Making a Connection

Getting to one of Europe’s oldest cities gets easier

By: Susan James

The Eurail pass has been a tried and true way to travel through Europe for decades. However, Poland, one of the continent’s hottest destinations, is not part of the Eurail family of nations. Considering the problem, the Polish Tourist Office has interfaced with the German Tourist Office and Rail Europe to come up with a network of point-to-point train links that allow tourists an easy visit. Added to the popular connections between Vienna and Krakow, which allows Poland is now more accessible than ever.

An advantage of taking the train is that it cuts travel costs. A first-class seat from Berlin to Krakow, allowing free overnight stops at historic cities such as Wroclaw (formerly Breslau), is only $102. With a city travel pass offered at most major destinations, travelling to the railway station is free.

Compared to an expensive scramble to get to a distant airport and the additional expense of getting from the arrival airport to the hotel, training from point-to-point is leisurely and luxurious. First-class train cars are rarely crowded, invariably have a restaurant car attached, and offer far more comfortable seating than most tourist-class airline seats.

The Inner-City Sobieski Express leaves Vienna at 7:08 a.m. and arrives six hours later in Krakow. For $106 first class, clients can read a book, watch the world go by their window, or doze in leather seats.

From Krakow, the Inner-City Wawel Express (departing at 8:39 a.m.) takes four hours to reach the historic town of Wroclaw.

Wroclaw suffered heavy damage during World War II, but its two central squares, Rynek and Solny, have been rebuilt in all their former glory.

Baroque and Renaissance styles mingle in the architecture of tall, narrow-fronted houses built by old Wroclaw’s wealthy fur merchants, and while the city’s great Cathedral Island, with its cluster of ancient churches, is another draw for visitors. An elevator in the cathedral tower takes visitors to a platform with a splendid 360-degree view of the city. Clients can purchase a train ticket on the Wawel Express from Krakow to Berlin and get to Wroclaw or any other city along the route for free.

For more extended trips, a German Rail Pass offers clients a variety of choices beyond Berlin. The NightLine Inner-City sleeper to Munich (first class, $260) is a good buy, as it allows them to save money on a hotel room and travel time as well as departing in the early evening from Berlin and arriving in the early morning at Munich.

While point-to-point is still the most efficient way to see Poland from a German entry city, a Polish Rail Pass became available this year and can be purchased at (The travel agent site is http:agent.


German National Tourist Office, Los Angeles
501 Santa Monica Blvd,
Suite 607
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Polish National Tourist Office
5 Marine View Plaza
Hoboken, NJ 07030

Rail Europe
877-257-2887 (in the U.S.)