Arriving in Krakow, Poland, is an exciting beginning to an adventure filled with historical marvels and cultural delights. If you’re landing at John Paul II Krakow Airport (KRK) and aiming to swiftly navigate your way to the vibrant heart of the city, there are several convenient transportation options available. Whether you prefer the speed and convenience of a taxi or the cost-effectiveness of public transport – train and bus knowing the best ways to traverse the distance from Krakow Airport to the city centre will ensure a smooth start to your exploration of this enchanting destination.
Train: the most efficient
Taking a train is definitely the most effective, usually the fastest and rather cheap way to get from Krakow Airport to the city centre of Krakow. The regional train line SKA1 connects Krakow Airport (Kraków Lotnisko) and the town of Wieliczka via Krakow Main Station (Kraków Główny). With its modern amenities and punctual schedules, the SKA1 train (operator name: Koleje Małopolskie sp. z o.o.) has become a preferred choice for commuters and travelers seeking a quick and comfortable journey, providing an excellent alternative to taxis or buses. Its seamless connectivity has made exploring Krakow more accessible and has enhanced the overall travel experience for those arriving at or departing from the airport.
The train platform is located very conveniently in the airport terminal building. Leaving the arrival zone you just need to go through the passage over the road and then down the escalator directly to the railway platform. The only train departs from here is the one you are looking for – SKA1 to the city centre. No other directions, no other lines, no way to get lost.
Tickets can be purchased in the ticket machines located on the platform and inside each train or alternatively the train conductor also sells them. The price is 17 PLN (approx. 4 EUR). You may pay with card or in PLN banknotes/coins.
The travel time is just 17 mins. The SKA1 train stops several times on its way but the orientation is easy – all the stops are announced both on the screens inside a train and by voice. SKA1 line rides frequently – the first trains depart from the Airport station at 4:17 and 5:17 am. Then starting from 6:17 am they run every half an hour (6:47, 7:17, 7:47 and so on) until 6:17 pm (18:17). Evening departures are every hour: 7:17, 8:17, 9:17, 10:17, 11:17 pm and the final one already after midnight at 12:37 am. In general, the trains appear on time and on SKA1 line there are modern vehicles exclusively. Expect air-conditioned unit with low floor proudly produced in Poland.
You may check the up-to-date timetable here – type “Krakow Lotnisko” as “from” and “Krakow Glowny” as “to”.
The Main Train Station (Kraków Główny) might not be the most convenient option for you. If you’re staying closer to the famous Jewish Quarter, consider leaving a train on the newly opened (September 2023) ‘Kraków Grzegórzki‘ station. The stop nearest the Schindler’s Factory and the ghetto area is called ‘Kraków Zabłocie‘.
Taxi: the fastest (sometimes)
Right, sometimes we land tired, hungry and carrying plenty of suitcases. We just want to get in a taxi and be dropped off just in front of the entrance to our hotel. A taxi is also a recommended option to get from the Krakow airport to any point in the city.
Upon leaving the terminal building there are 4 lines for the cars. The first one is occupied by the official Airport taxis waiting for the passengers.
The price of the licensed taxis is fixed and depends on the kilometer range from the Airport to the destination place:
The distance between the Aiport and most of the hotels located in the city centre should be zone 4 or 5 so expect to pay 89 or 109 PLN for your ride. Yes, huge difference if you’re travelling alone but if you share this cost with some travel companions, then taking an official Airport taxi is worth considering as you don’t need to wait – just take a car that is already waiting for you.
However, most of the people interested in a private transfer look for cheap taxi alternative. There are three main taxi operators available via mobile app: Uber, Bolt and FreeNow. On average, non-official taxis are about twice cheaper than the ones with ‘Krakow Airport’ logo on the doors.
So why anyone takes the official taxi? Well, there are some disadvantages of Ubers and Bolts. First, you need to order them first and then a driver who accepted your request starts coming to the airport. Usually, it takes at least 5-7 mins since you make an order until you see your driver.
Another thing is a flexible price system of cheap taxis. When hundreds of passengers leaving the airport at once and all of them start requesting a ride, the Uber algorythm rises the prices up – sometimes significantly. It may turn out that the official airport taxi is actually cheaper than any so called ‘cheap’ taxi.
And how long it takes to get from the airport to the city centre by taxi? Well, we cannot tell you the exact timing as it heavily depends on traffic. The distance between these points is about 15 km. If you land in the late evening such a ride would last approx. 20 minutes. But if your arrival to Krakow is during the peak hours (7-8 am or 3-6 pm), please expect to spend even up to an hour in your cab! It might be less, but it is always unpredictable! Trains are more reliable for sure.
Bus: the cheapest
Public buses are not that great alternative as they used to be a few years ago. The city of Krakow decided to supsend the bus lines 208 and 292 that were connecting the Airport with the city centre.
For now (December 2023) there are three lines departing from Krakow Airport bus stop which is located just outside of the entrance from the terminal. Line 209 connects a nearby village of Morawica with Rondo Grunwaldzkie which is one of the main roundabouts and public transport hubs in Krakow. You may have a convenient change to numerous tram and bus lines here. The main disadvantage of line 209 is its timetable which does not offer any regular intervals.
Much better option is line 300. It starts its route from the same Airport stop and bring the passengers to Rondo Grunwaldzkie as well. The departures are every 30 minutes.
Line 902 is a night connection however Krakow Airport does not operate during night hours normally. Hence, this line is not used by most of the passengers.
According to the timetable, it takes 27 minutes for line 209 and 23 minutes for line 300 to get from the airport to Rondo Grunwaldzkie. The actual time, as described in the taxi section above, varies from 25-30 mins to even one hour depending on traffic.
The main advantage of the the bus connection is its price. The single ticket costs as little as 6 PLN (1,4 EUR). This price applies to all the lines, even the night one 902. Buying a tickets is simple. There are ticket machines at the bus stop and inside each bus. Some mobile apps like ‘SkyCash’ can be useful as well. Please note, that the drivers don’t sell the tickets. Also all the tickets must be not only purchased but also validated inside the vehicle – there are small yellow or orange ‘boxes’ to insert your paper ticket.
A tip from the locals: In Krakow there are quite a few ticket inspectors working on a daily basis. It’s too risky to travel without a valid ticket. Fines are even up to 300 PLN and yes, the ticket inspectors do speak English on an enough level to inform you about the given fine.
For public transport planning check out JakDojade site. It allows passengers to plan the trip and see most of the vehicles live on a map. Try ‘Krakow Airport’ as a start point and ‘Rondo Grunwaldzkie’ as your terminus.
We hope you found this article useful. In case of any questions please feel free to reach out to Best Krakow Walks team. And when you arrive from the airport and look for some activities and tours in Krakow, check out our tour offer here!