Named after the last Pope, who spent much of his life in Krakow, the John Paul II Airport has become quite busy with the influx of budget airlines. Passenger numbers increased by 95% in 2005, and another 50% in 2006 to 2.6 million, which just goes to show the huge changes in this city since Poland joined the EU.
The airlines with the most destinations from John Paul II Airport are LOT, the national carrier of Poland, and the two big budget airlines, Ryanair and Easy Jet. Both of the budget airlines fly to almost every major airport in Britain, bringing a flood of English speaking tourists to the area, and no doubt ferrying recent Polish migrants back and forth too.
From 4am to midnight there's a regular train from the airport to the main station, called the Balice Ekspres. It costs just a couple of euros. Outside of those times you'll need to get a taxi, which should cost you about 22 euros.
Balice airport is to the west and is served by many cheap airlines, a taxi to the city centre should cost about 50 zl. However there are buses that connect it to the city if you are prepared to wait. Katowice airport is also a possibility, one hour to the west.
New Flights EDINBURGH - KRAKOW
Just announced today by Easyjet:-
NEW ROUTE:- EDINBURGH - KRAKOW
Commencing 29th October 2007
Four times weekly (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat)
Bookings being taken now
Good flight times:-
Dep Edin 07:50
arr. Krakow 11:30
Dep Krakow 20:30
Arr Edin 22:10
FARES: ONE WAY INCLUDING TAXES & CHARGES = GBP £ 21.99
(Also another new route added, Bournemouth - Krakow)
Until today, Ryanair was the only direct route from
Scotland (Prestwick) to Krakow. This wasn't ideal as the baggage limit was a
measly 15kg. Easyjet are flying from Edinburgh and allow a more reasonable 20kg,
and fly 4 days a week !! This more than makes up for the previous Sky Europe
flight from Edinburgh to Krakow which stopped operating last December.
As a comparison, I booked a flight yesterday with Ryanair to go to Krakow for
Xmas and New Year, this cost me £210 IF I had waited one day then the same
flight would have cost me £95, and with more luggage allowance, plus Edin. is
much much closer to my house :-((
Useful to know for anyone looking to travel over the festive period when the
existing routes are either sold out or very expensive. Still I am looking
forward to my 4th Xmas & New Year in Krakow over the past 6 years, and very
importantly the first trip to Krakow with baby McGirr who is due to join us in
Mid Sept !
There are two ways to get to the city centre from the airport. These are bus and by train.
I took the train as I was told it was easier. The train station is a short walk away from the airport or there is a free shuttle bus directly outside the airport entrance. It takes about 15mins to get to the city train station and you can buy tickets once onboard (for 8 zloty). I didnt have to pay for my luggage either which I would have to have done if I went by bus.
The Belice airport, about 15 klm outside Krakow, is quite small and modest for a city like Krakow. However projects are in progress for its renovation and expansion. There are only 1-2 shops but even these were closed on the afternoon I departed. Bus line 192 connects the airport with Krakow city center.
The John Paul II International Airport
Kraków-Balice was easy to navigate.
LOT airlines is a great airline that has
a great record for being on time ....
The arrivals area was easy to get to,
and the luggage came thru with no
problem rather quickly.
There is actually 2 airports in one at
International Departures & Arrivals
Domestic Departures & Arrivals
The domestic flights are primarily the prop
planes that park out on the tarmac where
you get a bus to board or a bus that takes
you to the terminal.
The pictures of the plane was our arrival in
Krakow on a short flight from Warsaw ....
Balice airport handles all flights into Krakow and is located about 15km west of the city. It's a surprisingly small airport given that Krakow is such a popular destination. Two other flights had landed about the same time as us and neither the luggage reclaim area nor the arrivals hall were big enough to deal with the crowds.
We took the first bus we saw, assuming it was the bus into the city. It turned out, however, to be a free feeder bus to a train which would bring us in to the main station in the city centre. The feeder bus is free and for the train, you can buy tickets on board for 4 zloty each.
Balice airport is located about 20 kilometers outside the city. It's a moderate sized airport with one terminal. There is an ATM and currency exchange locted near the main door. A tourist desk has maps and can offer you information on buses and taxis into town.
We took the night bus (2 of us, with backpacks) and it cost use 16 zloty (or whatever they are called, we simply called them 'zeds'). This may sound like a lot but when you do the currency exchange, this ends up being about 6-7 bucks canadian, which sounded about right to me. The bus takes about 20-30 minutes to get into town.
Note: Krakow is not a huge town, so if you come in late at night expect a lot of things to be closed. Make sure you figure yourself out before taking off from your point of origin.
