Warsaw Transportation Tips by Dabs
Warsaw Transportation: 209 reviews and 226 photos
We used the buses and trams quite frequently during our 3 day stay so we purchased a 3 day transport pass from the Relay shop in the central train station. It's activated once you validate it upon 1st use, there are machines to validate your ticket on the bus. The current cost is 16zl (around $5US) for 3 days, 9zl for 1 day.
By the time we left we were getting quite good at figuring out where the buses and trams went, the schedules posted at the bus/tram stops list the name of the stop and they also list when the bus or tram turns onto another street. In the attached photo of the schedule, the stop you are at is highlighted in black, on the side is the number of minutes to the next stops, the name in capital letters without numbers next to them designate that the bus will turn onto that street.
LOT is the Polish national airline and came up with the cheapest fare from Chicago and I was doubly excited that adding the leg from Lviv to Warsaw actually made the ticket cheaper than a round trip from Krakow. On the day of travel, however, I became a lot less enthused about this airline. A 1 1/2 hour delay leaving Chicago, jammed into a seat only big enough for my left thigh for 9 hours, 2 parentless boys kicking the back of my chair and what is that crap they are trying to serve us for dinner? And why does breakfast look exactly the same as dinner?
But it just got better from there, the flight staff so reassuring that we won't have a problem with our connecting flight that is scheduled to leave at exactly the same time that we are scheduled to land, I'm pretty sure the gist of it was that these kind of delays happen all the time and that they know how to handle them. We jog through the airport, tap our fingers impatiently as we wait for the communist era immigration employee to determine that we are fit to enter the country and arrive at the gate just to see the plane pulling. So they didn't hold the connecting flight for me or the other dozen or so passengers on our flight, there's no airline personnel to help us get on the next flight that is 40 minutes after ours (which ironically they did hold for connecting passengers).
We finally asked at the transit desk if there was some other way to get to Krakow besides waiting for another 6 hours at the airport and we were advised that we could take a train that would get us in at 9 pm instead of midnight like the flight. So we take the airline provided taxi voucher, collect our luggage and all is right with the world. Except that the taxi company on the voucher doesn't seem to exist and the clock is ticking, ticking, ticking.
I finally give up looking for the cab and offer $15 to a cab driver to drive us as fast as he can to the central station. We make it with 7 minutes to spare, no time to buy a ticket and just enough time to locate the platform and find a helpful American who exchanges some zloty for dollars in case we need it on board.
The ride from Lviv to Warsaw and Warsaw back to Chicago are uneventful, we come armed this time with salami sandwiches, chicken and cheese flavored chips and assorted other snacks because, yes, we get the same meal yet again. Mercifully the exit row seats are still open and we ride in comfort.
On our 2nd arrival into Warsaw, we opted to use the bus instead of a taxi to get us into town. Bus #175 goes from the airport to the central train station (Warszawa Centralna) from where we could have connected to a tram to our hotel although we walked.
There are multiple ticket options, a single use ticket from the airport to the center is currently 2.8zl (less than $1US), there are also timed tickets so you can connect and multiple day passes. You can purchase a ticket at the Relay shop in the airport, the signs are bright red and hard to miss.
No additional charge to bring luggage on board, make sure to validate your ticket once you get on the bus, there are machines on the posts throughout the bus.
Taking a train to Krakow wasn't part of our original plan but after our flight from Chicago arrived late and LOT didn't hold our connecting flight for us or the other dozen or so passengers on our flight, our options were to take a train and get into Krakow at 9pm or wait for the next available flight and get in around midnight, missing night one of the VT meeting. We arrived at the Central Station with about 7 minutes to spare, we knew we'd never get through the ticket line so we headed to the train where we confirmed with station staff that we could purchase a ticket on board. We also didn't have any Polish currency so a helpful American passenger traded us some USD for some Polish zloty and we hopped on the train. Turns out we didn't need it as the ticket agent carries around a portable credit card machine. For the two of us it was 227zl one way for a fast IC train.
Be sure to check the travel time, trains to Krakow take anywhere from 2 1/2 hours to about 5 hours, we almost got on the wrong train as two trains to Krakow were arriving on the same platform at the same time.
The IC trains are comfortable, the 2nd class compartment we were in didn't appear to have any required reservations and sat 6 to a compartment
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