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Kraków

Europe > Poland > Kraków

See: Why rent a car in Kraków ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring)

Your key questions for any destination:

Do I need a car in Kraków?

Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest.

That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than just yes or no answers!

  • The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
  • How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
  • Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
  • Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?

Is it worth hiring a car in Kraków?

This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Kraków car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.

How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Kraków with other destinations locally and around the world.

This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.

Should I rent a car in Kraków? 

This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Kraków, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2022 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. 

We do not intent to include detailed covid information, nor do we intend to suggest hiring a car, just because public transport might still have a mask requirement. Our advice will be based on the same criteria we've always used, ie whether or not you can get a better travel experience, or at least a better value one, by choosing not to hire a car.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Kraków is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Kraków? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Kraków between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 3/10

Non car score:6/10

Balance: 2

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Kraków using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Kraków ?


Why not? Visiting Kraków without a car

Why don't you need a car in Kraków ?


Ratings: How does Kraków compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Kraków? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Kraków, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Kraków? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Kraków (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Kraków? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Kraków airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Kraków car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 3

2019 - 3

2021 - 2

Average score - 3

Notes:

 

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Kraków ?

Our general advice is that this part of Poland has excellent public transport if you are just planning on travelling within and between the major cities, including Katowice and the world heritage site that is the centre of Kraków itself.

Many visitors to Kraków will also want to visit the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp, and this can also be done (perhaps rather chillingly) by train. From Krakow direct, it’s quicker by bus – either way, you will need to go to the town of Oswiecim first, and then take a short walk from the rail / bus station.

Looking further south and into the Tatra mountains, then this is where getting a hire car in Kraków starts to become useful, but it’s also still possible, for example, to travel to a destination such as Zakopane by utilising local train services, even if they might take twice as long as driving yourself. Kraków is also a good starting point for a road trip into neighbouring Slovakia, a country which only has a limited number of inward flights via the capital Bratislava.

For anyone considering a multicity tour of Poland, it’s also easy enough to continue onwards by train from Kraków to either Lodz or the Polish capital Warsaw, although if your aim is to travel around smaller towns to the south or to the west and to focus more on rural areas rather than big cities, then a hire car might still be useful.
When compared with Western European countries, Polish rail services are generally very cheap, with first-class tickets available for a small supplement, although the rail network as a whole is generally lacking in investment. Some visitors might prefer to make inter-city journeys by coach.

 

  • Kraków car hire makes sense for driving around small towns.
  • Ideal for visiting the Tatra mountains – and faster than taking trains here.
  • Rail network is slow and out-dated in many places.

 

No need to travel around major cities in the region, including to Katowice.

  • City of Kraków has wealth of cultural attractions – no need to leave city at all on a shorter break!
  • Excellent public transport within Kraków.
  • Historical industrial attractions are within easy reach by public transport.
  • Tatra mountains by train – slower than driving and indirect, but still workable.
  • Trains are ideal for multi-city itineraries – see also Warsaw and Poznan car hire advice.
  • Wieliczka salt mine – an easy excursion by train or bus from Krakow http://www.wieliczka-saltmine.com/.

Verdict

Should you rent a car in Kraków? On balance, our Kraków car hire advice is that there is certainly no need to get one here for the most popular urban attractions, but that a rental car might be useful for some visitors.

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