From Warsaw to Krakow by train it takes just 2.5 hours, which is why many travelers choose to land in Warsaw, where air fares are often cheaper during peak periods, and visit both cities.
Warsaw, the capital of Poland, is a modern and cosmopolitan city, has a lively old town and is the place where most of the large companies and institutions are located, which is why it is always well frequented by business travelers.
Krakow is probably the prettiest city in Poland, with its important history, and its beautifully preserved medieval old town. No trip to Poland is complete without visiting Krakow. Also from here you can visit some of Poland’s most important attractions, such as the Wieliczka Salt Mines and the Nazi Concentration Camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau.
There are several great and cheap ways to get from Warsaw to Krakow by train. Here you will find all the useful information to plan your trip.
What you will find in this guide on how to get from Warsaw to Krakow by train:
- How long does it take from Warsaw to Kraków by train?
- Plan your journey from Warsaw to Krakow by train
- Types and fares of trains from Warsaw to Krakow
- How many trains are there a day from Warsaw to Krakow?
- Where to stay in Krakow
- What to see and do in Krakow
How long does it take from Warsaw to Kraków by train?
Trains from Warsaw to Krakow can take from about 2 hours, if you choose the faster option, up to over 4.5 hours with the classic slower train option. On average, the train journey takes 2.5 hours.
The train distance between Warsaw and Krakow is about 290 km, and there are direct and quite fast train connections. In fact, the two largest cities in Poland are connected by the country’s fastest and most modern railway, which allows high-speed trains to travel at an average speed of 160 km/h.
If you want to enjoy an inexpensive, old-fashioned, train ride, then get ready to tackle a 4+ hour route aboard the old classic intercity trains.
Plan your journey from Warsaw to Krakow by train
Going from Warsaw to Krakow by train is the most commonly adopted solution even by locals, this is because the price of the tickets is quite cheap and the quality of the service is good enough.
You can basically choose between three types of solutions:
- EIP trains (Express Intercity Premium): the most modern and fastest solution
- TLK trains (Twoje Linie Kolejowe): intermediate solution
- IC (Intercity) trains: the slowest solution
When you check the train timetable, you will find the type of train specified in front of the train number and name (eg: # EIP1304 EIP Premium Service, # TLK53100 Małopolska or # IC5326 Orłowicz).
Depending on your needs, you can choose the train that’s right for you: IC and TLK trains are substantially slow (even over 4 hours from Warsaw to Krakow), less modern and less comfortable. TLK trains are an intermediate solution, generally taking 3 to 3.5 hours from Warsaw to Krakow, and the ticket costs roughly the same price as IC trains.
I love traveling on the old IC trains, but that’s because I’m a weirdo.
The solution most chosen by tourists are the EIP trains, the bullet train service also called “Pendolino”. They are modern trains, often equipped with a bar and restaurant car, more comfortable and faster: they take just over 2 hours from Warsaw to Krakow or vice versa.
The ticket can be purchased in the ticket booths present in all (even the smallest and most remote) stations, but the advice is to show the cashier a sheet with the destination and the train you want written on it. This is because many do not speak English well, and because the pronunciation of many Polish cities is quite tricky.
Otherwise you can buy it at the ticket machines, which can also be set in English, and which are present in all major stations, including Warsaw and Krakow, of course.
The train ticket includes a compulsory seat reservation: you will then have an assigned seat on the train.
You can also travel from Warsaw to Krakow by train with Interrail and Eurail passes, the Polish rail network is one of the most popular among backpackers traveling across Europe!
You can take the train from Warsaw to Krakow at Warsaw Central Station or Warsaw East Station (Warszawa Wschodnia) or Warsaw West Station (Warszawa Zachodnia). You will arrive at the Krakow Main Railway Station (Kraków Główny), located just a stone’s throw from the Krakow Old Town.
Types and fares of trains from Warsaw to Krakow
The ticket price varies according to the type of train and the class.
On average, an EIP train from Warsaw to Krakow costs between 170 and 200 PLN.
The ticket for the TLK and IC trains costs around 80 PLN, the difference in price between these two is ridiculous, so I recommend that you choose a TLK train if you can, because it is usually at least 50% faster.
How many trains are there a day from Warsaw to Krakow?
There are about 22 trains from Warsaw to Krakow per day, the first leaving from Warsaw Central Station at 04.48 and the last at 22.35 (arriving around 01.20 in Krakow).
In the morning the trains are quite frequent, there is at least one every hour.
Where to stay in Krakow
Krakow is a city that can be easily explored on foot. Since the train station is located right in the city center, you might choose to stay right near the station, or in the picturesque Old Town.
There are excellent hotels, hostels and apartments conveniently located near the Krakow Main Station. From here you can walk to all the main attractions of the city and enjoy the nightlife to the fullest.
If you are traveling on a budget and are looking for good and cheap accommodation, here is our guide to the best hostels in Krakow.
What to see and do in Krakow
Krakow is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, characterized by ancient medieval architecture, the beautiful Main Market Square with its colorful terraced houses and its lively nightlife.
All major attractions are located in Krakow Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also check out Kazimierz, the former Jewish quarter of Krakow, now full of great places to eat and drink.
When in Krakow don’t forget to visit the Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camps, and the wonderful Wieliczka Salt Mines.
Planning your trip to Krakow? These are our in-depth guides with everything you need to know to plan an amazing trip to Krakow: