Sleeper train to Budapest

Direct sleeper trains run from Warsaw to Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Cologne, Amsterdam, Moscow...

This page explains how to travel by train from Warsaw to other key European cities, and how to buy the cheapest tickets.  Click here to buy tickets starting in another city.

I want to travel by train from Warsaw to...

      Krakow   Auschwitz   Prague   Vienna
  Budapest   Berlin   Cologne   Dusseldorf
  Amsterdam   Brussels   Luxembourg   Paris
  Switzerland   Italy   London   Kiev
  Moscow   Spain   Copenhagen   Stockholm
  Vilnius            

Before you buy your tickets...

I recommend taking a moment to read these important tips for buying European train tickets.  It answers all the usual questions, such as "Do I need to book in advance or can I just turn up & buy at the station?", "How far ahead can I book?", "Can I stop off?", "Are there Senior fares?" and that old favourite, "Should I buy an $800 railpass or just go online & buy a €35 point-to-point ticket?".

Answering your questions about European train travel...

An introduction to European train travel

 

Senior fares (over 60)

 

Guide to Eurail passes (overseas visitors)

Important tips for buying European train tickets

Youth fares (under 26)

 

Guide to InterRail passes (for Europeans)

How to check European train times

Child fares & child age limits

 

Couchettes & sleepers on night trains

Do I need to book in advance?

Luggage on European trains

 

Train seat numbering plans

How far ahead can I book?

Luggage storage at stations

 

Wheelchairs & special needs

Can I stop off on the way?

Taking a bike by train

 

Real-time service updates

Should I travel 1st or 2nd class?

Taking a car by train

 

Hotels & accommodation

How long to allow for connections?

Taking dogs & pets by train

 

Changing stations in Paris by metro or taxi

How early to arrive at the station?

Maps of the European rail network

 

What to do when things go wrong...



Warsaw to Krakow & other destinations within Poland...

EIP trains:  Warsaw to Krakow in 2h28 at up to 200km/h (125 mph): 

Introduced in December 2014, these are the very best trains on the Polish network are modern bullet-nosed pendolinos like this.  They operate on the Krakow-Warsaw-Gdynia route at up to 125mph, with faster operation planned in the future.  Reservation is compulsory and they have a bar-bistro car - for more photos see www.vagonweb.cz/fotogalerie/PL/PKP_ED250.php.  Above right, 2nd class seats.  Buy tickets at www.intercity.pl.

A Warsaw to Krakow InterCity train at warsaw Centralna   2nd class seats on a PKP InterCity EIP train

Polish Railways EIP train...  Photos courtesy of www.vagonweb.cz

 

2nd class seats...

   

EIP train...

 

Bar car...

 

1st class...

EIC & IC trains...

EIC & IC trains are the next ranks down, with modern air-conditioned carriages and usually a bistro-bar.  Below right, a first class compartment.  Some seats are open-plan, some in compartments like this.  Below EIC & IC, the next rank is TLK which are slower and use older non-air-conditioned cars.

A Warsaw to Krakow InterCity train at warsaw Centralna   A 6-seat compartment on a Warsaw to Krakow train

Warsaw to London & the UK...

Warsaw to Paris & France from €68...

Option 1, by daily sleeper train from Warsaw to Cologne, then high-speed Thalys train to Paris.  The time-effective option!

  • Step 1, take the excellent EuroNight sleeper train Jan Kiepura from Warsaw to Cologne leaving Warsaw Centralna at 17:55 and arriving in Cologne at 06:14.  This has comfortable sleepers & couchettes, and a bistro car for dinner.  Some deluxe sleepers have en suite toilet & shower.

  • Book this train online at www.bahn.de.  Fares start at just €59 in a couchette or €91 in a 2-bed sleeper, deluxe sleepers with shower & toilet also available. 

  • Step 2, now take a comfortable Thalys high-speed train leaving Cologne around 08:44 arriving Paris Gare du Nord around 11:59. 

  • Book this train at www.b-europe.com from just €35.  You print your own ticket.

The Jan Kiepura EuroNight train from Amsterdam to Warsaw   A deluxe sleeper on the Amsterdam to Warsaw train   Deluxe sleepers have a private shower & toilet

The Jan Kiepura sleeper train from Warsaw to Cologne. This is one of the modern Polish sleeping-cars.  More photos & information.

 

Deluxe sleeper, set up as a 2-berth, showing TV & wardrobe.

 

Deluxe sleeper:  En suite shower & toilet...

Second class seats on board a 'Thalys' high-speed train to Cologne 1st class seats on Thalys A Thalys for Amsterdam about to leave Brussels Midi...

2nd class (Comfort 2) seats...

1st class (Comfort 1) seats...

A Thalys at Brussels...

Option 2, by EuroCity train from Warsaw to Berlin, overnight stop, Berlin to Paris by high-speed trains next day...

  • Step 1, take the excellent Berlin-Warszawa Express leaving Warsaw Centralna daily except Saturdays at 17:55 and arriving Berlin Hbf at 23:20, book this from €29 at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.  Alternatively, take the earlier Berlin-Warszawa Express at 14:55 arriving Berlin 20:15, this runs every day of the week.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  The 3-star Meininger Hotel is right next to Berlin Hbf & a 10-min walk from the Reichstag or a 15-min walk from the Brandenburg Gate, it's inexpensive and gets good reviews.  If you want to push the boat out, try the famous Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, right next to the Brandenburg Gate.  More hotels in Berlin.  If you're on a budget, see www.hostelbookers.com.

  • Step 2, now travel from Berlin to Paris from €39 booked at www.bahn.de.  There are various departures, for example leaving Berlin Hbf at 08:32, change at Mannheim, arriving Paris Est at 16:50.  By all means take a later departure if you like.

Option 3, by direct high-quality Russian sleeper train.  Runs once or twice a week starting 20 June

  • How would you like to ride the famous Moscow-Paris Express, direct from Warsaw to Paris?  RZD (Russian Railways) will allow you to book just the Warsaw-Paris sector on their high-quality sleeper train, which is re-timed from June 2015 to offer a convenient option between Warsaw & Paris.

  • From 19 June to 20 September 2015 it will run twice a week leaving Warsaw on Fridays & Saturdays.  From 25 September until summer 2016 it will run once a week on Fridays.  It leaves Warsaw Centralna at 11:30 and arrives Paris Gare de 'Est at 09:16 the following day.

  • The train features modern air-conditioned Russian sleepers with 2nd class 4-berth & 1st class 2-berth compartments, VIP deluxe Russian sleepers with 1 or 2 berths, shower & toilet, and a Polish restaurant car is available throughout the journey.  See panorama photo of a standard sleeper.

  • How much does it cost?  Fares are not yet confirmed.

  • How to buy tickets?  When booking opens you will be able to book at the Russian Railways website www.rzd.ru - see my advice for using it.  You print your own ticket.


Warsaw to Brussels & Belgium from €78...

Option 1, by sleeper train via Cologne...

  • Step 1, take the excellent EuroNight sleeper train Jan Kiepura from Warsaw to Cologne leaving Warsaw Centralna at 17:55 and arriving Cologne at 06:14.  This has comfortable sleepers & couchettes, and a bistro car for dinner.  Some deluxe sleepers have en suite toilet & shower.

  • Fares start at just €59 in a couchette or €91 in a 2-bed sleeper, deluxe sleepers with shower & toilet also available. 

  • Book online at www.bahn.de.

  • Step 2, now take a comfortable ICE train leaving Cologne around 07:43 arriving Brussels Midi around 09:40.  Book this at www.bahn.de from just €19.

The Jan Kiepura EuroNight train from Amsterdam to Warsaw   A deluxe sleeper on the Amsterdam to Warsaw train   Deluxe sleepers have a private shower & toilet

The Jan Kiepura sleeper train from Warsaw to Cologne. This is one of the modern Polish sleeping-cars.  More photos & information.

 

Deluxe sleeper, set up as a 2-berth, showing TV & wardrobe.

 

Deluxe sleeper:  En suite shower & toilet...

ICE3 second class ICE3 first class High-speed ICE3 train at Cologne

ICE3 2nd class.  All seats in both classes have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

ICE3 1st class, with real leather seats.  Staff provide at-seat service of drinks & food.

An ICE3 at Cologne Hauptbahnhof.  More info about ICE.

Option 2, by daytime trains in a single day...

  • Step 1, take a morning Berlin-Warszawa Express train from Warsaw Centralna to Berlin Hauptbahnhof in just 5h35 from €29.  You can book these at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, now take an afternoon high-speed ICE train from Berlin to Cologne and Cologne to Brussels from €39, also booked at www.bahn.de or www.b-europe.com with print-at-home tickets.  Bahn.de will only sell journeys involving ICE between Cologne and Brussels, B-Europe.com sells both these and journeys involving rival operator Thalys between Cologne and Brussels.

Option 3, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Berlin...

  • Day 1, take an afternoon or early evening Berlin-Warszawa Express train from Warsaw Centralna to Berlin Hauptbahnhof in just 5h35 from €29.  You can book these at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  The 3-star Meininger Hotel is ideal as it's right next to Berlin Hauptbahnhof and a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag or a 15-minute walk from the Brandenburg Gate, it's inexpensive and gets good reviews.  If you want to push the boat out, try the famous Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is right next to the Brandenburg Gate.  More hotels in Berlin.  If you're on a tight budget, see www.hostelbookers.com.

  • Day 2, now take a morning high-speed ICE train from Berlin to Cologne and Cologne to Brussels from €39, also booked at www.bahn.de or www.b-europe.com with print-at-home tickets.  Bahn.de will only sell journeys involving ICE between Cologne and Brussels, B-Europe.com sells both these and journeys involving rival operator Thalys between Cologne and Brussels.


Warsaw to Amsterdam from €68...

Option 1, by sleeper train via Cologne...

  • Step 1, the excellent EuroNight sleeper train Jan Kiepura leaves Warsaw Centralna at 17:55 arriving Cologne Hbf at 06:14 next morning.  This train has comfortable sleepers & couchettes, and a bistro car for dinner.  Some deluxe sleepers have en suite toilet & shower.

  • Buy tickets for this train online at www.bahn.de, from €59 in a couchette or €91 in a 2-bed sleeper.  Booking usually opens 60 days ahead in this case.  I recommend registering when prompted rather than booking as a guest, so you can always log in and check or re-print all your bookings.

  • Step 2, take an ICE train from Cologne to Amsterdam.  On Mondays-Thursdays you can leave Cologne at 06:46 arriving Amsterdam Centraal at 09:27.  Or you can leave Cologne Hbf at 08:42 every day arriving Amsterdam Centraal at 11:27.  Buy tickets as a second transaction at www.bahn.de.

The Jan Kiepura EuroNight train from Amsterdam to Warsaw   A deluxe sleeper on the Amsterdam to Warsaw train   Deluxe sleepers have a private shower & toilet

The Jan Kiepura sleeper train from Warsaw to Cologne. This is one of the modern Polish sleeping-cars.  More photos & information.

 

Deluxe sleeper, set up as a 2-berth, showing TV & wardrobe.

 

Deluxe sleeper:  En suite shower & toilet...

ICE3 second class ICE3 first class High-speed ICE3 train at Cologne

ICE3 2nd class.  All seats in both classes have power sockets for laptops & mobiles...

ICE3 1st class, with real leather seats.  Staff provide at-seat service of drinks & food.

An ICE3 at Cologne Hauptbahnhof.  More info about ICE.

Option 2, by daytime trains in a single day...

Option 3, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Berlin...


Warsaw to Luxembourg from €80...
  • Take the excellent EuroNight sleeper train Jan Kiepura from Warsaw to Cologne, leaving Warsaw Centralna at 17:55 and arriving Cologne at 06:14. Change onto a train for Koblenz, and change again onto a regional train to Luxembourg, arriving around 10:50.

  • To book this, go to www.bahn.de and book from Warsaw Centralna to Trier (because to see German Railways' cheap Spezial fares, one end of the journey must be in Germany).  In the search results, look for journeys involving just 1 or 2 changes and marked 'EN, RE'. You print your own ticket.

  • Now use www.bahn.de again to book a fixed-price regional ticket from Trier to Luxembourg for around €17.


Warsaw to Berlin from €29...
  • Regular Berlin-Warszawa Express trains link Warsaw Centralna with Berlin Hauptbahnhof in just 5h35 from €29.  See the Berlin-Warszawa Express page.

  • You can book these at www.bahn.de - booking opens 60 days before departure, and tickets are sent by post for a small fee anywhere in the world.  I recommend registering when prompted, rather than booking as a guest, so you can always log in and check or re-print all your bookings.  You can also try booking at www.intercity.pl with self-print tickets.

The Berlin-Warsaw Express train   2nd class seating compartment on the Berlin to Warsaw Express train

The Berlin-Warszawa Express has modern air-conditioned 1st & 2nd class coaches, most with compartments and side corridor like this, others with open-plan seating.


Warsaw to Cologne, Dusseldorf & other destinations in Germany from €39...
  • www.bahn.de can book tickets from Warsaw to anywhere in Germany.

  • There's a direct sleeper train leaving Warsaw Centralna at 17:55 to Düsseldorf & Cologne called the Jan Kiepura, see the Jan Kiepura page.  You can book this sleeper train at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

The Jan Kiepura EuroNight train from Amsterdam to Warsaw   A deluxe sleeper on the Amsterdam to Warsaw train   Deluxe sleepers have a private shower & toilet

The Jan Kiepura sleeper train from Warsaw to Cologne. This is one of the modern Polish sleeping-cars.  More photos & information.

 

Deluxe sleeper, set up as a 2-berth, showing TV & wardrobe.

 

Deluxe sleeper:  En suite shower & toilet...


Warsaw to Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, Prague...

Option 1, by direct sleeper train...

  • There are good direct sleeper trains from Warsaw to Vienna, Budapest, Prague & Moscow, a comfortable, safe and time-effective option.

  • The sleeper to Vienna leaves Warsaw Centralna around 21:25 and arrives Vienna Westbahnhof around 06:09.

  • The sleeper to Budapest leaves Warsaw Centralna around 21:25 and arrives Budapest Keleti around 08:35.

  • The sleeper to Prague leaves Warsaw Centralna around 21:25 and arrives Prague Hlavni around 06:40.

  • You can check times using the journey planner at www.intercity.pl.

  • All these trains have comfortable sleeping-cars with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, as well as economical 4 & 6 bunk couchettes.  The Warsaw-Vienna train also has deluxe sleepers with shower & toilet similar to those on the Jan Kiepura.

  • However, they cannot be booked online, at least not when the journey starts in Poland.  Buy in person when you get to Warsaw or contact reliable train booking agency www.polrail.com to pre-book tickets (their booking system is at http://booking.polrail.com).

  • If you're interested, you can check the train formation at www.vagonweb.cz.  Click the UK flag then 'composition' then look under 'Poland' and 'TLK' - the train is called the Chopin which leaves Warsaw cars for Vienna, Prague, Berlin & Budapest.

The Jan Kiepura EuroNight train from Amsterdam to Warsaw   A deluxe sleeper on the Amsterdam to Warsaw train   Deluxe sleepers have a private shower & toilet

The Warsaw-Vienna & Warsaw-Budapest trains each have one modern air-conditioned sleeping-car with standard & deluxe compartments like the ones on the Warsaw-Cologne Jan Kiepura See more photos.

 

Deluxe sleeper, set up as a 2-berth, showing TV & wardrobe.

 

Deluxe sleeper:  En suite shower & toilet...

A Polish sleeping-car as used the Warsaw to Budapest & Warsaw to Prgaue trains   A newly-refurbished sleeper compartment as used on the Warsaw to Budapest & Warsaw to Prague trains

The Warsaw to Prague train has a smartly-refurbish Polish sleeping-car like this, with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin...

 

A cosy 2-bed sleeper with washbasin...

Option 2, by daytime trains...

  • There are daytime trains too, some direct , some with a change of train.  Usually this involves comfortable air-conditioned EuroCity trains, often with a proper waiter-service restaurant car.  Take a good book and chill out!

  • Trains include:  Warsaw depart 09:45, Prague arrive 17:44.  Warsaw depart 06:50, Vienna arrive 13:52 (change at Breclav for Budapest, arriving 16:35).  Warsaw depart 12:50, Vienna arrive 19:52 (change at Breclav for Budapest, arriving 22:35).

  • Polish Railways don't offer online booking of international trains so check times and prices and buy through reliable Polish train booking agency Polrail www.polrail.com (their booking system is at http://booking.polrail.com).


Warsaw to Zurich & Switzerland...
  • Step 1, take the overnight sleeper train leaving Warsaw Centralna around 21:25 arriving Vienna Westbahnhof around 06:09 as shown above.  You can book this through agency www.polrail.com.  It has safe & comfortable sleeping-car and couchettes.

  • Step 2, allowing at least an hour to change in Vienna, take a smart Austrian Railjet train from Vienna to Zurich in 7h44 from €29.  You'll usually find a Railjet leaving Vienna Westbahnhof around 09:36 arriving Zurich HB at around 17:20.  Change in Zurich for all other destinations in Switzerland

  • This is a relaxing and scenic journey through the Arlberg Pass, see the Arlberg Pass scenery video here.  You can book this train at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at and print your own ticket.


Warsaw to Venice, Florence, Rome & Italy
  • Step 1, take the overnight sleeper train leaving Warsaw Centralna around 21:25 arriving Vienna Westbahnhof around 06:09 as shown above.  You can book this through agency www.polrail.com.  It has safe & comfortable sleeping-car and couchettes. 

  • Spend the day in Vienna.  Left luggage is available.

  • Step 2, take the direct overnight sleeper train leaving Vienna Hauptbahnhof at 19:17 and arriving Florence SMN at 06:07 and Rome Termini at 09:22, or the other direct sleeper train leaving Vienna Hauptbahnhof at 21:36 arriving Venice Santa Lucia at 08:24, as shown on the trains from Vienna to Italy section.  You can book this train at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at from €49 with couchette or from €89 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper and print your own ticket.


Warsaw to Barcelona & Spain from €133...
  • Step 1, take the excellent EuroNight sleeper train Jan Kiepura from Warsaw to Cologne leaving Warsaw Centralna at 17:55 and arriving in Cologne at 06:14.  This has comfortable sleepers & couchettes, and a bistro car for dinner.  Some deluxe sleepers have en suite toilet & shower.  Book this train at the German Railways website www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.  Fares from €39 with couchette.

  • Step 2, now book a high-speed Thalys train from Cologne to Paris from €35 at the Belgian Railways website www.b-europe.com.  There's usually one at 06:44 arriving Paris Gare du Nord at 10:04, but I recommend booking the later one at 08:44 arriving Paris Nord around 11:59, to allow for any delay.  Change trains & stations in Paris by taxi or metro.  Perhaps have lunch at the Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon, www.le-train-bleu.com.

  • Step 3, travel from Paris to Barcelona by high-speed TGV Duplex from €59, leaving Paris Gare de Lyon at 14:07 and arriving Barcelona Sants at around 20:33.  Book this at www.raileurope.co.uk (UK residents), www.raileurope.com (US residents), www.raileurope-world.com (residents of Australia, Canada, Asia, Africa, South America) or www.capitainetrain.com (anyone from any country, no booking fees, with seating options).  You usually print your own ticket.

  • Step 4, stay overnight in Barcelona (see suggested hotels near the station) and book onward high-speed trains next morning from Barcelona to Madrid, Seville, Malaga, Alicante etc, using either the Spanish railways website www.renfe.com or (if you have any problems) alternative site www.petrabax.com/renfe.  You'll find cheap Promo and Promo+ fares if you book in advance and print your own ticket.


