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Train Travel In Poland

Hi Everyone,

I'm planning to visit Krakow, Warsaw and Gdansk this year, and I'm planning to travel to each city by train. As of now I'm planning to visit Krakow first, and then after my time in Krakow I'll take the train to Warsaw. And then after my time in Warsaw I'll take the train to Gdansk.

From what I've read and heard the Intercity Express Trains would be the best bet. I figure they're the most expensive, though they're the fastest (Krakow to Warsaw would be under 3 hours) and most comfortable of the trains. I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on train travel in Poland, what everyone's experiences with the trains in Poland have been, and everyone's experiences with the Express Trains. Thanks!

Best Regards,
Ernesto

Posted by
11613 posts

I traveled by train from Germany to Poland to Austria two years ago, the Polish trains were great. Comfortable, on time, and very inexpensive (even the fast trains) compared to most of Europe. Just know the Polish names for the stations you want (some cities have several stations).

Posted by
16869 posts

As of this winter, InterCity Express trains between the main Polish cities are faster than ever and run frequently, so I doubt that any slower train option would tempt you. Tickets are cheap compared to many European countries.

Posted by
41 posts

Thanks so much for replying Zoe and Laura! You're both right, it's great to hear that the InterCity Express Trains are the best bet. I'd also like to know if you booked your tickets for the Express Trains well in advance, a few days in advance, or if you purchased your tickets right when you arrived at the train stations. I figure once I have my travel dates set, once I know how long I'll stay at each city, I'll book my tickets for the Express Trains online, in advance. I'd like to hear your thoughts regarding booking Express Train tickets in advance, thanks again!

Posted by
11613 posts

I did book fast trains in advance, it was easy, but I bought tickets at the stations for shorter trips.

Posted by
2165 posts

I'll be taking the train from Krakow to Warsaw in May and did some preliminary poking around the Polrail website and it seems you can't buy a ticket until 30 days from travel time. Does anyone know if that's the site to use, or the intercity.pl site?

Posted by
44 posts

Polish domestic train tickets can be issued up to 30 days before travel.

You can order your ticket up to 2 months earlier through Polrail; the actual ticket is sent to you within the 30 day window.

The new fast trains are called "EIC Premium", also known as the Pendolino. There are also Express InterCity (EIC) trains which run at about the same speed, and slower TLK services as well.

Posted by
41 posts

Thanks for the recent replies! It appears the Express InterCity Premium is the fastest, and from the website's photos they are the Pendolino trains. According to the website these tickets must be purchased in advance. I figure once I have my travel dates set I'll go ahead and book my tickets on the website. Thanks again everyone!

Posted by
227 posts

We took train from Warsaw to Kraków this fall - no problem. Bought ticket day before - it was pretty cheap, we were 2nd class and had a compartment to ourselves.

Posted by
2165 posts

Reporting in to say I just bought my ticket for Krakow to Warsaw on the Intercity Express and for a second class ticket it was just $13.33 US. Kinda sorry now I didn't spring for 1st class...

Posted by
8 posts

May I ask how you purchased the ticket? Was it from one of the polish rail service web sites? Can one use an American credit card? And can you print the ticket yourself or have the choice of picking it up at the station of departure? Thanks.

Posted by
44 posts

You can book e-tickets for most domestic trains through a site like Polrail or Intercity.

They accept all credit cards, not just Polish ones.

Posted by
11613 posts

Make sure your credit card company knows you will be buying from a non-US vendor; sometimes it makes a difference and you don't want your card declined. Also let your bank and credit card company know when you will be making purchases abroad (dates of travel).

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you very much for the information and the good reminder!

Posted by
2165 posts

Ann--I used intercity.pl, had done a bit of research and waited til about 28 days from travel and it's a very easy site to use, lots of info and explanations. The site shuts down daily for a couple of hours for maintenance, that was around 2:30 to 4 pm for me here in CA. I set up an account with my email as user name, then selected the train I wanted--the Express, 2nd class, and it reserves a seat for you. I travel solo, but if you want adjoining seats for others you have that option. I used my US credit card with no problem (Capital One) and received a ticket to print from the site and also email. I suppose you can always buy a ticket at the station but I'm a planner and will definitely be leaving Krakow that day with reservations in Warsaw that night so would rather be prepared.

The only other European rail site I've used was OBB in Austria and it was just as easy to use.

Posted by
8 posts

christa, this is tremendously helpful. I gathered from what people had said that it'd be good idea to book tickets in advance, but I wasn't sure if it could be done online without complications. What you have shared here has given me a better idea of what to expect. Thank you!

Posted by
41 posts

Thanks everyone for the tips in regards to booking tickets, all of your comments are quite helpful! I figure 1st Class tickets would be relatively affordable, and I've read and heard that the high speed Pendolino trains are great for Krakow to Warsaw, and from Gdansk to Warsaw.

Posted by
41 posts

Hi Everyone,

I went on the InterCity website to try and purchase my train tickets for my trip to Poland this September, and each time I entered my destinations (Krakow to Warsaw, Gdansk to Warsaw, etc.) with most of the available times there would be a message stating "Exceeded the period of sell." I just want to check if this means it's still too early for me to book my train tickets for my trip this September, and that the earliest I would be able to book my train tickets (for the express/EIP trains) would be 30 dates before my travel dates. Which would mean the earliest I'd be able to book my train tickets would be next month, August. Let me know if this is correct. Thanks!

Posted by
2165 posts

Ernesto--you are correct, 30 days out for reserving. I travelled by train twice while In Poland this May (loved, loved, LOVED everything about Poland! Hope you do, too) and for my Krakow to Warsaw I reserved about 3 weeks prior, Warsaw to Gdansk the day before. 2nd class is perfectly clean and comfy and they even serve complimentary tea, coffee and soft drinks. Each ticket was approximately $13 US, on the express trains.
I took a taxi to the station in Krakow as it was raining that morning and when I told the driver I was going to Warsaw he dropped me at the upper level platform so I avoided the congestion of the station.

The morning I went to Gdansk--6:30 am train--I got a bit confused because the boards showed just one train going to Gdynia at exactly that time, which I knew was near Gdansk, but train number was one digit off--I think I expected to see Gdansk listed. I figured with a reserved seat if I got on and someone was in it I'd know it was the wrong train. Fortunately it was the right one--early morning is not my best time of day.

I did notice the trains seemed full--business travellers on a Thursday morning and people on a weekend trip on Saturday morning--so reserving ahead of time is recommended if you want a particular train departure.

Posted by
41 posts

Christa, thanks so much for the information regarding the trains, and for sharing your experiences riding the trains. And I'm glad to hear you absolutely loved Poland, I have a feeling I'm going to fall in love with Poland as well! :-)