This is a small airport. Lots of exchange bureaus. The inconspicuous bankomat (ATM) is at the end of the long line of exchange bureaus. You can get a non-round number of zloty so as to have useful change. The information desk will give you free maps that show some bus
To get bus tickets, go upstairs past the cafe to the newsstand. I think you cannot buy tickets on the bus. The bus stand is about 100 yards to the right of the terminal, coming out of the terminal. Validate your ticket on board. Luggage requires extra.
The central city is bounded by the "planty", a grassy area where the old walls were. The bus goes east toward the city,and then loops around at about 1/3 mile away from the planty through heavy traffic. Then it stops at the main transit center, and finally takes off east. It may be faster to get off on the west edge of town and walk a little more, since the traffic is often very heavy.
It is a small overburdened airport, and likely to have no free place to sit. Baggage delivery was slow. On the other hand, it has all it needs: cafe, bankomat, taxis, toilets, and is so small that you can find everything.
The recently-opened (May 2006) light rail link between Balice Airport and Krakow's Dworzec Glowny (main railway station) seems to represent a good balance of economy and convenience. After landing at Balice, the arrivals hall has copious copies of the timetable of the rail link, although there is nowhere obvious to buy a ticket before boading. When exiting the terminal, you can either board the free shuttle bus (a blue one, right outside the exit, signed 'PKP rail link' or similar) for the 200m trip to Balice's railway halt, or walk yourself. Turn right out of the terminal; the way is clearly signposted. The bus departs from the terminal a few minutes before the train is due.
You can buy tickets from the train's conductor, but bear in mind they don't generally speak much (if any) English - and don't seem to take kindly to tourists offering large denomination notes to cover the 3.80zl fare. It might be better to break a large note in one of the shops in the airport first.
The train ride to the main station takes around 15 minutes and it runs through some surprisingly rural farmland before entering the city. Don't expect Poland's most advanced train; the service is operated with elderly stock. It runs from very early until very late, although it's not as frequent as airport trains found in many other cities. At 3.80zl you can't really complain, though.
We went to Krakow by plane from Stuttgart. It is a flight of 1 1/2 hours and very convenient! The airport is served by budget airlines such as Germanwings or EasyJet and some others, but also by airlines such as Lufthansa and Alitalia.
The airport of Krakow is not too far away from the city and you can reach it by public transportation: bus #192 goes from the airport to the train station, which takes about half an hour and only costs 2.50 zl per person/luggage. Please read my bus transportation tip for more details.
At long last Ryanair are launching a new service between Krakow and Prestwick Airport, (near Glasgow) Scotland.Starting 1st November 2005
The regualr price is £17.99 single plus tax etc,
However for this weekend - they have a special offer - £5.99 each way !!!!
I checked it out and with all taxes insurance etc I can fly Glasgow to Krakow return for the grand sum of £35, much better than the £360 it used to cost me only 5 years ago.
Booking Period: Fri 15th Jul - Mon 18th Jul
Travel Period: STARTS 1st Nov 2005
Applicable Days: 1200 Mon - 1200 Thurs Subject To Availability
Flight must be purchased: 14 days in advance
quite a few major english airports are now flying direct to balice which is krakows airport.easy jet from luton,also sky europe which fly from manchester,then theres wizz air which flys from liverpool to katowizce,but they have a bus service which takes you direct to krakow.
So now that my "AirPolonia" problem was solved, I could start a search for a new flight.
Via the travel search engine: www.comparflight.com, I found a decent flight towards Poland. So I booked a LOT flight at www.travelprice.com, they gave the best flight schedule / price combination.
So I booked a morning flight from Brussels towards Warsaw (1st of May), and an evening return flight from Warsaw to Brussels (9th of May).
Both flights were very quiet and the flight time was about 1h50, on board there was a good service with drinks and sandwiches (even with smoked salmon).
By the way LOT is also a member of the Star Alliance group, so I even collected some flight miles on my Thai Royal Orchid frequent flyer account.
Krakow has a nice and modern airport. If you are connecting through Warsaw when leaving you will have no duty free shopping. I found the prices in Krakow much better than Warsaw airport.
I was on business in London and therefore flew with LOT Polish Airlines to Krakow. If you are flying from the US, I would recommend Lufthansa German Airlines with departures from 16 North American gateways with connections in Frankfurt and Munich to Krakow.
If you are leaving around mid day for an international flight, give yourself some time. The lines are really long and hardly move thanks to the Krakow-Chicago flight on LOT. The airport has no jetways so all boardings include getting on a bus.