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To Warsaw by train
After I spent 3 days in Warsaw I left the city by train to Krakow and at the end of my trip I had to return to Warsaw by train.
The main train station (Warszawa Centralna) is located right in the city centre just next to the famous Palace of Culture and Science. The labyrinth of passages and shops in the station is quite confusing and packed with dubious characters. So get yourself out of this place as quick as possible.
I recommend to buy train tickets at a rail agent in town instead of queueing at one of the tiny little booths in the train station.
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Take the central station to change trains. Although, I must say it can be quite confusing as to which platform you have to go to. If you have to change to a regional train ie to Malbork like I did in 2006 then you may better change in the station where the train starts as you may get dead lucky to get a seat especially on a weekend on vacation time.
By train to Warsaw :-)
I usually get to Warsaw by fast, safe and comfortable express trains of PKP Intercity (compulsory reservation; check their prices and numerous promotions/savings). There are 3 large railways station located along the east-west line: Western Warsaw Station (Warszawa Zachodnia), Central Warsaw Station (Warszawa Centralna - in the heart of the Warsaw centre), Eastern Warsaw Station (Warszawa Wschodnia) - all three are not my favourite places in Warsaw :-).
I buy train tickets alway 2nd class at the railway station usually just before departure of the train: in 2006 from Tychy it cost in total 78 zl (20.5 euros) one way. The fare is based on distance (km) + seat reservation fee. So, expect to pay similar price from/to Krakow, Poznan or Gdansk. Very rarely (Friday evening from Warsaw, Sunday evening to Warsaw; it happened to me only once) tickets are sold out and one must wait for the next train (1 hour or so). Tickets are available in some tourist offices and at conductor at train (warning: you must find him immediately after boarding the train and pay small additional fee).
Time of travel (hours:minutes) to Warsaw from:
Berlin, Germany 5:40
Wien, Austria 7:28
Bratislava, Slovakia 7:59
Prague, Czech 8:46
Vilnius, Lithuania 9:34
Minsk, Belarus 9:55
Moscow, Russia 20:37
Check up-to date European railway timetable, the link below.
- Budget Travel
From Warsaw to Krakow by train
Via the website of the Polish train company (PKP), it was very easy to make a planning.
You can easily find al the connections and the time schedules.
Mostly I used IC trains, because these trains do not stop so often, so travelling time is shorter.
Via the website of the Polish Intercity company: www.intercity.com.pl/en/main, you should be able to make a reservation. But unfortunately it did not work from abroad.
But like in my case a friendly Polish girl (thank you Anna) made these reservations for me, and then did send me the reservation forms.
And the system works. Once you have your reservation, you have a wagon number and a seat number, you just have to present this reservation form at the conductor and pay the money to him.
So no problems standing in line to get a ticket, no language problems at the ticket office.
Warszawa Centralna Railway Station is not nice at all. Just have a look at the building! Anyway, there are lots of shops, cafes etc. underground. You can also eat some fast food there. I recommend to be earlier to buy a train ticket as there are long queues and you may be late.
Frederic Chopin Airport
Warsaw's international aiport is small for a city of its size, however, upon arrival, I had no problem getting through customs and finding the correct bus to take me into the city. I went straight to an ATM and got some cash, but there are also currency exchange counters here if you prefer to use their services. You'll also find a tourist information booth in the international arrivals hall. To get into the city, I located the Ruch news shop and purchased a bus ticket (2.40 zl) for bus #175.
On my way out of Warsaw, I arrived well over 2 hours early and I still barely made my flight. It was absolutely ridiculous how underequipped this airport was. They only had two security screening devices and the lines were insane! Be sure you come VERY early when you are leaving Warsaw.
Train to Krakow
So I arrived in Warsaw on time (9h50), and as luggage and passport handling went so quick, I was outside the airport building in no time. Then a short ride by taxi, so arrived at Warszawa Centralna around 10h20.
A had a train at 12h05 towards Krakow. So plenty of time to look around. I also went outside the train station, and from there I could already see my hotel for the last night of my Poland trip (Hotel Metropol). From here I also could admire the big building of the Palace of Culture and Science.
So the train from Warsaw to Krakow:
- Warszawa Centralna - Krakow Glowny
- travelling time : 2h55
- travelling distance : 292 km
- price : 85 zl.
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The fares I quote here are based on how much we paid for the individual journeys.
Krakow - Warsaw = 63.50zl(2hrs40mins)
Warsaw - Prague = 206.50zl(about 10hrs)
These are one way fares on 2nd class with a seat only. It isn't really necessary to get a sleeper on night trains, we got a cabin to ourselves entirely which made our journey so much more comfortable. You only have to be early to secure a seat. Don't start trotting in only when the train is about to leave!
And don't bother visiting that website www.raileurope.com it is a bloody rip off. You are better off buying your tickets off the station itself!
I took a train from Warszawa Centralna station to Torun and this is one of the main hubs for long distance train travel. It's easy to find right next to the Palace of Culture and Science. The ticket windows here are operated by Polish speaking employees, so if you don't know how to ask for a ticket in Polish, I'd suggest having someone at the information booth write it down for you and take that with you to the window to avoid a miscommunication.