Warsaw to Moscow...
  • An overnight train called the Polonez links Warsaw with Moscow every night, leaving Warsaw Centralna around 16:08 and arriving in Moscow Byelorruski around 11:45 next day - times may vary, you can check exact times for specific dates at www.polrail.com.  This train passes through Belarus, so you'll need a Belarus transit visa. 

  • The Polonez is operated with a set of Russian sleeping-cars one day and a Polish set the next, so you stand a 50:50 chance of getting either country's train.  The Polish trainset features nicely-refurbished sleeping-cars with 3-bed compartments with carpet and washbasin that can each be booked as 1st class single-berth, 1st class 2-berth or 2nd class 3-berth, see the photos of the Polish train here.  The Russian trainset features new Austrian-built sleeping-cars with 4-berth compartments, see panorama photo inside one of these sleepers.  Eastbound, these 4-bed sleepers only exist on the Polish reservations system as 2nd class 4-berth, so if you want dual or single occupancy you have to buy up multiple berths in one compartment.  Westbound there's no problem, as the Russian reservations system is configured book these compartments as 1st class single, 1st class double or 2nd class 4-berth.  A Russian restaurant car is attached between Brest (on the Polish/Belarus border) & Moscow. 

  • Most nationalities except the USA can try http://en.voyages-sncf.com to book the Warsaw-Moscow train, with tickets sent by regular post to most countries except the USA, but you MUST make sure 'Other countries (EUR)' is selected top right, and initially select 'Albania' as your country, only changing this to your actual true country at the end of the booking when entering your postal address.  The UK version uk.voyages-sncf.com does not correctly book this train, it tries to sell an open ticket with no reservation which is no good to anyone.

  • Alternatively, anyone can book the Polonez by contacting highly-recommended Polish train ticketing agency www.polrail.com (their booking system is at http://booking.polrail.com), who can arrange train tickets for international trains starting in Poland with tickets collected in Warsaw or (at extra charge) shipped to any address worldwide.

  • You can check the formation of this train if you like at www.vagonweb.cz.  Click the UK flag for English, then 'Composition' then TLK against Poland PKP and look for the Polonez.  It will show you the carriages that make up this train, and if there's a camera logo you can click to see more photos, too.

A newly-refurbished sleeper compartment on the Polonez train from Warsaw to Moscow.   The 'Polonez' overnight train to Moscow about to leave Warsaw Centralna

The Polonez train from Warsaw to Moscow uses Polish sleeping-cars one day (pictured above) and modern Russian air-conditioned sleeping-cars the next (pictured below), so you've a 50:50 chance of getting the Polish or the Russian train.  The Polish train is pictured above, about to leave Warsaw Centralna for Moscow.  Freshly repainted in the new PKP InterCity colours, each compartment (above left) has been smartly refurbished and can be used for single, double or triple occupancy, and features a washbasin, comfortable beds which convert to a seat for daytime use (as shown here). An immaculately-uniformed attendant from Wars, the Polish railways sleeper & dining car company, is in charge of each sleeping-car. An excellent train! The Russian cars have compartments which can be used as 1st class 2-berth or 2nd class 4-berth (shown below right), with a shower & toilets at the end of the corridor.  See panorama photo inside one of the new Russian sleepers.

A modern Russian sleeping-car of the sort used on the Polonez   A 2-berth or 4-berth compartment in daytime mode

Warsaw to Vilnius...

Warsaw to Kiev...
  • An overnight train called the Kiev Express links Warsaw to Kiev, leaving Warsaw Centralna around 16:50 and arriving Kiev around 10:32 next morning.  This train has comfortable Ukrainian 1, 2 and 3 bed sleepers with washbasin.  There's no restaurant car, so take a picnic and perhaps some wine or beer.

