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Budapest to Krakow

Hi, I was advised to fly between these two cities (quicker, good fares) but after reading some reviews about LOT airlines, I’m wondering about their carry-on vs checked luggage. Seems many reviews aren’t great for the airline overall & lost or opened luggage can be an issue. We wouldn’t mind a train but they seem to take so much time & not really a bargain. Comments? Suggestions?
Thanks everyone!

Posted by
15587 posts

19 EUR is not a bargain??
Yes, it is 8 3/4 hours, but price is right. But then again, if you go by reviews, you'd stay home, since generally only people something to complain about post reviews. I've never posted reviews on the hundreds of flights that took off and landed on time and did not lose my luggage.
Also, check out Flixbus.

Posted by
11158 posts

The one time I flew LOT, it was New York to Warsaw to Krakow, then Warsaw to New York. All flights were fine, with no issues.

The flight from Warsaw to Krakow at that time was on a propeller plane, but I read somewhere that they now use a jet. I had no issues with baggage, or anything else. In any case, I'd certainly fly them again.

Remember that unlike a restaurant (where people are eager to post about good as well as bad experiences), a "good" flight is an uneventful one. When was the last time you posted about an uneventful event? So, more than other things, flight reviews skew very negative. If something happens, like lost bags, people can't wait to tell everyone about it. If nothing bad happens, they don't post (I certainly don't).

Posted by
74 posts

Sam, 19€ is indeed a bargain cost wise but I didn’t find a fare that low for our timeframe. And, as lovely as a train ride through new territory can be, there are other considerations too. Everything’s a trade off, isn’t it. Thanks.

Posted by
10985 posts

Unless there is something between Budapest and Krakow that you are dying to see out a bus window, fly. I've used LOT, its fine. Just comply with their luggage rules. I just looked up one random flight, Budapest to Krakow with one checked bag and it was $125 non-stop; but I dont think they fly non-stop every day.

If you leave central Budapest about 2:45 prior to flight time you will arrive with more than enough time (so eat breakfast in the airport). The Flight is an hour, I havent flown to Krakow but google says 20 minutes into town. So figure another hour or even 1:15 to deplane, get bags, get taxi and get to your hotel. So, 5 hours max, including time for breakfast.

Posted by
14004 posts

I used Flixbus in September 2017 from Krakow to Budapest because there were no direct flights. I can't say it was awful but I will say that there was nothing pleasurable about the trip.

I paid extra for what was touted as preferably seating. It wasn't. Luckily I bought a double seat because leg room was actually less than the regular seats. It wasn't clear at the bus station where the bus stopped. It arrived nearly 1/2 hour late. I was expecting a tourist-class bus. It wasn't. There was free wifi access but only to the Polish border (about 2 hours of the trip). Just before crossing the border there was a pit stop and a gas station with a convenience store. Most of the passengers were teens and 20's, some of whom used the pit stop to buy a bottle of spirits (probably vodka). The scenic parts of the trip were few and relatively short. After a couple of hours more, the drinking teens got loud and rowdy. The driver told them a couple of times to stop drinking (it's not allowed on the bus), didn't help. Finally the bus pulled into a pit stop and the driver and his assistant and the 4-5 rowdy teens got off the bus and local police arrived. No one else was allowed to get off the bus. The boys were questioned, their papers were checked, after about 15 minutes, there were smiles all around and everyone got back on the bus. After another hour, the bus pulled over to the side of the road, which turned out to be a smoke break for the passengers! Then we hit traffic jams on the outskirts of Budapest. The bus arrived over an hour late.

Posted by
74 posts

Thanks everyone. Just booked LOT & breathed a sigh of relief, done! Now, onto finalizing those stops in Poland.

I have to say, I love this forum & the many generous & informative people who are its lifeblood. Real-time travel advice from those who have been there, done that is invaluable! So many, many thanks.

Posted by
255 posts

I know I am late to this thread.

My comments about LOT: totally fine. I flew LOT on AMS-WAW two years ago. I had the smoothest landing ever in my entire life and I do fly a lot (pun??). The passengers on board were the most polite ever (no bouncing up from their seats when plane was parked but seatbelt sign was still on). Did I write a review about this? No.

