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Friday, 13 April 2018

FAQ about Krakow

Dearest sweethearts,

First of all I hope that you had a lovely Easter break next to the ones you love. Secondly, you have to excuse my long absence on posting here as I had to celebrate Easter twice: first the Catholic and then the Orthodox one. There is always a good time to celebrate and when you have your family, the loved ones, around you it's more worthwhile! For today's post I have prepared for you a couple of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Krakow, so let's get started:
Public transport ticket validator in a tram on line 50, Krakow, Poland - 22.09.2017 free transport day
1. How can one get from the Krakow Airport to the City Center?
Krakow has only one airport: John Paul the 2nd Airport or also known as Balice Airport. The city centre is located a mere 11 km away and there are multiple ways to get there. The fastest and cheapest option is the direct train that connects the 2 locations - a one way ticket costs 8 zloty (less than 2 euros!). The longest but the most cheap option would be taking the public transport - bus lines 208, 292 and the night bus 902 - it costs 4 zloty per ticket (it allows one to circulate in strefa I and II). Of course you can also choose having a cab - I personally recommend the Airport Taxi was it is the cheapest taxi around, very comfortable and drivers speak English.
A Tram in front of the Dominican Church, Old Town Krakow, Poland
2. Are the taxis expensive in Krakow? Should I use public transport?
Usually there are different prices for the fare, according to the hour when you take the cab - from 6 am to 10 pm and from 10 pm to 6 am. There is always an initial cost of having ordered the taxi, adding to that the tariff for the Strefa you are in. The interesting thing for the Airport Taxi is the fact that it has setup a certain price for the area in Krakow where you wish to get. The tariff is the same no matter day and night and they do not count the km. I usually prefer the public transport and I have a monthly card that allowes me to use any bus or tram from strefa I and II for around 140 zloty (around 35 euros). I love trams as they are very frequent, fast, new and comfortable. They reach every corner of the city and don't get big delays (unlike the buses).
3. When do shops close in Krakow?
Well it really depends on the shops and their location. Of course the Old Town and Kazimierz (Jewish District) close their doors at 11 pm or at their last customer. Usually the shops are open until 6-8 pm. Shorter schedule in the weekend, of course. The shopping malls open up around 8 am and close their doors at 10 pm - they do want to make "an honest buck" ;) Since this year, 2018, there are almost no more working days on Sundays. You will find everything (except gas stations and probably some small local shops) closed on Sundays, so make sure you stick up on goodies while you are here. But don't worry! You will surely not starve! Just get to the main square and get something traditionally polish from one of the local (open) restaurants.
A miniature of the Wawel Castle and Cathedral, inside the inner walls of the Castle, Krakow, Poland 
4. Where can I find more tourist information? Are there any such spots throughout the city? 
I highly recommend the InfoKrakow Points - they were of great help when I first settled down here 7 years ago and I still use them from time to time to get flyers with news about events and projects in Krakow. InfoKrakow Points let you find information about tourist attractions in the city and its vicinity, cultural events, accommdation, but tickets, hire guides and obtain free info (tourist leaflets and other material). The ones I go to are: Cloth Hall - Rynek Glowny 1/3 (Main Market Square) and Szpitalna Street - ul. Szpitalna 25. Of course you can find an info point as soon as you touchdown at the Krakow Airport - ground floor - and there are a couple in the Galeria Krakowska - where the train from the Airport stops (station: Krakow Dworzec Glowny).
Wintertime in Krakow, Poland
5. What's the weather in Krakow? 
Krakow is very beautiful and very crowded during summertime and wintertime. Summertime in Krakow is hot but we have lovely wind that comes and goes and makes things more bearable. The temperature ranges from 20 to 30+ degrees Celsius. During winter the temperature can balance between -10 and +5 degrees Celsius... but it does feel worse due to the hard winds. Spring is not that warm at the beginning. For example this year we still had about 10 degrees until a week or two ago. Now we have constant 20+ degrees. Autumn is rainy and cloudy but don't be discouraged! Autumn in Poland is my favourite season - it's not hot or cold but it's nice that you don't have to layer up! I believe Autumn is the most beautiful period in Poland - everything changes it's colour and you have shades of red and yellow and brown and green at once. There is a smell in the air of cider and pumpkin pie and szarlotka (apple pie). But to be fair, every season has its pluses and minuses - my #tipsandtricks for Poland: always have an umbrella with you!

Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Krakow