Train – is it the best way to travel around Poland?
For many years the abbreviation PKP – Polish State Railways was considered by Polish travelers as a synonym for delays, old and dirty trains that often broke in winter, unpredictability. Not to mention the crowded railway stations and the lines to the ticket offices…
Those times are now gone and I strongly recommend you to travel around Poland by train for at least 3 reasons:
- Polish trains are reliable and fast
Today Polish train companies offer very convenient connections between the main tourist destinations. The trains run by Intercity, such as Pendolino, are fast, punctual and comfortable. It will take you no more than 2 hours and 30 minutes to get from Warsaw Central Station to Cracow Central Station and around 3 hours to get to Gdańsk from Warsaw.
Intercity tickets can be booked online at https://www.intercity.pl/pl/
Remember: the earlier you book, the less you pay!
It’s also good to know that you will pay less and travel more comfortably on a Saturday than on a Friday or a Sunday.
As for other train companies, such as TLK or Polregio, they also offer a good service. In many cases TLK trains are almost as fast as Intercity trains, but the tickets are much cheaper! The only inconvenience is the fact that they have traditional compartments and you have less leg space.
Polregio trains are a good option if you have more time and plan to explore rather than hop from one big city to another. Here you will find their connections maps. The trains are modern and the prices are very affordable.
- You get to see much more than in a car or a bus
It’s true that the highways let you travel fast from one town to another, but you miss a lot. The view offered by the train window is much more interesting than concrete and sound screens. You get to see a little bit of the countryside, railway stations in small villages (where your fast train doesn’t stop of course) and the modern architecture of the most important stations such as Cracow, Poznań, Łódź.
- Polish trains are more and more environmentally-friendly
PKP Intercity have in their fleet Pendolino, PesaDART and FLIRT3 trains, which have been designed as environmentally-friendly trains and are built from eco-friendly materials that can be recycled.
The Polish railway timetable can be found at www.rozklad-pkp.pl/en
When is it worth traveling around Poland by bus?
When you are on a budget, check the offer of the Polish bus companies such as Flixbus, Polbus (not available in English) and Neobus. Flixbus is the most popular and offers a great deal of national and international connections. In Warsaw though it’s often much less convenient than the train because you need to get to Młociny or Warszawa Zachodnia bus stations to take the bus, so don’t forget to check the place of departure and arrival before buying the ticket!
Łódź Fabryczna station: