Train travel

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The train service in Poland is run by the state railway service PKP (Polske Koleje Państowowe or Polish state Railways) The railway network in Poland is extensive and very well developed allowing you to travel almost anywhere by train.

The best trains to use are the city links and express trains that join most of the larger cities in the country together. If you are going to travel out to any of the smaller towns in Malopolska, then you will often find that the public bus transport is more frequent and makes better time. Saying that there are many beautiful train journeys available in M0alopolska, and it can be a very enjoyable way to see the countryside.

International Trains,

There are international trains that connect the major Polish cities with other European countries. There is a train that runs from Warsaw to London, normally via the channel tunnel. Furthermore, there are trains to Berlin, Prague and many other large cities within Europe. The option of international train travel can be an interesting way to travel to Poland and in addition combined your stay in Little Poland with a visit to surrounding Eastern European countries and historical cities.

krakow shuttle train - Poland

Express Trains and Long distance Trains.

The fastest and most comfortable way to travel around Poland and combine your stay in Malopolska with other areas of the country is to use the many express trains. These link all major cities and are normally the fastest way to travel and very often even arrive on time. To travel on the express trains you will need to reserve a seat as well as buying a ticket. The most comfortable, but also the most expensive is the intercity link express trains, travelers are even offered a basic snake when traveling on these trains. Buying food in the restaurant cars is always an expensive option, but as the journeys are normally short then the need for dining is often an optional treat. The intercity link trains have rooms for mothers with children and also for disable people.

The long distance trains both fast and slow. However, are less comfortable, commonly delayed, generally dirty and not the best option for personal safety. This is especially the case for the overnight trains. If you find that you are using an overnight train, then there are two carriage classes on polish trains and even if first class does cost somewhat more it is sometimes well spent money as comfort and safety is much higher in the first class carriages.

The overnight sleepers have the option of compartments that are comfortable, but ordinarily of low standard. It is of course safest to have a compartment to yourself, if you are going to be traveling at night, other recommendations are to sit at the front of the train as there are normally other passengers there making any theft less likely. Furthermore, do not display any amount of money and avoid drinking with individuals whom you may meet on the train, even if most people traveling like these are friendly good-hearted people, but you are more open to theft if they serve you enough local alcohol first. The rate of theft is of course much lower during the day than at night.

PKP offers the option of left luggage at most of their train stations leaving you free to look around the towns that you are traveling past without the need to carry your luggage around with you. There is a fee for using the left luggage facilities, and you will often be asked to declare the value of your luggage before you leave it. In the larger and main stations, there is also coin operated lockers available for travelers to use.

Local Trains.

The local train service in Małopolska is much the same as other places, with frequent delays and a relatively low standard of the trains. The first and often the biggest problem for travelers who arrive in Poland and want to use the trains is the total lack of information in English. Even in the main ticket office of Krakow train station you may find employees that are unable to speak English at all. This of course makes last minute planning very hard, and it is best to study maps and gather the information about where you will be traveling to before you arrive at the station.

You can buy tickets before you board the train from the station ticket office or on the train from the conductor. If you buy the ticket on the train, then it is best to go directly to the conductor, the fines for traveling without a ticket are very high. It is your responsibility to report to the conductor and not his to find you. If you buy the ticket from the conductor, then you will also normally be charge a handling fee for this. Children and Student up to the age of 26 with a valid student card are initialed to reduced fees.

Krakow train - Poland

When possible it is recommended to travel 1st class as the standard and comfort is far above that of the standard class, and the price is often not much higher. When you are traveling by train, it is common that there are no sales of any goods, even simple things like water. If you are traveling with small children or just on your own, then this can become a problem if you are not aware of it before you enter the train. Always have enough food and drink with you to be comfortable for your journey.

One of the most beautiful routes in Little Poland by train is from Krakow to Zakopane. This journey by train will take from about 3,5 hours upwards and can be combined with visiting Wadowice. If you need to get to Zakopane from Krakow in the fastest way possible, then the public buses are more frequent and will normally do the trip down in less than two hours.

Tip! It is often cheaper to buy tickets before you use any buses, trams or trains rather than buying from the driver/conductor. Furthermore, on trams and buses remember to validate your ticket, even if you buy it from the driver.




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