Poland Ukraine

Krakow to Lviv – a complete guide how to travel between these cities

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With the current situation in Ukraine, with a heavy heart, I strongly advise not visiting the country. This is the older, pre-war article and you can use it for future inspiration and information to plan a trip when it’s safe to visit Ukraine again.


One of the most frequent questions asked on my beloved Facebook group about travelling in Eastern Europe (you’re more than welcome to join!) is how to get from Krakow to Lviv.

Even if the cities are not too far from each other travelling between Poland and Ukraine can get tough and sometimes the direct connections are not the best ones. After spending 3 days in Krakow (or more) you might start wondering about your trip further to Lviv to enjoy all the great things to do in Lviv.

I have travelled to Lviv, Ukraine on many occasions and used every single way of crossing the border that is described below.

By now I’ve figured the best way of how to travel to Krakow from Lviv or to Lviv from Krakow.

Here’s a little recap that will hopefully make your trip smoother too!

Flying from Krakow to Lviv

Since the end of October 2018 there are direct Krakow to Lviv flights, operated by Ryanair.

They depart from Krakow on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The plane leaves Krakow at 7.10am, arriving to Lviv one hour later, 9.10am Ukrainian time.

From Lviv it departs at 9.35am and will arrive to Krakow also at 9.35am – the joy of one hour time difference between Poland and Ukraine.

The tickets start at 64 PLN ($18 / €15) one way.

Keep in mind that Ryanair has this ridiculous luggage and price policy that you basically have to pay for everything so even if the ticket itself is cheap you might end up paying much more, depending on the options you choose.

Krakow to Lviv

The best way to get from center of Krakow to the airport is by train.

They depart from the main station every hour or so, the journey time is 20 minutes and the ticket costs 9 PLN ($2,38 / €2,10). You can get the ticket at the tickets office, at the tickets machine or inside the train.

In Lviv trolleybus no 9 will take you directly from the airport to the center, in front of the university and Ivan Franko Park.

The ticket costs 5 UAH ($0,18 / €0,16) and can be bought inside the vehicle. Just make sure you have smaller money with you as drivers aren’t too happy when you try to pay with big bills.

The trolleybuses depart every 10-15 minutes between 6:30 and 22:00.

Uber works very well in Lviv too.

Krakow to Lviv

Krakow to Lviv by train

This is by far the best option to travel from Krakow to Lviv currently (if you are not into flying or the flight schedule doesn’t fit to your itinerary).

You don’t need to spend hours on the border and fight your way to enter a mini bus. Even if you need to change trains in Przemysl, Poland everything is super easy and straightforward.

There is one direct Krakow to Lviv train but I don’t recommend it.

Not only currently it departs from Krakow in the middle of the night, at 3am, you will also spend hours in Przemysl as they need to change the carriage’s bottom – I have no idea how to explain it properly but the trains in Ukraine have wider dimension between the wheels than in Poland hence the change is needed at the border.

That makes the whole journey so much longer, according to the schedule Krakow to Lviv takes 9 hours and you’re there at 13:30!

If you take two trains, from Krakow to Przemysl and from Przemysl to Lviv everything will be so much easier!

You don’t need to waste the time waiting at the border, uncertain when you leave as the passport control takes place inside the train.

Currently there are 10 direct trains between Krakow and Przemysl and the journey time, depending on the train, is between 3h20min and 3h50min.

Then you have two trains from Przemysl to Lviv, with a very good connection between trains from Krakow and to Lviv.

You can find the current schedule at this website of Polish railways.

When typing the name of the Krakow it’s enough to just type first few letter and then choose “Kraków Główny | main station”, the same goes for Przemysl – the station you want to go to is “Przemyśl Główny”.

Krakow to Lviv

The tricky part of the journey might be finding a correct platform in Przemysl – you are looking for platform no 4.

As I mentioned before there are different track to Ukraine so the platform with those is the last one when looking from the train station side. To get there you need to go via platform no 3.

As travelling from Krakow to Lviv by train is very popular I recommend getting the tickets in advance so you can be sure there’re free seats.

Also in Poland the earlier you buy the ticket, the cheaper it is. The tickets go on sale 30 days before the travel date.

You can buy tickets for both Polish and Ukrainian part of the journey online and it’s really easy.

Just go to PKP Intercity website (for Krakow – Przemysl ticket) and Ukrainian Railways (for Przemysl – Lviv part of the journey) and follow the steps.

Everything is written in English, follow the steps and in few minutes you will have tickets in your inbox (I always save the pdf files from the website too, just in case).

