Cathedral & main square, Krakow, Poland.  Easy to reach by train from London..!

The main square & cathedral, Krakow

UK to Poland by train from €89.80!

Absolutely, no problem!  It's easy to travel from the UK to Poland by train.  Travel from London to Berlin on day 1 by Eurostar & onward high-speed train from as little as €59.90, stay overnight in Berlin, then take an air-conditioned express from Berlin to Warsaw, Poznan or Gdansk from €29.90 on day 2.  The train journey from London to Poland is safe and comfortable.  It's an experience in itself, with a chance to see Berlin on the way.  This page will explain all you need to know...

Train times, fares & tickets

  London to Warsaw & Poznan

  London to Krakow & Katowice

  London to Oswiecim (Auschwitz)

  London to Łσdź

  London to Wroclaw

  London to Szczecin, Gdansk, Gdynia

  London to Zakopane & the Tatra mountains

Interactive mapClick a destination or route...

  London to Poland via Harwich - the ferry alternative

  Scotland & North to Poland by Hull/Newcastle ferry

  Buying add-on tickets from other UK towns & cities

International trains to/from Poland

  Trains to Poland from other European cities

  Warsaw to other European cities

  Krakow to other European cities

Other useful information

  Useful country information - currency, dial code...

  Warsaw Centralna station information

  Hotels & accommodation in Poland

  Custom-made holidays to Poland by train

  How to buy train tickets within Poland

  Luggage & left luggage

  Taking bikes    Taking a dog 

  General European train travel information

Route map...


Useful country information

Train operator in Poland:

PKP (Polskie Koleje Panstwowe), for express trains within & from Poland see www.intercity.pl which also does online booking for domestic Polish express trains.  To check train times for all Polish routes I recommend http://rozklad.sitkol.pl/bin/query.exe/en To book international trains starting in Poland contact reliable Polish ticket agency www.polrail.com.  All-Europe online train times

 

Railpasses:

 

Beginner's guide to European railpasses     Buy a rail pass online

Time zone & dialling code:

GMT+1 (GMT+2 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).   Dial code:  +48

Currency:

£1 = approx 5.0 zlotys  Check current exchange rates

Tourist information:

www.poland.travel, www.poland.pl    Recommended guidebooks

Hotels in Poland:

Poland hotel search    Backpacker hostels

Visas:

UK citizens no longer need a visa to visit Poland.

Page last updated:

6 September 2018. Train times valid 10 June to 8 December 2018.


London to Warsaw & Poznan

There are several good options for travelling from London to Warsaw by train:

By all means go out one way and back another.  Incidentally, the Jan Kiepura sleeper train between Cologne & Warsaw was sadly discontinued in December 2016, so there are now no sleeper options.


Option 1, London to Warsaw by daytime trains with hotel in Berlin.

With Sparpreis London fares to Berlin from €59.90, then Sparpreis Poland fares from Berlin to Warsaw from €29.90, this can be the cheapest option: London to Poland from €89.80, centre to centre by train with no luggage weight limits, a cafe-bar or bistro-restaurant, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi...

London ► Warsaw

Warsaw ► London

How much does it cost?  London to Warsaw from €98!

How to buy tickets online...

How to buy tickets by phone...

Have your trip professionally arranged...

What's the journey like?

1)  London to Cologne by Eurostar & ICE3:  Watch the video guide

e300 power car   1st class seats

A Eurostar e300 about to leave St Pancras...

 

1st class (Standard Premier or Business Premier)

2)  Cologne to Berlin by high-speed ICE2...

ICE2 first class ICE2 second class High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin, at Berlin Hauptbahnhof

ICE2 1st class.

ICE2 2nd class.

An ICE2 at Berlin...

   

Treat yourself to lunch!

 

ICE2's elegant restaurant car...

 

ICE2's convivial bistro-bar car...

Take a virtual tour inside an ICEMore information about these ICE trains.

3)  Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train...

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin

A Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity train at Berlin Hbf...

1st class car on the Berlin to Warsaw train.   2nd class open plan seating on the Berlin to Warsaw train

1st class compartment car...

 

2nd class open-plan car.  Some seats are in compartments.

 

The bar...

 

Decent food, served on proper china...

Option 2:  London to Warsaw with overnight stop in Brussels...

This is similar to option 1, but with the overnight stop in Brussels rather than Berlin - which can be more time-effective if you can leave London after the end of the working day, and arrive in Warsaw the following evening.  Feel free to go out using option 1, back using option 2, or vice versa.  Just book everything as one-way.  This option runs from London daily except Saturdays, from Warsaw daily except Sundays.

