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Best Transportation in Poland

Hello,

We will be going to Poland from Budapest on May 2 & wonder what is the easiest, most direct way to get to Krakow. We usually take trains between European stops...this looks more challenging.
Any suggestions, especially good websites will be so welcomed.

In Poland, we tentatively plan on Krakow, perhaps Wroclaw, then Gdansk (including Malbork, etc.) & finally to Warsaw ( with side trips to Badkowo & Trzcianka for ancestry) before our flight home on May 22.

If we decide to go to Minsk for a few days (also Ancestry), which city would be best to leave from?

Thanking everyone in advance for the reliable & valuable help!

Posted by
1564 posts

We used Prime Tours Krakow for this transfer this past summer: http://primetourskrakow.com/city-to-city-europe/
I considered bus and train and then just decided to go the private ride route. If you're a group of 4 or more, it's not a bad deal. 355 Euros for the car. It took us most of a day. Since it was a private car, I asked the driver to stop for lunch in Banska Bystrica, which was really pretty. You could also fly it - there's a nonstop now. I prefer to drive when we can so we opted for that.

Posted by
3574 posts

Look into low cost flights from Budapest to Krakow. You can fly almost anywhere in Europe these days for less than you might expect.

Once in Poland, trains generally work well, certainly between Krakow and Warsaw, and other larger cities. Can't help you with Minsk.

Posted by
3407 posts

You really have to go to Krakow May 2? Too bad - there are cheap direct flights on LOT from Budapest to Krakow on May 1 and May 3 but not May 2.

When I visited Poland a few years ago, I started in Gdansk and trained south to Torun, then to Wroclaw, and finally to Krakow (skipped Warsaw). The trains were a bit run down (2012) - maybe they have improved a bit since then, but even then, they worked OK and were cheap. I enjoy train travel too.

You could certainly train all the way from Krakow - Wroclaw - Gdansk backwards of the way I did it and end in Warsaw. Check out the schedules here if you haven't already, to get an idea of travel times:

https://www.intercity.pl/en/

There are also express buses that may be even cheaper and faster. Personally, I prefer the train unless the bus is much quicker, cheaper, or more practical (fewer stops, or changes, etc.).

Posted by
3407 posts

If you want to go to Minsk without a visa, if you are a US citizen, you have to fly in and out, FYI.

So if you really want visit Minsk, perhaps your best bet is to fly there from Budapest to start out with, then fly back to Poland and finish your Polish journey that way. Perhaps you can get direct flights back to Poland from Minsk.

Posted by
942 posts

We did a private driver from krakow to Wrocla via Częstochowa. But all my research said bus was the best for this route. We then took the train to Gdańsk. Then train to Warsaw. The trains were very modern, clean and a lovely ride. We went first class cause it was only a few dollars more. We loved Poland, and Gdańsk was a real surprise. Lovely city. Make sure you try the donuts.

Posted by
3407 posts

Poland is the only country I've visited where first class on trains made sense. (Partly because second class wasn't that nice, at least on the old trains I took back in 2012.) And even first class is pretty cheap compared to trains in other European countries.

Posted by
2010 posts

There is a daily direct Eurocity connection from Budapest to Kraków, leaving at 08.40 and arriving at 17.24. Consult the website of Man in Seat 61 for details, including buying tickets.

And about Polish trains: I have never had any problem with 2nd class. Even on older trains I found them comfortable enough.

Posted by
3407 posts

And about Polish trains: I have never had any problem with 2nd class. Even on older trains I found them comfortable enough.

Didn't like sitting four people across each side of a compartment, for one thing.

Posted by
4745 posts

There is a cheap, short (1 hour) LOT flight from Budapest to Krakow. Same with Minsk - except the LOT flight is from Warsaw. That will save you a lot of time over the trains.

Trains between the major cities are hardly run down (they've been totally updated) - that seems like old info from 2012. I wouldn't bother with a first class ticket. Even the regional trains are not that bad, although not fast and spiffy as the Pendolino trains used between the major cities.

Posted by
525 posts

I thought the trains were nice. We were perfectly happy on 2nd class.

We did travel in one train, on our way to Torun (it was the connecting train after going to some station on the Gdańsk/Warsaw line, don’t remember where), where we encountered compartments with 4 seats across. If it had been full, that would have not been as nice, but it was not full and it was not a long ride (and it was full of local color). Other than that ride, I think we had all open carriages.

I purchased all our tickets on line. You can figure out which seats are facing forward, which I prefer.

Posted by
3407 posts

I understand the Polish trains have been upgraded since I rode them in 2012. Back then, the 2nd class trains were pretty run down. I booked 2nd class a few times, and then I booked 1st class the rest of the way. 1st class on one of these Polish trains was like 2nd class in other European countries. When I booked the final ticket on to Czech Republic, I also booked 1st class - and marveled about how nice that particular train was...then I realized it was a Czech train.

Even run down, I had no problem with the Polish trains, in any class. But 1st class cost so little extra that it seemed silly not to upgrade.

Posted by
54 posts

We are flying from Cracow to Budapest in May. 1 hour flight, cost $70 or so per person. Saving us at least a half day, plus.