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Trains in Poland

We will be traveling 5 days on trains in a 2 week trip, if we buy the Rail Pass do you still have to get a ticket for each leg in advance or do you just show up at the station? Which website is best to check point to point options and prices? Traveling end of Oct. Thanks!

Posted by
4684 posts

Polish trains are very cheap when purchased point to point without a pass. I'm not sure a Eurail pass (if that's what you mean) is worth getting for Poland. I haven't been to Poland since 2012, but the trains I took then were not especially nice. But they were so cheap that I booked first class whenever I could; on those trains, first class was kind of like second class in most other countries.

Posted by
2487 posts

I agree that some kind of rail pass is a total waste of money for Poland. The trains are incredibly cheap and even more so when you are entitled to a senior fare. Take the PKP train planner for the schedules and prices (4 Zlotys to 1 USD). No need for advance reservation. Buy your tickets late afternoon or evening before departure, if only not to run the risk of a slow queue at the ticket window when your train is about to depart.
I cannot complain about the Polish trains. They are extremely punctual and some trains - certainly not all - might be somewhat old fashioned, but quite comfortable. I didn't see the need of travelling 1st class, which no European would ever do, unless the boss pays for it.

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks! I am looking at Eurail pass, senior fare is $91.00 for 5 days.just wondering if it is more convenient to have a pass instead of going to train station day before.

Posted by
1878 posts

Depending upon the type of train you will need a seat reservation anyway, if your reason for getting a pass is to avoid the ticket window and just show up, it’s probably not going to work. Trains are cheap and you can easily book in advance online. Some trains first class is a good idea but I found the Gdańsk to Krakow route that second class would have been fine (we were in first).

Posted by
6060 posts

Forget the passes. Trains are quite inexpensive, and second class will work just fine. Regarding Andrew's comment, the trains have improved a lot since 2012, and the once connecting the major cities where most tourists go are nice and modern (Italian Pendolino trains). See photos for Poland in this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendolino

Posted by
15 posts

I have my train tickets bought and downloaded. The only thing I cannot see is the seat or car numbers. Are those assigned ahead and somewhere on the tickets? If not, do we take any seat? Thanks

Posted by
4668 posts

What website did you buy the tickets from? The seat and car numbers were always on my first-class tickets. But many long distance second class tickets would have assigned seats as well. The seat column might be headed "Nr miejsca". The car number might be just under the Train Number, some of which are "IC 122345" for example.

Posted by
2487 posts

In my experience those seat reservations shouldn't be taken too seriously, except when the train happens to be full. I have had a lot of half empty Intercity trains, which makes it somewhat foolish to look for the right carriage and seat.

Posted by
12 posts

Whoa. This information is not at all true, so if you are reading this and planning a trip to Poland... heads up.
Here is the train website: https://rozklad-pkp.pl/en

Seat reservations are a real thing and were strictly enforced on all 14 of the train legs I was on with the exception of one, and many of these train legs were not on major lines nor were they in full cars. You can certainly exchange seats with people, but the ticket folks were coming through and ensuring you were seated where you should be. And... they do come through. ON EVERY SINGLE TRAIN. So don't skip ticketing. Also, seats are a huge deal because people get on and off at stations in between where you are getting on and off and their seat reservation may be for a seat that is empty when you get on and empty when you get off because they are getting on and off at stations in between. So... just sit where you are assigned. My mantra? When in doubt, do what the locals do. And what do the Poles do? They sit where they are assigned.

Tickets are also not that cheap, so I am not certain entirely where everyone is getting their tickets from. Certainly they are cheaper than many other places in Europe, but they are not dirt cheap to the point of "oh wow, $5 to travel from the North to the South!" Not even close. Do your research and add up the cost. a $91/5 day pass might be worth it depending on what travel you are doing. All short little hops? No... but massive regional? Perhaps.

Trains are slower going along the Western side-- they do not yet have the more speedy rail lines of the main Gdansk-Warsaw-Cracow line. While the ICC trains do move, they are not German fast trains, so take that into account. For instance, our Poznan to Gdansk train should have taken 2.5 hours. It took 4. No explanation provided, but we had to frequently stop because there is massive rail construction underway in that area. It is underway everywhere actually, as Poland is trying to update its lines and make them faster. In general, if you are moving around, just know it is going to take some time to move. Stations are also under construction. Gdansk was pretty hard to navigate and had no train information up-- had to look at the posted timetables, which was fine if you knew what to look for.

(In Cracow, keep an eye on the changing platforms, they like to move the Poznan train from 4 to 3.)

