Travel Health & Safety Tips

Getting Around Poland: Transportation Tips

Whether you come to Poland for a holiday, business trip, visit members of your family or catch up with friends sooner or later, you’ll have to rely on various forms of transport. Poland has a well-developed transportation system; therefore, moving around the country is pretty straightforward.

However, if you’re a visiting country for the first time, it might be challenging to navigate and pick your favorite way of travel. To help you make the most of your Poland trip, we listed down the best travel hints and tricks.

Air

Poland has 12 main regional airports offering domestic and international connections. Planes are the fastest and safest means of transport, perfect for when we want to get to one end of the country on the other.

Without a doubt, in terms of time-saving and longer routes, planes are great, but unfortunately, the number of domestic flights in Poland is limited. For instance, if you want to flee from Krakow to Gdansk, you can’t avoid a stopover in Warsaw  at Frederic Chopin airport – the central hub for domestic flights.

Not to mention the smaller airports not having any domestic connections. The other thing is our national carrier LOT dominates domestic flights thus there is no considerable selection of airfares.

So it’s best to plan your trip in advance and look for promotion flights to save some pennies. You can check domestic flights in Poland here.

Road

Although driving a car may not be the fastest and safest means of transport, it allows visiting the innermost corners of the country. I have already seen articles saying how terribly Poles drive, about countless potholes on the roads, and cows on the road roaming freely.

The image of such a Poland is a bit like going back to the times of PRL, although, in rural areas of the country, such situations can happen, nowadays they are rare. Roads in Poland are of varying quality and capacity, from minor rural roads to much improved highways enabling safe and fast journeys across the country.

Poles tend to drive fast, often overtaking other cars staying with the speed limit, so don’t be surprised when you see such situations on the roads. Whenever you drive on Polish roads, be smart, move at your own pace, and let the reckless drivers overtake you.

Driving a car for a couple of hours can be exhausting, so breaking a journey for a delicious coffee or dinner might be unavoidable. If you want to taste authentic Polish cuisine, look for the inn’s (zajazd in Polish) sign, serving delicious dishes at great prices. I give you one more hint, where truckers are, there is outrageously delightful food. Look for those places for real Polish experience.

Coach

Poland has an extensive bus network provided by PKS – national carrier and private companies such as FLixBus. Bus travel is usually cheaper than train travel, but it takes much more time and is usually slower than rail.

Long-distance coaches are an excellent way to travel around Poland. All major carriers use an air-conditioned, modern fleet of coaches, guaranteeing a safe and comfortable journey. Tickets can be purchased directly from the driver at departure or online. However, it is best to book your tickets online in advance to get the best fare.

Here you can purchase bus tickets online:

Rail

In Poland, we have several carriers providing passenger rail travel. These include Przewozy Regionalne (PR), PKP Intercity (PKP IC), and carriers offering local connections, such as Koleje Mazowieckie, Dolnośląskie, or the Fast Urban Railway operating in the north of the country.

Timetables and tickets are available at railway stations and on the PKP website. We can distinguish the following train categories:

  • Osobowy: – is a very slow train that stops at all stations.
  • Pospieszny: is a fast train that stops on selected only stations.
  • Ekspresowy: is a fast train that stops at selected stations plus provides excellent comfort.

So as a passenger, you have several classes of trains offering both local and regional journeys. If you’re on a budget or a student traveling locally, you want to choose an osobowy train. For those moving between major cities or planning longer trips, pospieszny or ekspresowy train will be the best bet.

Here you can purchase train tickets online:

Urban Travel

Major Polish cities have an extensive network of public transport consisting of city buses, trams, and sometimes even trolleybuses or metro.

Underground

The only Polish city which boasts a metro is Warsaw. It has two metro lines, metro line 1 connecting north with south and metro line 2 connecting east with the west. This small metro system is widely spread across the capital, and it allows you to get to the essential points of the city.

Tickets can be purchased by using machines located at each entrance to the metro.

City buses

City buses are a common sight in all main cities and towns. Poland does not lack comprehensive, quality, and cheap buses covering entire cities. For instance, Krakow or Warsaw bus network provides passengers with almost 24-hour service. Bus tickets can be purchased directly from vending machines, designated points of sale, shops, and “kiosks” or directly from the bus or tram drivers (with exactly right change).

Trams

Most medium and large cities in Poland have a tram network, reasonably easy to use and very efficient. There are plenty of tram lines that help you get around the city and reach even their boundaries. Both the bus and tram transport systems are constantly modernized by adding modern vehicles with the display on the board where you will find appropriate routes. As in the case of bus tickets, trams tickets can be bought exactly the same way.

Pro tip: In both cases, bus and tram alike, don’t forget to validate your ticket.

Here you can purchase tickets online for city bus and tram.

Taxi

There are loads of taxi services available in many Polish cities, including small towns. Even though taxis in Poland are pretty cheap compared to western Europe, I would not recommend hailing a cab from the rank. Instead, use handy apps such as uber or mytaxi if they are available at your location. This way you will save some money which can be spent on a delicious meal, or brilliant crafty beer.

Useful Services and Handy Apps:

Being on your own in a new city is never easy, but these apps and services will help you navigate like a pro. If locals can, you can too.

Check them below:

Jakdojade.pl – is a website and an application that makes it easier to navigate through Polish cities. It allows you to search for bus, tram or metro connections in several dozen towns. Jakdojade.pl also has an option to buy a ticket, which is useful for tourists and locals alike.

e-podroznik.pl – search engine for bus, rail, and public transport connections, where you can purchase tickets online.

Krakow city cardwith this card you can enjoy unlimited travel on the buses and trams, day and night. Plus, you will get access to up to 40 museums, including the Oskar Schindler factory or Underground Museum.

Omio.com– with omio, planning travel is easy; on this search engine, you can find all necessary forms of transport in Poland, including airplanes.

Discovercars.com – If you plan to rent a car in Poland to take in some scenic views or discover off-the-beaten-path destinations, you can’t go wrong with this comparison website. It is easy to use and offer best rates on the market.

Intercity.pl – if you are after fast and comfortable train trips use that website to buy a ticket in advance; hence fares are better when purchased online.

Hope we could help.

If you have any questions regarding getting around in Poland, hit us up in the comment below.

Bartosz is a travel writer, photographer & founder/editor of theuniquepoland who tells stories of adventure, history and current affairs. He writes mainly about travel, with special focus on Poland. He loves travelling, discover new unknown and inspire others.

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