Kraków on a finances: easy methods to tour Poland's cultural capital on a budget

Residence to a beguiling centuries-old medieval heart, terrific museums, award-winning boutique lodges and most of the nation’s finest eating places, the most well-liked metropolis in Poland might be onerous in your pockets should you actually dwell it up. But getting probably the most out of your go to to Kraków needn’t have you ever drifting into insolvency, Poland general is just not a massively costly vacation spot. 

Choosing much less expensive days to go to the most well-liked points of interest, making the most effective use of public transport, staying in cheap lodging and consuming and consuming native can all enable you profit from your keep whereas concurrently immersing you in Polish tradition. Right here is easy methods to go to Kraków on a finances.

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The prepare from the airport will get you into Kraków Outdated City in lower than Half-hour © Mark and Anna Pictures / Shutterstock

Take public transport to/from the airport

Until your night flight to Kraków will get delayed – or it’s important to be on the airport between midnight and 4am – save the taxi fare by taking a bus or train to/from the airport. The simplest method to journey is by prepare between Kraków Glowny (primary prepare station) and Kraków Lotnisko (John Paul II Worldwide Airport). These run twice-hourly (first/final departures are 3:48am and 11:40pm from the prepare station and 4:17am and 11:08pm from the airport). A one-way ticket prices 9zł and the journey takes 20-Half-hour. 

The airport can be served by bus strains 208 and 209 from Kraków’s primary bus station between 4:30am and 10:30pm (5zl, 45 minutes), and evening bus 902 that runs hourly at 5 minutes previous the hour from 11:05pm to 4:05am.  When you’ve got no selection however to go by taxi, word that Uber and Bolt rides price lower than official taxi rides (from 45zł versus from 75zł), however are much less dependable.

Distances within the Outdated City are completely walkable 

For those who take pleasure in protecting match whereas on the highway, exploring Kraków on foot ought to enable you in direction of your health targets. Outdated City is splendidly walkable, as is Kazimierz, and strolling between the 2 takes round 20 minutes. Morning runners will respect the ring of parkland surrounding Outdated City.

Go to Kraków through the shoulder months

Lodging costs shoot up by at the least 25% through the summer time excessive season, so think about touring low season. By far the most affordable time to return to Kraków is within the winter (excluding the Christmas/New 12 months interval), however it may be bitterly chilly.  Shoulder seasons (mid-March to Could and September to mid-October) are a very good compromise, permitting you to mix average room charges with delicate climate and comparatively few guests.

Get to know Kraków’s trams and buses

Public buses in Kraków usually are not massively helpful except you wish to go to a number of points of interest in far-flung corners of town, however trams are cheap and actually useful for reaching sights in Nova Huta, Podgórze and Kazimierz neighborhoods should you’re based mostly centrally. 

Single tickets (2.80–6zł) might be bought both immediately from the driving force or from ticket machines at most tram stops; costs differ, relying on the zone and on whether or not the ticket is legitimate for 20, 40, 60 or 90 minutes. When you’ve got a blitzkrieg strategy to sightseeing, chances are you’ll want to purchase a 24/48/72-hour journey card for 15/24/36zł; seven-day journey playing cards additionally obtainable (48zł).

A brand new bike-share scheme is coming

Whereas Outdated City is splendidly walkable, if you wish to mix some day by day train with attending to points of interest additional out (sights in Kazimierz, Nova Huta and Podgórze), chances are you’ll want to make use of Kraków’s bicycle rental schemes. Following the demise of Wavelo – Poland’s first metropolis bicycle rental scheme – through the pandemic, the Metropolis of Kraków is because of launch a brand new bicycle rental scheme in late 2022, which can embrace common bikes and electrical bicycles, with a subscription service and docking stations all around the metropolis. 

Two people cook sausages at a street-food stall in Krakow
Kraków’s avenue meals won’t be wholesome however it’s scrumptious © Liya_Blumesser / Shutterstock

Dine out on Kraków’s avenue meals

If day by day fruit and veg usually are not a deal breaker for you, it’s potential to fortunately subsist for days on a few of Kraków’s finest avenue meals. Seize an obwarzanek or two (Kraków bagel topped with poppy seeds or sesame seeds) from a stall just about on each avenue nook in Outdated City for two.50zł, chow down on superlative kielbasa (signature Polish sausage; 10zł) from the van in entrance of the market on ul. Grzegorzecka, and take a look at the zapiekanka (10zł) – Poland’s reply to pizza – a half-baguette topped with cheese, mushrooms and ketchup at Plac Nowy in Kazimierz.

Keep in hostels

For those who’re trying to keep centrally – in Outdated City, or in Kazimierz – then hostels are a terrific finances possibility. Some supply dorms solely; others could have cheap singles or doubles in addition to cooking services and communal hangout areas; others are for ladies vacationers solely. Better of all, most supply free breakfast and have educated employees who set up cheap excursions and nights out and may advocate the most effective low cost locations to eat and bars. 

Kraków’s prime hostels embrace Mundo, Draggo House and Greg and Tom’s Celebration Hostel. Examine prematurely whether or not you’re reserving your self right into a crush-a-beer-can-against-your-forehead social gathering hostel or a sociable, laid-back spot to fulfill fellow vacationers (typically the clue’s within the identify!).  

