There is only one way to travel from Warsaw to Krakow: the train which takes as little as 2 hours 20 minutes.
Specifically, catch the Express InterCity Premium train (EIP) which is our favourite train journey in Poland to date.
The EIP includes a meal (we went with roasted duck), stroopwafel snack and beverages. Read on to find out how to reserve your tickets with Eurail plus what to see and do, and where to stay in Krakow and Warsaw.
Warsaw to Krakow Train
There are approximately 19 trains which travel from Warsaw to Krakow daily. The first train departs at 05:50am and the last departs at 23:20.
The average travel time is 2 and a half hours with the fastest train journey only 2 hours 21 minutes.
There are three types of trains which travel direct from Warsaw to Krakow: InterCity (IC) trains, Express InterCity (EIC) train and the Express InterCity Premium (EIP) train.
Direct train schedule from Warsaw to Krakow as of August 2019:-
- 05:50 – 08:13 (EIP)
- 06:55 – 09:25 (EIC)
- 07:53 – 10:18 (EIP)
- 8:56 – 11:26 (EIP)
- 9:57 – 12:19 (EIP)
- 11:50 – 14:19 (EIP)
- 12:45 – 15:13 (EIP)
- 13:50 – 16:16 (EIP)
- 15:50 – 18:14 (EIP)
- 16:56 – 19:53 (EIC)
- 17:46 – 20:07 (EIP)
- 17:56 – 21:20 (national)
- 19:05 – 21:28 (EIP)
- 19:20 – 22:25 (IC)
- 20:45 – 23:11 (EIP)
- 20:50 – 00:08 (national)
- 22:08 – 08 (IC)
- 22:25 – 03:04 (national)
Express InterCity Premium Train (EIP)
We caught the EIP train from Warsaw to Krakow which we highly recommend over the IC train.
For a detailed explanation of the InterCity Train check out our review of the Wroclaw – Warsaw train.
In summary, the EIP is in another level of comfort with individual seats (not a 6 person compartment), meal service to your seat and room to store suitcases. The IC is good but has none of these features.
There is only one first class carriage and on that carriage there are only two rows with seats facing each other separated by a table.
Seat tip: if you want to sit in a 1st class 4-seater ask for seat 43, 44, 45, 46 or 53, 54, 55 and 56. If you want one of the 2-seaters facing each other request seat 41 & 42 or 51 & 52.
Even though the trip was short, there was a lot of interesting things to see along the way. We saw plenty of deers, a fun fair in a remote town of Kozlow, fields and fields of cabbages. There was even a hang glider flying over a town.
The sprawling farms we passed at times made us think we were in the heart of America rather than the heart of Europe.
Onboard we were served hot and cold beverages including tea, coffee, Pepsi and juice. We were also given a yummy caramel stroopwafel.
On Express InterCity Premium trains a dinner appetiser is served. We had the choice of mini gratins with roasted duck, salad with cream of chick pea and chicken, salad with pearl barley, pumpkin and dried tomatoes.
We opted for the chicken and the duck. Both were good but we will both get the duck next time we catch an EIP train.
EIP train features (at least in 1st class) include:
- 230V power plugs (European style) in every seat
- overhead luggage racks + dedicated luggage racks at the beginning of the carriage for suitcases (this is great);
- in-seat reading light and large windows perfect for daydreaming;
- wifi (worked, though did drop in and out)
There is also a dining car where you can purchase food or drinks on board.
Krakow Station tip: Getting to / from Krakow station is really easy. From the platform take the elevator up to Level 1 where you can catch a taxi or order an Uber.
Using a Eurail Pass in Poland
We travelled from Warsaw to Krakow using a Eurail Global Pass. Find out more information about Eurail and book a pass on their website https://www.interrail.eu/en/interrail-passes/global-pass.
All domestic trains require a seat reservation which can be done for free in person at any train station in Poland.
On the EIP train there is an additional €10 reservation fee, which presumably covers the cost of the meal and drinks on the train.
If you know your plans in advance, you can easily make a booking with Eurail’s reservation service (make sure to allow at least 8 business days).
Otherwise, options to reserve a seat include:
- call Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) on +49 1806 996 633
If you’re read our other reviews about travelling with Eurail, you’ll know we love the flexibility of Eurail. Read: we like booking our tickets at the last minute.
So we were disappointed to learn that even though you can make a seat reservation with DB by telephone they will need to post the ticket to you. Leave at least a few days to ensure these arrive in time.
Wondering whether to reserve a 1st class or 2nd class seat on the EIP train in Poland? Read our review of the Krakow to Gdansk train for more details.
Making a seat reservation in Wroclaw
Fortunately, making a seat reservation in Wroclaw is easy peasy. Head to the station and follow the signs with the picture of a ticket on them to the small ticket booths on level -1 along the 4 sides of the station.
Queuing for our tickets took less than 5 minutes. Even though the ticket officer spoke no English whatsoever, it was simple to show her the train I wanted on the Eurail App with my Eurail Pass and a simple google translated message that I wanted two 1st class reservations.
What to do & Where to Stay in Warsaw
We were taken with the old town of Warsaw which was reconstructed after being bombed into oblivion during WWII.
The colourful houses, impressive churches and al fresco dining options draw crowds on masse giving the old town square plenty of atmosphere.
In the heart of the city you will find Warsaw Glowny (central station) and the monumental Palace of Culture and Science – the 6th tallest building in Europe.
The building is seriously impressive and wouldn’t be out of place in Manhattan.
We stayed nearby at the Hampton by Hilton Warsaw City Centre which is a convenient location for a short stay in Warsaw (click the link to check out our review).
If you’re visiting Warsaw for work then you’ll likely be heading to Mokotow – the business hub of Poland. Here you will also find tonnes of mega malls to satisfy any shopping cravings.
The hotel is brand new and located just a few minutes from Warsaw Chopin airport making it a convenient place to start or finish an Eastern Europe trip with Eurail.
Read our Hampton by Hilton Warsaw Mokotow review here.
What to do & Where to Stay in Krakow
Three of the most important things to do in Krakow are visit Wawel Castle, check out the old town square and visit the now-hipster Jewish Quarter.
All of these attractions were located 15 minutes walk from our hotel in Krakow – the Hilton Garden Inn.
In fact, from our room we could see Wawel Castle, which is a lovely view to wake up to in the morning. We also fell in love with the adorable dolls we were given.
Read all about what to expect at the Hilton Garden Inn Krakow – including our review of possibly the best pierogies in Poland – here.
When you are looking for accommodation in Warsaw or Krakow, we recommend looking at these hotels. Start planning your Eastern European vacation with Hilton Europe.
Disclaimer: We were invited as guests to Hilton hotels & on Eurail. However, this does not affect our views and opinions. As always, all opinions are our own.