London ► Warsaw

Warsaw ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

Option 3, via Brussels & Prague - the cheapest route!

OK, so this isn't the fastest route or the simplest route with fewest changes.  But it's the cheapest, thanks to an unbelievably cheap €21 Brussels-Prague fare offered by Czech Railways, added to a cheap €29 fare from Prague to Warsaw.  There is nothing second-rate about the quality of the trains (see the photos below), and a night-day-night journey taking up just one day is quite time-effective.  So what's not to like?  Worth considering!

London ► Warsaw

Warsaw ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

What's the journey like?

e300 power car   1st class seats

A Eurostar e300 about to leave St Pancras...

 

1st class (Standard Premier or Business Premier)

High-speed ICE3 train at Frankfurt   ICE2 train, 2nd class

ICE3 from Brussels to Frankfurt, seen at Frankfurt...

 

ICE3 2nd class seats...

ICE3 train, 1st class   Lunch & beer on an ICE3 train

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats & power sockets...

 

Lunch in an ICE3 bistro car...

Cheb station, en route from Brussels to Prague

The easy & relaxed interchange at Cheb station...  The red train on the left is the German regional train just arrived from Nuremberg.  You cross to the blue Czech train on the right about to leave for Prague.  Photo courtesy of Lennart Verbraeken.

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb   Scenery from the train between Cheb & Prague

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb.  Courtesy of Arnaud Loneux.

 

Hills & forest between Cheb & Prague.  Courtesy of Arnaud Loneux.

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London to Krakow & Katowice

The fastest & cheapest way to travel between London & Krakow is via Warsaw, shown in detail below.  Alternatively, it can be cheaper and only a bit longer to travel via Prague, so why not combine the two great cities of Prague & Krakow in one flight-free trip?  If you also want to visit the museum at Auschwitz, or in Polish, Oswiecim, see here.

Option 1, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Berlin...

London ► Krakow

Krakow ► London

Fares & how to buy tickets...

What's the journey like?

London to Cologne by Eurostar & ICE3:  Watch the video guide

e300 power car   1st class seats

A Eurostar e300 about to leave St Pancras...

 

1st class (Standard Premier or Business Premier)

Cologne to Berlin by high-speed ICE2...

ICE2 first class ICE2 second class High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin, at Berlin Hauptbahnhof

ICE2 1st class.

ICE2 2nd class.

An ICE2 at Berlin...

   

Treat yourself to lunch!

 

ICE2's elegant restaurant car...

 

ICE2's convivial bistro-bar car...

Take a virtual tour inside an ICEMore information about these ICE trains.

Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train...

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin

A Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity train at Berlin Hbf...

1st class car on the Berlin to Warsaw train.   2nd class open plan seating on the Berlin to Warsaw train

1st class compartment car...

 

2nd class open-plan car.  Some seats are in compartments.

 

The bar...

 

Decent food, served on proper china...

Warsaw to Krakow by EIP train 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.  You' also find comfortable air-conditioned locomotive-hauled EIC trains on the Warsaw-Krakow route, and a few much older and slower TLK trains.  I recommend choosing an EIP or at least EIC!

An EIP train   2nd class seats on a PKP InterCity EIP train

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

 

2nd class seats...

EIP train   EIP bar car   EIP table for two in 1st class

EIP train...

 

Bar car...

 

1st class...

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Option 2:  London to Krakow via Prague from £88...

This takes a bit longer and involves a few more changes, but it's the cheapest option thanks to amazingly cheap Brussels-Prague and Prague-Krakow tickets sold by the Czech Railways website and it only involves 3 tickets, all easily bookable online.  And it's pretty time-effective, taking just one daytime day out of your schedule at each end of your stay in Krakow, and might save you a hotel night or two in Krakow given the morning arrival and evening departure.  With an evening in Brussels, dinner in Prague, and high-quality air-conditioned trains with a comfy sleeper at night, what's not to like?

London ► Krakow

  • Day 1, travel from London to Brussels on any evening Eurostar you like.  The last one leaves London St Pancras at 19:34 arriving Brussels Midi at 22:38 but by all means take an earlier one for a pleasant evening in Brussels.

  • Stay overnight in Brussels.  I recommend the inexpensive Ibis Brussels Midi, just across the road from Brussels Midi station.  Alternatively, the Pullman Hotel Brussels Midi is a more upmarket option and part of the station complex itself.

  • Day 2, travel from Brussels to Prague, leaving Brussels Midi at 08:23 weekdays or 08:25 at weekends, changing at Frankfurt, Nuremberg & Cheb and arriving at Prague Hlavni at 19:31.

    The journey involves top quality high-speed  ICE trains with bistro-restaurant car Brussels-Frankfurt-Nuremberg and comfortable air-conditioned regional trains Nuremberg-Cheb-Prague.  You've time for dinner in Prague.  On Mondays-Saturdays you can leave Brussels two hours earlier if you like, at 06:25, for a longer evening in Prague.

    Have dinner in Prague...  The Restaurant Šalanda (www.restauracesalanda.cz) is at the station, just inside the modern station's main front entrance, but it gets so-so reviews.  Consider a 6 minute 550m walk to the Restaurant Zvonice (www.restaurantzvonice.cz) which gets great reviews, see walking map.  It's usually open until midnight, ideal if you're catching the sleeper.  Feedback appreciated.

  • Day 2 evening, travel from Prague to Krakow by comfortable overnight Czech sleeping-car. leaving Prague Hlavni at 22:19 every day, arriving at Oswiecim (Auschwitz) at 04:55 and Krakow Glowny at 06:18 next morning (day 3 from London).

    The sleeping-car has cosy 1, 2 & 3-bed compartments with washbasin, see photos, tips & information on the Prague to Krakow by train page.  There's also a couchette car with 4-berth & 6-berth compartments.

    Alternatively, stay overnight in Prague and catch the daytime EuroCity train Cracovia from Prague to Krakow next morning (day 3), see dates of operation, timetable & information on the Prague to Krakow by train page.  By all means stop off in Prague!  Hotels with good reviews next to the station include the Esplanade Hotel (good choice, I've stayed there myself), Falkensteiner Hotel Maria, Chopin Hotel.

Krakow ► London

  • Day 2, travel from Prague to Brussels, leaving Prague Hlavni at 10:33, changing at Cheb, Nuremburg and Frankfurt Flughafen, arriving Brussels Midi at 21:35.  The journey involves comfortable regional trains Prague-Cheb-Nuremberg and top quality high-speed  ICE trains with bistro-restaurant car Nuremberg-Frankfurt-Brussels.

  • Stay overnight in Brussels.  I recommend the inexpensive Ibis Brussels Midi, just across the road from Brussels Midi station.  Alternatively, the Pullman Hotel Brussels Midi is a more upmarket option and part of the station complex itself.

  • Day 3, travel from Brussels to London in 2 hours on any morning Eurostar you like.  You can arrive in London as early as 08:57 on weekdays, for example.

How much does it cost?

  • London to Brussels starts at £44 one-way or £58 return.  Fares work like air fares, so book early for the cheapest prices.

  • Brussels to Prague starts at an amazing €21 each way in 2nd class or €40 in 1st class if you buy at the Czech Railways website.  This is an advance-purchase First Minute fare, but you can often find this price even booking just a week in advance.  How can CD do such a cheap ticket?  Who knows, but they do!

  • Prague to Krakow starts at €29 each way with couchette in 6-berth, €39 with couchette in 4-berth, €39 with a bed in a 3-bed sleeper or €49 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or around €75 with a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.  However, it's a bit more complicated than that, see full details of costs on the Prague to Krakow by train page.

  • Prague to Krakow on the daytime train Cracovia starts at just €19.

How to buy tickets

What's the journey like?

High-speed ICE3 train at Frankfurt   ICE2 train, 2nd class

ICE3 from Brussels to Frankfurt, seen at Frankfurt...

 

ICE3 2nd class seats...

ICE3 train, 1st class   Lunch & beer on an ICE3 train

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats & power sockets...

 

Lunch in an ICE3 bistro car.

Cheb station, en route from Brussels to Prague

The easy & relaxed interchange at Cheb station...  The red train on the left is the German regional train just arrived from Nuremberg.  You cross to the blue Czech train on the right about to leave for Prague.  Photo courtesy of Lennart Verbraeken.

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb   Scenery from the train between Cheb & Prague

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb.  Courtesy of Arnaud Loneux.

 

Hills & forest between Cheb & Prague.  Courtesy of Arnaud Loneux.

The sleeper train from Zurich to Prague

A Czech sleeping-car of the sort used on the Prague-Krakow overnight train. 

City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper   City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper in day mode   City Night Line deluxe sleeper, private toilet & shower   Comfortline sleeper corridor

Standard sleeper set up as a 2-berth, with blind down & washstand open.  Each room can be used with 1, 2 or 3 beds.