If you have some extra time I’d recommend stopping in Przemysl along the way as the city is really beautiful and well worth a visit!

Most of the sights are within 10 minutes walking from the train station. On the bonus side – one of the best ice creams in Poland can be bought in Przemysl too!

Krakow to Lviv

Krakow to Lviv by bus

There are direct Krakow to Lviv buses but to be honest I wouldn’t recommend them.

Not only they are often more expensive than other ways of transport described here, they are also rather unpredictable and can have big delays as you never know how much time it will take at the border.

Sometimes it’s 2 hours, sometimes 8 hours…

I can recommend night buses though as they are good to save time on the journey.

Lviv travel

The scheduled time of the journey by bus from Krakow to Lviv varies and depends on the company, the route and the border crossing.

The scheduled time is usually between 7 and 8 hours but there are companies who make it in around 6 hours.

But again, you never know how much time you might spend at the border and these are always busy.

The standard of the bus depends on the company you are using (Ukrainian ones often offer less comfort and older buses) but in general I wouldn’t expect anything glamorous.

No matter if you’re travelling by day or by night don’t forget a travel pillow – you will need it!

Walking across the border in Medyka

There’s one more trick that can make your travel from Krakow to Lviv cheaper but also a bit adventurous.

You need to get to Przemysl first (everything about that part is described in the “by train” section).

Since it’s only 10kms from the Przemysl bus station to the border there are frequent mini buses serving this route. They depart when they are full (you never have to wait long for that) and the ride costs 2 PLN ($0,53 / €0,47).

You will be dropped at the border in Medyka and then you have to walk across the border.

First there’s a Polish control, then a longish no man’s land and eventually the Ukrainian control.

If you’re a holder of European Union passport look for the signs on the Polish sides as there’s a special queue that makes the procedures easier and faster.

Once on the Ukrainian side you need to pass all the drivers offering you a ride and once you pass the rows on small shops on your left you need to turn left on the second street – after a minute walking you will find a small bus station with mini buses going to Lviv frequently (here is the exact location of the bus station).

The journey from Shegini to Lviv is around 2 hours, last time I took the mini bus (March 2018) the ticket was around 60 UAH ($2,15 / €1,90) and needs to be bought at the tickets office inside the station.

The bus will drop you next to the train station in Lviv from where you can take the tram no 1 or 9 to the center – the ticket is 5 UAH ($0,18 / €0,16) and can be bought from the driver.

Krakow to Lviv

If you want to leave Przemyśl early and avoid crowds at the border there is a train to Medyka, at 6.30am. 15 minutes later it arrives to the final destination from where you have some 5-10 minutes walking to the border.

I took it recently and was very pleased with it as when I arrived at the border there was literally no one there – something I’ve never seen before as usually around mid day you need to push your way through the queue.

If you opt for this option I recommend staying at Hotel Europejski – the rooms are basic but ok but the location is unbeatable, right in front of the train station.

Click here to read the reviews and see current prices.

Krakow to Lviv

Lviv – a perfect getaway to exploring beautiful Ukraine

Once you are in Lviv you can travel further to other destinations in Ukraine.

Despite the popular opinions of people who have never been there Ukraine is a safe country to visit and there is nothing really to worry about as long as you use your common sense.

There are many great places to visit Ukraine, some of my favorite ones that I highly recommended are:

If you have any questions about Lviv, Krakow or travelling in Central/Eastern Europe you should head to the Facebook group I’ve founded and ask there – a great community of travelers will help you out for sure! Happy travels!


Travel Resources

You can find the best accommodation options at Booking. They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for the place to stay in Poland and Ukraine

Never travel without travel insurance, you never know what might happen and better safe than sorry. You can check the insurance policy for Poland and Ukraine here.

I recommend joining organized tours to get to know the place better and to visit more places during your trip. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here.

Make sure to have the offline map always installed on your phone, they can save you so many troubles. I always use the free app Maps.Me.


For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:

  • Sign up to my newsletter or follow me on Bloglovin to get updates about the new posts
  • Join my Facebook group about Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR and connect with fellow travellers and enthusiasts of these regions – just click here!
  • I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Poland and Ukraine too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. Thank you!

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Jen
    29/03/2019 at 18:35

    I appreciate your advice!
    I’m thinking of visiting Ukraine from Poland too.
    If I break up the train ride like you described (from Krakow to Przemysl then from Przemysl to Lviv), how does the passport checks happen? Do I have to queue for border control after getting off the first train, or will the officials check in the train?

    Also are the two trains arriving in and departing from the same station in Przemysl? I’m worried they are in different stations in the city and I will miss the second train!

    • Reply
      kami
      05/04/2019 at 20:54

      There is nothing to worry about. You just board the train to Lviv and the passport control is in the train. Both trains arrive and depart from the same station, Przemyśl Główny (the one from Kraków first stops at Przemyśl Zasanie so don’t leave the train there), just from different platforms. The platform for Lviv train is a little bit in the back so just follow people and signs and you will get there.

      • Reply
        Andreas Moser
        23/11/2019 at 21:31

        Hello Kami,
        thank you so much for that information!
        When I looked online briefly, I only found the direct train, which does at odd times, as you say.
        As I don’t have much luggage, I’ll much rather break up the journey at Przemysl (and try to learn how to pronounce it while there).

        • Reply
          kami
          26/11/2019 at 10:09

          haha, yes, pronouncing Przemyśl can be tricky ;) But it is such a pleasant city you should give yourself at least 2 hours to see a bit of it too, before continuing to Lviv

      • Reply
        Rutger Wery
        29/07/2021 at 11:58

        Hello Kami
        Is the train-connection from Przemysl to Lviv still functional in August 2021?

        • Reply
          Daniel
          27/08/2021 at 03:52

          I’d also like to know this as I can’t find confirmation.
          The connections show on the Polish Railways site but not Ukrainian, nor is it possible to purchase the tickets on intercity.pl
          Has it stopped due to Covid?

          • kami
            25/11/2021 at 17:18

            unfortunately yes, the train hasn’t operated until October 2021, now it’s going again.

        • Reply
          kami
          25/11/2021 at 17:06

          Sorry for the late answer, saw your comment just now. Unfortunately, the connection returned only in October. All the best!

  • Reply
    Arjan van Noort
    29/04/2019 at 15:25

    Hi Kami, thanks for your good info! It really helped for our travel from Lviv to Krakow today. The tip of skipping the line if you have a EU passport also really saved us a lot of time! Next to that, Przemysl is indeed a nice town with some nice walking routes near the castle, so definitely no problem if you have to stay there.

    Some additional info:
    From Lviv there are small buses leaving for the Shehyni border from AS Zahidna bus station (АС Захидна) in the west of Lviv. For 64 grivna per person and it takes 2 hours.

    • Reply
      kami
      01/05/2019 at 10:48

      I’m glad the article helped you :) Przemysl is lovely indeed and deserves at least a day but a few hours to break a journey are fine too. Thank you for the tips about mini buses although now, with the train, I try to avoid them. But I used them my fair share of time in the past too :)

  • Reply
    Dave
    13/06/2019 at 16:29

    This was very helpful. I’m going to be making the Lviv to Krakow trip this summer, and your explanation of the train change process in Przemysl really cleared up my confusion on how the whole process works. Thanks!

    • Reply
      kami
      26/06/2019 at 02:04

      I’m glad you found it useful! Safe travels!

      • Reply
        Dave
        29/06/2019 at 17:33

        Actually, the Ukraine railways ticket site has been offline for weeks. Do you know if I will be able to buy tickets the day of travel, or can I buy in advance by telephone in English?

        • Reply
          kami
          30/06/2019 at 19:42

          I didn’t know. Thank you for the info. I think you will be able to get the ticket in the day of travel, I did it a few times, but it’s always not 100% sure. Why don’t you ask about that on the Facebook group, maybe someone will know more about it? https://www.facebook.com/groups/121053081614593

  • Reply
    Sage McPherson
    21/07/2019 at 20:06

    Thank you! I just used your tips to book my train tickets from Lviv to Krakow. Thanks!

    • Reply
      kami
      24/07/2019 at 06:33

      I’m glad you found the post useful!

  • Reply
    Beth Z
    02/08/2019 at 00:09

    Hi Kami,

    I know that it’s unpredictable with the border wait times, but we have a very short window to go to and from Lviv and Krakow, so I was wondering if you have any guidance about hiring a private car through one of the platforms that provides this service? We are trying to book through mydaytrip.com, and we were wondering if this is safe and/or if you have any guidance on this service. We don’t know if we can work with a specific flight or train schedule. Thanks for any input! And THANKS for all you do!

    B

    • Reply
      kami
      11/08/2019 at 10:08

      Hi Beth, I’ve never used this platform so I don’t know how reliable it is but you should ask about it on my Facebook group about traveling in Eastern Europe (here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/121053081614593/). I see people asking about them every now and then so maybe some of the members will be able to recommend you something. Have a good trip!

