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

UK to Poland without flying: Main square, Krakow

UK to Poland by train from 81...

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, stay overnight in Berlin, then take an air-conditioned express from Berlin to Warsaw, Poznan or Gdansk on day 2.  London-Brussels from 78 return, Brussels-Warsaw from 46.90 each way.  The train journey from London to Poland is safe and comfortable, an experience in itself, with a chance to see Berlin on the way.  This page explains all you need to know...

COVID-19 update See COVID-19 travel information.

Train times, fares & tickets

small bullet point  London to Warsaw & Poznan

small bullet point  London to Krakow & Katowice

small bullet point  London to Oswiecim (Auschwitz)

small bullet point  London to Łdź

small bullet point  London to Wroclaw

small bullet point  London to Szczecin, Gdansk, Gdynia

small bullet point  London to Zakopane & the Tatra mountains

Interactive mapClick a destination or route...

Route map, London to Poland by train

small bullet point  London & Cambridge to Poland by ferry from Harwich

small bullet point  UK to Poland by ferry from Hull or Newcastle

small bullet point  Starting from other UK towns & cities

International trains to/from Poland

small bullet point  Trains to Poland from other European cities

small bullet point  Warsaw to other European cities

small bullet point  Krakow to other European cities

Other useful information

small bullet point  Useful country information: currency, dial code...

small bullet point  Warsaw Centralna station information

small bullet point  Hotels in Poland - suggested places to stay

small bullet point  Custom-made holidays to Poland by train

small bullet point  How to buy train tickets within Poland

small bullet point  Luggage & left luggage

small bullet point  Taking bikes    Taking a dog 

small bullet point  General European train travel information

small bullet point  Travel insurance, Curve card & VPN

Route map...

Route map, London to Poland by train

large bullet pointUseful 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:

24 November 2020. Train times valid 15 Dec 2019 to 12 Dec 2020.


large bullet pointLondon 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 on the direct route at least.


Option 1, London to Warsaw by train with overnight stop in Berlin.

This is usually the cheapest option, London to Brussels from 29 each way (when booked as a return), Brussels to Poland from 46.90 each way, 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 Brussels by Eurostar starts at 52 one-way or 78 return in standard class, 115 one-way, 199 return standard premier (1st class).

  • Brussels to Poznan or Warsaw starts at 46.90 each way in 2nd class, 79.90 each way in 1st class.

  • Fares are dynamic like air fares, so for the cheapest prices book early and avoid busy times such as Fridays or Sunday afternoons.

How to buy tickets...

  • Buy tickets at www.raileurope.com This allows you to book all your tickets together in one place.

    Anyone from any country can use Raileurope.com, in plain English, international credit cards accepted and fares shown in multiple currencies.  A small booking fee applies.

    First book your ticket from London to Berlin.  If you're returning, book London to Berlin as a round trip because Eurostar return fares are significantly cheaper than two one-ways.  Add this to your basket.  Then book from Berlin to Poland one-way for the following day, add to basket, and (if returning) book from Poland to Berlin one way for the day prior to your Berlin-London journey, add this to your basket and check out.

    You print your own ticket, or after booking you can load the Eurostar ticket into the Eurostar app, and load the DB ticket into the DB Navigator app, to show on your smartphone.

  • When does booking open?

    Booking for Eurostar & onward trains to Germany opens up to 180 days ahead, but significantly less than this when the mid-December timetable change intervenes.  Booking for trains between Berlin & Poland only opens 60 days ahead.  More about when booking opens.

  • Booking tips...

    Fares are dynamic like air fares, so book early for the cheapest prices and avoid busy days such as Fridays or Sunday afternoons.

    After booking you can use the Eurostar Manage Booking system to select an exact seat on Eurostar.

  • Seat reservations...

    A seat reservation is automatically included with every ticket on Eurostar and the Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity trains.  However, seat reservations on the Brussels-Cologne-Berlin ICE trains are optional, if you want a reserved seat it can be added during the booking process for fee of around 4.50 each way.  A reserved seat is a good idea, especially at busy periods, so I'd add one when prompted.

Another way to buy tickets...

How to buy tickets by phone...

Let Railbookers arrange it as a package...

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar...

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 train.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3...

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Lige, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Cologne at Brussels Midi.  More information about ICE Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

3. Cologne to Berlin by ICE2...

ICE2 trains have a restaurant car, bar car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi. In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, the train crosses the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine.  It passes through the industrial Ruhr via Wuppertal & Hamm.  After leaving Hannover, the train passes non-stop through Wolfsburg - look out for the original Volkswagen factory on the left, built in 1938.  The train then travels at up to 280 km/h (174 mph) on the high-speed line to Berlin Hbf, where it arrives at the low-level platforms.  More information about ICE2Cologne Hbf station guide Berlin Hbf station guide.

ICE second class   High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

 

An ICE2 at Berlin Hbf...

ICE2 restaurant car   ICE2 bar car

Restaurant car.  Larger photo.

 

Bar car.  Larger photo.

ICE2 at Berlin   ICE first class

Boarding an ICE2 at Berlin Hbf...

 

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

4. Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train...

These comfortable air-conditioned trains have a restaurant car.  See the Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity page for more photos, tips & information.

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.

Bar in restaurant car of the Berlin to Warsaw train   Food on the Berlin to Warsaw train

The bar...

 

Decent food, served on proper china...

Back to top


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

This is similar to option 1, but with the overnight stop in Brussels rather than Berlin.  That might 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

  • Day 1, travel from Warsaw to Berlin by EuroCity train, leaving Warsaw Centralna at 08:45 or Poznan at 11:26 arriving Berlin Hbf at 14:16. You have time for lunch in Berlin, and perhaps a quick wander from the station to the Reichstag & Brandenburg gate, 10-15 minutes walk away.

    From 14 June 2020 onwards there's also an 06:40 from Warsaw to Berlin, giving more robust connections and time for lunch in Berlin.

How much does it cost?

  • London to Brussels by Eurostar starts at 52 one-way or 78 return in standard class, 115 one-way, 199 return standard premier (1st class).

  • Brussels to Warsaw starts at 46.90 each way in 2nd class, 79.90 each way in 1st class.

  • Fares are dynamic like air fares, so for the cheapest prices book early and avoid busy times such as Fridays or Sunday afternoons.

How to buy tickets...

  • Buy tickets at Raileurope.com.  This way, you can buy all your tickets together in one place.

    Anyone from any country can use www.raileurope.com, in plain English, international credit cards accepted and fares shown in multiple currencies.  A small booking fee applies.

    First book from London to Brussels (and back, if returning) and add to basket.  Then book Brussels to Warsaw one-way for the following day and add to basket.  Finally, book Warsaw to Brussels one-way, add to basket and check out.

    You print your own ticket, or after booking you can load the Eurostar ticket into the Eurostar app, and load the DB tickets into the DB Navigator app to show on your smartphone.

  • When does booking open?

    Booking for Eurostar and onward trains to Germany opens up to 180 days ahead, but often significantly less than this when the mid-December timetable change intervenes.  However, bookings from Berlin to Poland only open 60 days before departure.  More about when booking opens.

  • Booking tips...

    Fares are dynamic like air fares, so book early for the cheapest prices and avoid busy days such as Fridays or Sunday afternoons.

    After booking you can use the Eurostar Manage Booking system to select an exact seat on Eurostar.

Another way to buy tickets...

  • This means two bookings on two different websites, but there's no booking fee.  Do a dry run on both sites first.

  • Step 1, book the Eurostar from London to Brussels (and back, if returning) at www.eurostar.com and print your own ticket, or load it into the Eurostar app to show on your smartphone.  Eurostar return fares are significantly less than two one-ways, so if you're coming back, make sure you book this as a round trip.  After booking you can use the Eurostar Manage Booking system to select an exact seat on Eurostar.

  • Step 2, book from Brussels to Warsaw at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.

    This gets you a Brussels to Poland through ticket.  With German Railways a return is simply two one-ways, so you may find it easier to book Brussels to Poland one-way first, then Poland to Brussels one-way.

    You print your own ticket, or load it into the DB Navigator app to show on your smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in and check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.  An advantage of booking direct with www.bahn.de is that you can select an exact seat on ICE trains from a seating plan.

    Tip:  If you want longer connections between trains, use the Adjust transfer time feature.  If you want to stop off, for example to spend an hour or two in Berlin, simply use the Add intermediate stops feature and enter your desired stopover duration, up to 48 hours.

Back to top


Option 3, London to Warsaw via Brussels & Prague...

OK, so this isn't the fastest route or the simplest route with fewest changes.  But can sometimes be the cheapest, thanks to an unbelievably cheap 29 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

  • 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 from an amazing 29, or treat yourself to first class from just 43.  These fares are often available even at quite short notice, weeks or even just days ahead.  Choose one of these departures:

    Leave Brussels Midi 06:25 Monday-Saturday, change Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, Nuremberg & Cheb, arrive Prague Hlavni at 17:21.

    Leave Brussels Midi 08:23 daily, change Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, Nuremberg & Cheb, arrive Prague Hlavni at 19:21.

    It involves 4 trains, but all on one inclusive cheap ticket and there's nothing cut-rate about these trains:  You take top-quality high-speed ICE trains from Brussels to Frankfurt & Frankfurt to Nuremberg with bistro-restaurant car, then a swish air-conditioned regional train from Nuremberg to Cheb and from Cheb to Prague.  Tip:  When boarding the train from Nuremberg to Cheb, make sure you join the portion for Cheb, as another portion goes to Hof.

    Have dinner in Prague...  The Restaurant alanda (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 open until late, ideal if you're catching the sleeper.  Feedback appreciated.

  • Step 2, travel from Prague to Warsaw by sleeper train, leaving Prague Hlavni at 22:15 and arriving Warsaw Centralna at 09:16 next morning.  This train has a modern air-conditioned sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed sleepers with washbasin, and a couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments.  Morning tea or coffee is included in the fare in the sleepers.

    Alternatively, stay overnight in Prague and catch a daytime train from Prague to Warsaw next day, see the Prague-Warsaw info here.  Hotels with good reviews next to the station include the Esplanade Hotel (good choice, stayed there myself), Falkensteiner Hotel Maria, Chopin Hotel.

Warsaw ► London

  • Day 1, take the sleeper train from Warsaw to Prague, leaving Warsaw Centralna at 19:20 and arriving Prague Hlavni at 07:56 next morning.  This train has a safe & comfortable air-conditioned sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed sleepers with washbasin, and a couchette car with 4 & 6 berth compartments.  Morning tea or coffee is included in the fare in the sleepers.  Have a full breakfast in Prague.

    Alternatively, take a daytime train from Warsaw Centralna to Prague Hlavni, see the timetable here.  Then stay overnight 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.

  • Day 2, travel from Prague to Brussels by train from just 29, leaving Prague Hlavni at 10:33, change Cheb, Nuremberg & Frankfurt arriving Brussels Midi at 21:35.

    If you took a day train from Warsaw to Prague and stayed in Prague overnight, you can travel on an earlier departure if you like, leaving Prague Hlavni at 06:33, change Cheb, Nuremberg & Frankfurt arriving Brussels Midi at 17:35.

    There's nothing cut-rate about these trains:  You travel on a swish air-conditioned regional express train from Prague to Cheb and from Cheb to Nuremberg, then by top-quality high-speed ICE train from Nuremberg to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to Brussels, complete with bistro-restaurant cars and beer on tap.

How much does it cost?

  • London to Brussels by Eurostar starts at 52 one-way or 78 return in standard class, 115 one-way, 199 return standard premier (1st class).

  • Brussels to Prague starts at just 29 each way if you book as shown below at the Czech Railways site.  You can often find this price even a week ahead.  Or go 1st class from around 43.

  • Prague to Warsaw by sleeper starts at 29 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.  Prague to Warsaw by daytime EuroCity train starts at 28 in 2nd class or 48 in 1st class.

How to buy tickets...

  • Step 1, buy a Eurostar ticket from London to Brussels at www.eurostar.com.  You print your own ticket.

  • Step 2, now use the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz to book from Brussel to Prague, but (and this is the important bit) you must click More options then click Travel via and put Cheb in the via box.  Look for journeys with 3 changes with a cheap price of around 757 CZK.  You print your own ticket.  See my tips for using cd.cz.

  • Step 3, now use the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz again to book from Prague to Warsaw, looking for the direct sleeper train marked No transfers (EN) or a direct daytime train marked No transfers (EC).  You print your own ticket, although it must be stamped by a Czech (CD) conductor or ticket office before it is valid in Poland.

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar...

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Frankfurt & Frankfurt to Nuremberg by ICE...

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  The Brussels to Frankfurt train calls at Lige, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava, and at Cologne Hbf, where you'll see Cologne Cathedral to the right as you approach, right next to the station.  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, the train crosses the long Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine before joining the 300km/h high-speed line to Frankfurt.  More information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guide Frankfurt (Main) Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Brussels, boarding at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf

An ICE3M from Brussels at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf.  More information about ICE Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

3. Nuremberg to Cheb by regional train, Cheb to Prague by express train...

You'll find tips and more scenery & train photos on the Brussels to Prague via Cheb page

Cheb station, en route from Brussels to Prague

The easy & relaxed interchange at Cheb station...  The red train on the right is the German regional train arrived from Nuremberg.  You cross to the blue Czech train on the left about to leave for Prague - although always check the departure boards as sometimes a faster train to Prague goes from an adjacent platform.  More information on the Brussels to Prague via Cheb page.

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

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb, courtesy Arnaud Loneux

 

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

4. Prague to Warsaw by sleeper train...

The sleeper train from Prague to Krakow & Warsaw

Above, the Czech sleeping-car to Krakow & Warsaw is boarding at Prague Hlavni.

Czech Railways standard (economy) 2-berth sleeper   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.  Larger photo.

 

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

 

Deluxe sleepers are almost identical to standard ones, but with a bit more floorspace & compact shower & toilet instead of washstand.  Larger photo.

 

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

Back to top


Option 4:  London to Warsaw via the Brussels-Vienna sleeper...

On paper this is a round about route.  But because it involves a time-effective Nightjet sleeper direct from Brussels to Vienna, it's not only slightly quicker, you get a morning in Vienna in to the bargain.  The Brussels-Vienna Nightjet runs twice a week until 12 December 2020, then it runs 3 times a week all year round.  By all means go out this way and back another.

London ► Warsaw

  • Travel from London to Brussels by Eurostar, leaving London St Pancras at 12:58 and arriving in Brussels Midi at 16:08.

  • Travel from Brussels to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Brussels Midi at 18:04 and arriving in Vienna Hbf at 08:27.

    Until 12 December 2020, this train runs on Mondays & Thursdays.  From 13 December it will run on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays all year.

    This Austrian Railways sleeper train has sleeping-cars (1, 2 & 3-berth compartments, plus three 1, 2 or 3 berth deluxe compartments with shower & toilet), 4 & 6-berth couchettes and seats.  The sleeper & couchette fares include a light breakfast with tea or coffee in the morning. 

    The train travels along the famous Rhine Valley between Koblenz and Frankfurt late at night, so if you are in a sleeper and your compartment happens to be on the left-hand side of the train, switch off the lights and watch the Rhine pass by, mountains and castles lit by moonlight, while sipping a glass of Riesling.  Click for more pictures & information about this Nightjet train.  If you have a sleeper ticket, you can use the BB first class lounge on arrival at Vienna Hbf.  You now have a morning to explore Vienna.

  • Travel from Vienna to Warsaw by air-conditioned EuroCity train with restaurant, leaving Vienna Hbf at 14:10 arriving Warsaw Centralna 21:26.

Warsaw  ► London

  • Travel from Warsaw to Vienna by air-conditioned EuroCity train with restaurant car, leaving Warsaw Centralna at 06:28 & arriving Vienna Hbf at 13:49. You now have an afternoon free in Vienna.

  • Travel from Vienna to  Brussels by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 20:38 and arriving at Cologne Hbf at 08:15 next morning. 

    Until 12 December 2020, this train runs on Wednesdays & Sunday.  From 13 December it will run on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Sundays all year.

    This modern Austrian sleeper train has a sleeping-car (1, 2 & 3-berth sleepers with washbasin plus three 1, 2 or 3-berth deluxe sleepers with private shower & toilet), couchettes (4-berth & 6-berth) & ordinary seats.  The sleeper & couchette fares include a light breakfast with tea or coffee in the morning.  More pictures & information about this Nightjet train.  If you have a sleeper ticket, you can use the BB first class lounge at Vienna Hbf before boarding, with complimentary wine.

  • Travel from Brussels to London by Eurostar, leaving Brussels Midi at 12:56 (14:52 on Sundays) and arriving London St Pancras at 14:05 (16:05 on Sundays).

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

 From 52 one-way, 78 return 2nd class.

 From 115 one-way, 199 return 1st class.  Child fares 

 

 2. Brussels to Vienna

 by Nightjet (per person, each way)

In a seat

In a couchette

In the sleeping-car

6-berth

4-berth

3-berth

2-berth

1-berth

3-berth

+ shower

2-berth

+ shower

1-berth

+ shower

 Fares start at...

29.90

49.90

59.90

89.90

109.90

159.90

99.90

139.90

179.90

 

 3. Vienna to Warsaw

From 29.90 each way in 2nd class, 39.90 each way in 1st class.

How to buy tickets...

  • If you buy tickets at www.thetrainline.com you can buy the London-Vienna tickets together in one place, in plain English, international credit cards accepted and fares shown in multiple currencies.  A small booking fee applies.  Anyone from any country can use www.thetrainline.com.

    Do a dry run first to check prices and availability for each stage before booking for real.

    Fares are dynamic like air fares, so book early for the cheapest prices and avoid busy days such as Fridays or Sunday afternoons.

    Booking for Eurostar & Nightjet usually opens up to 180 days ahead, see more information about when bookings open.  Vienna-Poland trains may open as little as 60 days ahead, but there's no need to book this leg way in advance.

  • Step 1, go to www.thetrainline.com and book your Eurostar from London to Brussels (and back, if returning) using the train times on this page as a guide.  Add this to your basket.  Never allow less than an hour in Brussels when connecting with a sleeper train.

  • Step 2, now book the Nightjet sleeper from Brussels to Vienna & back, looking for the direct train with 0 changes.  Add to basket & check out.

    You print your own tickets.  After booking you can use the Eurostar Manage Booking system to select an exact seat on Eurostar.

  • Step 3, now go to Austrian Railways www.oebb.at and book the train from Vienna to Warsaw & back.  Tickets must be collected from an BB ticket machine or ticket office in Vienna, they cannot be printed.  This journey cannot be booked at Thetrainline.com.

Another way to book tickets...

  • Alternatively, you can of course book direct with the operators without any booking fees, but this means more work.  In all cases you print your own ticket, or can in some cases show it on your smartphone.

  • Step 1, book the London-Brussels Eurostar at www.eurostar.com.

  • Step 2, book the nightjet sleeper and Vienna-Budapest train at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.

  • Step 3, book the Vienna-Warsaw ticket at www.oebb.at & collect in Vienna from an BB machine or ticket office.

How to buy tickets by phone...

  • To buy tickets by phone, call International Rail on 0844 248 248 3, lines open 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday.  Overseas callers call +44 844 2482483.  International Rail are equipped with both the French and German rail ticketing systems, so can offer the best prices all the trains between London and Hungary.  They charge a 10 booking fee for bookings under 100, 20 for 100-300, 30 above 300.  In many cases tickets can be emailed to you as e-tickets, so there's no postage fee or delay.

  • Alternatively, you can call Deutsche Bahn's UK phone line, 00 49 (0)30 311 68 29 04, lines open 08:30-20:00 Monday-Friday, 09:00-13:00 Saturday & Sunday UK time, 1.5% fee for phone bookings.  Click here for more information on how to buy European train tickets.

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar: 

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guideIn Brussels, I recommend using the Pullman Hotel bar as your VIP waiting room.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

On days the sleeper starts in Cologne, take a Thalys from Brussels to Cologne:  See the Thalys guide...

Thalys trains have 3 classes, Standard (2nd class), Comfort (1st class seating) & Premium (1st class seating with at-seat food & drink included in the fare).  There's a cafe-bar selling drinks, snacks & hot dishes.  All seats have power sockets and there's free WiFi.  See the Thalys page for more photos & information.

2. Brussels or Cologne to Vienna by Nightjet See the Nightjet guide... 

This is an Austrian Railways (BB) Nightjet train, with sleeping-car, couchettes & seats.  The sleeping-car has 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, plus three deluxe compartments with 1, 2 or 3 beds with private shower & toilet.  The sleeper berths come fully made up with sheets and duvets, all sleeper passengers get mineral water in the evening and a light breakfast served in their compartment next morning.  Towels & toiletries are provided, including shampoo and shower gel in the deluxe sleepers.  In the more economical couchettes, you can book a couchette in a cheaper 6-berth compartment or a less-crowded 4-berth compartment, each provided with sheet, blanket, pillow & small bottle of water, and couchette passengers get a tea or coffee in the morning.  When waiting for the northbound sleeper train in Vienna, if you have booked a sleeper you can use the BB first class lounge with complimentary drinks.  More pictures & information about Nightjet trains.

