About Kraków on the water
The main river in Kraków is the Vistula – properly called the Wisła. It’s the longest river in Poland and from Barania Góra (Ram Mountain) in the Polish part of Upper Silesia it runs approx. 1,040km to the Vistula Lagoon or directly into Gdańsk Bay on the Baltic Sea.
People imagine a river like the Seine in Paris or the Thames in London, but the Wisła in Kraków is just not that big and tourism is not sufficiently developed, for there to be quite the same attractions you’d find in those much bigger cities. But that’s not to say we lack options…
First, let’s be clear. The river is simply not big enough for something like the big bateaux mouches dinner cruise boats (should I say ships?). Nor does Kraków have the sort of tourist volume of people who’d be prepared to pay the high prices those boats charge. So there are restaurants and bars on the river and there is at least one option for party-cruises, and you might get a sandwich bar on a river bus, but that’s about it!
If you go down the river bank by Wawel, you’re into river bus territory. River buses run on short and longer trips. These are your options at the time of writing.
Krakowska Żegluga Pasażerska
This company operates the Nimfa, probably the oldest passenger vessel on this part of the Wisła.
This 1950s, 200 passenger, vessel usually operates a popular Sunday cruise from Kraków to Tyniec, for visits to the Benedictine Monastery, passing Kraków’s “Jewish” district of Kazimierz, Wawel Hill, Skałka Church, St. Catherine’s Church, the Norbertine Nunnery, the house of the Polish Pope, the Kościuszko Mound, the Camaldolese Abbey in Bielany and the dam on the Kościuszko fall, before arriving in Tyniec.
The Orka, by contrast, is the newest vessel on the fleet. She has a capacity of 40 passengers and runs year-round.
3-hour cruise to Tyniec
The company operates this cruise with the Orka on Monday to Saturday at 15:00 with a ½ hour stop in Tyniec. On Sundays and holidays the Nimfa takes the load with a 16:00 departure and a 1 hour stop in Tyniec.
Advance booking is required – in the event that numbers are low, the Orka is substituted for the Nimfa on Sundays, but with the same timings. Check availability, times and book tickets on +48 12 4220855
From Monday to Saturday :
Discount: PLN 45 (children and youth up to 12 years of age) Standard: PLN 50.00
discount: PLN 45.00 (children and youth up to 15 years of age) standard: PLN 50.00 Children up to 3 years of age – free of charge
Check on the number above, but the one-hour cruises usually run every 1h 15m from10:00 to 18:00.
The one-hour cruise lets you see:
– Wawel Hill
– Plac na Groblach
– Dębnicki Bridge
– Norbertine Nunnery
– Kościuszko Mound
– Zwierzyniecki Bridge
– St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Church
– Wawel Castle
– Dębniki – Manggha Centre
– Grunwaldzki Bridge
– Skałka Church
– Redemptorist Church
– J. Piułsudski Bridge
– Vistula Boulevards
– Powstańców Śląskich Bridge
– Kotlarski Bridge
– Plac Bohaterów Getta
– discount: PLN 15.00
– standard: PLN 20.00
Children up to three years of age – free of charge.
½ hour cruises
Call to check timings for these short trips for up to 12 passengers (by catamaran) or up to 40 (Orka).
- discount: PLN 12.00
- standard: PLN 15.00
Krakowska Żegluga Pasażerska boats can all be private-hired, by the hour, with bar/catering also available on the larger vessels.
Website : http://www.statekkrakow.com/
Ster operate a couple of vessels – Sobieski and Piotrus Pan – on the river, plus the Victoria Pub and the barge Marta which is a hostel moored on Wisła.
The Sobieski is normally in use only for organise trips, but the Piotrus Pan operates daily from 1 May from the dock at the foot of Wawel Hill (opposite the Sheraton).
One hour cruises around Krakow,
Daily from 10:00 to 18:00
Cost of tickets:
Adults – 20zł
Children – 15 zł
Cruises to Bielany or Tyniec, check schedule
The five hour cruise to Tyniec includes a guided tour of Tyniec Abbey. Telephone booking required.
Cost of tickets:
Adults – 50 zł
Children – 35 zł
Zegluga w Krakowie
If a cruise with up to 199 other people is not what you’re looking for, look at the options from Zegluga.
Gondola cruise to Tyniec
Every day from 10 am till dusk, you can hire a pedal boat, motorboat , canoes, boats and a twelve-man Bentley catamaran.
The 6-person motorboats can be operated without a licence.
Or hire a 6-man aqua-taxi, which in about 10-15 minutes can whizz from Wawel to Tyniec.
Zegluga offer canoeing trips on the Wisla (at least 10 people) in Krakow and neighborhood. They suggest a route: Monastery of Benedyktyni in Tyniec through water step Kościuszko to the marina near Wawel or to the Castle in Niepołomice. The customer can choose their own route. The guide and lifeguard follow the canoeing group in a motorboat.
Rafting in pontoons is also available for 6-12 people in the white water canoeing route in Tyniec. See below for the Kayak Club.
Czerwiński Boulevard on River Wisla near Dębnicki Bridge
0 606 225 555
Operating from April till the end of October.
Website : http://www.zeglugawkrakowie.pl/english/
Krakowski Klub Kajakowy
Watersports (careful!) are popular in Poland and Kraków has some of the best whitewater kayaking facilities in Europe. One of them is run by the Cracow Kayak Club, on the Wisła, close to Tyniec.
Open 12:00 – 18:00, Sat, Sun 10:00 – 18:00.
Address: ul. Kolna 2 (Dębniki)
Phone: (+48) 12 259 35 40
The club offers a 320 metre course (width 12-14m, depth 1.45m) professional instruction and all the equipment you’ll need to have a crack at the river, after which you can take a shower and relax in the sauna.
Ośrodek Sportu i Rekreacji KOLNA
If you want to make a day of it, a jacuzzi, sauna and swimming pool is also available in the nearby sports and recreation complex (open year-round, 07:30-23:00).
Last entry to the pool is at 21:45 and the pool hall must be vacated by 22:45.
The sauna is open M-F 14:00 – 22:00, Sa-Su 10:00 – 22:00
The Gym is open all week 07:30 – 22:00
The Sports Hall is also open all week, from 07:30 – 23:00
KTW – kraków tramwaj wodny
The water tram is a, um tram-type stopping service on the river. Using the water tram you can get as far downstream as Kazimierz and as far upstream as Tyniec.
There’s a pretty good website which gives you timetables and fares. Weather can affect the tram, so phone 602 637 728. The “winter” timetable operates from Mid-September until 30 April. Check back closer to time for the timetable from 1 May.
If you do a search you’ll find more river trips on offer – from the kid-friendly to the more adult-focussed. Some vessels are used for a mix of public and private hire, others only for hire by tour groups (usually for those, ahem, adult trips!).
If you want watersports without necessarily being on the river, nearest decent spot is out in Płaszów district, about 5km southeast from the Rynek. Zalew Bagry is the most popular swimming, sailing, sunbathing and recreation destination within city limits.
Bagry features three natural beach area and a guarded bathing area where you can take a free dip in the regularly monitored and certified clean water. The recreation area also has a children’s playground, two marinas, and kayak, sailboat, pedalo and canoe rental.
It’s not the easiest place to get to. The best way is to take tram 20, getting off at ‘Rzebika’ from which the lake is a 10-15min walk.