  • Reply
    Bronson
    02/08/2019 at 21:40

    Very helpful article about how to get from Poland to Ukraine. However, getting from Ukraine to Poland is a bit different by train, from what I have read (I am awaiting my first time traveling from Ukraine to Poland). Is it true that you cannot buy train tickets online from Lviv to Krakow (or Ukraine to Poland in general)? If so, are there any other pieces of advice or things to keep in mind? Thanks for any thoughts. You seem to be quite the expert and I am a newbie!

    • Reply
      kami
      11/08/2019 at 10:22

      Actually I took Lviv-Przemyśl- Kraków more often than the other direction and this article is based on my experience. As I wrote, you need to buy Lviv – Przemyśl on the Ukrainian railways’ website and Przemyśl – Kraków on Polish one. It’s not possible to buy the Lviv-Kraków ticket online in one go, besides it would be much more expensive than buying two separate tickets.

  • Reply
    Oksana Guerra
    19/08/2019 at 03:22

    Dear Kami,
    I’m from Brazil and love your blog and your tips! In 2017 I’ve been in Germany, Poland (Wroslaw and Krakow), Ukraine (Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Kiev) and Russia (Moscow), with my husband and our first son, who was one year old at the time. At that time, I already used a lot of your tips.
    We went from Krakow to Ivano-Frankivsk by night bus. It passed through Lviv first, but we decided to go to Ivano-Frankivsk because the arrival time would be best. It was truly an adventure: for starters, the bus driver didn’t understand why we had only one ticket (which we bought online), because we were 3 passengers. It took a while for us to explain, by mimics, that the ticket was for 3 passengers, hahaha. The bus arrived at least one our late to the Krakow station, we were worried, it was late and we had a baby with us. There were no sign, no one to inform anything, no English speakers at all. When it finally arrived, the bus didn’t have the company name, the toilette was closed (we had 2 stops to go to a bathroom), we spent a long long time at the board. At the end, it all went well, but I wouldn’t do it again.
    This year we will go again to Krakow and Lviv, this time with the new family member, my younger boy who will be 11 months old, the oldest is 3 years old now. I’m so thankful for this post! This time we will go by train, and I was searching for clear information, I don’t know why I didn’t come to your blog earlier. <3
    Thank you very much!

    • Reply
      kami
      19/08/2019 at 21:58

      Dear Oksana, thank you for your interesting comment and for sharing the story. Unfortunately this sounds more or less how many of the bus trips from Poland to Ukraine are. That’s why the train from Przemyśl was such a huge game-changer. I can definitely recommend using it. I hope you will have a great trip and enjoy Krakow and Lviv! All the best!

      • Reply
        David
        24/08/2023 at 19:35

        I’m thinking of going to Lviv via krakow. flying from the UK…
        You information is priceless…
        Very detailed…
        Thanks from a first time traveler at 63years young…

        • Reply
          kami
          27/08/2023 at 11:09

          Good luck with your trip!

  • Reply
    kami
    19/11/2019 at 13:23

    They also fly from Katowice, which is even close to Kraków. Still, with going back to get to the airport, all the procedures and flying it’s not so competitive anymore and I wouldn’t recommend it, especially not going to Wrocław only to fly back to Lviv (visiting Wroclaw is totally recommended though).

  • Reply
    Ron Cogan
    08/05/2022 at 00:06

    Is any of this still relevant, given the war in Ukraine? Are there trains running and are there delays at the border?

    • Reply
      kami
      10/05/2022 at 10:08

      these days the trains are running rather smoothly (unlike at the beginning of the war) but it’s the best to check the current schedules on the Ukrainian railways website as they might change frequently, depending on the situation

  • Reply
    MJ
    11/08/2022 at 15:52

    Hi, thank you for the guide very clear and informative. Do you know what the situation is now? Is the train-connection from Przemysl to Lviv still functional in August 2022? Thanks!

    • Reply
      kami
      17/08/2022 at 20:32

      yes, the trains are still running. You can buy tickets online at the website of Ukrainian Railways

  • Reply
    James
    20/01/2023 at 13:35

    Hi Kami, Thank you for your posts, they are quite helpful.
    Where is best to check status for trains from Krakow to Lviv?
    Is this best option for travel? Return same?
    I am learning some Ukraine, speaking primary English, will this be possible?
    planning for a Spring 23 trip if possible.
    Thanks so much,
    James

    • Reply
      kami
      27/01/2023 at 19:45

      Trains still seem like the best option to travel between Poland and Ukraine. It’s best to check the schedule on the website of Ukrainian railways, that’s also where you can get tickets.

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