The Nightjet sleeper from Brussels to Vienna at Brussels

On 20 January 2020, the inaugural Nightjet left Brussels for Vienna, the first scheduled sleeper train to leave Brussels in 16 years.  Above, that inaugural train is seen ready to leave Brussels Midi on 20 January - naturally, the Man in Seat 61 was on board!

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Brussels-Vienna Nightjet...

3. Vienna to Warsaw by EuroCity train...

Morning EuroCity train from Vienna to Warsaw

A EuroCity train from Vienna to Warsaw, at Vienna Hbf.  Change at Katowice for Krakow.  The green stripe above the windows indicates 2nd class.  Yellow indicates first class.  Red indicates the restaurant car.  Courtesy of Jennifer Delaney.

Restaurant car oin Vienna-Warsaw train   Breakfast on the morning Vienna to Warsaw train

Polish restaurant car on a EuroCity train between Warsaw & Vienna.  Courtesy of www.discoverbyrail.com.

 

Breakfast in the restaurant car between Vienna & Warsaw.  Courtesy www.discoverbyrail.com.

Back to top


large bullet pointLondon to Krakow & Katowice

The fastest & cheapest way from London & Krakow is via Berlin, shown as option 1 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?  By all means go out one way and back another.  If you also want to visit the museum at Auschwitz, or in Polish, Oswiecim, see here.

  • Option 1 is the most direct.  Travel from London to Berlin on day 1, stay overnight, then travel from Berlin to Krakow next day.

  • Option 2 is the cheapest option, although not the fastest.  However, it's actually pretty time-effective:  London to Brussels on any evening Eurostar you like from 52 one-way or 78 return, overnight hotel in Brussels, Brussels to Prague next day for an amazing 29, then the sleeper to Krakow from 29.

  • Option 3 is a round-about route via Vienna, but it's time-effective as it uses the Brussels-Vienna sleeper train.  Travel from London to Brussels in the afternoon, catch the Brussels-Vienna Nightjet sleeper which runs 2 or 3 times a week, you've then a morning to explore Vienna, then you take an afternoon train to Krakow arriivng late evening.

  • Option 4 is the ferry alternative.  Travel from London to Amsterdam overnight by train & ferry with a comfortable private en suite cabin on the Harwich-Hoek van Holland ferry, then take onward trains to Berlin, stay overnight, then take a train to Poland.


Option 1, London to Krakow by train with overnight stop in Berlin...

London ► Krakow

Until 12 December 2020, it's necessary to travel via Warsaw:

  • Day 2:  Travel from Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train, leaving Berlin Hbf at 09:37 every day and arriving at Warsaw Centralna at 15:05.

    The Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity train is a comfortable air-conditioned train with trolley refreshment service and a restaurant car serving drinks, snacks and full meals.  Treat yourself to a meal in the restaurant.

  • Day 2 afternoon, travel from Warsaw to Krakow by air-conditioned InterCity (EIC) train, leaving Warsaw Centralna at 16:52 and arriving Krakow Glowny at 19:19, times may vary. There's also a top-quality bullet-nosed InterCity Premium (EIP) train leaving Warsaw Centralna 17:35 and arriving Krakow Glowny at 19:51.  You can check times at www.intercity.pl.

From 13 December 2020, the direct Berlin-Krakow EuroCity train Wawel makes a welcome return!

  • Day 2:  Travel from Berlin to Krakow by EuroCity train Wawel, leaving Berlin Hbf at 10:37 & arriving Katowice 16:44 & Krakow Glowny 17:39.

    The Berlin-Krakow EuroCity train is a comfortable air-conditioned train with trolley refreshment service and a restaurant car serving drinks, snacks and full meals.  Treat yourself to a meal in the restaurant.

Krakow ► London

Until 12 December 2020, it's necessary to travel via Warsaw:

  • Day 1, travel from Krakow to Warsaw by air-conditioned bullet-nosed InterCity Premium (EIP) train, leaving Krakow Glowny at 09:56 and arriving Warsaw Centralna at 12:15.  You can check times at www.intercity.pl.

  • Day 1:  Travel from Warsaw to Berlin on any suitable Warsaw-Berlin EuroCity train.  You can leave Warsaw Centralna daily at 12:49 arriving Berlin Hbf at 18:16.  If you'd like lunch in Warsaw there's a later EuroCity train train at 16:20 daily except Saturdays arriving Berlin Hbf at 22:16.

From 13 December 2020, the direct Krakow-Berlin EuroCity train Wawel makes a welcome return!

How much does it cost?

  • London to Brussels by Eurostar starts at 52 one-way or 78 return in standard class, 115 one-way, 199 return standard premier (1st class).

  • Brussels to Berlin starts at 27.90 each way in 2nd class, 69.90 each way in 1st class.

  • Berlin to Krakow starts at 27.90 each way in 2nd class, 39.90 each way in 1st class.

  • Fares are dynamic like air fares, so for the cheapest prices book early and avoid busy times such as Fridays or Sunday afternoons.

How to buy tickets...

  • Buy tickets at www.raileurope.com This allows you to book all your tickets together in one place.

    Anyone from any country can use Raileurope.com, in plain English, international credit cards accepted and fares shown in multiple currencies.  A small booking fee applies.

    First book your ticket from London to Berlin.  If you're returning, book London to Berlin as a round trip because Eurostar return fares are significantly cheaper than two one-ways.  Add this to your basket.  Then book from Berlin to Krakow one-way for the following day, add to basket, and (if returning) book from Krakow to Berlin one way for the day prior to your Berlin-London journey, add this to your basket and check out.

    You print your own ticket, or after booking you can load the Eurostar ticket into the Eurostar app, and load the DB ticket into the DB Navigator app, to show on your smartphone.

  • When does booking open?

    Booking for Eurostar & onward trains to Germany opens up to 180 days ahead, but significantly less than this when the mid-December timetable change intervenes.  Booking for trains between Berlin & Poland only opens 60 days ahead.  More about when booking opens.

  • Booking tips...

    Fares are dynamic like air fares, so book early for the cheapest prices and avoid busy days such as Fridays or Sunday afternoons.

    After booking you can use the Eurostar Manage Booking system to select an exact seat on Eurostar.

  • Seat reservations...

    A seat reservation is automatically included with every ticket on Eurostar and the Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity trains.  However, seat reservations on the Brussels-Cologne-Berlin ICE trains are optional, if you want a reserved seat it can be added during the booking process for fee of around 4.50 each way.  A reserved seat is a good idea, especially at busy periods, so I'd add one when prompted.

Another way to buy tickets...

  • This is a bit more work as it involves two websites, but you don't pay any booking fee.

    Obviously, do a dry run on both sites first to check availability & prices.  I'd also check that your outward Eurostar and ICE are indeed a recognised connection by checking that they appear together when you run a London to Cologne enquiry at www.bahn.de - read the paragraph in the previous section about the 20-minute connection in Brussels .

  • Step 1, book the Eurostar from London to Brussels (and back, if returning) at www.eurostar.com and print your own ticket, or load it into the Eurostar app to show on your smartphone.  Eurostar return fares are significantly less than two one-ways, so if you're coming back, make sure you book this as a round trip.  After booking you can use the Eurostar Manage Booking system to select an exact seat on Eurostar.

  • Step 2, book from Brussels to Berlin at the German Railways website www.bahn.de,

    A return is simply two one-ways, so it makes no difference to the price whether you book a round trip or book one way at a time.

    You print your own ticket, or load it into the DB Navigator app to show on your smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in and check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.  An advantage of booking direct with www.bahn.de is that you can select an exact seat on ICE trains from a seating plan.

  • Step 3, still on www.bahn.de, now book from Berlin to Krakow for the following day and print your own ticket.  You can adjust the connection time in Warsaw using the Adjust transfer time feature, or programme in a longer stopover (up to 48 hours) using the Add intermediate stops feature.

Let Railbookers arrange it as a package...

  • Railbookers are a train travel specialist who can put together a tour or holiday for you as a package, including rail travel, hotels & transfers.  On their website you'll find suggested tours & holidays which can be varied or customised to your own requirements.  And as you're booking a package, they'll take care of you if anything happens to one part of the itinerary such as a strike or delay.  They get very positive reviews.

    UK flag  UK call 0207 864 4600, www.railbookers.co.uk

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

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

    Australian flag  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website

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

  • Escorted tours:  If you'd like to travel with a convivial group of travellers escorted by a professional tour guide, contact Great Rail Journeys at www.greatrail.com, in the UK call 01904 527 120.  They have escorted tours from the UK to Warsaw & Krakow by train with departures on various dates.

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar...

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 train.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3...

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Lige, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Cologne at Brussels Midi.  More information about ICE Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

3. Cologne to Berlin by ICE2...

ICE2 trains have a restaurant car, bar car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi. In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, the train crosses the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine.  It passes through the industrial Ruhr via Wuppertal & Hamm.  After leaving Hannover, the train passes non-stop through Wolfsburg - look out for the original Volkswagen factory on the left, built in 1938.  The train then travels at up to 280 km/h (174 mph) on the high-speed line to Berlin Hbf, where it arrives at the low-level platforms.  More information about ICE2Cologne Hbf station guide Berlin Hbf station guide.

ICE second class   High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

 

An ICE2 at Berlin Hbf...

ICE2 restaurant car   ICE2 bar car

Restaurant car.  Larger photo.

 

Bar car.  Larger photo.

ICE2 at Berlin   ICE first class

Boarding an ICE2 at Berlin Hbf...

 

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

4. Berlin to Krakow by EuroCity train...

This comfortable air-conditioned train has a restaurant car.  See the Berlin-Poland EuroCity page for more photos, tips & information.

Berlin to Warsaw train at Berlin

A Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity train at Berlin Hbf.  The Berlin-Krakow Wawel uses similar carriages.

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...

Back to top


Option 2:  London to Krakow via Brussels & Prague...

This takes a bit longer and involves a few more changes, but it's often the cheapest option thanks to amazingly cheap Brussels-Prague & 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

Krakow ► London

  • Day 2, travel from Prague to Brussels, leaving Prague Hlavni 10:45, changing Cheb, Nuremburg & Frankfurt Flughafen, arriving Brussels Midi 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.

How much does it cost?

  • London to Brussels by Eurostar starts at 52 one-way or 78 return in standard class, 115 one-way, 199 return standard premier (1st class).

  • Brussels to Prague starts at an amazing 29 each way in 2nd class or 44 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?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar...

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Frankfurt & Frankfurt to Nuremberg by ICE...

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  The Brussels to Frankfurt train calls at Lige, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava, and at Cologne Hbf, where you'll see Cologne Cathedral to the right as you approach, right next to the station.  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, the train crosses the long Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine before joining the 300km/h high-speed line to Frankfurt.  More information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guide Frankfurt (Main) Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Brussels, boarding at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf

An ICE3M from Brussels at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf.  More information about ICE Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

3. Nuremberg to Cheb by regional train, Cheb to Prague by express train...

You'll find tips and more scenery & train photos on the Brussels to Prague via Cheb page

Cheb station, en route from Brussels to Prague

The easy & relaxed interchange at Cheb station...  The red train on the right is the German regional train arrived from Nuremberg.  You cross to the blue Czech train on the left about to leave for Prague - although always check the departure boards as sometimes a faster train to Prague goes from an adjacent platform.  More information on the Brussels to Prague via Cheb page.

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

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb, courtesy Arnaud Loneux

 

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

4. Prague to Krakow by sleeper train...

The sleeper train from Prague to Krakow & Warsaw

Prague to Krakow by sleeping-car.  Above, the Czech sleeping-car to Krakow is boarding at Prague Hlavni.

Czech Railways standard (economy) 2-berth sleeper   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.  Larger photo.

 

The same sleeper with berths folded away & seats folded out, washstand closed.  Similar to a deluxe, without the shower & toilet.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe sleepers are almost identical to standard ones, but with a bit more floorspace & compact shower & toilet instead of washstand.  Larger photo.

 

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

Back to top


Option 3:  London to Krakow via the Brussels-Vienna sleeper...

On paper this is a round about route.  But because it involves a time-effective Nightjet sleeper direct from Brussels to Vienna, it's not only slightly quicker, you get a morning in Vienna in to the bargain.  The Brussels-Vienna Nightjet runs twice a week until 12 December 2020, then it runs 3 times a week all year round.

London ► Krakow

  • Travel from London to Brussels by Eurostar, leaving London St Pancras at 12:58 and arriving in Brussels Midi at 16:08.

  • Travel from Brussels to Vienna by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Brussels Midi at 18:04 and arriving in Vienna Hbf at 08:27.

    Until 12 December 2020, this train runs on Mondays & Thursdays.  From 13 December it will run on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays all year.

    This Austrian Railways sleeper train has sleeping-cars (1, 2 & 3-berth compartments, plus three 1, 2 or 3 berth deluxe compartments with shower & toilet), 4 & 6-berth couchettes and seats.  The sleeper & couchette fares include a light breakfast with tea or coffee in the morning. 

    The train travels along the famous Rhine Valley between Koblenz and Frankfurt late at night, so if you are in a sleeper and your compartment happens to be on the left-hand side of the train, switch off the lights and watch the Rhine pass by, mountains and castles lit by moonlight, while sipping a glass of Riesling.  Click for more pictures & information about this Nightjet train.  If you have a sleeper ticket, you can use the BB first class lounge on arrival at Vienna Hbf.  You now have a morning to explore Vienna.

  • Travel from Vienna to Krakow, leaving Vienna Hbf at 14:10 by air-conditioned EuroCity train with restaurant car, changing at Katowice onto a regional train arriving Krakow Glowny at 22:47.  You have time for dinner between trains in Katowice.

Krakow  ► London

  • Travel from Krakow to Vienna, leaving Krakow Glowny at 05:08 by regional train, changing at Katowice (with time for breakfast) onto an air-conditioned EuroCity train with restaurant car arriving Vienna Hbf at 13:49  You now have an afternoon in Vienna.

  • Travel from Vienna to  Brussels by Nightjet sleeper train, leaving Vienna Hbf at 20:38 and arriving at Cologne Hbf at 08:15 next morning. 

    Until 12 December 2020, this train runs on Wednesdays & Sunday.  From 13 December it will run on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Sundays all year.

