Poland Tickets & Rail Passes

This GUIDE to Polish train tickets, and how to buy them online, covers the basics of what you can expect to encounter when making bookings.

It provides context for the tickets and journey options you SHOULD encounter when making a booking either online or at the station for Polish train journeys.

ShowMeTheJourney has striven to ensure that the advice presented is as accurate as possible, but a guide such as this cannot cover every combination of journey options.

Jump to the summary of how to use rail passes in Poland.

Introducing PKP InterCity:

State owned company PKP Intercity is the operator of the express train services in Poland:

It operates four types of train service – and ranked in order from most expensive to cheapest they are:

(1) EIP

(2) EIC

PKP InterCity categorises international EC train services as EIC services, when booking tickets for journeys within Poland on these trains.

(3) IC

(4) TLK

Tickets for journeys by ONLY these four types of services can be booked online on the PKP InterCity website - so if PKP InterCity services don't serve a destination or station, it won't sell the end-to-end journey online.

Though all of the major towns and cities in Poland are served by PKP InterCity's train services.

Our guide to using the PKP InterCity website to book tickets is available here.

Note that you don’t have to be traveling by an EIP service in order to book tickets online.

Travelling on local and Regional trains - outside Warsaw and its surrounding area:

The local and regional train services in most of Poland are provided by a separate entity named Polregio.

It operates, in association with the 16 regional governments, most of the local and stopping trains in Poland - as well as semi-fast trains which travel between regions linking the towns and cities.

Its services are branded 'Regio' and 'InterRegio' and they live up to their name as they don't travel such long-distances as the PKP InterCity trains.

However, when travelling between many towns and cities, particularly if you won't be travelling to/from Warszawa* -  the Polregio services are an alternative to taking the PKP InterCity trains.

*Polregio operates Inter-Regio services between Warszawa and Lodz, as does PKP.

You will also have a choice between taking PKP InterCity's TLK or IC services, OR Polregio's services on these other popular routes:
Poznan - Wroclaw
Poznan - Szczecin
Poznan - Torun
Krakow - Zakopane
Krakow - Katowice
Gdansk - Sopron - Gdynia

However, PKP Intercity does not sell tickets for the Polregio services, so when checking departure times and booking tickets, the best option is to look up the journeys on both the PKP InterCity AND Polregio websites.

Tickets for standard end-to-end journeys aren't discounted on the Polregio website, so they will cost the same if you book last minute at the station.

Taking a direct Polregio train service is generally cheaper than journeys with a change of train.


13 Things Worth Knowing About Booking Tickets on the PKP InterCity website:

(1) For journeys within Poland tickets become available 30 days ahead of the travel date – the international tickets which can be booked on PKP InterCity are generally available up to two months in advance.

(2) The PKP InterCity website also sell tickets for direct international journeys by day and night trains on these routes

(i) Warszawa – Poznan – Frankfurt (Oder) – Berlin
(ii) Warszawa – Katowice – Vienna/Wien
(iii) Warszawa – Moscow

No other international train journeys/routes can be booked with PKP InterCity.

(3) All prices are shown in Polish zloty; (zl) 100zl = approx €23.

(4) Foreign nationals can book on PKP InterCity.

(5) When you look up a journey within Poland, you will only see* two prices per departure, a 1st class price and a 2nd class price.

There is no choice of different types of tickets, you will automatically be offered only the cheapest price available on each departure that you choose.

Though you don't need to be concerned about whether there are other tickets, with different terms and conditions re: refunds and exchange etc.

*The PKP InterCity booking system can be quirky, the ticket prices tend to be automatically shown for some departures and not others - though you can see the prices of those other departures if you click on them.

Hence our guide to using the PKP InterCity website.

(6) Prices are cheaper the further ahead you can book, which is why it’s persevering with making an online booking.

The discounted tickets are Promo tickets, but you don't have to specifically select them, you will automatically be offered the cheapest possible price for your journey.

However, a sliding scale of prices is applied to these Promo tickets, so you'll make bigger savings the further ahead you can book.

You’re more likely to make significant savings of around 50% if you book ahead for 1st class tickets for the EIP and EIC services.
For example, if you want to take an EIP train from Warsaw/Warszawa to Krakow and travel in 1st class, you can save more than 120 zl (approximately €26) by booking around three weeks ahead.

Having looked up more than 100 journeys it seems as though 2nd class tickets can typically be around one third cheaper if you book in advance - no matter which of the type of train service you want to travel by.

Though there is no absolute rule for this, PKP InterCity doesn’t seemingly apply specific terms and conditions governing how much you will save.

Tickets are also seemingly less likely to be discounted if you want to travel 1st class on IC and TLK services.

(7) PKP InterCity does also offers specific discounts on the ticket prices, but these are dependent on who is making the journey – and as far as we glean you don’t have to be a Polish national to qualify for these discounts, which include:

- 100% off the ticket price for children aged three and under

- 30% off the ticket price for ‘Seniors’, people aged 60 and over

- 37% off the ticket price for children aged four and over*

*We’ve looked in vain for the upper age limits which apply to these tickets, but we’re fairly certain that if the individual is aged under 24 AND still in full-time education, they meet the criteria.

(8) Seat reservations are complimentary when booking tickets for any of the four services sold by PKP InterCity– your seat(s) will be assigned when booking.

You can also opt choose window or aisle seats, and whether to sit in an open-plan coach/carriage and whether you want to sit at a table, or seats in a compartment (if available).

There is also the opportunity to select wheelchair spaces

You can’t choose a forward-facing seat(s), but you can choose a specific seat on the train - though this is likely to be of use to only regular travellers.

More info about how to choose seats is available on the guide to how book tickets on the PKP InterCity website.

(9) Because your seat(s) will be assigned when purchasing, your tickets will be specific to the departure you selected when booking.

You can exchange your tickets to a different departure - in effect your original purchase will be automatically be refunded and you will be charged for your newly selected ticket(s).

Meaning that if the price of your newly selected departure is higher than the ticket you originally booked, you’ll in effect be paying the difference in price between the two tickets.

Keeping in mind that prices are likely to have risen after you made your initial booking.

(10) You don’t have to register to purchase, you can make a ‘guest booking’ - but if you register you'll have access to your personal account, which you can use to manage your booking.

For example, you'll need access to your account if you want to exchange or refund your tickets online.

(11) If you have booked tickets for a journey within Poland, you can apply for a full refund either online or at the station up to 15mins before departure.

(12) Tickets will be sent via email, they will be attached as a PDF.

If you will be making a journey within Poland, you can either save this PDF document to your phone/mobile device – making sure you will be able to show the PDF to the conductor on the train.

Or you can print if off and take it with you.

Although, if you have booked an international journey on PKP InterCity you MUST print off the ticket and take it with you, it won’t be valid if you only save it to your mobile device.

(13) Bikes can be taken on any PKP InterCity train including the EIC, EIP and TLK trains, but a bike ticket is required for any train journey and are sold at a flat rate of PLN 9.10.
More info is available here on our guide to taking bikes on to European trains.

Using Rail Passes on Polish express trains:

Travelling in Poland with an InterRail, Eurail or European East pass has recently become a lot simpler.

Rail pass users can hop on the Polregio services  but because ticket purchasers are automatically assigned seats on the four PKP services – EIP, EIC, IC and TLK, rail pass users need to reserve seats prior to boarding these trains.

However, these seat reservations cannot be booked online on the PKP website.

If you want to travel by an EIC, IC or TLK train service, you can obtain these reservations at a station ticket desk, but you won’t be charged for them.

So, as you no longer have to pay a premium to travel by the superior EIC trains, it’s worth checking to see if those services are available on the route you wish to take – and if they are, target those trains, if the departure/arrival times suit.

It’s a good idea to book these reservations when you first arrive at a Polish station, if you book them at the last minute, you’ll risk having to book against the clock – you’ll need to have made the reservation 15 mins before departure, and there’s a small risk of the seats being sold out on your first choice of train.

Using rail passes on the EIP trains:

Booking reservations for the EIP services is different, whether you have a 1st or 2nd class rail pass, you will be charged a reservation fee of the equivalent of €10 per person to travel by these trains.

If you have a 1st class pass, your reservation will include the complimentary drinks and light meals, which are served to 1st class ticket holders on the EIP trains.

In Poland you have to purchase these EIP reservations at a ticket desk at a Polish station, at least 15 mins before your train is due to depart.

Although there is a small risk, that by the time you arrive in Poland, seats will be sold out on your first choice of departure.

You can purchase the reservations for the EIP trains before you arrive in Poland, either online with the Eurail or InterRail reservation service, or at a Reisezentrum travel desk at a major station in Germany.

You can therefore ensure your seat(s) on your chosen EIP departure before you arrive in Poland, but you will need to have your reservations re-issued at a Polish train station, retaining the same seat(s) you have booked.

However, you will be charged the equivalent of €10 for the re-issue, so will in effect pay for the reservation twice over.

Or if you board the train and take up the seats you have reserved outside of Poland, the conductor on the train will re-charge you for the reservation.

Using Rail Passes on trains to/from Poland:

Rail pass users must pay reservation fees before boarding both the daytime express trains to and from Poland, the EC trains*, and on the international overnight trains.

*According to the Eurail and InterRail websites, the reservation fees still apply to international journeys by the EC trains, despite fees no longer being charged to travel by these trains for domestic journeys within Poland – and in the neighbouring countries that they travel through.

These rail pass reservations for the day and night trains cannot be booked on the PKP website, but they can be booked at:

(i) stations in Poland
(ii) on the 
Eurail or InterRail reservation services – though booking fees will be payable
(iii) at a Reisezentrum travel desk at a hauptbahnhof, the city centre stations in Germany
(iv) for journeys to/from Austria – the daytime trains can be booked on the OBB website - we show you how to do this here.
(v) for journeys to/from Czechia – both the day and night trains can be booked on the CD website - we show you how to do this here.
(vi) the EC trains to/from Germany can be booked on the DB website - we show you how to do this here.

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Rail Passes

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