Kraków, the second largest city in is not only a historical and visual gem of Poland it’s also one of the leading hubs of Polish academic, cultural, and economic life.
Located at the bottom of the Carpathian Mountains, this metropolitan area has more than 1.4 million inhabitants and recieves a bunch of people annually as tourists come flocking to Krakow each year without fail.
Kraków is officially divided into eighteen areas, or rather parts with a considerable degree of autonomy within the municipal government.
Apart from being the most popular tourist destination in Poland, Krakow is extremely important for Poland’s economy.
Fist of all, the tourist influx in Krakow supports a lot of the Polish economy, but that’s not all.
The technology industry is growing in Krakow, with a number off-shore divisions of important institutions and companies like Google, IBM, Motorola, State Street, Shell, UBS, HSBC situated in Krakow.
As for culture, Krakow is filled with churches, museums, ruins, palaces and adorable traditional ceramic and basket-making workshops.
Warnings & Dangers in Krakow
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Generally, Krakow is a very safe city to travel to. Still, never let your guard down, and be wary of pickpockets and scammers since their activities increased in the past couple of years.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Public transport and taxis are safe and reliable, but it is recommended that you be very careful with your valuables in public transport, since that's where organized pickpockets operate. Also, be careful with taxi drivers using numerous tricks and scams to try and overcharge you.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Pickpocketing and bag snatching are common in tourist landmarks and crowded areas. Be vigilant at all times and never leave your belongings in plain sight. Be careful in crowded areas, in railway and bus stations and especially in public transport, since pickpockets often work in teams, and make artificial crowds around tourists in order to steal from them, or try to distract people as a trick to pick their pockets.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
There are no threats of natural disasters in Krakow. During spring there are occasional floods and during winter there are snowstorms and heavy snowfall. Be cautious when driving during the winter period.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
You shouldn't worry about being mugged or kidnapped in Krakow, since it rarely, if ever occurs.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Even though there haven't been any terrorist attacks in Krakow's recent history, they shouldn't be ruled out, so remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Scams are very common in Krakow. There are credit card scams with someone calling you on the phone in your hotel room claiming they're the receptionist asking to confirm your credit card details; also be wary of taxi drivers trying to charge you double or convince you that you haven't paid enough (showing you smaller bills instead of the one's you paid with). Be wary of people claiming they're the police, and get familiar with Polish police uniforms.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women traveling solo are completely safe in Krakow. If you have your wits with you and follow your common sense, avoid dark and desert alleys or walking alone with strange people at night, your trip should go smoothly.
So... How Safe Is Krakow Really?
Krakow is a safe city to travel to. It is getting more and more visitors each year, and its tourism has generally increased especially after Poland joined the European Union in 2004.
However, petty crime has also increased with the influx of tourists.
Be wary of pickpockets bumping into you on the streets, or at the beach, and generally be careful with your valuables, especially in crowded places.
Pickpockets usually work in organization, so they either create a distraction while someone else steals something from you, or they create artificial crowds on public transport.
Apart from pickpockets, you can easily get scammed in Poland.
There is a number of scams to watch out for like credit card scams where someone wakes you up early in the morning by calling you on your hotel room phone, claiming they’re the receptionist calling to verify your credit card information.
After you read out your credit card number and other details and return back to sleep, they steal everything from your card.
Also, be careful when taking a taxi, since taxi drivers have been known to cheat by insisting you didn’t pay enough, in the meantime having hidden the money you actually paid and showing you smaller bills.
Some might agree on one price and then charge you double once you arrive at your destination.
Also, watch out for “fake officers” claiming to be police and trying to extort money from you.
Get familiar with real uniforms of the police in Krakow, because it’s easy to be tricked when you don’t know how the real police officers look like.
- Visas - Most countries do not need a visa for any stays shorter than 90 days. Any longer than that, you might have to obtain a visa. Your passport needs to be valid for at least six months from your planned date of return. However, if you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Zloty is the official currency in Krakow. ATMs are widely available throughout the country and credit cards are accepted in most establishments such as hotels and restaurants.
- Weather - There are four very distinct seasons to Krakow. Summer is hot and humid while winter always covers Krakow with a blanket of snow and extremely cold days. In winter, the air pollution of Krakow is staggering, affecting children and people with respiratory problems.
- Airports - Kraków John Paul II International Airport is an international airport located near Kraków. It is located in the village of Balice, 11 km west of the city centre, in southern Poland.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Krakow, since it covers not only medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.