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Best way to get from Krakow to Budapest

I have not had any replies to my posting about Orangeways Bus and they have not replied to my emails.

So can anyone advise me on the best way to travel from Krakow to Budapest next April (2018).

Thanks

Chris

Posted by
8 posts

We used Orangeway bus 3 years ago from Budapest to Krakow and found it to be quite acceptable. Once you arrive at Budapest bus station, the metro is directly across the street and will bring you into town. I remember the bus ride to be a long one, but comfortable enough with one bathroom stop.

Posted by
6146 posts

Orangeways also competes with another long-distance bus line called Polski Bus. I'm sure you'll find all sorts of reviews online for both.

Posted by
13930 posts

Orangeways no longer operates that route. I took the bus last month. The choices were Polski Bus and Flixbus. I chose Polski because it was scheduled to leave Krakow a couple hours earlier in the morning than Flix and I could reserve seats. Flix doesn't have reserved seating.

From what I could gather from the Flix website, the route originates in Warsaw, so the choicest seats will probably be taken. From the few reports I found online, Flix is more comfortable. I can only tell you about my experience with Polski.

I traveled solo and chose the "extra room" seats right behind the front stairway (double decker bus). I splurged and bought both seats (total cost: a whopping $21). There was LESS leg room that any other seat on the bus, because of the stairway's panel in front of the seat. My short legs would have been pretty cramped if I didn't have a double seat. The bus wasn't crowded (Thursday, mid-September), so I probably could have moved to an empty double seat toward the back of the bus. The wifi worked okay (a little slow) until we crossed the border into Slovakia, about 2 hours into the trip. There was none after that. There were two power outlets under the seat (I noticed that on the lower level the outlets were overhead). The 4 front row seats seemed to have about the same leg room as the other seats. If it hadn't been raining, they'd have had a pretty nice view. Oddly, there were window wipers but the driver never turned them on and for a good part of the trip, they were pretty steamed up. There were air vents that seemed to be letting in fresh air - it was neither hot nor cold, so that was fine. I had a good view from the side window, with no seats right in front of me. BTW none of the seats recline.

We made one scheduled pit stop, just before the Polish border - toilets 2 zloty (or €0.50) and there was a minimarket. We made one unscheduled stop - some teenager boys bought a bottle of vodka at the pit stop and were drinking. When the driver became aware of it, he told them to stop, they didn't. He then called the police and we met up with them. There were 3 cars. The driver and his copilot (I don't know - someone who sat next to him and chatted with him and seemed to be in an official capacity), the half dozen kids and 5-6 Slovakian police spent 15 minutes, first angry with the boys, then after checking ID's and presumably a stern warning, everyone smiled and returned to their vehicles. (no one else was allowed to leave the bus, though were were in a gas station with services). We also stopped on the roadside so passengers could have a smoke a couple hours later. The bus was a bit late getting into Krakow (there was a lot of road construction in the city), so we left late, and the extra stop didn't help either. There was roadwork on the highway outside Budapest which also slowed us down and then we hit rush hour stop-and-go traffic in the city, so we were about an hour late arriving. There is a toilet in the bus station building and an ATM outside in the back of the building (not the big, modern metro station).

And I'm happy to answer any other questions you may have.

Posted by
10891 posts

Best?

The best in my book is to hire a driver. For that I would suggest http://silverwings.hu/

Another "best" way would make it part of a larger experience. Morning train from Budapest to Kosice, spend the afternoon sightseeing in Kosice, then train to Poprad. Spend the night at the Kempinski High Tatras then a driver or bus on to Krakow. The hotel can arrange the driver. You can do the same trip through Bratislava instead of Kosice. Slovakia is really beautiful.

Posted by
43 posts

Why not simply take the overnight train on this route? You save time you would lose in traveling, and save on one night's hotel accommodation.

If you don't like night trains, take a day train, connecting in Katowice.

Posted by
72 posts

Rick Steves does not recommend the night trains.... And the bus is faster than the train.

Chris

Posted by
12091 posts

I would go for the night train, regardless what RS recommends, especially if you want to squeeze in an extra day. Krakow Glowny is a refurbished, expanded nice station.

