We are planning our Sept 2017 vacation. My husband would like to visit Krakow for a couple of days. Then we are thinking Switzerland (Interlaken area) and then to Varenna, What would be the best way to get to/from these cities.
Have you Googled the distance between Krakow and Switzerland? Flying is the only reasonable option and you are probably not likely to get a direct flight from Krakow but will have to go through a gateway city (Warsaw, Vienna, Munich, etc).
As to Interlaken to Varenna...(I also Googled it)
Thank you. So we decided to skip Varena. We are going to take the sleeper train from Kraków to Switzerland
Those are hard cities to pair - Krakow to Interlaken is a long haul. Is that your whole holiday...Krakow and Interlaken? How long is your trip and where are you traveling from? Are you doing Arizona, Krakow, Interlaken and then back to Arizona?
I'll sometimes pair cities like this based on my own interests but I try to do so only when the connections are easy...like if RyanAir connects the cities in a single nonstop flight. But you might have a better trip if you pick just one of these two areas and then add some additional cities nearby that are easy connections.
My husband really wants to visit Krakow to see Auschwitz and nearby memorials. We have also wanted to visit Switzerland. We don't mind taking the overnight train. We usually fly into Europe on a Monday am and have 10 nights on the ground. We were thinking of 3 nights in Krakow and 1 night traveling and 5 nights in Switzerland. Does that sound doable?
Terri, there are no overnight trains from Poland to Switzerland. Overnight trains are unfortunately a dying species. DB is shutting down its "InterCity Night Line" (ICN) network at the end of this year (2016). I looked it up on www.bahn.de, and it told me (this year's timetable) a day train leaving Krakow at 06:18 would arrive at Luzern at 23:05 or Interlaken 00:01 - no thanks
But, EasyJet flies direct from Krakow to Basel. From Basel you take a 15 min. shuttle bus to the station, then 1 hour to Luzern, or 2 hours to Interlaken. I would choose that option.
Then take the train onward to Varenna.
If you leave on day one, you'll probably arrive in Kraków late afternoon on day two since I don't believe there are any direct flights to Kraków from the U.S. That will give you one evening and two full days in Kraków. Auschwitz will take up most of a day, so your time will be limited in Kraków. Not sure what other memorials you want to see, but I would not plan any other day trips, because you'll want at minimum a full day in Krakow, which is fabulous.
With five days in Switzerland, I would spend four in Murren or Wengen and the last night near your departing airport (Zurich, I'm assuming. You could stay on Luzern, which is very close.). You want a minimum of three full days in the mountains (four is better) in case you have bad weather.
So your plan is doable.
If the last place you are visiting is Varenna, then the nearest transatlantic airport is Milan. Direct train Varenna to Milan, then train to Malpensa airport. Going the longer distance to Zürich to catch a flight is not necessary. Milan also probably has more transatlantic options than Zürich.
Chris, I got the impression from Terri's last post that she was dropping Varenna. If not, my advice to end in Zurich was not helpful.
Terri, I do think you should forget about Varenna this trip. I don't think you have enough time. But that's just my opinion.
yes, we are dropping Varenna
@ Terri...There are 2 types of night trains ...the CNL which is most likely to abolish its night train routes (if it sticks to its plan to do so,... unfortunately) and the other night train option is through EN, EuroNight. From Krakow to Switzerland you could do this route, Krakow to Prague, then Prague to Zürich, doable if you're not pressed for time. Even though CNL goes out, there is still EN to take the night routes with.
Better still is to take the night train Krakow to Vienna, ie, Wien Hbf (very doable), then change to Zürich direct. This way you change only once or stay a night or two in Vienna.
While many here are anti-night train - we see it as part of the trip experience. You could really spend worse days than traveling across Austria & Switzerland by train. Enjoy your trip!
I remember in 2001 when we were leaving Krakow and had to take the train to Berlin Zoo (before Hbf was operational) at 0600 or so, ie prior to 7 am. Passengers on the early train were mostly German and Polish, and another US couple. It proved to be close to 10 hours, just a few minutes under that. But I got to see on that valuable ride all the historical stops the train had to make in the former Upper Silesia and Silesia and that countryside once it left Krakow Glowny....Katowice, Gleiwitz, Oppolo, Liegnitz, Wroclaw...all the way to Kunowice where the passport check, ie, getting the Polish passport stamp, took place at the border and crossing the Oder.
Since the trip is not until a full year from now, even if CNL is abolished, there still will be night service, ie night trains, but minus the sleeper and couchette accommodations. So, you still have the night train option to choose from, I would, to gain the extra day.