    This modern Austrian sleeper train has a sleeping-car (1, 2 & 3-berth sleepers with washbasin plus three 1, 2 or 3-berth deluxe sleepers with private shower & toilet), couchettes (4-berth & 6-berth) & ordinary seats.  The sleeper & couchette fares include a light breakfast with tea or coffee in the morning.  More pictures & information about this Nightjet train.  If you have a sleeper ticket, you can use the BB first class lounge at Vienna Hbf before boarding, with complimentary wine.

  • Travel from Brussels to London by Eurostar, leaving Brussels Midi at 12:56 (14:52 on Sundays) and arriving London St Pancras at 14:05 (16:05 on Sundays).

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

 From 52 one-way, 78 return 2nd class.

 From 115 one-way, 199 return 1st class.  Child fares 

 

 2. Brussels to Vienna

 by Nightjet (per person, each way)

In a seat

In a couchette

In the sleeping-car

6-berth

4-berth

3-berth

2-berth

1-berth

3-berth

+ shower

2-berth

+ shower

1-berth

+ shower

 Fares start at...

29.90

49.90

59.90

89.90

109.90

159.90

99.90

139.90

179.90

 

 3. Vienna to Krakow

From 29.90 each way in 2nd class, 39.90 each way in 1st class.

How to buy tickets...

  • If you buy tickets at www.thetrainline.com you can buy the London-Vienna tickets together in one place, in plain English, international credit cards accepted and fares shown in multiple currencies.  A small booking fee applies.  Anyone from any country can use www.thetrainline.com.

    Do a dry run first to check prices and availability for each stage before booking for real.

    Fares are dynamic like air fares, so book early for the cheapest prices and avoid busy days such as Fridays or Sunday afternoons.

    Booking for Eurostar & Nightjet usually opens up to 180 days ahead, see more information about when bookings open.  Vienna-Poland trains may open as little as 60 days ahead, but there's no need to book this leg way in advance.

  • Step 1, go to www.thetrainline.com and book your Eurostar from London to Brussels (and back, if returning) using the train times on this page as a guide.  Add this to your basket.  Never allow less than an hour in Brussels when connecting with a sleeper train.

  • Step 2, now book the Nightjet sleeper from Brussels to Vienna & back, looking for the direct train with 0 changes.  Add to basket & check out.

    You print your own tickets.  After booking you can use the Eurostar Manage Booking system to select an exact seat on Eurostar.

  • Step 3, now go to Austrian Railways www.oebb.at and book the train from Vienna to Krakow & back.  Tickets must be collected from an BB ticket machine or ticket office in Vienna, they cannot be printed.  This journey cannot be booked at Thetrainline.com.

Another way to book tickets...

  • Alternatively, you can of course book direct with the operators without any booking fees, but this means more work.  In all cases you print your own ticket, or can in some cases show it on your smartphone.

  • Step 1, book the London-Brussels Eurostar at www.eurostar.com.

  • Step 2, book the nightjet sleeper and Vienna-Budapest train at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at.

  • Step 3, book the Vienna-Krakow ticket at www.oebb.at & collect in Vienna from an BB machine or ticket office.

How to buy tickets by phone...

  • To buy tickets by phone, call International Rail on 0844 248 248 3, lines open 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday.  Overseas callers call +44 844 2482483.  International Rail are equipped with both the French and German rail ticketing systems, so can offer the best prices all the trains between London and Hungary.  They charge a 10 booking fee for bookings under 100, 20 for 100-300, 30 above 300.  In many cases tickets can be emailed to you as e-tickets, so there's no postage fee or delay.

  • Alternatively, you can call Deutsche Bahn's UK phone line, 00 49 (0)30 311 68 29 04, lines open 08:30-20:00 Monday-Friday, 09:00-13:00 Saturday & Sunday UK time, 1.5% fee for phone bookings.  Click here for more information on how to buy European train tickets.

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar: 

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guideIn Brussels, I recommend using the Pullman Hotel bar as your VIP waiting room.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

On days the sleeper starts in Cologne, take a Thalys from Brussels to Cologne:  See the Thalys guide...

Thalys trains have 3 classes, Standard (2nd class), Comfort (1st class seating) & Premium (1st class seating with at-seat food & drink included in the fare).  There's a cafe-bar selling drinks, snacks & hot dishes.  All seats have power sockets and there's free WiFi.  See the Thalys page for more photos & information.

2. Brussels or Cologne to Vienna by Nightjet See the Nightjet guide... 

This is an Austrian Railways (BB) Nightjet train, with sleeping-car, couchettes & seats.  The sleeping-car has 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, plus three deluxe compartments with 1, 2 or 3 beds with private shower & toilet.  The sleeper berths come fully made up with sheets and duvets, all sleeper passengers get mineral water in the evening and a light breakfast served in their compartment next morning.  Towels & toiletries are provided, including shampoo and shower gel in the deluxe sleepers.  In the more economical couchettes, you can book a couchette in a cheaper 6-berth compartment or a less-crowded 4-berth compartment, each provided with sheet, blanket, pillow & small bottle of water, and couchette passengers get a tea or coffee in the morning.  When waiting for the northbound sleeper train in Vienna, if you have booked a sleeper you can use the BB first class lounge with complimentary drinks.  More pictures & information about Nightjet trains.

The Nightjet sleeper from Brussels to Vienna at Brussels

On 20 January 2020, the inaugural Nightjet left Brussels for Vienna, the first scheduled sleeper train to leave Brussels in 16 years.  Above, that inaugural train is seen ready to leave Brussels Midi on 20 January - naturally, the Man in Seat 61 was on board!

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes...

 

4-berth couchettes...

 

Couchette car on the Brussels-Vienna Nightjet...

As night falls, the train to Vienna crosses the Rhine at Mainz

As night falls, the sleeper train speeds along the Rhine Valley.  Above, crossing the Rhine at Mainz...

3. Vienna to Katowice by EuroCity train, Katowice to Krakow by regional train...

Morning EuroCity train from Vienna to Warsaw

A EuroCity train from Vienna to Katowice & Warsaw, at Vienna Hbf.  Change at Katowice for Krakow.  The green stripe above the windows indicates 2nd class.  Yellow indicates first class.  Red indicates the restaurant car.  Courtesy of Jennifer Delaney.

Restaurant car oin Vienna-Warsaw train   Breakfast on the morning Vienna to Warsaw train

Polish restaurant car on a EuroCity train between Warsaw & Vienna.  Courtesy of www.discoverbyrail.com.

 

Breakfast in the restaurant car between Vienna & Warsaw.  Courtesy www.discoverbyrail.com.

Back to top


large bullet pointLondon to Oswiecim (Auschwitz)

  • If you are visiting the museum at Oswiecim, better known by its infamous Germanic 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.

Back to top


large bullet pointLondon to Łdź

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

London ► Łdź

Łdź ► London

  • Day 1, travel from Łdź to Berlin by train, leaving Łdź Kaliska at 08:55, changing at Poznan (arrive 11:55, depart 12:26) and arriving Berlin Hbf at 15:16.  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...

Back to top


large bullet pointLondon to Wroclaw

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

London ► Wroclaw

Until 12 December 2020, you need to travel via Poznan...

  • 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 05:43 Mondays-Saturdays will get you to Wroclaw at 11:14 with a change in Rzepin.  The daily 09:37 will get you there at 15:10 with a change in Poznan, or there are later trains.  You can check times & buy tickets at the German Railways site www.bahn.de.

