By commuter train from Krakow to Wieliczka
Wieliczka Salt Mine, a must-see tourist attraction, is located just 10 kilometers southeast of central Krakow. In our opinion the best and safest alternative to travel to Wieliczka Salt Mine in Wieliczka from the central of Krakow is by commuter trains from Krakow Glowny to Wieliczka Rynek. You will not miss Wieliczka Salt Mine when you travel by commuter trains since Wieliczka Rynek is the last stop on this route.
However if you travel by a mini bus or a municipal bus, you may miss the Salt Mine if and when the bus driver forgets to let you know which bus stop to alight when the bus arrives at the Salt Mine. Many of the local bus drivers do not understand English. You may have to remind the bus driver all the time which can be very irritating to the bus driver and to other passengers! Another thing that we were worried about when travelling by mini buses in Krakow. Drving on the roads in Krakow leaves a lot to be desired. Many mini bus drivers drive like lunatics so as to maximise their profit and we were afraid that we might not reach Wieliczka Salt Mine in one piece!
There are trains leaving Krakow Glowny every hour from platform 1, the same platform where you travel from the city to Balice International Airport. The Salt Mine is just a five to ten minute walk from Wieliczka Rynek. We timed our arrival at the Salt Mine perfectly for the English guided tour which began at 10.00 a.m. sharp. The train left Krakow Glowny at 9.10 a.m. sharp and arrived at Wieliczka Rynek at 9.35 a.m. We took a leaisurely walk to the Salt Mine and arrived at the ticketing office and main entrance at almost 9.45 a.m. After purchasing the admission tickets, we still had some time to look at items selling at the souvenir shop.
Train ticket costs just 4.00 zl each way. If you miss your scheduled train departure, you can still travel on the next train to Wieliczka as your train ticket is valid for two hours.Related to:
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Walking tour in Krakow
Most of the famous tourist attractions in Krakow are located in the Old Town of Krakow and they are all within walking distance of each other. So the best way to visit and explore these attractions is by walking. You do not have to purchase any transportation pass to visit these attractions. Another option to visit these attractions is probably by horse-carriages. There are so many of these horse-caariages on the roads of Krakow even during the winter months. Please note that you need to take day trips to Krakow's other popular tourist attractions such as the Wieliczka Salt Mine and the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
Alternatively you may join group walking tours, some of them are free. You may start your own walking tour from the north of Krakow at the Barbican (as depicted on our first photograph) which is just a stone's throw from Krakow Glowny, Krakow's main railway station. You will then pass the famous St. Florian's Gate and walk further south into the Main Square (our second photograph).
Wawel Hill with the elegant Wawel Cathedral (photo 3) and Wawel Castle is located just several hundred meters south of the Main Square. If you walk further south you will be able to visit Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter. Several lovely synagogues and Jewish cemeteries are recommended to be visited and explored! Approximately 200 meters south of the Jewish Quarter, you will be able to see River Vistula with the famous Father Bernard's Footbridge (our fourth photograph). After crossing the footbridge, you are in the district of Podgorze where several popular tourist attractions are located especially the Church of St. Joseph (our last photograph) and the popular Schindlers Factory. A stroll along the bank of River Vistula is also recommended. So good luck and enjoy your walking tour!Related to:
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Regional bus from Krakow to Zakopane
Take a day trip to the lovely ski resort of Zakopane if you visit Krakow during the winter months. Zakopane is situated just 100 kilometers south of Krakow. Zakopane is certainly beautiful in winter.
The regional bus station Regionalny Dworzec Autobusowy or RDA as it is called, is located beside the main railway station Krakow Glowny. You may book your bus tickets in advance from the ticket counters at the bus station or you may also buy your bus tickets from the bus driver if want to leave Krakow for Zakopane immediately. We suggest you take an early morning bus after your breakfast in your hotel so that you can have an almost entire day in Zakopane.
Buses leave quite regularly from Krakow, approximately every 20 minutes during the peak hours. We travelled by 8.55 a.m. bus and arrived at Zakopane at 11.00 a.m. The regional bus departs Regionalny Dworzec Autobusowy and passes through several towns and villages such as Lubien and Nowy Targ Dworzec Autobusowy (stop for one minute to pick up passengers) and arrives at Zakopane Dworzec Autobusowy after two hours. Bus fare is 20.00 zl per adult each way. You may do a search at their below website for suitable time to travel from Krakow to Zakopane.Related to:
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Trams and Buses
Single-trip tickets, short-term tickets, and tickets for 1, 3, 7 or 14 days can (and should) be obtained in kiosks and ticket-machines; you can also buy them directly from drivers. Validate your ticket on board a bus or before you enter a subway's platform. Long-term tickets (for 30 or 90 days) are also available; they are personal.
The Warszawa Tram Company (Tramwaje Warszawskie) runs twenty-nine lines across the city with additional lines opened on special occasions (such as public holidays or All-Saints Day).
A web of bus lines of different sorts covers the entire city, with 140 routes. Many busses stop next to Warszawa Centralna railway station and the Metro Centrum station.
Lovely sightings in and around the Old Town (Stare Miasto) can be seen from one of the horse carriage that are operating from the Old Town Square and Castle Square. The drivers, as they take you around the town, will be more than happy to share their opinions with you in English.
