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Requesting experience/insights- Overnight train or private car service: Prague to Krakow

mjm1

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I would appreciate any insights you can provide regarding experience taking the overnight train or a private car service from Prague to Krakow.

My DW and I will be making this particular segment of our trip in late May, 2020. Flying between these two cities doesn't appear to be a good option as the best flight is on LOT Airlines with only a 30 minute layover in Warsaw. The fare is great (less than $100) but we generally don't like such short layovers, especially in a foreign city.

The overnight train departs at 10:15pm and arrives at 6:22am the next day (8 hours and 7 minutes). We would get a deluxe sleeper for just the two of us. I understand it has a private bathroom. The fare appears to total approximately $125 (2,808 CZK) for the two of us. If we choose this option, we would not need a hotel in Prague for that night (approximately $400 for where we are staying).

Another alternative is to day a private car service that would take approximately 5 hours 20 minutes and would cost approximately $394 (352 Euros). They can also stop at sites on the way, which we would likely do at Auschwitz for a small additional fee. This would save us time in making a side trip from Krakow as well.

From a pure cost perspective, taking the night train and not staying in Prague an extra night is clearly the best. However, we have never tried to sleep on a train (we have traveled by train in Europe several times). Any insights you can provide about your experiences, and what choice you would make, would be appreciated.

Best regards.

Mike
 
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elaine

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We have taken the autotrain from DC-Orlando many times and found it fine in a roomette, so we're used to night trains.
We took a night train from Verona to Salzburg. It was awful. We had a couchette for 4 persons-us and our teens. AC was marginal. Train bumpy. Could not couple with changed train in Villach. 2 hours late. If we didn't have the coupling issues (moving back and forth every 5 minutes for 2 hours banging into other train to "click into" other hinge), it still would not have been very good, given the bumpiness and warm conditions. The German train BAHN did refund 50% of fare due to lateness policy. We went straight to hotel, which had a room for us at 8:30am, took a shower and took a 3 hour nap!
The meh AC, bumpiness, and tiredness when arriving has been discussed on Rick Steves, online etc. from other night riders, so we went in knowing this--but I also experienced first hand. Would have to think twice about a night train again, esp. in summer.
 

Synergy

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We took an overnight train (Nightjet) from Munich to Cologne. It was about $200 for the two of us to get a private sleeper car, which was about breakeven over a flight or bus plus hotel. In your case, where it's actually a significant savings, I'd do it in a heartbeat. The cabin was tiny but efficient, but one of us did need to climb a ladder. If that's not a problem, I think that's a great option especially for the price.
 

Jimster

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I took the overnight train from Prague to Krakow 2 years ago. The same train you are asking about. We had a compartment to ourselves where the seats convert to berths. It had its own sink but NOT a private toilet. I don’t think any have a private toilet. I got the upper berth. I am big and it was small. For the first couple of hours i kept worrying about falling out of it and crunching my head on the sink about 5 feet below. Finally, i wedged myself in better and i did get some sleep.

The other thing i would mention is that as we started to get into Krakow no announcement was made and we almost got off at the wrong stop. Just wait until it finally ends in the terminal. The terminal itself was quite nice and there were even a few shops open at that time. You will find Krakow to be a lovely city. I enjoyed it very much. It is about an hour drive to Auschwitz if that is on your itinerary. I hired a private driver for that and i dont regret it. I stayed at Crystal Suites Old Town which was very nice and close to town center. Tbe best part was i asked if i could leave my bags there until i could check in.(have you thought about that??). The doorman said my room had not been rented the night before and he handed me the keys. I am not sure everywhere would be so accommodating. Feel free to PM me if you wish.
 

mjm1

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Thank you all. After discussing it further we decided to reserve a less expensive hotel in Prague and reserve a private car to take us to Krakow. We enjoy traveling around Europe on trains, but decided not to try sleeping on one.

Best regards.

Mike
 
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