From 13 December 2020, the direct Berlin-Wroclaw EuroCity train Wawel makes a welcome return...

  • Day 2, travel from Berlin to Wroclaw by EuroCity train Wawel, leaving Berlin Hbf at 10:37 arriving Wroclaw Glowny at 14:47.  Fares start at 27.90, you can check times & buy tickets at the German Railways website www.bahn.de.

  • Alternatively, spend the day exploring Berlin, then take the direct train leaving Berlin Hbf at 18:43 arriving Wroclaw Glowny at 22:52.  This train consists of 2nd class seating cars attached to the night express to Vienna & Budapest.  There is no 1st class.

Wroclaw ► London

Until 12 December 2020, you need to travel via Warsaw as follows...

  • Day 1, travel from Wroclaw to Berlin 27.90, using a Polish train to Poznan and changing onto a EuroCity train to Berlin.  There's one leaving Wroclaw at 12:55, change at Rzepin, arriving Berlin Hbf at 18:16, or there are earlier trains for a longer evening in Berlin, just watch that you don't risk any tight connections.  You can check times & buy tickets at the German Railways site www.bahn.de.  I recommend at least 45 minutes for connections in Poznan, if it suggests a less time than this you can use the adjust transfer time feature.

From 13 December 2020, the direct Krakow-Wroclaw-Berlin EuroCity train Wawel makes a welcome return!

Option 2, 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

Back to top


London ► Szczecin, Gdansk, Gdynia

  • Day 1, travel from London to Berlin via Brussels & Cologne using any service you like, as shown on the London to Germany page.

  • 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, a direct air-conditioned EuroCity train leaves Berlin Hbf at 12:37, arriving Gdansk Glowny at 18:22 and Gdynia Glowna at 18:47.  A restaurant car is available for dinner, treat yourself!  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 09:10 or Gdansk Glowny at 09:26 and arriving Berlin Hbf at 15:16.  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.

  • 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 to London in a single day as shown on the London to Germany page using any option you like.

Fares & how to buy tickets...

  • For fares & how to buy tickets from London to Berlin, 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.

Back to top


large bullet pointLondon 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.

Back to top


large bullet pointLondon to Poland via Harwich

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

You might prefer train & ferry to reach Poland, for example to avoid the Channel Tunnel if there are problems with Eurostar or if you suffer from claustrophobia.  This route is also handy if you live in East Anglia as you can travel direct to Harwich avoiding London (there's a direct Cambridge to Harwich train connecting with the overnight ferry).  Indeed, you may simply prefer to cruise overnight on the Stena Line superferry in a luxury en suite cabin with shower, toilet & satellite TV, then take onward trains to Poland, see the video.  And if you need to travel at short notice when Eurostar is expensive, the rail & sail option can still be affordable.

London, Cambridge & Harwich ► Warsaw, Krakow

  • Day 1, evening:  Travel from London to Amsterdam on the overnight Stena Line Rail & Sail service.  You leave London's Liverpool Street station daily at 19:32 or Cambridge at 19:47 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 frequent metro train to Schiedam Centrum and change onto for an InterCity train to Amsterdam Centraal, arriving 10:55.  See the Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details.  Rail & Sail tickets are valid not just from London but from any Greater Anglia railway station, for example, Cambridge, Norwich or Chelmsford.

  • 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 05:43 Mondays-Saturdays arriving Warsaw Centralna at 11:05, or have a leisurely breakfast and take the daily 09:37 arriving at 15:05.  A restaurant 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, Cambridge & London

  • Day 1, travel from Warsaw to Berlin by EuroCity train.  Daily except Saturdays you can leave Warsaw Centralna at 16:20 and arrive Berlin Hbf at 22:16.  Or on any day of the week you can leave Warsaw Centralna at 12:49 and arrive Berlin Hbf at 18:16.  A restaurant 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 with bistro car from Berlin to Amsterdam.  One leaves Berlin Hbf at 08:34 arriving Amsterdam Centraal 15:00, or take the 10:34 arriving 17:00.

  • Day 2, evening:  Travel from Amsterdam to London overnight by train & ferry.  You take the 18:34 train from Amsterdam Centraal to Schiedam Centrum and change onto the frequent metro train to Hoek van Holland Haven.  At Hoek, the metro 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.  Day 3, take a train from Harwich to London Liverpool Street arriving around 08:54, or from Harwich to Cambridge arriving 09:42 (10:39 on Sundays).  See the Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details.

How much does it cost?

  • London to Amsterdam starts at 55 per person each way, plus 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 Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details of fares and cabin types and costs.

  • Amsterdam to Warsaw by train starts at  37.90 each way in 2nd class or 69.90 in 1st class.

How to buy tickets...

  • Step 1, buy a Stena Line Rail & Sail ticket from London to Any Dutch Station as shown on the Stena Line Rail & Sail page.

  • Step 2, now book your trains from Amsterdam to Warsaw & back at www.bahn.de like this:

    To get Amsterdam to Warsaw with an overnight stop in Berlin, enter Amsterdam Centraal to Warsaw Centralna, then click Add intermediate stops, enter Berlin Hbf as a via station with a stopover duration of (say) 14 hours.  I've set this link up for you, just enter your date of travel and the number of passengers.  Adjust the stopover duration and departure time as necessary to get the trains you want between Amsterdam & Berlin and (the following morning) Berlin & Prague.

    If can't get your head around this, just use www.bahn.de to book Amsterdam-Berlin as one ticket and then Berlin-Warsaw as another ticket next day, although that usually costs a bit more.

What's the journey like?

Step 1, London to Amsterdam by train & ferry...

A train takes you 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 superferry Stena Britannica is the largest ferry of its kind in the world.  Have a late dinner in the restaurant, retire to bed in a private cabin with en suite toilet & shower and satellite TV.  At Hoek van Holland, you walk off the ship, through passport control and straight onto the station for the frequent metro train to Schiedam & Rotterdam.  Change at Schiedam Centrum for a Dutch Railways (NS) train to Amsterdam CentraalThe journey from London to Holland is explained in detail on the Stena Line Rail & Sail page See the video...

Captain's Class cabin on ferry   Stena Line ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland

Captain's Class cabin on the Harwich-Hoek ferry with double bed, complimentary minibar with sparkling wine, tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryer.  Larger photo.

 

Boarding the Stena Britannica at Harwich.  She's a floating hotel to Hoek van Holland, with easy rail connections on either side of the Channel.  Restaurants, bars, shop, kennels, cinema...

Metropolitan restaurant on the Stena Line ferry   Standard outside cabin on ferry

Dinner before bed?  Metropolitan la carte restaurant.

 

Standard outside cabin.  Larger photo.  360 photo.

Step 2, Amsterdam to Berlin by Intercity train...

You then take a comfortable Intercity train from Amsterdam Centraal to Berlin HbfSee the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity page for photos, tips, and what to see along the way.

A DB InterCity train

A German Intercity train.  More information about Intercity trains.

Beef ribs and Spatburgunder red wine on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

Dinner in the bistro.  The beef ribs were delicious...

 

Bistro car.  See current month's menu...

