It is without a doubt that Krakow is home to some of the best attractions in Poland. But when visiting, many visitors tend to forget about the stunning half-day and day trips from Krakow that offer a comprehensive Poland travel experience.
That is why we have written this guide on the best 2-hour trips from Krakow. We also included information on how to get there with public transportation so travelers on any budget can visit.
- Distance From Krakow: 111 kilometers
- Best For: Nature, Hiking, Winter Sports and Outdoor Activities
With its bustling city center and ecstatic nightlife, Krakow can be exhausting at times. When that happens, why not drive two hours south and visit the small town of Zakopane? Situated at the foot of the Tatra Mountain Range, Zakopane is the gateway to some of the best nature Poland has to offer.
On a day trip from Krakow, visitors can easily hike to Morskie Oko Lake, the largest lake in the Tatra Mountains. Translating to Eye of the Sea in English, Morskie Oko features clear crystal water and lush surrounding landscapes. It is one of Zakopane’s best attractions.
In the winter, visitors can enjoy a plethora of winter sports such as snowboarding and skiing. When you are tired, soak in one of the soothing thermal baths near Zakopane such as Chochołowskie.
Stroll around the town and enjoy the iconic turn-of-the-20th-century wooden chalets. Don’t forget to sample some Oscypek, a type of smoked Polish cheese made of salted sheep milk exclusively in the Tatra Mountains region, before returning back to Krakow.
Though it is doable as a day trip from Krakow, many visitors decide to stay a few more days in Zakopane to fully immerse themselves in the wonderful nature.
How To Get To Zakopane From Krakow?
Though at the southern tip of Poland, getting to Zakopane from Krakow is very easy, even with public transportation. You have the option of taking a bus or a train from Krakow Glowny (Krakow’s main transport hub) and it takes a little less than 2.5 hours to get there.
Driving takes about a little less than 2 hours, but why drive when public transport is so cheap and accessible?
Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau
- Distance From Krakow: 70 kilometers
- Best For: History, dark tourism
A little less than two hours away from Krakow is one of Poland’s most significant attractions – Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Museum is situated on the Auschwitz concentration camp, the largest of the German Nazi concentration camps and extermination centers in World War II. It is estimated that over 1.1 million men and women lost their lives there.
Though it is possible to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau without a tour, a tour guide is highly recommended. It is the best way to learn about the horrific events of the Holocaust at Auschwitz. Just remember to reserve a tour in your language a few days before. Tours are limited and they are likely to sell out, especially true during the summer peak season.
The museum actually comprises two sites, the main concentration camp Auschwitz I and Birkenau, the largest of the 40 or so camps that make up the Auschwitz concentration camp. At Birkenau, visitors can still see the train tracks that were used to transport the Jews to the site.
Though a somber destination, it is one of the most important places to visit near Krakow.
How to Get to the Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau?
Getting to Auschwitz-Birkenau is not the most difficult with public transportation. You can take a train to Oświęcim and walk about 30 minutes to the museum. There are also bus companies that take you directly to the entrance of the Auschwitz museum. But remember you will still have to arrange your own tour inside the museum itself.
I personally like visiting attractions on my own to save some money, but taking an Auschwitz tour from Krakow is the best option here. Not only does it make visiting the museum extremely convenient as they handle transport and the tour guide, but the cost is also about the same as doing it yourself.
- Distance from Krakow: 168 kilometers
- Best For: Architecture, historic center, dining
For something a little less touristy than Krakow but equally beautiful, head over to the city of Rzeszów, the capital of the southeastern Podkarpackie province. To start off, the city is home to one of the most stunning and well-preserved Old Towns. Similar to Krakow, it features a central square called the Market Square where the neo-gothic and renaissance revival style City Hall stand.
The Market Square is also home to some of the city’s best restaurants and cafes. I highly recommend you to stop by and enjoy some pierogies (Polish dumplings) and a refreshing Żywiec, one of Poland’s most popular beers. Enjoy the beautiful buildings that surround the Market Square as you do so.
Afterward, stroll down 3 Maja Street, the oldest and prettiest street in Rzeszów. It is now lined with beautiful boutique shops in charming old buildings. You will end up near one of Rzeszów’s biggest and most gorgeous landmarks, the Lubomirski Castle. Unfortunately, it houses the District Court so visitors cannot enter.
Rzeszów takes a few hours to explore. Combined with the 2-hour commute from Krakow, it is the perfect day trip.
How to Get to Rzeszów from Krakow
Getting from Krakow to Rzeszów is very easy, as Rzeszów is situated on a popular train route. Travelers can take a train at Krakow Glowny towards Przemyśl, a Polish city on the border of Ukraine. The train takes about 2 hours to get to Rzeszów from Krakow. The bus to Rzeszów departs from the same station in Krakow and takes about 2 hours to 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Those are some of the most popular 2-hour trips from Krakow. Make sure you include them on your Krakow itinerary the next time you visit!