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Krakow to Vienna

In December we plan on visiting Krakow for four days, then on to Vienna. What is the best way to travel this route? Train? I tried to look up train travel, but got very confused.

Posted by
18763 posts

It appears from the Deutsche Bahn website that there are rail options with just one transfer taking either 6 or 7 hours. That would be my choice, because I don't like to deal with airports in the middle of a trip if I don't have to. Check here, using a date that matches the day of the week you anticipate making the trip. You won't be able to see December dates yet, so I'd use a date for next week. Assuming things begin to open up by December, you may have additional options when it's time to buy your tickets. https://www.bahn.com/en/view/index.shtml

For general information on trains, see Seat61.com.

Skyscanner.com is the website I'd use to check on flights. There seem to be no non-stop flights between Krakow and Vienna at this time. As with the trains, this situation might improve by December (or not). Right now, flight time is at least 3 hr. 45 min., which would probably not be faster than taking the train by the time you added transportation to and from the airports and security-clearance time. Airfares often come with costly extra fees for things like checked baggage.

Posted by
167 posts

Wally, the issue is that I am "older" and really do not know how many more Europe excursions are in my future. Since I haven't been to Poland and my daughter really wants to go there, we are going to Poland. I was in Vienna for the Christmas markets with another daughter in 2018 for three days, and would really love to go back and spend more time there as I missed a lot.

I prefer Krakow because I would like to see Auschwitz and because Krakow wasn't leveled in WWII as Warsaw was. As mentioned, I looked as the crow flies and thought it looked an easy route.

Just looking at the first post by James E, that is a WINNER!. Taking a sleeper overnight would be the cat's pajamas!

Posted by
2096 posts

Before the pandemic, Austrian airlines had direct flights between Krakow and Vienna. I wouldn't be surprised if they return. If you prefer to stay on the ground and want to break up the train trip, a stop in Brno is not a bad idea. Otherwise there is always the overnight train.

Posted by
2179 posts

I've taken the overnight train from Krakow to Vienna, and then on to Venezia. It's part of the old rail line that provided the backbone of the Habsburg Empire, definitely an experience. You have two options nowadays from €32.90 (as per the man in seat 61), a EuroCity train daytime option and a EuroNight sleeper train to Vienna.

You can read more here: https://www.seat61.com/international-trains/trains-from-Krakow.htm#Krakow_to_Vienna

Posted by
1358 posts

As a general rule, best train information is usually found on the website of the respective train operator, either in the departure country or the destination country.

The night train from Krakow to Vienna (actually Warszaw-Krakow-Vienna) is operated by PKP (Polish National Railway) in conjunction with OeBB (Austrian National Railway).

https://rozklad-pkp.pl/en
https://www.oebb.at/en

As far as I have seen you cannot buy tickets online earlier as two months prior departure. Sometimes there is an International Super Promo offer, but available only at the beginning when booking starts.

There are several travel options (seat, couchette [4 or 6 people], sleeper [1, 2, or 3 people]) available. Unfortunately the PKP website does not display the price options until you try to book, needing an account, but seat61.com does, as described in a previous post.

Posted by
431 posts

Looking at https://www.bahn.de there's trains on 11 Dec.

Krakow Glowny departing 6:53 am arriving Vienna 1:49 pm with a change in Katowice of 1 hr. 03 min. Total trip time 6 hr 56 min

Krakow Glowny departing 10:30 am arriving Vienna 4:49 pm with a change in Breclav of 9 min. Total trip time 6 hr 19 min

Krakow Glowny departing 2:18 pm arriving Vienna 7:49 pm no change total trip time 5 hr 31 min

There are earlier and later trains too. I would guess by March 15 you could check later dates in December.

Posted by
12329 posts

I think you chose wisely with the overnight train. Another option for $200 per person is a 5 hour drive. There are a number of companies that do it. You could leave after breakfast and be in Vienna for a late lunch. https://www.krakowtraveltime.com/vienna

Of course you are traveling in December and I have no idea of road conditions.