Furnicular from Zakopane to Gubalowka Hill
The beautiful Gubalowka Hill is a very popular tourist destination and attraction whenever you visit the winter ski resort of Zakopane. Lots of souvenir and gift shops as well as food stalls are located on top of the hill. Even though it is easy to walk up Gubalowka Hill especially during the hot summer months, most visitors would prefer to take furnicular railway up Gubalowka Hill simply because it may be a little bit slippery during the winter months and to save precious time which can be used for other important sight-seeing as well as other activities. The furnicular railway takes just five minutes of your time to reach the top of the hill and is operated from the northwest end of Krupowki Street in Zakopane.
To save some foreign exchange you are recommended to purchase a return ticket which costs only 17 zl. A one way ticket up the hill alone costs 12 zl. Alternatively you can take furnicular railway up the hill and walk down from the top of the hill to Krupowki Street instead. But it is better to do it during the warm summer months as the roads downhill can be quite slippery in winter. The furnicular railway is operated by PKL (Polskie Koleje Linowe S.A.).Related to:
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Perhaps by train?
Before you hire a car to travel around Poland, you should know a few things. The roads in Poland are rather narrow and there is a lot of traffic, there are hardly any motorways. You will often have to drive for hours behind a convoy of lorries breathing in their fumes, without any chance to overtake. So, while a car would be handy if you plan to visit smaller, otherwise inaccessible places, you would do better to take a train if you want to see the larger cities, like Warsaw, Cracow, Gdansk, Wroclaw, Poznan, Lodz etc. The Inter-City trains are fast and reliable and of course if you get a couchette you have a whole day before you for sightseeing. Another option is to take a plane but the airports are not always close to the city centres, unlike the central railway stations where the trains arrive.
Hiring a car, you will also be in for parking problems in the big cities: you may have to park a long way from where you actually want to stop. So weigh up all the pros and cons and perhaps you will save yourself some money and hours of nerve-wracking driving.Related to:
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THE FAMOUS TRABANT.
Everywhere we travelled in Poland we saw the Trabant car!! This photo was taken in Jelenia Gora and as my friends were getting a close look , the owner came over and let Peter have a sit down in the drivers seat!!!
The nation-wide emergency toll-free phone number is 981.
Polski Zwiazek Motorowy - The Polish Automobile & Motorcycle Federation (my firm!) phone +48 22 96 37, non-cash payments are avaliable only to members of Federation International de l'Automobile (FIA) or Alliance International de Tourisme.
You Can't beat public transport
We were very impressed by the standards of public transport in Poland. Coming from a country where the bus service is pathetic and schedules are 'flexible' ( to use a polite term), it was a pleasure to hop on and off buses which came when they were supposed to and weren't too crowded. From Krokowa, for instance, there were three bus routes: to Debki, to Wejherowo and to Hel. We tried all of these routes and apart from the odd difficulty with reading the timetables, encountered no problems. From Wejherowo to Gdansk on the train took about 40 minutes and the intercity express trains are fast and regular. By our standards, prices, especially on the buses, were unbelievably low and trundling along on a local bus is a really relaxing way to see the countryside.Related to:
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Take the train
Use the trains whenever possible. They're great. Little has changed in ten years...you can still find yourself packed in with 7 others in one compartment...or you can still find yourself on a couchette headed for Krynica's healing waters. We live besides a railway sheds in the east of Warsaw and can hear them coming in to sleep on cold winter nights and after sultry summer days. Keep supporting them !
TICKETS FOR BUSES & TRAMS
IMPORTANT : Buy tickets for buses or trams from RUCH kiosks first before boarding.
A 1-ride ticket costs around 2.20 zl. A 24-hour ticket costs around 9 to 10 zl. There are also 3-day and 1-week tickets, if I am not wrong.
Punch the ticket at the machine and hold on to it in case the inspectors hop on to check.
Many tourists make the mistake of thinking that one can buy the ticket from the driver while on board the bus. No, you can’t.
Take the tram.
The best way to travel around Polish cities is by tram. You can buy tickets from kiosks, from some shops, or in some cities there are machines in the city centre. Remember to cancel your ticket in the machines on the tram. Inspectors in plain clothes ride the trams and frequently carry out inspections - a fine awaits you if you don't have a ticket or have one and haven't cancelled it.
If you have luggage with you that is larger than 60 x 40 x 20 cm then you need a ticket for each piece as well.
Kiosks are often closed on Sundays, so if using the tram then, remember to get some tickets beforehand.
Weekly tickets are available which are good value if you plan to make a lot of journeys.
We took an overnight train into Poland and it was quite worth it. It was very transparent to us upon arrival. There are many options to choose from and from Berlin it is really easy. We went through the route that takes you from Berlin to Katowice to Oswiecim.Related to:
Driving in Poland
I wanted to share my experiences as an alternative to all you have read. We rented a car in Warsaw and my husband drove south to Czestochowa and eventually Krakow. We had no problems.
I drove from Krakow w/ Gosia (who has never driven but could read the Polish signs) and we were all over the back roads up to Kolbuszowa, then to Kazimierz Dolny and eventually Warsaw. On another trip I drove Gosia and I from Warsaw south to Sandomierz then Kolbuszowa and back north again to Warsaw. I frequently drive the entire northeast corridor of U.S. and believe me, if you can drive in Boston...Poland is a piece of cake. Their roads are smaller, but lots of construction and conditions improving with each trip. Also far more petro stations than on earlier trips. Their idea of heavy traffic doesn't compare to Boston, NYC, or Rome. I loved all my experiences along the way...saw some very charming countryside...and navigated through the towns and Warsaw easily. I have heard all the warnings, but maybe I'm lucky...or just a good driver who pays attention and doesn't drive erratically or when drinking. Hope your experience will be as wonderful as mine.Related to:
- Road Trip
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