Courtesy of 3 Bros Hostel in Cieszyn:
Traveling through Eastern Europe seems to be an easy thing. There are a lot of direct trains connecting the most popular tourist destinations such as Krakow, Prague, Budapest and Vienna. Ticket prices may seem quite reasonable for foreign western tourists, however for Eastern European standards they are extremely expensive. It’s possible to save a lot of money and maintain (or increase!) the comfort of travel.
In a past there were 2 direct trains from Krakow to Budapest/Budapest to Krakow. However the standard of travel was close to be acceptable, it was the most popular way to get to Budapest/Krakow. There is just one night train from Budapest to Krakow at the moment (number of trains was probably reduced due to poor financial condition of the polish public railways). Travel takes ages and it is not cheap.
Instead of train you can choose one of two bus companies (Orangeways http://orangeways.com/en or Eurolines http://www.eurolines.pl/en/home-page ). Tickets are twice as cheap and it takes just 7-8 hours to get to the next destination. Unfortunately the bus only leaves a few days each week – not every day.
Same story with connections: Krakow-Vienna. The train is quite comfortable, but much more expensive than a bus (http://www.eurolines.pl/en/home-page ).
You can also get a bus ticket from Krakow to Prague/Prague to Krakow, but it doesn’t leave very frequently, just 2-3 days a week. Direct trains are extremely expensive (60-70 Euros!), so travelling through Cieszyn (a border city) is becoming a more popular way to get from Prague to Krakow/Krakow to Prague. Starting from Krakow, you simply need to catch a bus from Krakow Main Bus Station to Cieszyn. Buses runs every hour (except the night time – last one departs around 10 pm and the first one around 6 am). It takes about 3 hours to get to Cieszyn and regular ticket costs approx. 5 Euros. After arrival, there is about a 20 minute walk from the Polish to the Czech part of the same city, called now Cesky Tesin (yeah, both Polish and Czech variations are so difficult to pronounce…). From the train station in Cesky Tesin, depart a lot of trains to Prague. Just don’t forget to exchange money – for train tickets you need to pay in Czech Korunas. Catch train (ticket costs around 16 Euros), relax for about 4 hours, and finally you’re in Prague! So simple, so fast, so cheap!
For any detailed information about your travel – you can check the new Cieszyn 3 Bros Hostel’s website – they’ve got all the important information (timetables, directions) on: http://3broshostel.com/en/how-to-get-there
Other connections seem to be bit easier.
If you really enjoy trains – do not hesitate to take the one from Prague to Bratislava/Bratislava to Prague. The price is more than reasonable, and trains are comfortable.
Generally, Czech but also Slovakian railways are quite good and cheap, as compared to Polish and Hungarian ones.
Enjoy your travel!