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Warsaw as base for European Travel

Hello,

I will be studying abroad in Warsaw for Fall 2019, and was hoping to do lots of travel on the weekends. Looking for some suggestions of where to go.

What are some cities and destinations that are easily accessible by either train or air? Most of my travel will be Friday-Sunday, and I am limited by a college student budget.

Looking for places within Poland, but mostly outside, preferably countries in EU.

Posted by
5027 posts

I'm not sure what your time limit is for a train ride for just a 3 day weekend so that probably limits your options by train. Best options are probably by air. WIZZ air flies from Warsaw to many cities in central Europe for under $100. Krakow, Vienna, Budapest, Prague are all within reach for a long weekend - if flight times work well to get you the most time at your destination.

Posted by
15217 posts

Berlin is currently 6.5 hours by direct train, or there's an overnight bus (which I would not choose), but it's another good candidate for flying when you only have the weekend.

www.skyscanner.com is a good search engine for budget flights within Europe. Looking Up Train Schedules and Routes Online gives you the Deutsche Bahn train schedule link and tips for using it for all of Europe.

Posted by
11117 posts

A trick I learned on this forum: Go to the Wikipedia page of any airport (here's Warsaw's) and you'll find a chart showing all the destinations you can reach by non-stop flights. You have to be careful about seasonal flights; much of your time in Poland will probably fall outside the "season". In addition, any of the listed destinations might turn out to have less-than-daily flights. But this should get you started.

Skyscanner is a good source of information for intra-European flights. You can use it to determine whether a particular destination will have the Friday/Sunday service you'll probably need. I'm not sure all the flights for even next September will be loaded yet. For non-seasonal flights you can probably get a fair idea of the schedule situation by looking at March 2019.

Although you don't necessarily have to limit yourself to non-stop destinations, connecting flights will probably not be very affordable, and they'll really eat into the time you have at the destination when you're going somewhere just for a weekend. If you buy when tickets first go on sale, many of the non-stop destinations will be very inexpensive. You'll need to use a small, lightweight carry-on bag, but that shouldn't be a problem for a weekend trip.

I'd look first at the seasonal destinations to see whether there are any I'd especially like to get to, then I'd see whether I could cram them into the very early part of my stay, since they won't be available options for long.

I'm probably atypical on this, but I'd tend to prioritize places that are small enough that two days would get me close to covering everything of interest to me. So I'd prefer (for example) Lyon to Paris and Zagreb or Ljubljana to Vienna.

Of course, you'll want to get as early as possible a look at the academic calendar to see whether there are any long weekends to take advantage of. A four-day weekend would make a place like Rome or Paris a lot more attractive to me.

Setting aside weather considerations (there's a reason why I travel to Europe between May and September) and airline quality (I, personally, don't fly the tiny ones), these are places I'd consider for a 2-day weekend:

Bari, Basel, Belgrade, Bergen, Catania, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Larnaca, Ljubljana, Lviv, Malaga, Malta, Odesa, Palma de Mallorca, Pula, Riga, Split, Tallinn, Turin, Venice, Verona, Zadar, Zagreb.

Posted by
4745 posts

Poland is a large country with all major Polish cities accessible by train (or cheap bus like Flix) from Warsaw. You should take advantage of seeing some of them. Here are a few:
- Gdańsk
- Lublin
- Łódź
- Kraków
- Wrocław
- Poznań
- Częstochowa
- Szczecin

Posted by
11548 posts

I would just warn you about Gdansk. You may want to go back so many times, you don't get to see much else. The Solidarity Museum is superb. There are lots of restaurants serving excellent non-Polish food. In fact you will hardly know you're in Poland.

Posted by
525 posts

Emma, I hope you have a wonderful time in Europe. Please do not sell Poland short. I agree with Chani that Gdańsk is a gem! You have the rest of your life to visit Europe but this might be the only time you live in Poland! From Warsaw, you will be able to take a train or bus almost anywhere in Poland! Transportation within Poland is very reasonable.

I cannot answer your broader question. I am not familiar with inexpensive airfare options within Europe from Poland. I do think Ryan flies to Warsaw.

Posted by
10180 posts

Hi,

In "looking for places within Poland," which areas are more of a priority, the north, east, the western part. Are you including towns and regions that are off the tourist radar? I mean, foreign and international tourists.

If so, I would suggest eastern Poland, Lublin, in the northeast the Masurian Lakes area, (just to name one out of several places), the lower Vistula, in the south east towns like Przemsyl. The last time I did a multi-night stay in Poland was in 2005, staying in Torun but on one of the days we went by bus, ie a day trip, to Chelmno on the Vistula, a town that was not plastered in 1944. The last few years I've only visited border towns just across the Oder River, focusing on these as day trips.

Keep in mind the the bus option in going from town to town. We walked about ca. 45 minutes to Torun's bus depot. Seeing the schedule I could tell a lot of towns are served by buses from Torun.

Was is your main interest in seeing Poland? If it's history, tons of places.

Posted by
1167 posts

Emma, you have lots of good advice above.

I just want to add (for acraven and others) that an even better way to find where you can fly direct from a given airport is https://www.flightsfrom.com/.

For Warsaw, you can go directly to https://www.flightsfrom.com/WAW/destinations. You can also enter a date range or specific dates, and you'll get a list of every direct flight from that airport.

Enjoy your time in Europe!

Posted by
16 posts

There are many interesting options for weekend getaway if you stay in Warsaw. It's worth to travel to the south of Poland, as there are great places located close to each other: Tatra mountains and Zakopane resort, Krakow, Auschwitz concentration camp, Wieliczka Salt Mine, Pieniny National Park.
I do recommend to visit Polish mountains - they are so beautiful and there are loads of hiking trails.

Posted by
187 posts

I agree with the others to focus on travel in Poland first. You can take a very inexpensive bus or train to Krakow. Spend a few weekends there to see their town square, St. Mary's, Schindler's factory museum, walk around the incredible city, Wawel castle, Kazimierz, etc. Be sure to eat at some Milk bars. There are some in each major city.

From Warsaw, take the train to Malbork and Gdansk. Their new WII museum is top notch! Lovely city.
Check out Lancut castle in SE Poland. That is worth a weekend.
For little known WWII history, visit Blizna and Pustkow not far from Rzeszow.
Go on another weekend to visit Auschwitz and Zakopane.
Poland has it all and is perfect on a student's budget.

Posted by
74 posts

I know I am very late to post in this thread, but I concur that Poland is awesome for traveling. I'd add Torun and the Zakopane mountains as additional destinations. If you like hotsprings, then Zakopane and the neighboring Slovakian spa region would be great. Trains and buses also run from Warsaw to Brno (awesome third-wave coffee) in Czech Rep., as well as Vilnius in Lithuania. Both are great cities to visit.

Ryan Air operates a lot of flights from Warsaw to other cities. If bought well in advance, you can get a non-changeable, non-refundable ticket for as low as $10 (without check-in bags). However, the dates with the lowest fares are not gonna be major holidays.

Food in Poland is very good. I miss the restaurants and bakeries there! You can have wonderful, unforgettable meals at very affordable prices. Have fun!