These two amazing cities and real gems of Central Europe might look close to each other but getting from Krakow to Prague can be more time consuming than you think and sometimes even challenging a bit. The public transport in the region is far from being perfect but with some of my tips on how to get from Krakow to Prague (or from Prague to Krakow) you should be fine.
As a resident and frequent traveler in Central Europe, I know the region inside out and will gladly share my knowledge with you to make your trip smoother. Once you are done with visiting all the amazing things to do in Krakow you can easily travel to the Czech capital. Here is a guide about how to travel from Krakow to Prague.
Table of contents
Krakow to Prague by plane
The fastest option would be of course flying from Krakow to Prague (or the other way around) but the timing might not be right for you. Currently, there is only one airline, Ryanair, serving this route. There are departures twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, and the flying time is around one hour.
You can find one way tickets even for as little as 65 PLN / 15€ / $18 but remember that’s a basic price and if you want to take the extra luggage, choose a seat or use any other service you will be charged extra.
The best way to get from the 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 Prague, the easiest and cheapest way to reach the center (or any other place in the city really) is the combination of bus and metro. First, you need to take bus no 119 from the airport to the nearest metro station – Nadrazi Veleslavin where you can easily transfer to the green metro line A and continue to your destination. The regular public transport ticket is valid for this connection.
Krakow to Prague by train
There are three daily direct train connections between Krakow and Prague, operated by different carriers. They also vary in the travel time and comfort.
These are current departures of trains from Krakow to Prague:
- 04:57, arriving at 11:23 (travel time 6:26), company Leo Express, probably the most comfortable one but sometimes the service is suspended
- 10:22, arriving at 17:39 (travel time 7:17), company PKP Intercity / Ceske Drahy (Polish and Czech national railway carriers)
- 22:34, arriving at 07:31 (travel time 08:57), company PKP Intercity / Ceske Drahy (Polish and Czech national railway carriers). This is a good option if you want to save the time and travel overnight but I do recommend getting a place in the couchette/sleeping car – not only you will rest much better, it will be also safer and thefts do happen on this route
The trains from Prague to Krakow currently depart at this time:
- 10:24, arriving at 17:29, company PKP Intercity / Ceske Drahy (Polish and Czech national railway carriers)
- 16:09, arriving at 22:40, company Leo Express, probably the most comfortable one
- 22:15, arriving at 06:16, company PKP Intercity / Ceske Drahy (Polish and Czech national railway carriers). Read my recommendations about the night train journey from Krakow to Prague above, they apply for the reverse route as well
You can also go by train from Krakow to Prague with a change and sometimes it might be a bit faster than the direct connection. Leo Express offers the ticket for their bus+train too.
You can check current train schedule at www.bahn.de. Unfortunately, you can get the ticket only at the train station (with the exception of Leo Express, those you can buy online at their website). The price starts at €19/one way.
Krakow to Prague by bus
There are also several bus connections from Krakow to Prague but those usually take longer than train and are less comfortable. The journey time is at least 8 hours.
To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend going all the way from Krakow to Prague by bus.
Krakow to Prague by bus and train
If you can dedicate a whole day to travel from Krakow to Prague (or better two or three days!) I have the best solution that no one really talks about. Go via Cieszyn, a charming little town on the Polish-Czech border that happens to be among my very favorite place on Earth. I honestly think this is the best way to travel from Krakow to Prague as the journey doesn’t seem so long and tiring.
It used to be one city but was divided by the Polish-Czech border in 1920. Not only it will be a very affordable journey, but you will also be able to see some lovely places between Krakow and Prague that you normally wouldn’t probably stop at.
The first step is to get from Krakow to Cieszyn. There are 11 direct buses per day, the journey takes around 2,5 hours and the one way ticket costs 24 PLN / $7 / €6. The earliest departure from Krakow main bus station is at 6:00 in the morning, arriving to Cieszyn at 8:25. You can check the schedule here.
Once in Cieszyn you can go directly across the border to the train station in Cesky Tesin on the Czech side, the walk will take you some 20-30 minutes (fortunately it’s downhill that way). But to be honest I would recommend you to stay for a few hours in Cieszyn and see the town as it’s really lovely!