Trains from Chopin Airport
When we visited Warsaw for Easter weekend in March/April 2013, we decided that the train would be the most convenient and cost effective way of travelling from Chopin Airport to the centre of the city.
The location of our hotel, the Radisson Blu Centrum, played a major part in our decision; it is just a 10 minute walk from Centralna station (or would have been if we hadn't had to take a detour due to large swathes of the road being closed off while work is undertaken on the city's second metro line!).
The train connecting Chopin Airport with central Warsaw only commenced in the summer of 2012, so it's likely than many guidebooks will fail to mention it as an option. In fact, we spoke to a Polish girl at Centralna station when we were planning our return journey to the airport and she told us that no such train existed. We knew that it did, as we had caught it just three days earlier!
The following details were correct at the time of our visit:
We caught the S3 train at 12:25pm on Good Friday.
It operated on the following route:
Warszawa Lotnisko Chopina (Chopin Airport) - Warszawa Sluzewiec - Warszawa Zwirki i Wigury - Warszawa Rakowiec - Warszawa Aleje Jerozolimskie - Warszawa Zachodnia - Warszawa Centralna (Central Station).
The train was carrying on to the town of Legionowo (north of Warsaw) via several other stops in the suburbs of Warsaw.
There is also an S2 train which operates a similar route from the airport but stops at Warszawa Śródmieście instead of Warszawa Centralna. The two stations are close by and connected by an underground pedestrian passageway, so we'd have been happy to alight at either of them.
The station at Chopin Airport is a 5-10 minute walk from the airport terminal. We dragged our suitcases through driving snow to get there.
There were ticket machines at the entrance to the station, but they only accepted coins or credit cards. We wanted to purchase our tickets using notes (as we didn't have any change at this point, having only just arrived in the country). We asked in one of the shops near the platform and were told that we could either purchase tickets on board the train (apparently for the same price) or we could purchase them from one of the other shops (a small shop similar to a cafe-cum-newsagents). We decided to buy them from the shop. Incidentally, had we decided to buy them on board the train we would have struggled to do so; nobody came around the carriages to sell or check tickets during our journey.
The cost of each ticket was 4.40 złoty / £0.90 for a one journey ride. We could have purchased all day tickets, but it wouldn't have been cost effective to do so in our case as we didn't plan to undertake any further journeys on public transport that day.
We validated our tickets in the small yellow machines that are found on board the train.
The train was large and spacious; it had a dozen or more carriages, plenty of leg room and lots of storage space for luggage. There were relatively few passengers on board the train that we caught.
The journey time from Chopin Airport to Centralna Station was around 20 minutes. A digital display continuously showed the next station and announcements were made over the tannoy as we arrived at each stop.
I would highly recommend using the excellent www.bahn.de for timetables. Enter Warszawa Lotnisko Chopina (i.e. Chopin Airport) as the departure station and then whichever of Warsaw's stations is most convenient as the destination station. There was also a timetable displayed on the wall besides the airport's luggage carousel as we waited for our cases.
Train from Poznan to Warsaw
So at the end of my Poland trip I travelled from Poznan towards Warsaw.
I had booked an early train towards Warsaw (7h40), like this I still had two days to discover Warsaw before my flight back home left.
Train trip from Poznan to Warsaw:
- Poznan Glowny - Warszawa Centralna
- travelling time : 2h56
- travelling distance : 306 km
- price : 77 zl.
My Hotel in Warsaw (Hotel Metropol) was on walking distance from the station (400 metres)
Free drinks on the train
Even on the train there was a good service, as shortly after the train left the station, a man passed by with drinks.
First I thought, he was selling drinks.
No no, he was bringing free drinks, you could get coffee, tea, orange juice or water. With this drink he also gave a snack (a chocolate waffle).
But this was only the case on the IC-trains, like from Poznan to Warsaw, it was an EC-train and there you needed to pay for your drink.
Warszawa Centralna is a major European station, and the hub of the Polish network. It has direct connections to all over Poland, and to many Eastern European capitals. There are direct connections to Budapest (12 hours), Prague (9 hours), Vienna (7 hours) and Berlin (7 hours). There are also overnight trains to Moscow via Belarus.
The main station is bang in the centre of town, right underneath the Palace of Culture and Science.
You will arrive in Warsaw Central station if you come by train, well, we did at least! The station was gigantic, but clean and has an underground passage lined with lotsa shops leading to different exits which really confused us when we first arrived, we didn't know which exit to take, especially when there were so many people around! And I wouldn't really advise hanging around the station late at night, this is when you start noticing dodgy people around asking you for change and fags. Bloody annoying!
Central Train Station
Located beneath the huge tower building that rules the city ... quite easy to to buy the tickets and get to the platform.. really intuitive. There are a enough cops to make you feel so safety
You can travel from this station to any other polish destination and abroad
we had some doubts at first moment which cue we had to take,but doesnt mind, anyone is right to buy the ticket to Krakow or anywhere.
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