 

The same sleeper with berths folded away & seats folded out, washstand closed.  Very similar to a deluxe, but without the shower & toilet.

 

Deluxe sleepers are virtually identical to standard ones, but with a tiny bit more floorspace & compact shower & toilet.

 

Just like a hotel, the corridor in a Comfortline sleeping-car.  There's a shower at end of the corridor for standard sleeper passengers.

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London to Oswiecim (Auschwitz)

  • If you are visiting the museum at Oswiecim, better known by its infamous German name, Auschwitz, you travel to Krakow as shown above then take a local train.  Regular local trains link Krakow with Oswiecim every hour or two, see www.bahn.de" to check train times. 

  • Once in Oswiecim, there are two camps to visit:

    Auschwitz I was an ex-Polish army barracks in the town itself about 20 minutes walk from the station -turn right outside the station then veer left.

    Auschwitz-Birkenau II was a purpose-built concentration camp a little way out of town, about 25 minutes walk from the station (turn right, then turn right again at the first major road bridge across the railway).  There are also regular buses between Krakow and Oswiecim, see www.busy-krk.pl/en/how-to-get-to-auschwitz.php.

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London to Łσdź

Łσdź is pronounced 'wooch' or 'woodge' and it's one of Poland's largest cities.  It's easy to reach by train...

London ► Łσdź

Łσdź ► London

  • Day 1, travel from Łσdź to Berlin by train, leaving Łσdź Kaliska at 13:27, changing at Poznan (arrive 16:26, depart 16:33) and arriving Berlin Hbf at 19:16.  Check times for your date of travel at www.bahn.de.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  The 3-star Meininger Hotel is right next to Berlin Hbf 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.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin to London as shown on the London to Germany page.  You can use any option you like, for example you can leave Berlin Hbf at 06:51 and reach London St Pancras at 16:05, or at 10:51 reaching London at 19:57 (21:03 on Saturdays).

Fares & how to buy tickets...

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London to Wroclaw

Shockingly, there are now no trains between Berlin and Wroclaw.  The last direct train was discontinued from December 2014.  You now need to travel via Poznan on daytime trains with an overnight stop in Berlin.  Or take daytime trains to Dresden and one of several daily Dresden to Wroclaw local trains.

Option 1, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Dresden...

London ► Wroclaw

  • Stay overnight in Dresden Find hotel near the station in Dresden.

  • Day 2, travel from Dresden to Wroclaw Glowny (= main station) by local train.  There are several a day, journey time 3h55, you can easily look up times at www.bahn.de.  No reservation is necessary or possible, just buy a ticket at the station and hop on.  The fare is likely to be around €35.

Wroclaw ► London

Option 2, by daytime trains with overnight stop in Berlin...

London ► Wroclaw

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  The 3-star Meininger Hotel is ideal as it's right next to Berlin Hbf 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.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin Hbf to Wroclaw Glowny (= main station) from €29.90 in 2nd class or €59.90 in 1st class by taking the Berlin Warszawa Express to Poznan and changing for a train to Wroclaw.  The 06:37 Mondays-Saturdays will get you to Wroclaw at 12:16 with a change in Poznan.  The daily 09:37 will get you there at 15:28 also with a change in Poznan, or there are later trains.  You can check times & buy tickets at the German Railways site www.bahn.de using this special link which adds Poznan in the via box.

Wroclaw ► London

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London to Szczecin & Gdansk

London ► Szczecin, Gdansk, Gdynia

  • Day 1, travel from London to Berlin as shown on the London to Germany page.  You can use any option you like, but the best connection and most time-effective option leaves London on day 1 at 19:34, stopping overnight in Brussels and taking the 06:25 Mondays-Saturdays train from Brussels to Cologne and on to Berlin on day 2, arriving Berlin Hbf at 13:06.

  • Day 2, a direct air-conditioned EuroCity train leaves Berlin Hbf at 14:37, arriving Gdansk Glowny at 20:17 and Gdynia at 20:41.  A bistro car is available for dinner, treat yourself!  A full meal with beer will costs little more than €11.  See the Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity page, as this is an identical train that is part of the same service.

  • There are regular trains every hour or two from Berlin Lichtenburg to Szczecin Glowny, journey time 1h49 to 3h30, just use www.bahn.de to find train times & tickets for your date of travel.  You can also go from Berlin Hbf to Szczecin  with one change en route, see www.bahn.de.

Gdynia, Gdansk, Szczecin ► London

  • Day 1, take the direct air-conditioned EuroCity train leaving Gdynia Glowna at 07:15 or Gdansk Glowny at 07:39 and arriving Berlin Hbf at 13:16.  A restaurant car is available for breakfast and lunch, treat yourself!

  • There are regular trains from Szczecin to Berlin every hour or two usually with one simple change, journey time 2h30 to 3h30, just use www.bahn.de to find train times & tickets for your date of travel.

  • Travel from Berlin to London as shown on the London to Germany page.  You can use any option you like, but the best and most time-effective option is to leave Berlin Hbf at 14:51 on day 1, stop overnight in Brussels and arrive in London at 08:57 (09:57 on Sundays) on day 2.  But by all means have some time in Berlin and use the 17:49 with an overnight stop in Cologne arriving London at 11:57 (12:57 on Sundays) on day 2.

Fares & how to buy tickets...

  • For details of fares and how to buy tickets from London to Berlin from €59.90 each way, see the London to Germany page.

  • Berlin to Gdansk costs from €39.90 in 2nd class or €59.90 in 1t class booked in advance at www.bahn.de.

  • Berlin to Szczecin costs €30.70 each way if you book online at www.bahn.de.  However, if you wait until you reach Berlin, you can use the self-service machines to buy a Berlin-Stettin ticket for just €10, valid from any Berlin urban area station to any rail station, tram or bus stop in the Szczecin urban area, on any train including IC and EC trains.  You should select Stettin, not Szczecin, as your destination on the machines to see the Berlin-Stettin ticket appear.

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London to Zakopane

  • To reach Zakopane at the foot of the famous Tatra mountains, first travel from London to Krakow using any of the options shown in the London to Krakow section above.

  • Then travel from Krakow to Zakopane by train, using www.bahn.de to find train times.  There's a train every few hours, journey time is about 3 hours 30 minutes, and it's a very scenic run. You can buy a Krakow to Zakopane ticket at the station in Krakow.  You can also check times at www.intercity.pl.

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London to Poland via Harwich

  Boarding the Stena Line ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland for Amsterdam

London to the Netherlands by Dutch Flyer train & ferry...  Take a train from London's Liverpool Street station directly to the ferry terminal at Harwich.  You walk off the train, into the terminal, get your boarding card & cabin key at the Stena Line check-in desk and walk straight onto the overnight ferry to Hoek van Holland.  The new superferry Stena Hollandica is the largest ferry of its kind in the world.  See the Netherlands page and see the video...

  Standard inside cabin on the ferry

Cosy cabins:  The overnight Harwich-Hoek ferry is a floating hotel.  All passengers travel in a cosy private cabin with en suite shower & toilet and satellite TV.  This is the cheapest 2-berth cabin...

  Captain's suite deluxe cabin on the Stena Line ferry 'Stena Hollandica'

... and this is a Captain's Class cabin with double bed & complimentary bubbly in the minibar.

The Harwich-Hoek ferry, a useful alternative to Eurostar...

You might prefer to travel by train & ferry to reach Poland, for example to avoid the Channel Tunnel if problems affect the Eurostar service or if you suffer from claustrophobia.  It's also cheaper if you have to travel at short notice when Eurostar can be expensive.  This route is also handy if you live in East Anglia as you can travel direct to Harwich avoiding London.  Indeed, you may simply prefer a relaxing journey, cruising overnight on the Stena Line superferry in a luxury en suite cabin with shower, toilet, satellite TV and free WiFi (see the video), heading for Berlin by train, overnighting there then travelling on to Warsaw next morning.

London & Harwich ► Warsaw, Krakow

  • Day 1, evening:  Travel from London to Amsterdam overnight by Dutch Flyer train & ferry service.  You leave London's Liverpool Street station daily at 19:32 by train to Harwich International.  At Harwich, the station is right next to the ferry terminal and you walk off the train into the terminal, check in at the Stena Line desk and walk straight onto the Stena Line ferry to Hoek van Holland.  All passengers travel in cosy private cabins with en suite toilet, shower & satellite TV.  Deluxe Comfort class & Captains class cabins are also available, and there's free WiFi in the lounges, bars & restaurants on 9 deck.  You can get on board the ferry before 9pm, have a late dinner in the restaurant and settle into your cabin.  The ferry sails at 23:00 and arrives at Hoek van Holland at 08:00 Dutch time next morning.

    On arrival at Hoek van Holland you walk down the gangway, through passport control and out of the ferry terminal straight onto the station.  Take the temporary rail replacement bus running every 20 minutes (until a date in 2018) or frequent metro train (from a date in 2018 onwards) to Schiedam Centrum and change onto for an InterCity train to Amsterdam Centraal, arriving 10:55.  See the Netherlands page for full details.  Dutch Flyer tickets are valid not just from London but from any Abellio Greater Anglia railway station, for example, Cambridge, Norwich or Chelmsford.

    Important update 2017:  Buses are replacing trains between Hoek van Holland & Schiedam Centrum from 1 April 2017 while the line is converted to light rail.  New frequent metro trains will start running from some time in late 2018.  More details here.

  • Day 2, spend some time exploring Amsterdam.  Left luggage lockers are available at Amsterdam Centraal.

  • Day 2, afternoon:  Take the 15:00 Intercity train from Amsterdam Centraal to Berlin Hbf arriving 21:22, with bistro car.  Or take an earlier train and enjoy an evening in Berlin, for example the 11:00 from Amsterdam arrives 17:22 or the 13:00 from Amsterdam arrives 19:22.  The Reichstag is only 10 minutes walk from Berlin Hbf, the Brandenburg Gate just 15 minutes walk.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  The 3-star Menninger Hotel is ideal as it's right next to Berlin Hbf and a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag, 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.  If you're on a tight budget, see www.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 3, take any Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity train from Berlin to Warsaw, the first one leaves Berlin Hbf at 06:37 Mondays-Saturdays arriving Warsaw Centralna at 12:55, or have a leisurely breakfast and take the daily 09:37 arriving at 15:55.  A bistro car is available.

  • Change in Warsaw for Krakow, trains link these cities regularly in around 2h20, check times at www.intercity.pl.

Krakow, Warsaw ► Harwich & London

  • Day 1, travel from Warsaw to Berlin by EuroCity train.  Daily except Saturdays you can leave Warsaw Centralna at 16:04 and arrive Berlin Hbf at 22:16.  Or on any day of the week you can leave Warsaw Centralna at 13:10 and arrive Berlin Hbf at 19:16.  A bistro car is available.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  The 3-star Menninger Hotel is ideal as it's right next to Berlin Hbf and a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag, 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.  If you're on a tight budget, see www.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 2, take an Intercity train from Berlin Hbf to Amsterdam Centraal with bistro car.  One leaves at 08:34 arriving 15:00, or you can take the 10:34 arriving 17:01.

  • Day 2, evening:  Travel from Amsterdam to London overnight by Dutch Flyer train & ferry service.  You take the 18:34 train from Amsterdam Centraal to Schiedam Centrum and change onto the temporary rail replacement bus running every 20 minutes (until a date in 2018) or frequent metro train (from a date in 2018 onwards) to Hoek van Holland Haven.  At Hoek, the station is right next to the ferry terminal.  Walk onto the ferry and sail overnight in a snug private cabin to Harwich.  The ferry sails at 22:00 and arrives at Harwich International at 06:30 next morning, UK time.  Take a train on to London next morning (day 3 from Warsaw) arriving between 08:48 & 08:59.  See the Netherlands page for full details.

    Important update 2017:  Buses are replacing trains between Schiedam Centrum & Hoek van Holland from 1 April 2017 while the line is converted to light rail.  New frequent metro trains will start running from a date in late 2018.  More details here.

How much does it cost?

  • London to Amsterdam starts at £55 per person each way, plus the cost of a cabin.  Cabins start at £34 for a single berth cabin or £45 per cabin for a 2-berth, and are compulsory on the night sailing.  The fare covers the train from London to Harwich, the ferry, and onward Dutch trains from Hoek van Holland Haven to any station in the Netherlands, see the Netherlands page for full details of fares and cabin types and costs.

  • Amsterdam to Berlin by intercity train starts at  €39 each way in 2nd class or €69 in 1st class.

  • Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train starts at €29.90 each way in 2nd class or €59.90 in 1st class.

How to buy tickets online...

  • Step 1, buy a Dutch Flyer train & ferry ticket from London to Amsterdam as shown on the Netherlands page.

  • Step 2, now go to www.bahn.de and book from Amsterdam to Berlin and back.  You print your own ticket.

  • Step 3, now use www.bahn.de again to book from Berlin to Warsaw and back.  You print your own ticket.

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Scotland & the North to Poland

  DFDS Seaways ferry 'Princess of Norway' about to sail from Newcastle.

