When I talk to people about my time in Krakow, one of the first things they ask is, “Is Krakow expensive?” I spent a month there in July 2019, on a student exchange so I feel I have had a substantial amount of time and experience there, to consider prices in Krakow, and compare them, relative to other large European cities. So in short- I tell them no- but further down I’ve highlighted some easy ways to keep your euros for the finer things in life, so read more to find out.
A few things to note about Krakow before reading any further is that while Krakow isn’t Poland’s capital – it is the second-largest city — with a population of 775,000 people, similar to that of Seattle or Newcastle, prices in Krakow are thought to be more expensive than some other Polish cities, but cheaper than other European ones. Located within the city walls, there are many student gems and haunts where tourists can grab a bargain while meeting locals and learning about the city.
This guide aims to help travellers understand how much a trip to Krakow costs with suggestions on how to save money during your time in the city.
Krakow Prices Guide
This Krakow trip cost guide focuses on five main areas: accommodation, transport, food, activities & entertainment prices.
Accommodation Prices in Krakow
Krakow offers a whole host of different places to stay, with all budgets catered for.
Hostel rooms start at €8 per night in a dorm, with centrally located places including breakfast coming in at around €10 night. Hostelworld has many options, including private rooms going for approximately €30 per night. (The prices listed here are mid-week, however, weekends, if booked in advance, shouldn’t be too much more expensive). Many of the hostels run pub crawls and other social evenings so, as usual, if you are looking to meet other people – this type of accommodation may be the place for you.
Krakow also offers lots of self-catering apartments (including several options on Airbnb such as this amazing central apartment), in the city centre from €50-70 per night. This could work really well if travelling as a group, as many have more than one bedroom, and add a touch of luxury to your trip, without a hefty price tag. Four of us stayed in the Moja Apartments on Starowslnka — which were in a traditional building, with bay windows and high-quality interior — and with the cost divided by 4 was €25-30 each/night.
If you are visiting Krakow, for a special occasion, or want to experience some of Europe’s old-world luxury while on a European trip, Krakow offers an incredible range of 5-star hotels. Rooms in some of the country’s most beautiful hotels are offered for rates such as €200 per night per double. While this is out of the question for most travellers, if you are considering treating yourself to accommodation fit for royalty, check out Hotel Copernicus or the Grand Hotel.
If you plan on staying in Krakow for longer than a few days or making a base as you explore other cities in Poland, it may be worth looking into dormitory accommodation attached to Jagiellonian University. Prices are advertised by the month and are as low €250 euro per month for a single room with en suite. (Prices are even lower if you are a student of the university).
I stayed in the dormitory affiliated to the College of Medicine, which had free washing facilities and access to a communal kitchen, and provided bed linen. While this is excellent value for money, it is worth noting that the dormitories are located further outside the city than most of the hostels and hotels so make sure to check transport links before booking — my dormitory had bus and train links right across the street. This is also another cool place to meet other students.
Transportation Prices in Krakow
Krakow city centre is easily explored on foot — there are wonderful walks by the Vistula River and Wawel Castle and in the green areas surrounding the Rynek Glowny. If you are staying in the centre, then the only transport you may require is to and from the airport — Uber or booking a private transfer is the best option.
If you arrived by train — Krakow Glowny (the main station) is located in the city’s main Galleria and is also accessible on foot. However, travellers requiring extra mobility support may prefer to take the tram, particularly in the hot sun or the below-freezing winter temperatures.
The Krakow Card is a city pass that includes unlimited public transport, transfers to the airport and Auschwitz Museum and Wieliczka Salt Mine, along with discounted admission prices to different attractions. There is a 2-day or 3-day pass option and it can be purchased online or from local vendors.
Jakdojade Krakow is your navigation tool of choice when using Krakow’s transport. It has live information on trams and buses and gives you different route options.
Krakow Glowny has international train connections with Budapest, Prague, Vienna and Bratislava or for those travelling with a Eurail or Interrail pass. It’s worth booking train tickets in advance if you want to lower your Krakow trip cost – click here to view schedules and availability.
It is also possible to rent a car for less than €15 per day, which may save some cash if travelling in a group. If you want to find the best prices on car hire, we recommend using RentalCars.com, which compares rates across all major car hire companies.
Food Prices in Krakow
Krakow food and drink prices, like everything else in the city, are pretty affordable when compared to prices in many Western European cities.
Many streets are lined with local selling pretzel-like breads for as little as 50 cents. There are also fruit merchants and Zabka stores everywhere.
There are also various opportunities to try local cuisine with 3 course set lunch menus starting at just over €3! The Kazimierz or Jewish district has many little restaurants and probably offers the best value, too. We tried a little place on Miodowa – with offerings such as local fish, pierogi and sweet cake for dessert.
Mid-range restaurants offer some serious value – with pizza in an Italian restaurant coming between €6-8 and mussels or steak coming in at €8-11. Compared to other European cities, Krakow prices are a complete steal. The conversion rate against the dollar and euro makes even places like the Hard Rock Café more affordable in Krakow than elsewhere.
