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.
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!
Table of contents
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. You can find the best deals at Skyscanner (that’s my default website when looking for flights). 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.
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 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”.
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 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. You can find the companies and prices that serve Krakow to Lviv route as well as purchase the ticket here.
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.
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.
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!
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