DFDS Seaways Princess of Norway about to sail overnight from Newcastle to Amsterdam...

  A Commodore Deluxe cabin on DFDS Seaways

A Commodore deluxe cabin with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.  See the video...

  A standard cabin on DFDS Seaways Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry.

A Seaways class cabin with shower & toilet on DFDS Princess of Norway...

If you live in the North of England or Scotland, the fastest option is to take a train up to London and travel from London to Poland using Eurostar, as described above.  If you choose this option, see this advice on buying cheap connecting train tickets to London.  But there are some useful ferry alternatives which allow you to by-pass London, and spend a day in Amsterdam on the way.  DFDS Seaways run an excellent daily overnight cruise ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam, and P&O Ferries run a daily overnight cruise ferry from Hull to Rotterdam.  So take the overnight ferry to Holland, head onwards by train to Berlin, and after an evening and night in the German capital, hop on a morning train to Poland!

Scotland & North ► Warsaw, Krakow

  • Day 1, take a train to either Hull or Newcastle, whichever is most convenient for where you live.  Transfer to the P&O overnight cruise ferry from Hull to Rotterdam or the DFDS Seaways cruise ferry from Newcastle to IJmuiden, the port of Amsterdam.  Both ferries have bars, restaurants & comfortable en suite cabins, arriving next morning.  For details of timetables, fares & how to buy tickets for travel to Amsterdam via each of these ferry routes, see the Netherlands page.

  • Day 2, have lunch or a wander round in Amsterdam, all the sights are easy walking distance from Centraal station.  Left luggage lockers are available.

  • Day 2, afternoon:  Take the 15:00 Intercity train from Amsterdam Centraal to Berlin Hbf arriving 21:22, with bistro car.  Or take an earlier train and enjoy an evening in Berlin, for example the 11:00 from Amsterdam arrives 17:22, the 13:00 arrives 19:22.  The Reichstag is only 10 minutes walk from Berlin Hbf, the Brandenburg Gate just 15 minutes walk.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  The 3-star Menninger Hotel is ideal as it's right next to Berlin Hbf and a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag, 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.  If you're on a tight budget, see www.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 3, take any Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity train from Berlin to Warsaw, the first one leaves Berlin Hbf at 06:37 Mondays-Saturdays arriving Warsaw Centralna at 12:55, or have a leisurely breakfast and take the daily 09:37 arriving Warsaw Centralna at 15:55.  A bistro car is available on board.

  • Change in Warsaw for Krakow, trains link these cities regularly in around 2h20, check times at www.intercity.pl.

Krakow, Warsaw ► Scotland & North

  • Day 1, travel from Warsaw to Berlin by EuroCity train.  Daily except Saturdays you can leave Warsaw Centralna at 16:04 and arrive Berlin Hbf at 22:16.  Or on any day of the week you can leave Warsaw Centralna at 13:10 and arrive Berlin Hbf at 19:16.  A bistro car is available.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  The 3-star Menninger Hotel is ideal as it's right next to Berlin Hbf and a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag, 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.  If you're on a tight budget, see www.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 2, take an Intercity train from Berlin Hbf to Amsterdam Centraal with bistro car.  One leaves at 08:34 arriving 15:00, or you can take the 10:34 arriving 17:00.

  • Day 2 early evening, travel overnight by cruise ferry either with P&O Ferries from Rotterdam to Hull or with DFDS Seaways from IJmuiden (near Amsterdam) to Newcastle, whichever is most convenient for where you live.  Next morning (day 4) transfer to the station and take a train home.  For full details of train & ferry times and how to buy tickets for each of these routes, see the Netherlands page.

Fares & how to buy tickets...

  • For journeys via P&O Hull-Rotterdam or DFDS Seaways Newcastle-Amsterdam, first check the ferry times and buy tickets online at www.dfds.co.uk (Newcastle-Amsterdam) or www.poferries.com (Hull-Rotterdam).  Then check train fares and buy train tickets to Hull or Newcastle using www.thetrainline.com or www.nationalrail.co.uk;

  • Amsterdam to Berlin by intercity train starts at  €39 each way in 2nd class or €69 in 1st class.  Book this at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

  • Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train starts at €29 each way in 2nd class or €49 in 1st class.  Book this at www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

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Buying train tickets within Poland...