As for making reservations. Well this is a whole nother animal. You need to be VERY clear at the window. I slipped them a piece of paper with exactly what I wanted, and had zero issues. You need to say "bez przedzial" if you do not want seats in a compartment. Then you need to make clear if you want two seats next to each other if you are traveling with someone else. Otherwise... you may end up with two windows, or who knows what. Also make clear if you want to face forward if that matters to you. There is not a "Best Time of Day" to get tickets, other than do NOT go around 3pm when the entire universe is in line... Also? Get only one set at a time because you never know if that agent is giving you what you asked for... and... take it all in stride, but check the tickets before you leave the window or you are out of luck.

The Berlin--Warsaw train was hysterical. We were in a Soviet-era train car. Loved it. A blast from the past. Also? The day we were leaving Poznan, all Warsaw trains were 120-180 minutes late. Everyone just took it in stride... hung out... nothing to do... no concern... that's Poland for you... everyone just goes with the flow.

And... there are so many train lines for each city's internal transit. It is a confusing mess if you don't know what you are looking at, so use the Jakojade app to find the right tram and bus lines to where you are going. Warsaw has two or three different train lines and then the tram...

...and that's my 2 cents.

Posted by
4668 posts

polishwanderlust, "cheap" is a relative term. I travel fancier than many posters here, but even for budget travelers, trains in Poland, even first-class, are cheaper than I have ever had for long-distance travel in Western Europe. I don't mean to be argumentative, but especially since the official rail company automatically gave me a cheaper fare than I thought I would get (for most-advance purchase time) and because there's an over 62 or is it 60 deal, I thought it was a screaming bargain. I agree with the word "cheap" here.

Naturally, there's a price to be paid: I was prohibited from changing my online ticket at the physical window in Lodz, when we decided to go home an hour early. I was not upset or surprised, but the advance ticket from/to Warsaw was so cheap that I simply threw it in the trash.

My only negative review about Polish rail is that the woman who executed our two tickets home to Warsaw from Lodz selected (for us ... ) the "cheat me with Dynamic Currency Conversion" option on the POS keyboard, rather than letting me make the choice. She may have thought (I mean this kindly) she was doing me a favor, because EVEN when we waited in line a SECOND TIME because other clerks said SHE had the most English, communication was difficult. Similey emoji, not frown or angry.

Posted by
16743 posts

Travelers with a Eurail pass make their required fast-train seat reservations for free at Polish train stations. The Poland pass is relatively cheap at about $30/day , but any meaningful cost comparison still depends on how far you'll travel in one day.

Posted by
10 posts

Would it be more convenient to book online because of the language barrier? I never been to Poland but plan to. My experience in Japan( I do not speak any Japanese) I printed out the time tables with train number, date, time, how many people, what class for seat reservation with Japan Rail Pass to avoid any miscommunication.

Posted by
15 posts

Good Morning, thanks for all the information on trains! Here is our experience on train travel in Poland: Our 2 week trip to Poland was wonderful, we loved it and are already planning on going back next year! I booked the trains online about 30 days before traveling. We had 5 journeys. Warsaw to Kalisz, Kalisz to Wroclaw, Wroclaw to Czestochowa, Czestochowa to Krakow, Krakow to Warsaw.
All were intercity trains with stops except the last one from Krakow to Warsaw was the high speed train. Total cost for 2 seniors was $120.00 USD. All trains were on time and each ticket had a car number and a seat number, which is where we went. Booking on the website: https://rozklad-pkp.pl/en took some time to figure out, but wasn't too difficult. I also used the website Rome2Rio to figure out a train time and number, then went back to the Polish site and was able to book that train. The only travel glitch was the Krakow to Warsaw high speed train. We looked at the board less than an hour before departure and it said Platform 5. We went there, had a coffee and talked to some other travelers, then 20 min. before we realized the train was not there yet. Went back downstairs to check the board (there was no board at Platform 5), and saw that it was changed to Platform 3! Hurried over, boarded the train and of course our compartment in car 4 was filled! The train configuration had changed and we had to make our way to car 8, while moving! after that all was fine and we arrived on time in Warsaw. Again, i can't say enough how much we loved Poland.

Posted by
16567 posts

I wouldn't recommend waiting till late on the day before travel to buy a ticket. That didn't work for one of my travel segments in the summer of 2018. My timing was more flexible than most travelers' schedules would be, but a lot of trains were full. Even some of the buses were full. I think I was traveling on a Friday.

Posted by
12084 posts

Hi,

Train tickets in Poland are cheap. In 2001 I took the Berlin-Warsaw Express day train, 2nd class. After the visit in Warsaw then continued on the Krakow by train , 2nd class.

Three trips to Poland, all travel done by train, 2nd class, day time, except one bus ride as day trip from Torun, ...all satisfactory and enjoyable experiences, even the long rides, eg, Krakow to Berlin, 9 hrs, and Berlin to Gdansk in 2003 changing twice, a bit over 9 hrs.