In our next travel hacks article we're looking at international train offers that can get you not only to neighbouring countries, but also destinations as distant as Malmo or Luxembourg.
Check out our guide and start saving yourself some dosh:
The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria
There is no direct Eurocity style to train to Prague, but it is still possible to travel their by train. Unfortunately things have become a little more complex than they used to be. Previously, you only needed to change trains once at the eerily quiet Usti Nad Orlici station nearby Pardubice. Now, someone unfathomably, the direct trains to Usti Nad Orlici are gone and may not return until 2019.
As it stands, you need to take a train Lichkov and then wait around an hour for the next train to Usti Nad Orlici. This isn't the end of the world if you are travelling later in the afternoon, as you kill time in Lichkov's train station pub. However if you are travelling in the morning it just does nothing other than add an hour to you journey time. Hopefully this will change soon.
To buy tickets for the train to Prague or elsewhere in the Czech Republic, you should in theory go to the international ticket office in Wrocław Glowny, where they'll probably give you a spiel on one of PKP or Inter Regio's offers. You can nontheless save yourself time and money by bypassing these offers and buying printable tickets online via Czech rail's website. It is not as complicated as it looks, as I shall explain.
First all, you need to buy a ticket to the border town Międzylesie, which costs just under 24zl. This ticket can be bought online or at any regular window in the train station.
Next, head to the Czech Rail website and choose Lichkov as the starting station and then input your destination (e.g Prague). A ticket from the border to Prague costs 261 crowns, which is around 42zl. The only other fee necessary is the 8zl border crossing ticket, although you many not even need to pay that as some conductors are oblivious to the fact the fee actually exists (or they just get off at the border).
The route down to Usti Nad Orlici allows you to change trains and pretty much travel anywhere in the country. The other practical train route into the Czech Republic from Wrocław actually goes through Germany first, with Liberec your likely destination. You can get cheap rail tickets there by taking advantage of the Euro Nysa offer, which was mentioned in our previous article.
The ability to buy tickets for the Czech Republic online brings a lot of ease of travel. You can plan your trip ahead without wondering if you'll be able to buy one correctly over the counter in Czech, and you can even buy tickets to Bratislava (which cost 49zl) and Vienna (priced between 84zl – 128zl) using the service too. You must remember two important things however: the first is of course to bring the document you used as ID for your printed ticket, and the second is to not fold the barcode that the conductor must scan.
When it comes to the return journey from The Czech Republic or Slovakia, just repeat the process. If you travel to Vienna however, you'll need to get yourself a 19 or 24 euros sparday promotion to Prague from the Austrian Rail website as well as purchasing your Czech and Polish tickets.
For those living elsewhere in Poland, PKP also have offer for those departing from Krakow and Warsaw (tickets can be purchased at the international desk at the station):
To get to Budapest via train during the day, simply use the same method above and buy a ticket from Lichkov to Budapest using the Czech Rail website (prices vary around the 20 euros mark). For the return journey, you can order a 19 euros ticket from Budapest to Prague on the Hungarian Rail website (the ticket is not printable, you pick it up at the station). Then buy your return journey via the Czech and Polish websites as mentioned earlier.
Alternatively, you can go via Krakow and get yourself a ticket on the sleeper train. The offer is explained below in this snapshot from the PKP website (tickets can be purchased at the international desk at the station):
To get to the border area of Germany, use the Euro-Nysa offer that we wrote about last week in our first travel hacks article.
For a trip to Dresden, Koleje Dolnośląskie do a special day return for 109zl and a normal return for 139zl. For those travelling in groups, a group ticket allowing travel for 5 persons can also be purchased for 299zl.
If you are travelling to Berlin at the weekend Koleje Dolnośląskie's 'culture train' is another option. Tickets for that cost the equivalent of 19 euros.
To get to Berlin or elsewhere in Germany, Deutsche Bahn do a number of promotional tickets too – these are explained in the image below and can be booked online:
Denmark, Sweden, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg
Yes, it is a little bit bonkers – but if you can face a 13 hour train journey you can travel from Wroclaw via train to places as far afield as Zurich or Paris. The prices are not mega cheap either, but some of the promotions are very reasonable when you consider the quality of the trains and the distances involved.
So, how is it possible? Using Deutsche Bahn's website it is possible to buy and print international tickets to numerous countries bordering Germany. Sometimes these international tickets cost as little as 39 euros. Then it's just a case of getting yourself a ticket to Görlitz, which is priced around 27zl. Most of the offers we found were 59 euros, but some return journeys cost just 39 (when doing your searching, be aware of offers titled "DB + abroad part" – these do not include the ticket from Görlitz to Cottbus).
All of these trips are pretty hardcore train journeys of course, and there are cheap flights to many of these places. That said, some travellers love rail journeys and if you have the time then why not?