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Vienna to Krakow

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Aug 31st, 2006, 08:24 AM
  #1
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Vienna to Krakow

Has anyone gone from Vienna to Krakow by train? car? bus? Recommendations?
deters is offline  
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Aug 31st, 2006, 08:51 AM
  #2
 
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We traveled this route (and back) by train in March. We had to change trains in Katowice coming and going. We traveled in first class between Vienna and Katowice; the commuter trains between Katowice and Krakow were second class only and pretty basic, which we actually enjoyed just for the novelty factor (we are used to zipping around on the sleek ICE and Thalys trains).
Just a few observations: we bought our tickets a day ahead in Vienna at the Sudbahnhof. They were training a new agent and it took them 30 minutes just to process our RT tickets. We were SO glad we hadn't waited till the day of the trip to buy our tickets--we would have missed the train!
The train to Katowice we took was comfortable and had a dining car. On my return to Vienna, I ordered hot chocolate because the HC I'd had in Krakow was so delicious. But this stuff was terrible. There is also a guy rolling through with a cart, so we bought beer, water and sandwiches from him. We had the choice of paying in euros or zlotys.
Katowice, or what we saw of it, seemed very basic and industrial. On our arrival there (from Vienna) we exited the station and walked down a block where all the stores were carrying wedding dresses, bridal accessories, etc. and found an Irish pub at the end of the block where we had some very good coffee and where everyone spoke English. On the stop in Katowice on the way back, we simply could not find that street again and ended up wandering around, trying to find an open cafe, couldn't, and finally popped into McDonald's. The Katowice McDonald's doesn't offer the usual breakfast menu, so we had their potato puffs instead. Which were ok.
Our hotel (the Batory) in Krakow indicated it was a short, 10 min. walk, from the station to the hotel. That was a little optimistic and you had to know exactly where you were going. The main street was all dug up at the time we were there, with the sidewalks blocked at many spots. We were glad to have taken a cab rather than attempting to walk.
Passports were checked several times between Vienna and Katowice, so keep them handy.
The ride isn't the most scenic, but it's still interesting. We saw tons of deer en route through Poland.
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Aug 31st, 2006, 08:53 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: May 2003
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We took the train from Vienna to Krakow two years ago. It was an overnight leaving about 9 p.m., arriving about 7 a.m. We had a sleeping compartment in an old Eastern European "Pullman" car. The room itself was fine, though cramped. The bathroom was little more than a separate compartment with a hole in the floor. We were awakened twice at border crossings. That said, I think a day trip by train or bus would be preferable. You could drive a rental car as well, though it would be essential to check whether that would be allowed by the rental company. Some don't allow you to take their cars into Eastern Europe. We rented through Local Rent A Car in Poland; picked up the car at the Krakow train station. Their prices were well below those of AutoEurope and the service was very good.
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Aug 31st, 2006, 10:38 AM
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I didn't go from Vienna, but I got on such a train in the CR that was coming from Vienna and we ended in Krakow. There are some trains from Vienna to Krakow that do not require any changes, and that was one of them. It's an EC train that leaves Vienna around 9 am and gets into Krakow around 3 pm. Very nice train. I traveled in the first class car because it was really cheap fare, regardless, and met a lot of nice Austrians going to Krakow for a holiday. In fact, they shared their drinks we me on the train and we met up again in krakow. They also have a nonstop overnight EC train on that route, but it doesn't take as long as brwayne took. I think it's about 7 hrs (10:30 to 5:45).

I enjoy trains in Europe myself, I find them very relaxing and comfortable, so I always prefer them if the goal is just to get between two points. I wouldn't ever take the bus that far.
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Sep 4th, 2006, 10:53 AM
  #5
 
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BTilke,
How was the Hotel Batory? I am thinking of staying there with a party of 8 next spring.
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Sep 7th, 2006, 03:42 AM
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The Batory was fine for our three-night stay in March '06. I posted a review of it on Trip Advisor. It's an easy walk to the old town from the hotel. The staff were pleasant and helpful. The rooms were comfortable (we paid 55€ per night, including taxes and breakfast, and booked from the www.hotels.de site). The breakfast buffet was expansive and their restaurant offers a discount to hotel guests (we didn't dine there, but it sure smelled good). Potential downsides: no money exchange at hotel (although there is an ATM a two minute walk away). No English language TV station (if that matters). The beds were comfortable, but seemed a little short. Not a problem for me, but if anyone in your party is over 6', they might feel pinched.
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Sep 7th, 2006, 05:02 PM
  #7
 
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Thanks for the info. I'll check out your posted review too!
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