Poland is a highly centralised country. This is why the largest number of companies’ headquarters, state institutions and scientific units operate in Warsaw, the capital of Poland. A chance you will visit it as the first Polish city, e.g. coming to Warsaw with your business-oriented goals, is quite considerable. Nevertheless, despite the fact that Warsaw and Krakow are located within nearly 300 kilometres from each other, it is still possible for you to have a quick trip do the South of Poland. Being able to sightsee the wonders of magical Krakow, returning on the day of your departure. Check all the connections available for you to travel from Krakow to Warsaw and taste the hospitality of the two major cities of beautiful Poland!
WARSAW? SEEN IT, LIKED IT. WHAT CAN I EXPECT IN KRAKOW?
There is certain rivalry between Cracovians and Warsaw dwellers. Apparently, the latter ones accuse the former ones of still not having got over the fact that Krakow lost its status as the capital city on account of Warsaw in 1596. On the other hand, Varsovians often seem to be reminded of that their city is younger or has less to offer than Krakow does. In fact, the rivalry only exists in the sphere of jokes. Both the Old Towns of Krakow and Warsaw have been inscribed to UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites (in 1978 and 1980, respectively). At the same time, Warsaw historic district was considered as a near-perfect reconstruction of a city destroyed during WWII. Contrary to this, Krakow Old Town was acclaimed for the maintenance of its original shape in a great condition.
When speaking of modern architecture, the downtown of Krakow is not as high as the business centre of Warsaw. Actually, due to the “height difference” between them (as well as the urban-sprawl-problem present in Warsaw), you will notice that Krakow has much more cosiness, intimacy and air of history surrounding it than the dynamic capital of Poland does. On a side note, you will never experience any assumed loss of importance of Krakow with regard to Warsaw. It is still a significant spot on the map of Europe. Do not hesitate to visit Krakow, feeling free to make your own comparisons between this noble royal city and Warsaw.
TRAINS TO KRAKOW FROM WARSAW
Here we are – showing you the most convenient way to reach Krakow from Warsaw: its railway connections. Krakow and Warsaw are connected by the fastest and most modern railway of Poland, making it possible for trains to exceed the pace of 160 km/h all along it. Train models to operate there allow you for using Wi-Fi and dining cars as you travel, usually being equipped with CCTV. Both ticket booking or searching for the train connections available can be done online. And you do not need to worry of not having any seat allocated – these connections fully rely on the obligatory and automatically-made reservation of seats. It is possible for you to pick Warsaw East (Warszawa Wschodnia, the first station of the city on the route to Krakow), Warsaw Central or Warsaw West Station as your point of departure.
HOW MUCH IS THE TICKET FROM WARSAW TO KRAKOW?
The price to pay will rely on the class and category of connection you have chosen. “EIP” trains are the most expensive, but also the fastest ones. With modern Pendolino trains operating in this category, you will reach Krakow from Warsaw in less than 2:30 hours, at the price ranging between PLN 100 and 229. Obviously, with special offers excluded – there are five price baskets that enable you to buy your tickets cheaper if you book them 30 days prior to the date of departure.
The other categories include TLK (modernised trains) and IC-type trains (new models of Polish manufacturers). They are much cheaper – a single ticket will roughly cost you between PLN 60 and 84. Their time of journey offered may as well be close to the one of EIP trains or even exceeding 4 hours, depending on the route taken. Before you book your ticket, check what the expected travel time of a given train is. What is important, if you decide to take a train from Warsaw to Krakow spontaneously, you may purchase your ticket from the ticket inspector if you inform them of such a need after you board the train.
The additional fee for buying it on the train is PLN 10 per each ticket issued. The good news is that many regional carriers have their ticket machines standing near platforms. The bad news is that most of them only recognise the Polish-issued student ID’s as a basis for a student discount. Other than that, your travel from Warsaw to Krakow by train will be a fast, convenient, and pleasant one. You will leave the train at Krakow Main Railway Station, just 500 metres away from the Old Town of Krakow.
