Having spent lot of my time in Banska Bystrica and in Slovakia in general, and having travelled a lot to Poland and Krakow in particular, I might have some travelling tips for You. First one - the connection is really bad, if you don't have a car). Banska Bystrica, being, in the middle of the route between Krakow and Budapest, unfortunately now, is out of business. Some years ago, there was a Hungarian company which served this way via Banska, but now it’s gone, for some reasons. The company is called "Orange Ways". The good thing, is that it has buses from Budapest to Krakow, for a relatively cheap price (around 25 euros).
Well, even if you don't have your own car, there is still an option to travel via this mean of transport. How? By using service called "blablacar.pl". How does it work? How would you feel travelling alone on the road for 4-5 hours? Rather sad, right? But what if You get a travel companion/s, who will also pay You some amount of money and with whom you could have a lovely conversation? Sounds better, doesn't it?
So the concept as you see is pretty easy - driver posts the offer, puts time and price, and you can surf through possible variants. As mentioned above, Banska is situated in the middle of the route between two amazing cities of Krakow and Budapest, so the traffic is quite busy over there. If you are lucky enough you will find a car quite easily. Actually, we can call this service some sort of paid hitchhiking, and yes, the beauty and romance of it is kinda lost, but at least you are certain you will get to the place you need in time, fast and for a rather low fee. Something you need that in Your travel plans.
If you prefer going with buses, or somehow it fits better to your plans, there are still some options available for You. Though, it is takes longer to get there, but rather cheap as well.
The route number one is
"Banska Bystrica - Poprad - Lysa Polana (former state boarder) - Zakopane - Krakow"
If we talk numbers - around 9 hours and 11 euros. Yeap, 9 hours, and 2 of them is devoted to waiting. "Patience, my young padawan!". Start a book, think about your life or simply explore the surroundings.
So, first thing you do is you visit
and check the desired timetable of departure. It has some options, but be careful, and also check when is the bus from Poprad to Lysa Polana going, so You will not have to wait a lot of time. I personally recommend taking bus in early morning, so at 14 or 15 You are in Krakow.
The bus from Banska to Poprad goes for two hours. There you have to wait one hour in the bus station in Poprad. Luckily they have free Wi-Fi there, so you will not be bored and out of the web. If you prefer other time killing, you can wonder around the city for a while. From the platform number 4, you will have a bus going to the former state boarder. On your way, you will most certainly enjoy the beauty of Tatra mountains. Once you are there, you go 200 meters in the direction of Polish side (you will see the signs), and once crossed a little bridge, you go right, to the bus stop. There...you have to wait. The time depends. The thing is, that this road is on the way to Morskie Oko, a very beautiful lake, situated in the national park. During the tourist season, there are lots of buses coming there, but sometimes you will have to wait for it quite long (maximum two hours). Sounds kinda sad, I know, but that's the stupidity of transport connection over there. Though I was lucky sometimes to directly hop in the coming bus to Zakopane (it deliveres You to bus and train stations). Once you are there, your life gets easier, as there are buses going to Krakow, every 20-30 minutes, and their price is 15 zlotych (Polish currency). It takes around 2,5 hours to get to Krakow. All the tickets can be bought with the drivers.
Choice number two. Not my favorite one, but possible with some combinations,
"Banska Bystrica - Tvrdosin - Trstena - Sucha Hora - Chocholow - Zakopane(Nowy Targ) - Krakow"
again you have to use
There is bus at 6.55 via which, you will reach Trstena in 3 hours. From there you need to take bus to Sucha Hora which is quite regular, and spends around 25 minutes in the road. There the fun part begins, as You have to walk around 3 km, to the bus stop. The bus from there is less regular then from Morskie Oko, but You have better option to get there to Nowy Targ, which is closer to Krakow, and You don't have to make a big loop, if deciding to go to Zakopane. If played right, this route is faster, and in 6 hours you can be in Krakow. The price is almost the same - up to 15 euros. I recommend having ISIC card with you, so you can be liable for the discounts. You can also get to Trstena by trains via Vrutky, but it takes You longer time. All the tickets are available with the drivers as well.
Trains. Well, not a pretty picture here again. Using the portal www.cp.sk, you might see, that there are some options available, which in time takes around 10 hours, and will cost you quite a lot. Up to 30 euros. Personally I don't recommend using it.
Another tip for You, is to try getting to Katowice. Quick options are available from Bratislava and buses. Page www.polskibus.com might help You with that. You might also check www.studentagency.sk, it can help You plan Your trip better.
Hope it was helpful for You!
Enjoy the road!
Enjoy the road!