Expats moving to Kraków may find that the city’s transportation options are a little limited compared to Warsaw's. That said, Kraków’s transportation infrastructure is extensive and well maintained, so new arrivals won’t struggle to get around, even without a car.
In fact, while it may be nice to have a car to explore Poland on the weekends, driving isn’t advisable or necessary, especially for those commuting around Kraków on a daily basis.
Public transport in Kraków
Kraków’s public transport infrastructure consists of a comprehensive integrated bus and tram network, which runs frequently between 6am and 11pm, and also operates a night service.
Tickets can be purchased at machines and major stops, as well as aboard most services. Tickets are valid on both tram and bus networks, allowing passengers to transfer between them within the allotted time.
It is important to ensure that tickets are stamped upon boarding, as inspectors regularly patrol the lines, handing out costly fines to anyone who is not in possession of a valid ticket.
Various discounts are offered to children, students and pensioners as well as those who opt to purchase weekly, monthly or yearly passes.
Timetables and online network maps are regularly updated and available in English. These are useful sources of information for new arrivals getting to grips with Kraków’s transport network.
Taxis in Kraków
Taxis are reasonably priced, reliable and plentiful in Kraków. While there are still occasional instances of taxi drivers overcharging foreigners, these are few and far between, and official taxis that are marked as such should work on a meter. Always insist on having the driver use the meter to ensure fares are accurate.
It is possible to get taxis at ranks or hail them on the street, but where possible it's best to book online or call ahead of time to ensure the best fares.
Expats familiar with mobile taxi applications such as Uber and Bolt will find these services are also readily available in Kraków. These mobile apps offer cashless taxi services with regulated fares.
The only significant drawback of this transport option is that these drivers are restricted from certain areas, while the city’s official taxi services aren't. They therefore won’t always be able to drop their passengers as close to their destination as they’d like.
Driving in Kraków
It isn’t advisable to drive in Kraków. Most residents find it frustrating as there is often a lot of traffic, petrol in Poland is relatively steep while parking is expensive and difficult to find. There are also a lot of rules around local ‘driving zones’, which even many locals find utterly confusing. Taxis are relatively cheap and are therefore a good alternative to a private car.
While road conditions are generally fairly adequate, local driving behaviour takes a while to get used to. If expats decide to get behind the wheel, they should do their best to drive defensively.
Cycling in Kraków
Unfortunately, Kraków’s municipal bike-sharing scheme was terminated in 2019, but the city is currently working on plans to reinstate the service. Fortunately, there are private bike rental companies that expats can use if they don't have their own bike in the meantime. Many people living in Kraków find that cycling is the most efficient way to get around, as the city has excellent cycling infrastructure. There is a host of bike lanes as well as scenic cycle paths for a more recreational rider. In addition, the city has installed safe cycling storage facilities throughout Kraków to make cycling more convenient.
Walking in Kraków
Many parts of the city's historic centre are pedestrianised and new arrivals will find discovering Kraków on foot to be a safe and pleasant experience. That said, snowfall during the winter months can make walking around a little tricky. Investing in a pair of sturdy, waterproof shoes will certainly help.