HOW TO GET TO KRAKOW FROM WARSAW BY BUS: BUS DEPOTS
Warsaw is quite an extensive city, with its 517 square kilometres of area and nearly 2 million actual inhabitants. This is why bus connections from Warsaw to Krakow have a few different bus stations scattered around the city. For the purposes of this guide, we will stick to the three most popular and easiest accessible ones:
- Warsaw West Station (Warszawa Zachodnia) – the eastern- and southernmost major bus and railway station of Warsaw,
- A bus depot close to Wilanowska underground station of line I.
- A bus depot near Metro Marymont underground station of line I.
You may check Warsaw public transport options to reach these bus and coach stations here.
A typical journey from Warsaw to Krakow should not exceed 5 hours of a ride. Having a chance to watch the Polish countryside during the tour is one advantage of this means of transport chosen. Frequent special offers and discounts on tickets booked online may also be beneficial to a prospective passenger like you. Apart from the fact that there exist state bus companies offering their transfer from Warsaw to Krakow (so-called “PKS” companies), barely anyone uses them for long-distance journeys. Private carriers mentioned below offer much more comfortable air-conditioned vehicles, onboard Wi-Fi connections and complex online customer service.
BUSES FROM WARSAW TO KRAKOW: CARRIERS, PRICES AND TIPS
There are three major carriers offering bus transfer from Warsaw to Krakow. Lux Express (the timetable and online booking is available here) lets you choose between two Warsaw-Krakow lines. Line 2 is a direct one and makes you reach Krakow from Warsaw within 4:25 hours. Its depot of departure is Metro Marymont one and a typical price for a single ticket is PLN 31-59, depending on how early you book it. Polski Bus (click here for the website) is a real tycoon in the market of bus transfers in Poland. Its depot is located at Wilanowska underground stadion, while the carrier offers regular connections between Warsaw and Krakow.
Line G6 makes the journey last 4:20 hours, while line P6 offers the same service with 5 hours devoted to the tour. Polski Bus is known for special offers that make you buy a ticket for a selected route for PLN 1 only, if you book it early enough. If you do it too late, the price may rise to approx. PLN 40. Polonus Bus is the last provider of Warsaw-Krakow transport services. Its buses depart from Warsaw West Station bus depot, but the journey time proposed is 6:20 hours, due to the planned detour related to the route. A standard price for a single ticket is PLN 30. No matter which carrier you choose, you can buy your tickets not only online, but also from their drivers or – in the case of Polonus – at stationary ticket offices.
The comprehensive timetable of all the carriers combined is available here. Each of them will take you straight to Krakow MDA Station. This transport facility is located just at the back of the Main Railway Station of Krakow and less than 10 minutes of walking time from the Old Town of Krakow. Before you reach this splendid city, check how to use Krakow public transport in the most efficient and cheapest way.
A FLIGHT TO KRAKOW
This is the fastest way to travel from Warsaw to Krakow, but only in terms of the length of a flight itself. LOT carrier offers you a return ticket to Krakow for PLN 250-380 which is comparable to the average price for EIP trains. The flight between Warsaw Chopin Airport and Krakow-Balice Airport is to last 55 minutes, yet with the additional time for airport check-ins taken into account, as well as with the time taken to transfer you to the Warsaw airport and from the Krakow one to its city centre, the total length is close to the journey taken by EIP and certain TLK trains.
OR MAYBE… A TRIP FROM KRAKOW TO WARSAW?
It may be so that you are reading the post thinking that visiting Krakow first and taking a short trip to Warsaw is a potentially better idea. If so, there also exists a convenient option of a small-group guided tour from Krakow to Warsaw, with private transport included. Thanks to this tour programme, you will not only spend most of your time in Krakow – the city of royal charm and medieval-like atmosphere – but also sightsee the key hallmarks of Warsaw: the city of 19th-century parks and thrilling history of the 20th century. Much recommended for short-time visitors to Poland who deserve to see the top tourist destination of the country!