Posted by
1358 posts

As every year, on December 12, 2021 there is the coordinated train schedule change of all European train operators.

All timetable information past this date is tentative as long as the new schedule has not been confirmed (usually during November).

Posted by
44 posts

I would look into hiring a point to point driver. Rick gives details on good drivers in his guidebook, I believe it’s the Eastern European one. There isn’t much sleep happening on overnight trains, and you arrive at a very early hour with many hours til you can check into your hotel.

Posted by
6327 posts

I took the day train from Krakow to Vienna a few years ago and it was a nice ride. I love riding on trains but can't sleep very well on them so avoid the overnight trains most of the time. The train change was easy and uneventful and it was nice to see some of the countryside.

Posted by
38 posts

By train it is much easier to go from Vienna to Krakow by train than the reverse for some reason. Three or four years I went from Krakow to Vienna by bus. Very direct. It made one stop in the Czech Rep fo toilet and food. The bus company was Polish I believe. Another bus company all over Europe is Netflix.

I believe you can get a minibus. One company is CZ. I took one from Cesky Krumlov to Salzburg. They come right to your hotel and pick you up and drop you at you new hotel. And it was actually slightly cheaper and faster than taking the train.

The minibus is probably the best when dealing with the countries in that region, Austria, Czech Rep, Poland, and Hungary. Also go to the salt mine tour at the edge of town in Krakow

Bruce

Posted by
1358 posts

By train it is much easier to go from Vienna to Krakow by train than the reverse for some reason.

I can't second that. There is a day train and a night train in either direction, operated daily and direct with no changes.

Posted by
38 posts

You are correct. As of right now, there are several times to get from Krakow to Vienna by train, 1 nonstop, i overnight, and others with 1 or more connections. However, in 2019 there were far fewer choices.

Posted by
41 posts

I'm going from Vienna to Krakow, and personally taking the train. Overnight trains are longer, and have stops on the way where you have to switch trains (i.e. not much sleep). So I'm traveling during the day (get to see the countryside). I used this site to book tickets: https://tickets.oebb.at/en/ticket&cref=s61

A train is also significantly cheaper than a flight (flights are more the 2-3x expensive). You could take a bus, but I find the train isn't that expensive, but has additional ammenties that a bus doesn't have (and a shorter ride).

Posted by
1358 posts

Overnight trains are longer, and have stops on the way where you have to switch trains (i.e. not much sleep).

No, you have not to switch trains if you choose the direct connection between Vienna and Krakow (or vice versa), neither for the daytime nor for the overnight train.

Posted by
41 posts

Maybe you found direct routes, but most of the overnight trains I found for multiple days had stops (finding overnight direct trains was relatively rare).

Posted by
1358 posts

Trains between Vienna and Krakow are operated by OeBB (Austrian Railways).
Check the schedule here: https://www.oebb.at/en

Go to "Search connection", enter "Wien (Hbf)" and "Krakow Glowny" as endpoints for your trip, select a date, click on "More" and set the number of changes to zero.

Every day there is one direct day train and one direct night train in either direction.

Posted by
167 posts

wmt1. Thank you so very much. Your instructions work quite well and will enable me to easily purchase my overnight tickets when the window for my trip opens in October,.

Posted by
2028 posts

Joseph, you will love Krakow. One of our favorite cities and one I would make a return trip. Check the internet and see if the Blue Van is there in December. (Thetravelmentor.Com had a post from june 1, 2020). They are the original food truck and only sell kielbasa. Definately worth the walk over there. We were only sorry we went on our last night. We met people from all over, and locals, while on line. Also, eat in the milk bars, great inexpensive food. You will have a wonderful time.

Posted by
167 posts

Barbara, until I read your post, I had never heard of a Milk Bar. I did research and am amazed! I have copied information for several and will most definitely visit at least two while there.

Thank you!