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This trip took place in July 2019, here you can find the full trip report.
One of the best ways to get from city to city in Poland is by train. It’s cheap, fast and comfortable. As I combined the cities of Wroclaw and Krakow on my trip, I booked the PKP Intercity and here’s about my experience with it.
Some short facts first: PKP is short for Polskie Koleje Panstwowe and it’s the largest railway operator in Poland. It’s state-run and was founded in 1926. Today it operates mainly Intercity connections between major cities of Poland.
The booking process is not too easy, as the main homepage and search function on the PKP homepage https://www.pkp.pl/en/ is available in English, but the rest of the booking process isn’t. Due to that, a translation add-on of your browser, or somebody who speaks Polish is a great help when booking your tickets online. Here’s the direct link to the PKP Intercity ticket sale homepage: https://www.intercity.pl/en/
The booking process itself is short and easy, you automatically reserve a seat with your booking, but at the moment, you can’t choose your seat from a seat map. You are asked for whether you want to sit at a window or in a galley seat and if you prefer a compartment or open carriage. Your seat is assigned to you automatically then. Payment can be done afterward by bank transfer if you have a Polish bank account, or by credit card (Master Card or Visa) for international customers.
For sure, booking your ticket at the station directly is possible as well, bigger stations all have ticket booths and machines available.
At the station:
Usually, there is no platform indicated on your ticket in Poland. Big screens at the train stations show you which platform you have to go on, long enough before your train departs.
You should go to the platform your train leaves from a minimum of 15 minutes before your train departs, as you also have to look for the car numbers your seat is located in. Usually, the train arrives a few minutes before he leaves again, not as regional trains, which only stop for loading and unloading passengers.
After you found your seat on board, you’ll discover, that the seat and the offered legroom are quite comfortable. There’s enough space to store luggage in every car, but it neither is a problem to store a backpack or anything between your legs, with essential things, you want to use or eat while traveling. A foldout table and a small waste bin are available as well in the open carriages. Wifi was not available on the train I took. The older trains definitely don’t have Wifi on-board.
In case you need a little snack, drink or even crave a whole meal, most trains have a dining car available. It offers a good choice of drinks, snacks, and meals, some of the meals are even cooked fresh onboard. Payments are accepted in cash or by credit card.
In the end, I had a cheap and comfortable trip of around four hours. The seat pitch is way better than on most busses or planes and taking a train from a to b is just a convenient way of traveling. I can recommend taking the train when traveling in Poland.
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