, the Trumpet Call was used by a sentry to notify the city about approaching Mongol troops in 1241 so the city gates were closed before the Tatars could ambush the city. The trumpeter, however, was shot in the throat and did not complete the anthem, and this is the legendary reason as to why performances end abruptly before completion.
  • The Lajkonik is one of the unofficial symbols of the city of Kraków, Poland. It is represented as a bearded man resembling a Tatar in a characteristic pointed hat, dressed in Mongol attire, with a wooden horse around his waist (hobby horse).
  • Each year, on Tuesday after Easter the Krakus Mound turns into a mediaeval village and a ground for knights’ duels. The name of the Rękawka festival is thought to originate from the Czech rakev (coffin) or Serbian rak (tomb), which suggests that the mound was once a place of ancestor worship or a burial site. Legend has it that Krak’s subjects build the mound with soil they brought with their own bare hands.
  • Krakow hosts a biggest celebration of Wianki (wreaths), pre-Christian tradition of floating handmade wreaths down the river as a part of a pagan summer solstice custom. On last Saturday in June, the Vistula boulevards resound with music and beautiful, colourful garlands flow down the river.
  • Poland’s native fast food is “zapiekanka”. It’s a baguette cut in half, topped with cheese and mushrooms and doused in garlic mayo and ketchup. The most popular place to have them in Krakow is Plac Nowy within the Jewish Quarter.