For all those Wroclawians keen to do a trip on a budget, we're kicking off a series of articles dedicated to travel. In this first piece, the brilliant Euro Nysa train ticket is getting some well deserved attention.
What is the Euro Nysa ticket?
Costing just 25zl, this ticket can be used an unlimited amount of times on the date printed on the ticket. The possible savings are so great that even on a casual day-trip you can easily save yourself over 100zl. Should you be willing start your day early enough and use it more, you can even save yourself a sum far greater than that.
The ticket is valid on almost all routes covering the area where the borders of Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic meet. If you travel west, the ticket becomes active at Bolesławiec and allows you to travel as far as Bischofswerda, where the German Zvon zone ends. If you head south-east towards the Czech border, the ticket is valid from Jelenia Góra and allows travel over the border to anywhere in the Liberec region.
How can you buy one?
The tickets can be bought up to two days in advance at Wroclaw train station, as well as a select number of other participating stations. Please be aware however that the lower 25zl ticket price applies when bought here in Poland (In Germany the fee is higher). If you are traveling in a group of 4-5 people, there is also a 75zl group ticket that offers even greater value. On top of that, cyclists can take their bike with them on the train for a further 10zl.
A ticket to Bolesławiec or Jelenia Góra is required too of course, as the Euro Nysa doesn't cover the first part of the journey from Wroclaw. Even so, there are promotions such as Koleje Dolnośląskie's weekend offer for that. The regional train operator have a cracking 35zl all weekend ticket that's valid from 6pm on Friday until midnight on Sunday, with the validity period often extended for long weekends and public holidays.
How can I best use the ticket?
Take a ride on the Saxony Steam Railway
One of the best ways to get the full value of your ticket is to travel to the German border town of Zittau, where you can embark on a touristic steam railway journey to the quaint and pretty mountain village of Oybin. Despite the steam railway costing 16 euros for a day ticket, Euro Nysa ticket holders can get to Oybin and back again for free. It's a cracking bargain and the return trip is easily worth the 25zl Euro Nysa price alone.
The journey is popular with people of all ages and is great fun when the sun is shining and it's warm enough to take a seat in the train's open air carriage. You can even grab yourself a local beer on the train ride too. Oybin is a picturesque place as well, which certainly adds to the charm of the trip. Once there you can have a walk around the beautiful green areas surrounding the village, or perhaps pop into a bar or restaurant for some local food.
The journey from Wroclaw Glowny to Oybin takes around 4.5 to 5 hours (including the 40 minute steam rail journey) depending on how timely the connections are between trains. That admittedly is a bit much for a day trip though, so it may be a better bet to stay the night somewhere in the region instead (as in our next suggestion).
You can find the timetable for the steam railway here.
Spend the night in Liberec and take the cable car to Ještěd
Once back in Zittau you can take a 40 minute train ride into the Czech city of Liberec, where visitors can enjoy great views as well as affordable dining and accommodation.
The undulating city is close to Ještěd, a mountain viewpoint that provides a terrific panorama of three countries. Hill-walking and mountain enthusiasts will quite rightly claim the view is best enjoyed after reaching the summit on foot, however those with less energy or time on their hands can take advantage of the cable car that runs right to the very top. A return ticket for the cable car costs about 50zl, but as usual the Euro Nysa comes up trumps again as you can use it here too (although there is now a measly 6zl reservation fee to be paid).
Stop off in Görlitz/Zgorzelec on the way home
If you still have enough time available on your trip, the towns of Görlitz and Zgorzelec, which are divided only by the river that marks the border between Germany and Poland, are other Euro Nysa locations worthy of consideration.
Görlitz is considered by many to be Germany's prettiest "town", and given its abundance of historic architecture and elegant market squares, it's easy to see why. On Sundays the place can feel a little bit of a ghost-town due to most the shops being closed, but that doesn't hinder you from enjoying Görlitz's local charms.
Prices in Görlitz's bars and restaurants are understandably higher than back here in Wroclaw, however you can easily save yourself a few bob by following many of the German locals over the bridge to eat at one of Zgorzelec's riverside venues. From there you can either take the tram back to the station with your Euro-Nysa ticket (although it isn't far on foot), or take the bus to Zgorzelec station (again with your Euro Nysa ticket). From there the trains run back to Wroclaw or to Węgliniec, where there are connecting services to Wroclaw.
There are plenty of other attractive locations you can visit with the Euro Nysa ticket, and you can find info and videos about a number of them on the Euro Nysa website.