“I woke up sleeping on a train that was bound for nowhere” – Noel Gallagher.
People often ask me how and why I travel around Poland so much. Well, firstly I want to see the country I live in. And secondly (thirdly and fourthly) it is cheap, fast and easy to travel around this country. So get exploring – here are the places I have been in Poland so far. It’s easy and cheap to travel around the country – especially if you are based in Warszawa or Łódź, the country’s two central cities. On a good day, Warszawa is less than 10 hours by train from almost every train station in Poland, though connections sometimes have exceptions. Leave Warszawa at 5am and you could be anywhere in Poland (or abroad) by mid afternoon. I’m a lover of train travel as you might have read, having used trains all over the world including the North Korea to China border, through Saudi Arabia and from Romania into Moldova.
“My baby’s travelling on the one after 909” – The Beatles.
My first Polish train experience was in March 2005 when I arrived on the 9 hour long GAWA party train from Berlin into Warszawa. I estimate I have now been on Polish trains over 200 times, not counting Warszawa Metro system or the Cityhattrick’s (Gdańsk, Sopot, Gdynia) SKM.
I love the whole experience of train travel. There’s a magic to it that I also experienced in lands afar like China, Tunisia, Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia. So far, I’ve only visited about 70 Polish cities, towns and villages, but I have passed through many more. I got trains to lesser known train stations like Zakrzewo, Starogard Gdański, Radymno and Łęczna and loved them.
I love Polish trains and my favourite is the high speed one. Locals often refer to it as ” The Pendolino”! This makes me laugh as it sounds more Italian or Spanish than Polish. However “The Pendolino” is not always cheap. It is also not always cheap to book last minute trains. I once paid around 80złotych for a train and didn’t even get a seat.
But soon enough, you realise the secret to Polish train travel….
Enter the Weekend Ticket! Bilet Weekendowy!
Bilet Weekendowy is a genius invention. It is a ticket that is only valid on weekends and can be used for unlimited multiple trips all over Poland.
“No no. No no no no. No no there’s no limits” – 2Unlimited.
Here is how it works:
– you buy one Bilet Weekendowy for 81 złotych ($20 USD). You can buy them from most train stations in Poland.
– you have unlimited travel on trains all over Poland from 19.00 (7 p.m.) on Friday until 6 a.m. on the Monday morning!
Yes that is right, you can hop on and off almost every train in Poland for a period of 60 hours. That is brilliant for hardcore backpackers!
There are a few exceptions though:
– It doesn’t include trains to airports (unless it’s already on one of those PKP routes)
– It doesn’t include the high speed trains (often called the Pendolino)
– It doesn’t include city trains (e.g. the SKM in Tricity / Trojmiasto, Warszawa locals and metro)
– It doesn’t include trains for special events (e.g. football matches, festivals etc.)
I have used this ticket and milked it manys a time. One weekend, I went –
– Warszawa to Gdańsk
– Gdańsk to Gdynia
– Gdynia to Tczew
– Tczew to Starogard Gdański
– Starogard Gdański to Tczew
– Tczew to Malbork
– Malbork to Toruń
– Toruń to Bydgoszcz
– Bydgoszcz to Poznań
– Poznań to Warszawa
Another weekend I wacadayed it this way on one weekend:
– Warszawa to Jarosław
– Jarosław to Radymno (where I visited Chotyniec)
– Radymno to Jarosław
– Jarosław to Kraków
– Kraków to Wrocław
– Wrocław to Warszawa
If you know what exact trains you will get, you can also use the Bilet Weekendowy to reserve a second class seat on them at no extra cost. My advice is to do this earlier in the week as they can get full.
Also as it is a special weekend ticket, it cannot be bought in advance, online or from ticket machines. You should buy it between Monday and Friday from the kiosks in the train stations that have actual people manning the kiosks.
So get exploring all over Poland for just 81złotych a weekend. Trust me – it’s a bargain!
Here are some videos of my train journeys all over Poland using the Bilet Weekendowy: