Cycling in Cracow

Cracow is believed to be one of the most livable cities in Poland. It is well known tourist destination, university centre and one of the major cities in Poland (700,000+ inhabitants). It has a good InterCity train service with Warsaw (2,5 hours) and most of other important destinations in Poland. There is a direct InterCity train from Hamburg and Berlin in Germany, usually with plenty of racks for bicycles in one of the carriages. Local airport offers direct flights to cities in Europe and North America. There seems to be quite large ex-pat community, English is widely spoken, there is a vast choice of cinemas, not to mention pubs - Cracow night life is well known in Poland and it is becoming a weekend destination for other cities, notably Warsaw.

If you are planning to commute by bicycle in Cracow, be careful where to rent a flat. A number of districts are hardly accessible by bike, and what seems to be a bearable bicycle access in summer or even autumn, will be likely unpassable in winter. It might be useful for you to read the Practicalities part of the English language Cities for Bicycles Poland website.

Generally, the central part of Cracow (Old Town, the Jewish district of Kazimierz, old Podgórze on the right river bank) and the western parts (Krowodrza) are OK to live a cycling life. Central districts east and north of the railway station are problematic despite they are very close to the centre. When the Rondo Mogilskie (Mogilskie Roundabout) east of the Old Town is refurbished and the thoroughfares near the railway station are completed (probably 2005 or 2006), this should dramatically improve cycling access there as they will include superb cycling facilities. Nowa Huta is problematic, too - with except of some southern districts that can use the Wisła River bank cycle route. Construction of a segregated cycling facility in Jana Pawła II Avenue along with the Mogilskie Roundabout refurbishment should be a major improvement. Northern Nowa Huta will have to wait until 2010 when a new tramway line is completed: it will link the railway station, Rakowicka street, Prądnik Czerwony and Mistrzejowice estates and a cycleway will be provided along the tracks, crossing major structural obstacles on the way (currently this is too expensive to build just a cycleway). Southern districts (Podgórze: Bie
żanów, Prokocim and notably Kurdwanów) are really bad for cyclists. A cycle route along Wielicka street is planned but it will not solve all problems with cycling access there. Major infrastructural refurbishments in the Zabłocie area will probably make cycling in this direction more viable but remain nebulous.

The final core system of main cycleways in Cracow is shown in the picture below. The main cycleways will be accompanied by a network of auxilliary routes and 30 km/h zones, with mixed bicycle and car traffic. Click to enlarge.

The existing cycling facilities are shown in the picture below as blue lines. Red lines are cycling routes to be built soon, under EU financing. The number of cycling facilites than are going to be built by 2006 may actually be higher. Judging from the quality of technical design of 10 new cycleways that are ready as of January, 2004 and the technical standards they meet, they will be really facilitatig cycling in Cracow. Click to enlarge.

Currently, there are a few usable cycle routes in Cracow: