For our trip from Dresden to Wroclaw and then on to Krakow, I first looked at renting a car in Germany and returning it in Poland. Only a few car rental companies allow a one-way that ends in Poland and the fees were prohibitive. It is just 150 miles for each leg but airfares were also exorbitant and with connections it would take us 12 hours. Enter FlixBus – a major operator of long-haul buses in Germany and it ‘codeshares’ with PolskiBus on a number of routes (there might even be an equity connection).
The schedule for both routes opened six months out and I was able to book the Dresden to Wroclaw leg for EUR 10 each and the Wroclaw to Krakow leg for just EUR 3 per person. Bearing in mind that each ride was about 150 miles, I thought these were amazing prices!
The bus showed up in Dresden at exactly 15 minutes prior to departure. It was already half full and just half a dozen people joined us for this ride early in the morning.
There is a huge animosity between East Germans and Polish people. I could hardly find any companies that go to Poland much, even though both countries have an excellent motorway connection now, with Germany’s Autobahn and Poland’s autostrada.
The FlixBus came with plush leather seats, super-fast WiFi and a super-strong AC (too strong for the balmy morning temperatures, though). I liked that there was no noise and also no real announcements. The driver told us about the direction he was going (we checked that already when showing our tickets) and let everyone sleep until a few minutes from our destination.
The bus departs from the main train station in Dresden and drops you at the main bus station in Wroclaw, which is right next to the train station.
I’m always a little hesitant about booking buses as many drivers are maniacs and think they can easily go twice the speed limit. This was bad on our ride to Victoria Falls and on my bus travel from Seoul to Busan. Not this time, though – the driver was as cautious as I would be driving such a huge vehicle.
There was no drinks service but there may have been the option to buy them downstairs – we never ventured there. 10 minutes before our scheduled arrival, we were at Wroclaw’s train station.
The ride from Wroclaw to Krakow was operated by a very similar bus; however, this time the WiFi even allowed video streaming (which had been restricted by the router before) and seemed even faster. Unfortunately though, this driver was much faster and raced too much for my taste.
For the distances involved, bus travel in Eastern Europe and Germany is unbeatable. It is comfortable, keeps you productive and is safe and cheap. Who needs trains and planes?