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Driving versus trains/bus

I have been reading past posts about driving but they are all over 2 years old, so I thought I could get up-to-date info. We are planning a 2 week trip around Poland in summer 2018. We will arrive Kraków, go to Wroclaw via Czestochowa, to Torun, Gdansk, Marlbork with ending up in Warsaw. Would it better to rent a car, we will be 4 adults, or are the trains and buses a better option. We have driven in Germany and Croatia so are we correct to assume it will be just as easy to drive in Poland. Thanks, Barbara

Posted by
6144 posts

Driving is easy (I've done it with family members who live in Poland), so if that's a perceived obstacle, I wouldn't worry about it. The answer depends on what you're looking for - is it more flexibility? Cost savings? Time savings? If it's a cost issue, you have to estimate the rental car and gas costs and weigh them against the cost of a bus/train (and parking in the cities) for 4 people. I can't answer that question without doing that kind of research. All I can say is that all the places are accessible via bus/train, so there is no need to rent a car if you don't want to. Public transport in Poland is inexpensive, but I don't know how the math would work out for 4 people between driving vs train/bus without having those numbers first. Given this trip is in 2018, you won't be able to get hard number on these yet because it's too early - all you can do is estimate based on 2017 costs. Polski Bus is extraordinarily inexpensive, and the trains are not expensive generally.

Posted by
1418 posts

I am looking for flexibility, I am not worried so much about the cost because it is always less expensive when shared. The other couple thinking of joining us are older and don't travel as well and I am working on getting them to pack lighter which is a big concern on public transport. They are used to cruising. We just traveled with them to Rome only for 10 days. After this last trip I don't think they will be able to move around too much without a car. If they decide to join us, we will probably go with the car based on your answer and what else I have read. If we go alone, we will probably use public transport. I realize it is early but planning is half the fun for me. Thank you for the quick response.

Posted by
1 posts

My travel partner and I are flying to Berlin in May 2017, renting a car and driving to Warsaw. We're also visiting Lodz, Krakow, and Wroclaw. We chose to drive because, like you, we wanted flexibility. I have driven in Germany before, and will let you know how our experience went when we get back. ~Jim

Posted by
1418 posts

Thank you Jim. I know it is early but we would need an automatic and therefore i would want to reserve early. Have a safe and wonderful trip, look forward to reading avout it when you return.

Posted by
53 posts

Barbara
You ask a very good question. I speak as an American who lived in Warsaw on an off for a couple of years recently. I now return 2 or 3 times a year. I have never had a car. Mostly as I was on the poor side and lived in Warsaw.

First look at this link for PKP rail. You can use it for trip planning. http://rozklad-pkp.pl/en

Polish rail between the big cities has seen a huge improvement in the last couple of years. You can now travel between Warsaw in Krakow in 2 1/2 hours and similar short time to Gdansk. By US standards price is not high and trains get you right into town centers. You could do all the above cities by train - I have actually done so - except Czestochowa which I have passed through.

Polish roads have seen improvements but are not all that great. Also be aware during holidays times it is a blood bath on Polish roads as poor and aggressive driving combined with alcohol equal lots of traffic deaths. This article is 3 years old but still relevant. http://www.economist.com/blogs/easternapproaches/2013/06/polish-driving ,

That being said a car will allow you to hit castles and other spots not easily accessed by train. Good especially for you older couple.

Feel free to message me with any questions.

this article just was published on driving in Poland. http://www.independent.ie/life/motoring/car-news/could-ireland-take-polands-lead-when-it-comes-to-punishing-drink-drivers-35580636.html

Posted by
13930 posts

If one of your concerns is too much luggage, trains may be better than a rental car! I have no experience of Poland, but in Italy, Spain and France, I would never leave belongings visible in a parked car. Trunks are smaller - even in large cars, trunks may not hold more than 3 fairly small suitcases.

Posted by
1418 posts

We usually only take carryon sized luggage, but didn't think about that problem with 4 people. Our last driving experiences were just my husband and I. Will look into bus/train and maybe private drivers between the smaller cities. Thanks for pointing the luggage out to me.

Posted by
1878 posts

You would have to have a very big rental car to allow four carry on size pieces of luggage in the trunk. Trunks on rental cars have gotten really small (and for cars in general, I guess). My wife and I downsized from 25" to 22" bags based upon our adverse experience with the small trunk on our rental car during out 2013 trip to England. Also, many of your stops seem to be big cities where as Rick says, a car is a worthless headache.

Posted by
1418 posts

This is one of the reasons I love this forum and all the posters. I feel like I am "talking out loud" when I post questions and sometimes need others to point out the obvious. Will probably drop the driving option and start looking at bus/train connections. I need to realistically decide on the cities we want to visit in the time frame we have. The fun begins!

Posted by
12090 posts

Hi,

Based on the travel sites, I would rely on the train and buses. They are fine, no complaints at all, took the bus as a day trip from Torun to Chelmo...nice seeing another town in the lower Vistula area.

Posted by
11613 posts

My friends and I (three adults) usually rent a Fiat500L for 10-14 and I can tell you that four carryon-size (21" or less) is all that trunk will hold.