Comments about Flixbus: don't waste your time, unless it's a short ride. It's just for college kids or low budget backpackers.

Now, my questions on the same trip:
1. I need to buy a one-way BUD-Krakow (or vice versa) air ticket for May for 3 adults. However, it seems that one-way tickets are prohibitively $$$, esp. with check-in luggage. Am I looking at wrong places?

  1. If I choose to hire a private driver to drive through Slovakia, where should I stop for scenic breaks? Is Kosice too out of the way? Or shall I break up the trip to stay at some hotspring towns, which seem unfortunately not that easily reachable?
Posted by
10985 posts

Barkinpark

  1. I need to buy a one-way BUD-Krakow (or vice versa) air ticket for May for 3 adults. However, it seems that one-way tickets are prohibitively $$$, esp. with check-in luggage. Am I looking at wrong places?

https://www.google.com/flights/#flt=BUD.KRK.2019-05-03;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f;tt:o

27,000 HUF with no checked bag, 36,500 HUF with a bag. That’s $97 to $136. I guess “expensive” is subjective.

I have used these guys for fishing trips in Slovakia a couple of times in the past. https://transferbudapesthungary.com/price-list.html
At 460 euro you almost break even vs a flight with a party of three. Their trip is 6 hours, the flight with all the check in etc will be maybe 4.5 hours and you get to spend part of that time eating breakfast.

Posted by
4637 posts

Train takes too long because it goes around. Bus ride is not that long but not that comfortable. If you are able to fly direct do it. It is a short flight much faster than train or bus. With private transfer use scythian from Gyor post as your manual. Slovakia is very scenic. I would add stop in High Tatras and Spis castle (better said ruins of castle but very impressive).

Posted by
255 posts

Thanks, everybody.

Each person in my group has 2 pieces of checked bags (we are crazy shoppers). So, with almost punitive extra bag fees, the fare adds up. But the flight certainly is a time saver.

I may even have to reverse the direction of the trip. I will let my folks chew on these ideas and see which ones they want to bite.

Posted by
12117 posts

"Buses in Europe are nothing like Greyhound in the US." Ain't that the truth!

Nowhere in Europe since my very first time taking a bus from town to town in 1971, be it in France, Germany, Poland, or Sweden was the experience even close to that of Greyhound which I've used on multi-hour rides, eg, Atlanta to Montgomery, SF to LA, Knoxville to Memphis. etc....obviously, far better in those listed countries than on Greyhound.

Posted by
10985 posts

Barkinpark,

If i had a large group I would get a private transfer company with a van. That link i posted had that.

Posted by
255 posts

I am back to this thread with questions about hiring a private car to drive through Slovakia. I see on the map that the straight line between Budapest and Krakow cuts across some mountains. Are the lanes pretty wide? Where are some of the bottlenecks that would cause traffic standstills, caused by factors such as bad weather or gradient of the road?

Am asking this question because some of my folks say they are more leaning towards land transport. Then, they can see a bit of Slovakia.

Posted by
1 posts

I am also looking for advice on the Budapest-Krakow journey. I am having difficulty confirming the price of the night train -- or even if it still runs (on one search on the Hungary train site I received a message stating that the train has been discontinued). Our travel date is the night of June 26. If anyone has recent experience with this night train, I'd appreciate links, tips, advice. Thank you!

Posted by
10 posts

Hi,

What was the message you received about the train has been discontinued? Can you copy it here?

The train is certainly operating as usual. I don't have any experiences, but with a little effort you can find all the information you need.

https://www.seat61.com/international-trains/trains-from-Budapest.htm#Budapest-Krakow

Fares start from

19 EUR seats - not recommended for night trip
39 EUR 6 berth couchette
44 EUR 4 berth couchette
49 EUR 3 berth sleeeper

I think booking opens 60 days in advance, which may be still shortened by the summer timetable change in June.

https://www.seat61.com/Europe-when-do-train-bookings-open.htm

https://youtu.be/-uFcMX-Jskw

Posted by
12117 posts

It does not seem you have a rail pass which could be put to good use here.

Take the night train option, the Pass would cover that, just get a seat reservation, that's the absolute cheapest way to go...forget the couchette and sleeper options. With a Pass still these two options are extra, ie, the Pass doesn't cover them...you pay for that luxury...I would not.