It's not difficult to buy train tickets for domestic journeys within Poland online or at the station ticket office.  It can help to write down what you want, in case staff don't speak English very well.  UK agencies such as DB's UK phone line on 08718 80 80 66 (open 09:00-17:00 Mon-Fri) can usually get you reservations on international trains starting in Poland.  However, if they have problems, or if you want to see if buying locally would be cheaper, try contacting the following agency in Poland:

Buy Polish domestic tickets at www.intercity.pl...

You can book Polish inter-city train tickets (but not international ones) online at the Polish Railways InterCity website, www.intercity.pl.  At www.intercity.pl the English button is top right, and you'll need to use the Polish spellings of Krakow and Warszawa.  You pay online with a credit card and print out your own ticket.  Many seat61 correspondents have reported success buying self-print tickets for Polish trains this way, using UK and Dutch credit cards.

  Buy train tickets in Poland from Polrail.com

Or use Polish train ticketing agency www.polrail.com...

Polish train ticketing agency www.polrail.com comes highly recommended if you want to arrange train tickets within Poland in advance, or book international train tickets starting in Poland, for example, from Warsaw to Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Moscow, Kiev, Lviv or Vilnius, or from Krakow to Prague, Budapest or Vienna, etc..  You should arrange tickets between 10 & 60 days before travel (Polish train reservations open 60 days before departure, but 10 days is necessary for the agency to buy and send tickets). Tickets can be couriered to your home address in any country, or they can arrange ticket collection within Poland, for example, at your hotel.  If you use their services, feedback is always welcome!

Check any Polish train time at http://rozklad.sitkol.pl...

A recommended journey planner for all Polish trains, including local ones (for example, those linking Krakow with Oswiecim (Auschwitz) see http://rozklad.sitkol.pl/bin/query.exe/en.

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Guidebooks

Highly recommended:  The Lonely Planets & Rough Guides...

Definitely take a good guidebook.  For the independent traveller, I think this means one of two guidebooks, either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide.  Both series are excellent.  You can buy an in-depth guide for Poland or a guide covering all the countries in Eastern Europe.

Click the images to buy online at Amazon.co.uk...

Lonely Planet Eastern Europe - buy online at Amazon.co.uk   Rough Guide to Poland - buy online at Amazon.co.uk   Rough Guide to Poland - buy online at Amazon.co.uk

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European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at either www.stanfords.co.uk or www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Buy it online for £14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses £2.80) at www.stanfords.co.uk/Continents/Europe-A-Travellers-Railway-Map_9789077899090.htm or (in the Netherlands) for €13 + €5.50 postage from www.treinreiswinkel.nl.

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Find hotels in Poland

    

Favourite hotel search & price comparison: hotelscombined.com

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

Favourite hotel booking site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Recommended in Warsaw:  Polonia Palace Hotel & Hotel Bristol

  • If your budget will stretch, the excellent Polonia Palace Hotel is a top choice.  It's just across the road from both the Palace of Culture skyscraper and Warsaw Centralna station, and 25 minutes walk from Warsaw's old town.  Opened in 1913, it was one of the few hotels to emerge unscathed from WW2, and has been used by many famous people including General (later President) Eisenhower and General de Gaulle.  It provides very high quality rooms, but at a budget price by western European standards.  Check prices & book.

  • In the mid- to upper-budget range, Warsaw's most prestigious and historic luxury hotel is the Hotel Bristol, opened in 1901 right next to the old town.  It also survived the bombing of the old town in WW2, being used as the German HQ.  Check prices & book.

Tripadvisor hotel reviews...

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelworld.com...

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

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Tours & holidays to Poland by train

 

020 3327 0761 (UK)

1-888-829-4775 (USA)

1-855-882-2910 (Canada)

1300 971 526 (Aus)

0800 000 554 (NZ)

If you want a holiday to Krakow or Warsaw by train not plane, but want someone else to organise all the train tickets & hotels for you, one specialist company can do just that, for a holiday with no airport hassles and no long days in cramped coach seats on motorways.

Railbookers for custom-made tours, holidays & breaks to Krakow & Poland by train...

Railbookers can custom-make a flight-free holiday to Poland for you, with train travel & hotels, for however long you like, leaving on any date you like.  For example, they suggest a 6 night trip from London to Krakow, Warsaw & Berlin.  Indeed, they can arrange trains and hotels for any tour of eastern Europe to your own specification.  They take good care of their clients, and I have no hesitation in recommending them.

  UK call 020 3327 0761, www.railbookers.co.uk

  US call free 1-888-829-4775, see website.

  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, see website.

  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website

  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.

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Travel insurance & health card

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from ww.nhs.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

 


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