How to travel from Krakow to Lviv

The following is a list of ways to go from Krakow, Poland to Lviv Ukraine. I live in Krakow and go to Lviv a lot for various reasons. Many people touring Eastern Europe are fine with going to Poland and EU country but are afraid to cross out of the Schengen zone. If you are in Poland for more than a couple of days you might want to consider a trip to Lviv.

The Polish city of Lvov was once the cultural capital of Poland. Krakow was considered a smaller town in comparison. Many people speak Polish in Lviv and the city is multi national and tourist friendly.

How to go from Cracow to Lvov

The return trip is easy as once you get there you can just do the reverse.

  • You can get a bus from Krakow to Lviv for 70 pln or about 22 dollars. This is the simple way, it leaves every night from the main bus station in Krakow at 8 pm. The bus often does not have a bathroom so do not drink water or ask the driver to stop the bus. I have in emergencies. When nature call you can not hang up the phone. I drank 1.5 liters of water and boarder the bus. I did this as I thought the bus came in 1 1/2 hours, but just as I finished the bus pulled up for its 12 hour trip.
  • Another more complicated way which I do personally as I like day travel and trains over buses. I go from Krakow to Przemyśl, a Polish town on the Polish-Ukrainian border. You can get there in 3 1/2 hours. It costs about 15 dollars or 40 Polish złoty.  At Przemysl take a  Marshrootka or van to the  for 2 PLN there are white vans or small buses that are everywhere, just ask someone in English. Do the same to get to Lviv once you cross the Polish boarder, they come ever 20 minutes.  I have been stuck there in the middle of the night because I think they stop at about midnight and had to wait until 5 am. I slept on the grass.
  • Any travel in Ukraine is much cheaper than travel in Poland, about 1/3 or less the price. For example I went 26 hours on a Ukrainian sleeper train to Crimea for about 20 dollars once. This same Polish train would cost about 200 dollars.
  • You can buy a ticket to Lviv for about 50 dollars in a sleeper car.  This is the most comfortable way to get to Ukraine from Poland. But it is also the most expensive (I am not talking about flying or with a private car).
  • If you have tons of cash many Jewish Rabbis have a private car to Lviv and this can be arranged also at the Edan hotel in Krakow.
  • I have flown once but for a strange reason, no worth it generally.
  • My friend who is a girl hitchhikes, I have tried begging a ride also. My recommendation is if you do this hold up a sign that says your destination like “I am going to Lviv”.  Best in the Polish language of course.

Travel issues going to Lviv from Poland

Ukrainian currency – I change currency in Poland. I look for the best rate. The worst place to change money is in the Lviv train station. Just be aware. In Lviv itself there are many places, just check the rates.

Visa requirements for Ukraine – there are none if you are European or American.

Ukrainian boarder crossing – The guards are looking for illegal trade, this does not affect you, tell them you are a tourist and you can cross the boarder in 20 minutes instead of 3 hours.  Really, I flash my American or Polish passport and speak English and I am hustled to the front of the line. The line is really only for people making money going from Poland to Ukraine for economic reasons.

Where to eat in Lviv – Any student cafeteria like Rodzinka or Puzata hut (hata). Three dollars a meal.

Where to say in Lviv – Hotel Lviv, cheap (12 to 18 dollars) and unfriendly but my favorite place. I also stay in the
Kosmonaut Hostel (10 dollars), very cheap but nice.

If you have any questions on how to get from Krakow to Lviv let me know.  Also let me know about your experiences if you have ever been to Krakow or Lviv.