From the bus station to Cieszyn it’s a short walk to the beautiful main square, charming old center, the Piast Tower with a stunning view of Poland and the Czech Republic and a Romanesque rotunda from the 12th century that you can find on the 20 Polish złoty bill. Don’t miss eating the famous local sandwich with herring or Prince Polo – one of the most famous chocolate bars in Poland (and Iceland!) that originates from Cieszyn.
You can read more about Cieszyn in these articles I wrote:
- Visit Cieszyn – reasons to fall in love with this beautiful city
- Cieszyn, Poland – Central Europe in a nutshell
- Cieszyn/Český Těšín – the most confusing place I’ve ever visited
Once you are done with visiting Cieszyn you can just walk across the border bridge on Olza river to find yourself in Cesky Tesin – a part of the city that belongs to the Czech Republic now. It is not as rich in monuments as the Polish side of the city but worth a walk too, especially to see the pre-war architecture.
From Cesky Tesin two train operators offer direct connections to Prague: Ceske Drahy (the Czech national railway company) and RailJet. Often the second one has better fares but it all depends on the time of the departure or the time of the ticket’s purchase.
There are numerous connections from Cesky Tesin to Prague, the journey takes usually around 4 hours. Currently, the last train departs from Cesky Tesin at 18:41, arriving at Prague main station at 22:19.
Krakow to Prague itinerary for 3-4 days trip
If you have more than just one day for the journey from Krakow to Prague there are more interesting and beautiful places to stop at along the way. It is really worth to take a slow trip from Krakow to Prague to see more than just the main cities. You can experience a true spirit and see the real beauty of Central Europe.
From Krakow take the bus to Bielsko-Biala, the journey takes around 2 hours. Bielsko-Biała is often called “a little Vienna” and you will quickly see why – the architecture here is splendid, with so many examples of the beautiful art-nouveau style. Bielsko-Biała has lots of attractions and interesting museums and it’s worth to stop here at least for a few hours.
From here you can get to Cieszyn in just half an hour (if choosing a fast bus that goes from Krakow), where you should stay overnight. I’ve been to Cieszyn so many times I can’t count but I always stayed at these places and can recommend them with my whole heart:
- 3 Bros’ Hostel Cieszyn (9.3/10 on Booking)
- 3 Bros’ Apart (8.5/10 on Booking)
- Deer Apart (9.6/10 on Booking)
- Upper Apart (9.3/10 on Booking)
If you can – spend two nights in Cieszyn so you will have plenty of time to see all the attractions on both sides of the river (and there are many of them!) as well as enjoy the unique atmosphere of the town. I always find the excuse to visit Cieszyn and just spend some time there, it’s such a wonderful place!
After seeing Cieszyn catch a train from the station on the Czech side of the city to Ostrava, the connections are very frequent. While the city itself has a pleasant center the main reason to stop here is to visit Dolni Oblast Vitkovice and see the industrial heritage of Ostrava and Silesia region. This is where the amazing Colours of Ostrava festival takes place every summer but even if there is no event taking place there it is a fascinating site to explore.
From Ostrava, you should continue to Olomouc, another beautiful Central European town that is a perfect alternative to Prague. Again, the connections are frequent (at least every hour) and the journey time is around 1 hour.
In Olomouc be sure to check the main square with the UNESCO-listed Holy Trinity Column and a quirky astronomical clock in the socialist realist style. But the best thing to do in Olomouc is to just wander around winding lanes and enjoy the place. Click here to read more I wrote about Olomouc.
You should stay here overnight too, I recommend Miss Sophie’s (9.4/10 on Booking) – it’s one of these places where you feel so good you don’t want to leave! Click here to book a place at Miss Sophie’s Olomouc.
From Olomouc, there are frequent trains to Prague too so you can catch one whatever time works for you. Two hours after boarding the train in Olomouc you will arrive to your destination – a beautiful capital of the Czech Republic.
As you can see traveling from Krakow to Prague or in the reverse direction, from Prague to Krakow is not that difficult, especially if you know some tricks (like with crossing the border on foot in Cieszyn).
Both countries are part of the Schengen zone so you don’t need to worry about the border control. In fact, you won’t even notice when you cross the border from Poland to the Czech Republic (unless you do it in Cieszyn, there are boards and the line on the street telling you are crossing from one country to another but that’s actually a fun experience).
The trip should be really smooth and enjoyable and both Krakow and Prague are amazing cities to visit. Have a great trip and if you have any questions about Poland, the Czech Republic or traveling in Central Europe feel free to join my Facebook group and ask there!
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