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seating is usually in open-plan saloons like this, most seats unidirectional, but with some tables for 4.  Sometimes you'll find 2nd class compartment cars with side corridor and ten 6-seat compartments  Larger photo.

Step 3, Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train...

These comfortable air-conditioned trains have a restaurant car.  See the Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity page for more photos, tips & information.

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...

Back to top


large bullet pointScotland & the North to Poland

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 05:43 Mondays-Saturdays arriving Warsaw Centralna at 11:05, or have a leisurely breakfast and take the daily 09:37 arriving Warsaw Centralna at 15:05.  A restaurant car is available.

  • 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 16:20 and arrive Berlin Hbf at 22:16.  Or on any day of the week you can leave Warsaw Centralna at 12:49 and arrive Berlin Hbf at 18:16.  A restaurant 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 with bistro car from Berlin to Amsterdam.  One leaves Berlin Hbf at 08:34 arriving Amsterdam Centraal 15:00, or 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...

  • Step 1, check the ferry times and buy your ferry ticket at www.dfds.co.uk (Newcastle-Amsterdam) or www.poferries.com (Hull-Rotterdam). 

  • Step 2, then check train fares and buy a train ticket from your local station to Hull or Newcastle using www.thetrainline.com or www.nationalrail.co.uk.

  • Step 3, Amsterdam to Warsaw by train starts at  37.90 each way in 2nd class or 69.90 in 1st class.  Book this at www.bahn.de as follows:

    To get Amsterdam to Warsaw with an overnight stop in Berlin, enter Amsterdam Centraal to Warsaw Centralna, then click Add intermediate stops and enter Berlin Hbf as a via station with a stopover duration of (say) 14 hours.  I've set this link up for you, just enter your date of travel and number of passengers.  Adjust the stopover duration and departure time as necessary to get the trains you want between Amsterdam & Berlin and (the following morning) Berlin & Prague.

    If can't get your head around this, just use www.bahn.de to book Amsterdam-Berlin as one ticket and then Berlin-Warsaw as another ticket next day, although that usually costs a bit more.

What's the journey like?

Step 1, Newcastle to Amsterdam (DFDS) or Hull to Rotterdam (P&O) by overnight cruise ferry...

Both ferries have private en suite cabins, restaurants, bars, cinema, a floating hotel.  If travelling with DFDS from Newcastle, a transfer bus takes you from IJmuiden ferry terminal to Amsterdam Centraal station next morning.  If travelling with P&O from Hull, a transfer bus takes you from Rotterdam Europoort ferry terminal to Rotterdam Centraal, from where frequent Dutch trains run to Utrecht.

Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) at Newcastle   A standard cabin on DFDS Seaways Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry.

DFDS Seaways Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) about to sail overnight from Newcastle to Amsterdam.  The ferry also has deluxe Commodore class cabins with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.  See the video...

 

A standard Seaways class cabin with shower & toilet on DFDS Princess of Norway from Newcastle to Amsterdam.

P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam   Cabin on P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam

P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam arrived at Rotterdam Europoort from Newcastle.  The ferry also has deluxe class cabins with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.

 

A standard outside cabin with shower & toilet on P&O's Pride of Rotterdam from Hull to Rotterdam.

Step 2, Amsterdam to Berlin by Intercity train:  You then take a comfortable Intercity train from Amsterdam Centraal to Berlin HbfSee the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity page for photos, tips, and what to see along the way.

A DB InterCity train

A German Intercity train.  More information about Intercity trains.

Beef ribs and Spatburgunder red wine on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

Dinner in the bistro.  The beef ribs were delicious...

 

Bistro car.  See current month's menu...

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seating is usually in open-plan saloons like this, most seats unidirectional, but with some tables for 4.  Sometimes you'll find 2nd class compartment cars with side corridor and ten 6-seat compartments  Larger photo.

Step 3, Berlin to Warsaw by EuroCity train...

These comfortable air-conditioned trains have a restaurant car.  See the Berlin-Warsaw EuroCity page for more photos, tips & information.

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...

Back to top


large bullet pointBuying 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 English-speaking phone line on 00 49 (0)30 311 68 29 04 (open 08:30-17:00 Monday-Friday, 09:00-13:00 Saturday & Sunday) 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 except to Berlin) 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.

Back to top


large bullet pointGuidebooks

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

Back to top


large bullet pointEuropean 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.

Back to top


large bullet pointHotels in Poland

Recommended hotels in Warsaw:  Polonia Palace Hotel & Hotel Bristol

  • The Polonia Palace Hotel is a top choice for Warsaw, just across the road from Warsaw Centralna station and from the Palace of Culture skyscraper, 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 at what by western standards is a budget price.   I thoroughly enjoyed my own stay there, in a room with a great view of the Palace of Culture, and so handy for the station.  Check prices & book.

  • 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.  Hotel Bristol is 27 minutes walk from Warsaw Centralna, but only 8 minutes walk from Warsaw old town square.  Check prices & book.

Recommended hotels in Krakow...

  • The 4-star Hotel Francuski is only 9 minutes walk from Krakow Glowny (main station) and 8 minutes walk from Krakow's old town square (Stare Miasto).  It boats free WiFi, art nouveau grandeur and gets great reviews.

  • The Hotel Unicus & Hotel Imperial are not far from the Hotel Francuski and similarly priced.  For something slightly cheaper, try the Hotel Europejski, just 6 minutes walk from the station, 8 minutes from Krakow's old town square.

  • For budget rooms, try B&B La Fontaine which is also well-located for the station and old town, or the Bubble Hotel which offers budget rooms and cheap beds in shared rooms.

Recommended hotel in Gdansk:  Craft Beer Hotel

The Craft Beer Hotel is located in the city centre, next to the railway station and 200m from the old town hall.  It's a historic building which - as the name suggests - includes a craft beer brewery.  Look no further!

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all 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.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

Tripadvisor hotel reviews...

www.tripadvisor.com is a good place to browse independent travellers' 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.

Back to top


large bullet pointTours & holidays to Poland by train

 

0207 864 4600 (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 tours, holidays & breaks to Krakow & Poland by train...

Railbookers are a train travel specialist who can put together a tour or holiday for you as a package, including rail travel, hotels & transfers.  On their website you'll find a range of suggested tours & holidays which can be varied or customised to your own requirements.  And as you're booking a package, they'll take care of you if anything happens to one part of the itinerary such as a strike or delay.  They get very positive reviews.  For example, they suggest a 6 night trip from London to Krakow, Warsaw & Berlin.

UK flag  UK call 0207 864 4600, www.railbookers.co.uk

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

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

Australian flag  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website

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

Back to top


large bullet pointTravel insurance & VPN

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

 

Confused.com logo

Always take out travel insurance...

Never travel without travel insurance with at least 1m or preferably 5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should also cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  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, feedback is always welcome.

UK flagIn the UK, reliable insurers include Columbus Direct.

UK flag

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

UK flagYou can use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

UK flag

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

 US flag If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

 

Curve card

Get a Curve card to save on foreign transaction fees...

Banks often give a poor exchange rate, then charge a currency conversion fee as well.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, 500 per month as I write this.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I use a Curve Blue card myself - I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card - they'll give you 5 cashback through that link, too.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explained ExpressVPN is a best buy and I use it myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription, and I get a small commission to help support this site.

 


Back to top

Back to home page