Last updated: 03:58 PM ET, Tue August 09 2016

Riding The Rails In Poland

Eurail pass provides travelers convenient access to the country's myriad culturally rich cities

Vacation Agent | Car Rental & Rail | Olivia Balsinger

Riding The Rails In Poland

PHOTO: Warsaw's Old Town.

Since its founding in 1959, Eurail has virtually perfected the train travel experience throughout the European continent. Now synonymous with borderless travel, Eurail lets pass holders travel throughout 28 participating countries, which increasingly includes Eastern European nations.

Poland is one of the newest additions to this list of countries, along with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. Now that it’s more accessible to the everyday traveler, Eastern Europe is no longer a blur on the map. Eurail recommends these countries as a more budget-friendly option.

“We look to encourage our customers to discover all that Europe has to offer,” says Silva Görlach, Eurail’s sales and marketing manager. “While grand capital cities are perpetually popular, one of the benefits of having free extra days is that is allows visitors time to add smaller, off-the-beaten-track towns to itineraries and live like a local, experiencing Europe beyond the usual hotspots.”

Poland’s rail system provides travelers with a way in which to access the country’s historically rich cities while providing glimpses of scenic countryside en route. The Polish trains, however, are not yet quite on the same level as those in countries like France or Switzerland, as discovered on a recent trip: The outdated airconditioning system struggled to cool the air, while huge crowds of passengers pushed and competed to find seats. The arrival times listed sometimes appeared to be more like suggestions than a firm schedule.

Nonetheless, rail travel provides smooth transport to such destinations as Krakow. Trains traverse the rolling hills and occasional mountains of the Polish countryside before arriving in the city’s train station, completed in 2006. This station stands next to its predecessor, which survived World War II, serving as a reminder to the atrocities of the war and all the tragedies reaped on the city.

Krakow was one of the few Polish cities to survive the destruction of Nazi-occupied Europe because the Germans claimed it their capital over Warsaw. Despite its physical preservation, only seven of the 90 original synagogues stand today.

Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory, made famous by the award-winning film “Schindler’s List,” is now a museum. The permanent exhibit portrays the German entrepreneur and how he saved the lives of more than 1,000 Krakow Jews during the Nazi occupation of 1939-45.

READ MORE: Eurail’s Amazing New Deals for US Travel Agents 

Landmarks such as these have long defined the tourism experience in Poland. One rail route operated by the national railway company PKP transports travelers from Krakow to Auschwitz-Birknau in about 78 minutes.

Warsaw, the country’s capital, is a city determined to combat the negatives of its devastating past. Despite the poverty and limitations on freedom that immediately followed the end of the war, reconstructions of monuments soon came to follow. One such monument is the opulent Royal Castle. Located at the entrance to Old Town Warsaw, the Royal Castle dates to the 14th century and was bombed more than once during World War II. However, works of art were salvaged and the structure restored.

Another must-see Polish destination to recommend to your clients is Wroclaw, which was proclaimed a 2016 European Capital of Culture along with San Sebastian, Spain, and for valid reasons. It is home to 135 bridges and a fairytalelike Market Square lined with buildings that look like they rose from one of Walt Disney’s storyboards. That’s why it is sometimes called the “Venice of Poland” and “The Magical City.”

Clients have the ability to customize their Eurail journeys. Trains in most countries that offer the Eurail Pass provide both first- and second-class options, though there are a few that offer no class distinction.

While both classes provide premium service and quality, the major distinction is that first class tends to have larger, more comfortable seats with greater legroom and luggage space. Additionally, some high-speed trains provide first-class passengers with complimentary drinks and snacks, newspapers, wireless Internet connections and power sockets. Clients who purchase a first-class pass may also travel in second-class cars.

For more information on Eurail’s Poland passes, visit 


Eurail passes are valid on all trains operated by Poland’s national railway company, PKP/PKP Intercity JSC.

The Eurail Global Pass enables travelers to visit up to 27 Eurail countries, including Poland. Rates start at $351.

The Eurail Germany-Poland Pass provides travelers access to cities that include Krakow and Warsaw, and Berlin and Cologne in Germany. Rates start at $228.

Rates for the Eurail Poland Pass, for travel solely in Poland, start at $71.

The two largest general sales agents for Eurail are Rail Europe and ACP Rail International.


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Vacation Agent Magazine

A version of this article appears in print in the August 2016 issue of Vacation Agent Magazine.