In sept, My husband and I are planning to stay in London for a few days, take a train to Amsterdam and stay there for a Few days, then head to Warsaw for several days then to Kracow for a week or more. I have been trying to figure out the rail system online, but it seems complicated and expensive. Is there only one company that travels through Europe? Eurail? I don't think our Poland end will be difficult. Do we have to buy the passes before we leave Canada? Anyone with experience with this with advice or website recommendations would be appreciated.
I can't answer any of your questions but I can refer you to seat61.com for lots of information on European trains.
Eurail is not a rail company; there is no such thing as a Eurail train. They are ticket resellers and will rip you off. Forget you ever heard of them. You don't need passes.
Rail systems in Europe are run by the governments of the country where they operate, typically. In some cases, there are private rail carriers. The Man in Seat 61 website is an excellent source of correct information and a good place to start your research.
London to Amsterdam info is here.
Amsterdam to Warsaw info is here. Note: This is a very long journey. Don't you want to fly?
Warsaw to Krakow info is here.
Melanie "Do we have to buy the passes before we leave Canada?". Just as there is no such thing as a Eurail train, passes are also usually not the cheapest way to pay for train trips. Just buy normal tickets. Passes aren't even valid from London to Brussels.
You can see times and prices from London to Amsterdam, and book tickets, on www.eurostar.com This is the company that runs the trains from London to Brussels. Prices start at £55 if you book 2-3 months in advance.
I too would also consider flying from Amsterdam to Warsaw, that is a long way!
The Man in Seat 61 is exactly the type of train nut who would propose this long rail trip, but I would not. You can see Rick’s Train Travel Time & cost Map for an overview, then compare flights atwww.skyscanner.com. It's cheaper and faster to fly from London to Amsterdam. I saw some better flight prices from Amsterdam to Krakow, instead of Warsaw, but check for your travel dates. You can easily take a train within Poland and buy the tickets there.
Thanks for all the tips. I have been reading a lot about the man in seat 61.
You're correct taking the train Poland is not difficult. It is much cheaper than in Germany and France. In some ways your projected trip is similar to my first trip to Poland in 2001, all done by train, from northern France (Arras), via Paris, instead of Amsterdam, to Warsaw, but I broke it up after a 10 plus hour ride getting to Berlin by staying the night, early the next morning took the Berlin-Warsaw line, before 1600 arrived at Warsaw central station.
I suggest going Amsterdam Centraal to Berlin Hbf. You transfer once in Duisburg (or Hannover). Then it's direct Duisburg Hbf to Berlin Hbf on the ICE. Stay a night, then take the Berlin-Warsaw the next morning. You'll arrive at Warsaw central station in the late afternoon. As regards to a rail pass, no need for that for your itinerary.
I took the train from Berlin to Warsaw, it was at least 7 hours. I would stop in Berlin for a day or more as well. If you buy tickets with a segment stopping or starting in Germany, you can buy them from bahn.de, a very user-friendly site.
Point to point tickets are usually cheaper than Eurail Pass. In some cases tickets for fast trains in western Europe are cheaper when bought ahead. All others you can buy when you are there. Universal website for train schedules all around Europe is Deutsche Bahn website. You can also buy tickets from them for trains which originates or ends or go through Germany.