Posted by
13930 posts

I looked at the train schedule on bahn.com - the night train leaves Krakow at 22.41 and arrives in Breclav at 4.14, where you change trains and depart at 4.59, arriving in Budapest at 8.35.

It would seem that you'll have about 5.5 hours to get ready for bed, sleep, dress and pack. Then you have another 3.5 hours to repeat. Total journey time: 10 hours. Total sleep time: a helluva a lot less.

Posted by
1701 posts

"Total sleep time: a helluva a lot less."
It's been our experience that total sleep time on a night train is approximately zero...

Posted by
12091 posts

@ James.... I return the compliment too.

I have no problems sleeping on a night train, which is even easier than sleeping on the plane.

Posted by
4686 posts

And some people can sleep on the transatlantic flight from the US to Europe. Some of us don't. Night trains might be great for you, but they aren't for everyone.

Posted by
2089 posts

Is flying out of the question? A random date in April on Expedia gave me numerous options, such as KLM departing at 6:40, arriving in Budapest at 1:15 with a 2.5 hr layover in AMS--$262.

Posted by
71 posts

You do not change trains at Breclav. It's just a longer stop to add some carriages . The night train is direct and there is absolutely no need to get out of bed at 4 am unless you want to go for a walk or something.

Posted by
13930 posts

If you're going to spend several hundred dollars (instead of the $10 for the bus), you might as well hire a car and driver and enjoy a day in Slovakia as James suggested.

Posted by
12091 posts

I am one of those too who can count on sleeping on transatlantic flights of 10-11 hr duration. When I take night trains, usually two per trip, depending on the length of the trip, I see only locals doing that, lots of them, men and women, young and old. . If they can put up with it, sleep on night trains, then I had better too unless they have something over me, or somehow I can't since I 'm different from them.

Posted by
71 posts

Personally I have a great sentiment for night trains because that was how we traveled to the Black Sea for summer holidays in the old happy communist days. It was great fun for the kids and there was a lot of socializing among the adults, too. And it was certainly no mean feat. Getting to, for example, Burgas (Bulgaria) from Warsaw took two nights and one day (and two nights and one day on the way back, of course). It was before the internet, smartphones and laptop computers, so people had to entertain themselves. Agonizing over one night in much greater comfort than back then is slightly bewildering to be honest.

Night trains are disappearing in Europe but in Poland they are still popular. I'm told that during school holidays and many other dates tickets on routes to the Baltic Sea and the mountains sell put as soon as they are released.

Posted by
1701 posts

If you're willing to include a day or two in Warsaw you could fly direct from there (1+20, less than $100) and save yourself the hassle.

Posted by
72 posts

Thanks, everyone.

I have investigated Flix Bus and Polski Bus, but neither is booking as far ahead as the end of April. I will keep on it! I was grateful for the information about Orangeways no longer doing that route.

Chris

Posted by
12091 posts

That night trains are " still popular in Poland" is good to know. There may no longer be sleepers or couchettes available (Schlafwagen , Liegewagen) in the future but as long as night service still exists, that still an option for me.

Posted by
13930 posts

I bought my Polski tickets about 6 weeks in advance for a September trip - had a choice of any seats on the bus. Flixbus doesn't offer reserved seating so if that's your choice, there's no pressure at all.

Posted by
72 posts

Thank you for the offer of help when when we are in Krakow. We may take you up on it!

As of now, we are planning to take the direct bus to Budapest.

Thanks again "cracow".

Chris

Posted by
72 posts

I am looking for an update on methods of travel between these 2 cities on Friday April 27. I am still waiting to be able to book with Flixbus, which has now amalgamated with Polskibus. That date isn't available yet. I know that if we could wait one more day we could fly direct on the new direct LOT flight that begins the 28th, but we can't. I've looked at Eurowaysbus, but the online reviews are overwhelmingly negative. Does anyone have any other suggestions other than the train?

Thanks, Chris

Posted by
6146 posts

Chris, I don't think a new choice will pop up - it's either cheap bus, more expensive flight (prior to April 28), much more expensive private transfer, or train. I'd go for the bus option personally (either Polski or Flix). If you're paying a really low (bus) fare, you have to sort of temper your tolerance with reviews. It's still a good value after all, and you will get to your destination.

Posted by
72 posts

LOT $100 flight begins Apr 28, the day AFTER we need to be in Budapest.