The German capital city lies nearly 600km away from Krakow. So, going from Berlin to Krakow won’t be the shortest journey by land, but it can still be easily done in a single day. Since Germany is a neighbouring country to Poland, a trip from Berlin to Krakow is a frequent choice for travellers of all stripes – particularly backpackers. There are currently no direct flight routes from any of Berlin’s airports to Krakow. That means it’s largely down to either the train the bus or the car. Let’s see your options.
Ways to travel from Berlin to Krakow
Berlin to Krakow by sleeper train
Now…the elusive sleeper train from Berlin to Krakow is one that you have to hope is running. At the time of writing (Jan 2022) it seems to have stopped for the COVID pandemic. However, before restrictions were in place we know it was back on the menu as travelers were using it up until December 2019.
It leaves once a day throughout the peak season, though there might be a slimmer schedule between November and March. The departure is from Berlin Hauptbahnhof (the central station) at 6.43 pm. It begins as a joined-up mix of carriages that go to different parts of Europe, some to Warsaw, some to Zurich, and elsewhere. The key is to make sure you’re in the right carriage, which will break off somewhere in the night going Krakow bound.
You’ll either travel in sleeping berth compartments or seating compartments. You can purchase tickets online up to two months in advance. We’d definitely recommend doing that, because early-bought fares are usually around just €39 euro for a sleeping berth and €19 euro for a seat. The train arrives at Krakow’s central station at a very early time of 4.31 am.
Berlin to Krakow by direct train
Although it’s not the cheapest option, many folks say that there is no better way to travel around this part of Europe than by train. This particular journey is actually quite affordable and probably the most comfortable way to go of all the options on this list…
The only direct train from Berlin to Krakow is the PKP EuroCity connection run by Polish railways. It leaves the German capital at around 10.39am and takes just over 10 hours to complete the trip, getting into Krakow at about 8.51pm, although, in our experience, the connection often takes a little longer than that!
There’s some nice scenery to see along the way, especially as you pass the Oder River on the Germany-Poland border. The train itself is pretty modern and comfy, with both open-plan and six-seater compartments. Prices vary, but early-purchasers always get the best deal – you’re looking at about €27.90 in 2nd class if you manage to book at least 30 days in advance, but up to double that or more if you want to travel in 1st class.
Berlin to Krakow on indirect train
If you’d really rather avoid travelling by night and the single direct train from Berlin to Krakow doesn’t suit your schedule, you can travel to Warsaw on a comfy EuroCity (EC) train that takes about 5h40. There’s a later change to one of the many direct high-speed Pendolino trains down to Krakow in the Polish capital.
There’s not too much in the way of views, apart from the crossing through rural east Germany and then the farmlands of south Poland, which is nice. However, what this journey does let you do is get off and explore Warsaw for a few hours or days, depending on how much time you have.
The earliest EC train from Berlin to Warsaw is at just after 5am, which gets you in at 11am. There’s one more morning option at 9.39am and then three departures in the afternoon, with the latest leaving Berlin at after 5pm. The connections to the Pendolino trains should be easy, as there’s one virtually every hour and it’s Poland’s fastest type of locomotive, taking just a few hours to get you into the big K.
Berlin to Krakow by bus
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly (and, surprisingly, slightly faster option), you can choose one of the bus companies operating between Berlin and Krakow. One warning: It’s probably not the most comfortable way to travel. The bus journey is long and there is not much legroom on most coaches, although the modern vehicles do have good air con and recline.
The upside? You can travel by bus for as little as €14. Flixbus runs many times a day, leaving from either Berlin central bus station, Berlin Südkreuz or SXF airport, it takes about 8-8.30h.
Berlin to Krakow flights
As I mentioned before, there are currently no direct flights from Berlin to Krakow. However, there are many connecting routes available which would still make flying the fastest way of travelling. The quickest option is flying with LOT Polish Airlines via Warsaw with the shortest journey of around 3h25m.
There are also plenty of other airlines offering connecting flights from Berlin to Krakow. The cheapest seem to be easyJet (but they tend to be with long layovers and inconvenient detours in hubs like Milan or Brussels). Then there are the bargains with Eurowings, which offer quicker connections via Stuttgart or Düsseldorf.
Prices on flights from Berlin to Krakow vary immensely, but the cheapest start at around €60. Even though flying can technically seem like the quickest way to travel, you should still take into account the time it takes to get to and from the airports.
Berlin to Krakow by car
If you have access to a car, you could always opt to drive from Berlin to Krakow. We’re not going to lie – it’s a bit of a drive! Even though Google Maps says it takes about 6 hours, you should expect it to be more like 7 or 8 in total.
There is a motorway all the way, but not all of it is in pristine condition. Since Germany is known for its road quality, that side of the border is not a problem. It’s on the Polish side of the line that the ride gets a bit bumpy. However, the highway improves considerably after passing Wroclaw (where we’d definitely recommend a pitstop!).
Is there a direct train from Krakow to Berlin?
Yes, there’s one direct train that goes from Krakow to Berlin and the other way around. It’s a night train run by German railways (DB), which takes about 10 hours from start to finish. There’s only one per day and you might need to book tickets in advance if you want a sleeper compartment.
How much is a train from Berlin to Krakow
The day train from Berlin to Krakow costs just under €30/$32, but those prices are only on offer to those who book early, like more than 30 days before you’re due to leave. Prices can shoot up if you leave it later than that, to more than three times and even more if you want to travel first class.