Travelling around Poland - a short guide

Anna Kowalska | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Poland is one of the biggest countries in Europe and if you want to get around within a relatively short time, you need to do some proper planning. Most of the big cities are well-connected by rail that can take you to your destination within a few hours. Here’s a complete guide on how to travel around Poland.

Take a train

© iStock/Kyryl Gorlov

My favourite, and probably the most efficient way of commuting here, are the trains. The biggest cities, that you would perhaps like to visit, are connected by regular lines that have a recently introduced fast system (EIP) that can take you from one point to another in two or three hours. They have very convenient, new carriages but also are the most expensive options you can choose when you are buying your tickets last minute. The other option is the trains that are much slower (though sometimes you can be lucky with the one that takes only 30 minutes more than the fast train!) but also much cheaper. These are the sets marked with symbols (TLK, IC, EIC). The general rule for all of them is: the earlier you get your ticket, the cheaper it should be. Also, unlike in some other countries, each card you buy is valid for the specific train and hour, so you should keep that in mind.

© Anna Kowalska

One of the best things about travelling by train is the fact that you can use the restaurant wagon during your trip. They are called ‘Wars’ and offer a good variety of meals - from breakfasts to desserts, at very affordable prices. The offer is suited for vegetarians so everyone should be able to find something for themselves. It also serves some meals of traditional Polish cuisine to try, like dumplings, pork chops or sour rye soup. You can enjoy your breakfast or lunch while watching the changing countryside outside the train window. Before choosing the connection, you can check if it has a dining area on the official website of the train company. It should be accompanied by a symbol of a fork and a knife.

Tip for travelling during the weekend: you can equip yourself with a weekend ticket that allows you to travel between the cities from Friday evening to Monday morning for almost half of the regular price for getting there and back. 

Where the train will not take you, a bus will

© iStock/LeManna

Some of the smaller cities you might want to visit do not have a train connection (like the famous Tatra Mountain Resort Zakopane or any place in the distant and beautiful Bieszczady Mountains). Generally, whatever you cannot reach by train, you will be able to visit by getting a ride. There are multiple local companies serving each region and the ride is usually cheaper than the train. Again, planning is quite crucial as there might be only a few buses per day that will take you to your destination. Poland is also really well-connected to the cities in other countries by the well-known Flixbus.

One more thing worth mentioning is that if you want to change from train to coach (or the other way round), you should always check the distance between the stations. For example, in Warsaw, the main hub for the two will be the Warsaw West Station. The rest of the biggest cities, such as Cracow, Wrocław, Poznań and Gdańsk have both stations located in close vicinity.

Other means of transportation

© iStock/master1305

There are several other ways you can plan your travel. The main cities are also connected by planes, but in fact, the complete journey might last as long as a fast train, and it is much worse for the environment. You can also try hitch-hiking, however, getting a successful and timely ride is never granted. It might be an amazing adventure if you have a lot of time on your hands and a bit of luck. It used to be a popular way of travelling some years ago, but it seems like hitch-hiking is in a bit of decline now. If you feel like the car would be the best option of getting to your destination, you can always try carpooling that became very popular just recently. One of the services, BlaBlaCar, is used quite often in Poland to travel both long and short distances.

When you are deciding to travel around the country, make sure to consult your plans with the map. Sometimes the journey might take much longer than expected as Poland is quite a big country! I hope this short guide about travelling around Poland will help you book your tickets to a dream destination and use your time in the country to the fullest.

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