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Budapest to Krakow

I hope that someone can help me here. I've been racking my brain trying to come up with the best way to get from Budapest to Krakow. When I planned our itinerary, I did it with the assumption that we would take a bus on Orangeways. However, after doing more research, it seems that they only run one bus per day - and not every day - and are reportedly not very reliable (e.g., they don't show up or they overbook their routes). The alternatives are: 1) The day train directly from Budapest to Krakow with a trip time of about 10.5 hours 2) The train from Eger to Bratislava, then Bratislava to Krakow the next day (5 hours and 8.5 hours per leg, respectively). I know this takes us back through Budapest, but it gets us the night in Eger we wanted. 3) A flight from Budapest to Krakow (expensive and doesn't seem to save much time; I might just pay any change fees to our plane tickets before doing this and cut Krakow altogether) I don't want to take the night train (I can't sleep on those, so it would be just like the day train but longer and without nice scenery). Which of my options do you recommend? Are there other good ones I haven't considered? Am I wrong about Orangeways? I'm beginning to regret including Krakow in the itinerary. Can anyone change my mind?

Posted by
1076 posts

Check Germanwings.com. You can check flight costs through June(which I did) since I have no idea when you plan to go or what your budget is. It was 116E including bag one way for a June weekend. It would be a pity to miss Krakow since you're in the area.

Posted by
955 posts

I'm guessing you have looked into car rental? Is it too expensive with drop off fees, or can't find a one way rental or ? It is a lovely drive thru the Tatras and once out of Krakow's construction zones, the roads were fine.

Posted by
3 posts

Yes, a car rental is prohibitively expensive with drop-off fees (almost $400 for that alone). Even the flight is more than I wanted to pay, unfortunately. When we'll be going - the 3rd week in May - the lowest fare on Germanwings with taxes and fees is 136 euros. My budget is more like 60-70 euros per person. Are there any other bus companies running this route that are better than Orangeways?

Posted by
9110 posts

Is Krakow just a spur or is it along the way to someplace else? If the former, you can drive from one to the other in a half day and come back in another half day. No drop-off fee and a pretty nice drive. If you make one run a quickie (on the freeways, which is more miles but less time) , you could come back in a straight line and make a good, but long, day of it.

Posted by
2202 posts

My experience with Orangeways was that when you book online (and specify huf for currency, it was cheaper than euros) your ticket is a reserved seat that you have chosen from what is available. There should be no issue of overbooking, as that is your seat. You may find that they have over-scheduled, as in our case, when we took the Friday 2PM bus from Budapest to Krakow, that bus was the 11 AM Vienna to Budapest bus, which we did not know, and it did not arrive at the bus stop to unload until 2:45PM (and I see that the schedules have now been changed regarding that possibility). The two drivers and hostess waiting to make the the Krakow run were not pleased with the delay either. Had there not been a problem at the Polish border that was specific to that day of travel only (change in highway toll rules) we would not have arrived much later than the listed 9:30PM. This really is the best and by far the cheapest option. There is no direct flight between the two cities, the Germanwings mentioned is through Stuttgart, and is 8 hours plus time to and from the airports; the Krakow bus station is two blocks from the Old Town. Lot via Warsaw can be quicker, but is even more costly. And it is a beautiful ride once you get outside Budapest, especially through the mountains in Slovakia.

Posted by
3 posts

Krakow is our terminus, so returning the car to the original location isn't possible. Larry - If the bus is delayed, do you receive regular updates? Or is it a case of, the bus isn't there but no one knows why? And are the buses comfortable enough? I know they claim that they're "luxury buses", but I have my doubts.

Posted by
7 posts

The latest of these is two years old. We are looking at a spring 2014 Eastern Europe trip. We plan, among other places, to go from Krakow to Budapest, and, looking at various options, train travel appears to be at the top of the list. It appears to be mountain travel which should be scenic. Any thoughts?

Posted by
12320 posts

Depends a lot on budget, time and interests. The “best” quick way from Krakow to Budapest I think will be Orangeways Bus. These are pretty nice open road busses. I think its about 5-6 hours and does make a stop or two to stretch. Pretty cheap tickets. If the budget and the schedule will take the hit I love Slovakia and would plan a trip through Slovakia with stops at some pretty choice small towns, castles and mountain resorts. The most expensive option is a car and driver, the cheapest, but you don’t see as much, is the train. From time to time we stay at the Kempinski Grand High Tatras Hotel (world class in the mountains) and use their driver for transportation from and to Budapest and for some sightseeing. But that’s not cheap. With some details I can help a little more. High season Ryan Air might run some direct flights; they have in the past.

Posted by
4637 posts

I think this will change your mind: From Eger don't go back to Budapest but to the mountain resort Stary Smokovec (or to even more spectacular nearby Strbske Pleso). Train from Eger to Stary Smokovec takes only 4 hours 22 minutes with changes in Fuzesabony, Kosice, Poprad. You can stay overnight in S.S. or S.P. I know that there was bus connection between S.S. and Krakow or at least to Zakopane. There are plenty of buses from Zakopane to Krakow (also trains). However I was not able to find the bus on Slovakian or Polish bus website. But there are plenty of private bus companies and minibuses which have their own website. The best would be to get that information once you are in S.S. In the worst case scenario (which is very unlikely} you would go by bus from S.S. to Lysa Polana and then cross few steps into Poland and catch bus to Zakopane and as I said there are plenty of buses and trains from Zakopane to Krakow. This way is not only much shorter than going back to Budapest-Bratislava-Breclav-Prerov-Ostrava-Katowice-Krakow, but also much more scenic. Then another option would be to get off train in Kosice and catch a bus to Krakow from there.

Posted by
12320 posts

Ilja, this post confused me for a moment too. The original post is several years old. The most recent post is some one else looking for advice. No mention of Eger. BUT! I have done various legs of your proposed route and it is a beautiful trip but a two day trip that requires a night either in Eger as you suggested or a stop in Kosice. The hotel I recommended is in the High Tatras near S. Pleso. Beautiful place and off season (when there is no skiing) the rates are reasonable.

Posted by
4637 posts

Yes James, this is highly unfortunate. I did not notice that the original question is over two years old. Starting from Budapest and not Eger would make my route little bit less attractive and longer than from Eger but I would stiil go for it because of scenery. I agree with you that hotel Kempinski is one of the best in High Tatras with one of the best views in Tatras (not counting mountain huts [like Pod Rysmi, Teryho, Brncalova etc.] but as we say you get what you paid for and there you have to pay a lot.

Posted by
12320 posts

Ilja, we have a deal on reduced cost accommodations in Budapest so we can spend a few extra dollars on a couple of nice evenings someplace special and the Kempinski tops the charts.