  • There are two ways to book, other than at the station.  The first is to book online with instant confirmation at the French Railways site www.voyages-sncf.com, which is just about the only site that will book this train online.  But you must follow these instructions closely.  Tickets are sent by post to anywhere in the world except the USA, so allow time for them to arrive, obviously that means you cannot book for travel tomorrow!  (1) Go to www.voyages-sncf.com, ignore the choose your country box and select 'Other Countries (EUR)' top right.  (2) Book from Warsaw to Kyiv - it will recognise Kiev or Kyiv even though it doesn't prompt you, so just go with it.  If you want a bed in a 2-berth you'll need to run the enquiry with 1st class selected.  (3) On my PC, if I select Great Britain the search button doesn't work, so select any other country, such as Djibouti, make the booking, and you can change it back to Great Britain at the end of the transaction.  Incidentally, raileurope.co.uk doesn't even recognise 'Kiev' at all, and although raileurope-world.com appears to book this train, it tells you at the end that a staff member will contact you as the booking isn't confirmed.  So use voyages-sncf!

  • The second option is to order a ticket online via reliable and highly recommended Polish train ticketing agency http://booking.polrail.com, which is the cheapest option.  Tickets can be collected in Warsaw or (at extra charge) shipped to any address worldwide.  Polrail are also pretty good at arranging the return reservation back from Kiev as they have close contacts with Ukrainian Railways.

  • You can check the formation of this train if you like at www.vagonweb.cz.  Click the UK flag for English, then 'Composition' then TLK against Poland PKP and look for the Kiev (Kijow) Express. It will show you the carriages that make up this train, and if there's a camera logo you can click to see more photos, too.

The Kiev Express   1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper compartment   Each compartment has a washbasin

Boarding the Kiev Express in Warsaw...

 

A sleeper compartment...

 

...with washbasin.


Warsaw to Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Oslo...

Option 1, Warsaw to Copenhagen in a single day from €68...  Onwards to Gothenburg, Stockholm or Oslo next day.

  • Step 1, travel from Warsaw to Berlin by Berlin-Warszawa Express, leaving Warsaw Centralna at 05:55 (Mondays-Saturdays only, no train on Sundays) arriving Berlin Hbf at 11:16.

  • Step 2, travel from Berlin to Copenhagen by luxurious ICE train leaving Berlin Hbf around 12:16, 1 easy change at Hamburg and arriving Copenhagen at 20:13.

  • Stay overnight in Copenhagen...

  • Step 3, if travelling to Stockholm:  Travel from Copenhagen to Stockholm by 125mph SJ2000 train in around 5h11, there are regular departures.  For example there's usually one around 08:36 arriving Stockholm Central 13:39, or have a leisurely breakfast and take the 11:16 arriving 16:39.

  • Step 3, if travelling to Gothenburg or Oslo:  Travel from Copenhagen to Gothenburg (= Goteborg Central) on any of the hourly Öresund trains, journey time 3h48.  For Oslo, take the 08:32, change at Gothenburg and arrive Oslo Sentral (= Oslo S) at 16:52.

  • How much does it cost?  Warsaw to Berlin starts at €29.  Berlin to Copenhagen, Malmö, Gothenburg or Stockholm starts at as little as €39.  Fares vary like air fares, so book early for the best prices.

  • How to buy tickets...

    Step 1, book from Warsaw to Berlin at www.bahn.de - tickets are sent by post for a small fee anywhere in the world.  You can also try booking at www.intercity.pl with self-print tickets.

    Step 2 if you're only going as far as Copenhagen, book Berlin-Copenhagen as a second transaction at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

    Step 2 if you're going to Stockholm or Gothenburg, it's cheapest to book like this:  Go to www.bahn.de and book from Berlin to Stockholm or Goteborg Central with a 12:00 departure selected, but to see these cheap fares you must click 'add stopovers', enter 'Copenhagen' in the via box and a time of (say) 12:00 in the hh:mm stopover box.  This will give you a 12-hour stopover in Copenhagen.  Click here for a link to bahn.de which I've set up for you.  Adjust the overnight stopover time as necessary to get the trains you want.

    For Oslo, book from Berlin to Gothenburg then add a Gothenburg (= Goteborg Central) to Oslo S ticket using at either www.nsb.no or www.sj.se.