Or discover room shares and short-term lets

If privateness and having an area of your individual takes priority over saving cash by sleeping in a hostel dorm, look into on-line room-share choices and short-term self-catering residences for lease (they’re particularly plentiful in Outdated City and Kazimierz and are even cheaper outdoors these two in style neighborhoods), the latter notably good worth should you’re touring with a number of associates. 

In summer time, scholar dorms are sometimes rented out as low cost lodge rooms, although they’re situated outdoors of Outdated City. Different finances digs to look out for embrace personal rooms for lease (look out for “noclegi” indicators within the window).

Benefit from museum passes and discounted entry

Even should you don’t reap the benefits of free admission supplied by totally different museums on totally different days, should you’re planning on doing a little intensive sightseeing, it’s effectively price buying multi-venue tickets for Museum of Kraków and Kraków National Museum branches on-line.

The main chamber in a vast salt mine, with chandeliers hanging down and people moving around
Public transportation is approach cheaper than a tour to Wieliczka © Jaroslav Moravcik / Shutterstock

Take public transportation to Auschwitz and Wieliczka Salt Mine

Whereas probably the most infamous Nazi demise camp and an underground cathedral carved out of salt usually are not in Kraków correct, visits to those two sights are the most well-liked day journeys from town. Just about each lodge and hostel provides lengthy day excursions to each for round 300zł, which can be price contemplating should you’re actually brief on time.

But when time is just not an element and also you want to take up your experiences in peace quite than share them with a busload of different guests, put aside a day for every (it’s greater than price it) and use public transport. 

To get to Auschwitz, 66km (41 miles) west of Kraków, take a bus (8–9 instances day by day, 1.5–2 hours) from Kraków’s central bus station for 20zł, or certainly one of a number of day by day trains to Oswiecim (13zł, approx 2 hours), then stroll for 25 minutes, quite than pay 170zł for a day tour. Attending to Wieliczka, 16km (10 miles) southeast of town, is even simpler: hop on one of many half-hourly trains from Kraków Glowny prepare station (6zł, 20–Half-hour), then stroll for 10 minutes. 

Skip the costly metropolis excursions in favor of wallet-friendly ones

As befitting a metropolis of its stature, Kraków provides numerous themed excursions that cater to all budgets. Boning up on town’s historical past and tradition forward of your journey and skipping the usual excursions is an apparent cash saver. Nevertheless, a lot of excursions are extraordinarily worthwhile and supply cultural immersion and the chance to see Kraków from an uncommon angle. 

Free Walking Tour provides glorious day by day strolling excursions of Kraków’s Outdated City, in addition to the themed Macabre Kraków, Jewish Kraków, Avenue Artwork, WWII Kraków and Nova Huta Kraków which can be almost free of charge. Whereas there is no such thing as a official charge for the tour, it’s customary to tip the information on the finish. We really useful a tip of round 20zł (US$5), although extra generosity is all the time appreciated.

Drink the faucet water

Kraków faucet water is potable and doesn’t style as should you’re sipping from a swimming pool. So hold your reusable flask refilled and that approach you’ll be hydrated and do your bit for the surroundings.

Eat at a dirt-cheap bar mleczny (cafeteria)

For those who’re bothered with nostalgia for the Communist period, you’ll be thrilled to disover that you would be able to mix your ardour with a quest for a few of Kraków’s least expensive eats. Throwbacks to the pre-Iron Curtain period, Kraków’s historic “bar mleczny” are dirt-cheap cafeteria, in style with locals, the place you’ll be able to refill on soup, pierogi and juice with out crossing the 10zł threshold. There’s a department at Grodzka 43 in Outdated City and one other at Starowiślna 29, on the northern finish of the Kazimierz neighbourhood.

Store at produce markets and best-value supermarkets

For those who’re staying in self-catering lodging or a hostel with a visitor kitchen, it can save you your pennies for extra memorable eating or cultural experiences by cooking for your self at the least a part of the time. A few of Kraków’s least expensive contemporary produce is discovered at native markets, reminiscent of Stary Kleparz. 

Moreover, look out for Kraków’s (and Poland’s) least costly grocery store chain, Biedronka, with one useful department within the Outdated City and one other within the procuring heart adjoining Kraków’s primary prepare station.

Save your partying for comfortable hour

In Kraków, hold a watch out for comfortable hour in most bars, when you’ll be able to reap the benefits of discounted tipples and two-for-one offers. Even higher, head for a department of Pijalnia Wodki I Piwa – a well-liked native chain of old-school bars dotted round Outdated City, with one other department in Kazimierz.

The decor is an identical (and doubtless received’t make lots of your Instagram images) however they serve up uniformly low cost beer (from 8.50zł per pint), vodka (7.50zł per shot), wine, cocktails (16zł), espresso (5zł), tender drinks and photographs (5zł particular person; 12zł for a “kamikaze” flight of 4), together with bar snacks (sandwiches, steak tartare, and zurek – sourdough soup) and a wholesome dose of Sixties nostalgia.

Every day prices in Kraków

Hostel dorm: 25–35zł
Primary room for 2: 90–150zł
Tram ticket: 3zł
Dinner for 2 in an area restaurant: 30–40zł
Beer: 9zł
Espresso: 5zł