If you feel like a mid-afternoon snack there are many ice-cream parlours dotted across the city. A personal favourite is Good Lood, a haunt frequented by Krakow locals. The flavours change daily and offer some originals like prosecco or peanut butter and jelly, along with the solids such as vanilla and strawberry — they announce the daily flavour on their Facebook page so you can check in advance. Prices are pretty reasonable for a generous portion.
Activities Prices in Krakow
The real reason you came — the authenticity and genuine preservation of the historical sites the city has to offer. Activities are perhaps the most expensive aspect to consider when planning a trip to the city of the Dragon.
While most attractions charge an admission fee; some free things that are worth doing include a riverside walk, visiting the grounds of the castle (there’s a fee to enter the building), the murals in the Kazimierz, chilling in the main square and hiking up to Krakow mound to take in the views. There are also various “Free Walking Tours” run by donation.
The bigger attractions tend to be relatively costly though; pre-booked tickets to, for example, a tour of Oskar Schindler’s Factory Museum come in at around €13-16.
Guided tours to Auschwitz-Birkenau including transportation come in around €30-40 and it is a similar price for the Wieliczka Salt Mine. You can also buy a ticket to Auschwitz-Birkenau that allows for self-guided entry and similarly a skip-the-line ticket for the Wieliczka Salt Mine,
There is a discount for students with valid student ID (The International Student Identity Card – ISIC is accepted widely in Poland and may be worth the investment before you travel if you plan on visiting a lot of attractions). The Krakow Card also provides reduced admission price.
Alternative activities that are slightly more affordable are the science park and a visit out to Zakopane. During the winter, Zakopane is a ski resort and in summer it has a lovely walk on an asphalt track the whole way to a scenic lake — Morskie Oko. The track is pretty accessible — suitable for prams or wheelchairs, and admission to the National park is just more than €1. Although Zakopane is accessible by public bus, you will have to pay for another bus from the main station up to the National Park.
After your hike to the lake, the little town is worth a visit. It has a charming main street and has a little market close by that sells delicious fried cheese with a berry sauce, freshly prepared on the spot for as little as €1. This is a cool place to grab some souvenirs – even some cheese to fry at home.
Entertainment Prices in Krakow
Entertainment prices in Krakow are fairly cheap considering the vibrancy of the nightlife in the city. The city has a whole host of rooftop cars, themed bars (Harry Potter fans, listen up!) and nightclubs. Local alcohol is generally cheaper than imported international options, and for liquor lovers, the city has vodka bars and a gin bar with lots of different flavours.
So how much is a beer in Krakow? How much should you expect to spend on going out at night? Well, alcohol in supermarkets or local stores is by far the cheapest, but there are plenty of cool places that offer affordable options out. The Forum is an open-top bar located on the river with lots of deck chairs, and with beers starting at as little as €2.
The Krakow pub crawls also offer the opportunity to visit a number of bars across the city and to meet other travellers. Tickets are usually €15 but are cheaper if booked online in advance. This price involves admission to each of the venues and some drinks and discounts.
Outside the party scene, there are cool piano concerts with tickets for about €15, and in summer there are often arts displays in the Rynek Glowny. Cinema here is also in English with Polish subtitles should that tickle your fancy while on holiday.
Is Krakow Expensive? Average Prices in Krakow
So coming back to our original question; Is Krakow expensive? Well, I suppose this depends on your home currency, but Krakow is more affordable than many of its European counterparts, particularly with the euro and dollar exchange rate to zloty.
When working out a daily budget, I’ve tried to keep it as low cost as possible but still a fun time.
Accommodation: €8 – 15 / night for a bed in a hostel or a private room split between two
Transportation: €0 – 5 / day for getting around the city centre on foot and the occasional bus to outlying areas
Food: €12 / day for a set lunch and pizza as dinner main course
Activities: €15 – 20 / day for museum entry or day tours
Entertainment: €5-15 / day for a pub crawl or a few drinks out
All in all, plan for the daily average cost of your trip to Krakow to be around €50 per day. While this may seem a little more than expected – this is two meals out which if staying in a hostel could be made there and save a lot, and I also did not include the discount from the Krakow Card for various museums.
The activities may be the most difficult to budget for as the guided tours are costly but with careful planning, the high costs can be avoided.
Keep in mind, that this average cost doesn’t include any pre-trip expenses such as flights or travel insurance. World Nomads is a popular option for travellers looking for travel insurance – click here to get a quote from World Nomads.
Krakow is an amazing city with such a rich history and special culture. A visit is well worth the money- whatever it costs. While Krakow is undoubtedly an affordable city to visit at the moment, prices do keep rising as more people visiting this beautiful gem.
Are you planning a trip to Krakow? Are you wondering is Krakow expensive? Let us know in the comments!