Option 2, Warsaw to Copenhagen from €68 with overnight stop in Berlin...

  • Step 1, travel from Warsaw to Berlin by Berlin-Warszawa Express from €29, leaving Warsaw Centralna on any departure you like up to the 17:55 Mon-Fri & Sun or 14:55 Sundays.  Book this at www.bahn.de - tickets are sent by post for a small fee anywhere in the world.  You can also try booking at www.intercity.pl with self-print tickets.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin...

  • Step 2, travel from Berlin to Copenhagen from €39 by luxurious ICE train leaving Berlin Hbf around 11:25 on a direct train to Copenhagen arriving 18:13.  Book this as a second transaction at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.  There are earlier departures if you prefer, with one easy change in Hamburg, just use www.bahn.de.

Option 3:  By comfortable daytime trains with an overnight stop in Hamburg...

  • Day 1, travel from Warsaw to Hamburg from €39, leaving Warsaw Centralna at 14:55 by Berlin-Warszawa Express, change in Berlin onto a luxurious ICE train, arriving Hamburg Hbf at 23:13.  Book this at www.bahn.de - tickets are sent by post for a small fee anywhere in the world.

  • Stay overnight in Hamburg.  Suggested hotels in Hamburg next to the Hauptbahnhof with good reviews include (starting with the cheapest) the Hotel Continental Novum, Hotel Furst Bismarck, Hotel Europaischer Hof, Hotel Atlantic Kempinski.

  • Day 2, travel from Hamburg to Copenhagen by superb ICE-TD train.  From March to October there's an 07:25 ICE from Hamburg Hbf arriving Copenhagen 12:13.  Or have a leisurely breakfast and leave Hamburg at 09:28 arriving Copenhagen at 14:13, this departure runs all year round.  If you're only going as far as Copenhagen, book from Hamburg to Copenhagen from €29 at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

  • The Hamburg to Copenhagen ICE-TD train goes onto a ferry between Puttgarten & Rødby, one of the few places in Europe where trains still get shunted onto ships.  It's an interesting experience in its own right - you must leave the train and go upstairs into the ship's passenger accommodation during the crossing.

  • If you're going to Stockholm, travel onwards from Copenhagen to Stockholm by SJ2000 train.  If you take the 09:28 from Hamburg you'll make the 14:36 SJ2000 arriving Stockholm Central at 19:39.  Book from Hamburg to Stockholm as one transaction from €39 at www.bahn.de, looking for suitable departures with 1 change marked ICE, X2 or EC, X2 (SJ2000s are shown as X2 on bahn.de for some reason).  Don't worry if there's a tight connection in Copenhagen, you'll be travelling on a Hamburg-Stockholm through ticket so if the first train runs late and misses the connection you'll be rebooked on a later onwards train at no charge.

  • If you're going to Malmo or Gothenburg, travel from Copenhagen to Malmo or Gothenburg by Öresund Link train, these run several times each hour to Malmo, journey time 35 minutes, and once an hour to Gothenburg, journey time 3h48.  Book from Hamburg to Malmo or Gothenburg as one transaction at www.bahn.de (Gothenburg is listed as Göteborg Central).

  • If you're going to Oslo & Norway, travel from Copenhagen to Gothenburg as shown above.  Trains then run several times a day from Gothenburg to Oslo, you can check times at www.bahn.de and buy at the station or at www.sj.se or (if you have any problems) www.acprail.com or www.snalltaget.se.  You can make Hamburg to Oslo in a single day if you use the 07:25 March-October departure.


Find hotels in Warsaw & other cities

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

  • www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

  • www.booking.com is my own preferred hotel booking system (Hotels Combined being a search/comparison system).  It has a simple interface, a good selection in most countries worldwide, useful online customer reviews of each hotel, and decent prices, usually shown inclusive of unavoidable extras such as taxes (a pet hate of mine is systems that show one price, then charge you another!).

Backpacker hostels...

  • www.hostelbookers.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelbookers offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.


 


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