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Gdansk to Krakow Trains in Early May

Looking at trains from Gdansk to Krakow in early May. Rick's book says May 1-3 is a holiday period in Poland , implying lots of things are closed and people are taking time off. There are not that many trains that go from Gdansk to Krakow is a reasonable amount of time--do you think they might be sold out if we wait until arrival in Gdansk to purchase? Purchasing online seems not that intuitive, might choose to fly if there is a potential for problems on trains.

Posted by
4689 posts

I love trains, but I think I'd fly just to save time. Can't cost much.

Posted by
1878 posts

The time and cost are about the same, flying is much less pleasant with more potential for delay. The flight would be easier to book online, as LOT Polish Airlines has a pretty good booking platform, the train system not so much. Actually with the cost of traveling to/from the airports, flying is probably a little more.

Posted by
4689 posts

Oh, I didn't realize the train was that quick (about 5 hours direct). I'd definitely take the train. Back in 2012, I took the train from Wroclaw to Krakow and it was about 5 hours then (much faster now I think).

I started the process of buying a ticket online here:

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

and it looked doable to me. What put you off from doing it that way?

Posted by
25 posts

Hi vftravels,

Look at intercity.pl , the Polish rail website. It has an English option. They have reasonably fast Pendolino trains several times a day from Gdynia and Gdansk via Warsaw to Krakow.

While Polish trains are not yet very fast, two airport runs, security and flying will be much more of a hassle and no faster. The train goes from city centre to city centre.

Hope this helps!

Posted by
1878 posts

I have looked at the Polish rail site, I just don't find it user friendly and don't trust it. Have any of you had success booking on that site? Otherwise question is whether buying train tickets on short notice will be an issue during this particular period. I really would like to avoid flying if I can.

Posted by
25 posts

I've used the Polish site several times and bought tickets. I do think they are perfectly trustworthy. Unfortunately the format here doesn't allow for a detailed tutorial with screenshots.

Why not play about with the site for a bit and report back here?

Sales for your date do not open until a month beforehand, so the beginning of April in your case. I just checked.

Posted by
25 posts

Another thing:

The EIP Ekspres Intercity Premium is Poland's brand new super fast service with Pendolino trains similar to Italy's Frecciargentos.

The TLK takes two hours longer, has older carriages, but is cheaper.

Personally, I'd go first class in the slower TLK train and enjoy the scenery.

Another option would be the overnight service, leaving Gdansk at 23:44 and arriving Krakow 08:15 the next morning. The sleeping car will be more expensive, but cheaper than a hotel.

At any rate, the site is definitely to be trusted.

Posted by
12103 posts

Hi,

If I were taking this route with a pressing time constraint, I would take the night train option. But, hopefully when I do this route, I would have ample time to do this as day route. If you're interested in "historical" geography, the first one and a half hour or so is interesting when taking the EC train, only if you're into what the area once was and events.

Posted by
1878 posts

Thanks for your responses. Great advice.

What's the difference between these two sites:
https://www.intercity.pl/en/
http://www.rozklad-pkp.pl/en (the site referenced in Rick's book)

They both point to purchasing pages on the first one's domain. Both of these sites behave erratically in my browsers, one of which is a new version of Chrome. The second one has so many ads, almost does not look like a legit site. One of the ads tries to trick you into clicking it by placing a button right by the search button. Actually the second one acts up more, redirects me from English pages to Polish pages. Then when I get to the purchasing page on inetrcity.pl it would not let me select which ticket I wanted. The first site would not even let me enter the time I wanted into the field for that input, but that error presented only on IE (admittedly IE has problems with a lot of sites these days). They both were acting strange though. It's not that I doubt they are legitimate, more my level of confidence in transacting it correctly was not high when I saw how the sites behaved. Before I spend $200 on an overseas website, I was hoping for a website that worked more smoothly. Some of the museum sites in Italy gave me problems when I was trying to pre-book on my 2016 trip, too. (Honest, I have done this sort of thing many times before!)

I just need to be more patient and follow the guide. Actually I think I can get it to work on Chrome now, I got as far as the payment page so good.

Doesn't a long haul train like this require seat reservations, it does not seem to give me that opportunity. Someone told me sometimes you have to request a nonsmoking car, also no option to do that.

Posted by
25 posts
  1. All trains in the European Union are non-smoking. They don't specify because there is nothing to specify - no smoking on any trains in the entire EU, period.

  2. rozklad-pkp.pl is website that has the entire schedule for all of Poland's railways. When you click "Buy Ticket" it sends you to the website of the respective operator, in this case PKP Intercity, the state operator.

As for the advertisements: there is nothing we can do. Advertising is rampant in Poland - with its relatively new capitalism Poland is on a consumption binge. Television really is more ads than content. Half the ads are stuff that makes you sick - cars, beer, chocolate, while the other half is for drugs to make you better again.

But both sites really are the official ones.

Posted by
25 posts

About the actual purchasing: it won't let you buy the tickets until 30 days before your travel date. The button has to be orange rather than grey. I agree with you that that is not obvious.

All the direct trains from Gdansk to Krakow have mandatory reservations. Last time I booked something (September 2017) it was possible to specify that you wanted to sit by a window or on the aisle, and open-plan saloon seating or compartment. If you have a child with you, you are all entitled to 30% off. Children under 4 years old go free.

I don't know how many you are, but it is hard to imagine that it will cost you $200 unless there are five of you.

Posted by
1878 posts

Thanks, good point about the thirty day lead time. I definitely had more success when I pretended to book a closer-in time. The orange border around the various journeys on the EIP trains looks as if you have selected multiple items, it's just confusing. Makes it look like the site is malfunctioning. You have to select English again once you go to the actual purchasing page, but you can do it. (If you have the patience to look for it). The site with all the ads actually uses techniques similar to what you might see on malicious sites. I work in the IT security domain so it just freaked me out a bit. Of course it's all part of the adventure, navigating these challenges. Of course one can't expect overseas sites to always follow accepted best practices about end-user experience in the U.S., and I am sure best practices vary by region. The reservation thing still troubles me as the system does not offer that option. I can only guess it assigns those at random. It does give you the chance to express a preference window or aisle. The price is around 600 Zlotny (first class) for a train next week actually, so around $180 for two. I am told first class is worth it and not that much more than second class. Someone who has been to Poland a lot mentioned the thing about nonsmoking cars, I guess it must have been a long time ago she experienced that issue.

Posted by
1878 posts

Yes, I looked at it, much appreciated. I think I understand how to do it now.

Posted by
1461 posts

If you can purchase ahead of time. I believed it wouldn't be a problem so we waited until our first stop in Poland, Kraków. We wanted to go from Wroclaw to GDANSK on a Sunday. There was a train at 12:30 I had bookmarked. When we went to buy the tickets, it was sold out. Ugh. We had to take a 6:30 am train instead. We needed to be in GDANSK before 5:00 so a later train was out of the question. We thought maybe because it was a Sunday and people are returning home from their vacations too. Our tickets for GDANSK to Warsaw was on a Wednesday and we had no problem with our time.

Posted by
16847 posts

I ended up on a bus for one leg of my recently-completed trip to Poland. I think it was Wroclaw to Krakow. I piddled around and waited until rhe night before departure to try to buy the ticket, and multiple trains were sold out.

Posted by
1878 posts

We also took the bus in the opposite direction (Krakow to Wroclaw), worked great though legroom was poor on the bus. When we were there train schedules were reduced / less convenient than usual, I think it was due to track work near Krakow Glowny.