Train from Prague / Train to Prague
If you are limited by the budget or you simply do not mind saving money at the expense of less comfort, the train travel provides relatively comfortable way to travel between Prague and all major cities in Europe. Of course trains are available both ways. There are day trains as well as night trains available. The train travel is not always the easiest or the cheapest though.
Content of this guide
I wrote this guide to cover the questions most people ask on various travel forums such as the TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, Rick Steves, Cruise Message Boards etc.. Following questions will be answered:
- What are the most popular cities to travel to/from Prague by train?
- Can I buy train tickets in advance?
- Where to buy the train tickets?
- Which are the official rail websites and which are the train ticket resellers?
- What is the travel time by train?
- How much does a train ticket cost?
- What are other ways of travel between Prague and European cities?
- What are the pro’s and con’s of the different ways to travel?
Most popular cities to travel to/from by direct train connections (to/from Prague)
Berlin, Bratislava, Brno, Budapest,
Cesky Krumlov, Cracow (Krakow),
Passau, Plzen (Pilsen),
Vienna (Wien), Vilshofen an der Donau,
Can I buy train tickets in advance?
Yes. BUT read more below.
Where to buy the train tickets?
There are three ways to buy train tickets.
- Buy the ticket at the train station on the day of the travel or a few days in advance
- Buy the ticket online through the official rail company (in advance)
- Buy the ticket through a reseller
How do I buy a ticket at the train station?
It is pretty simple as long as you can speak English or the local language. English is commonly used in Europe and all train station offer services in English as well as the local language. The clerks are trained sales people and their job is to sell you the ticket. It is very unlikely the clerk would not be willing to help. Although it can be a case time to time.
All you need to know is the name of the destination station. Typically the name of the station corresponds with the name of the destination, just the local language is used to call the “Main Train Station”:
- Czech: Main = Hlavní, Train = Vlakové, Station = Nádraží
- German: Haupt = Main, Bahn = Rail, Hof = Station (in fact it originally means courtyard), in both Germany and Austria German is the local language
- Hungary: you did not expect me to know this, did you? I found on google translator that “fő vasútállomás” means the Main train station, but each separate words were translated differently… Hungarian ain’t easy.
What are the official rail companies websites?
- Austrian railways: Oebb.at,
- Czech railways: cd.cz,
- Czech Regiojet: regiojet.cz, (provides both bus and train tickets / transportation)
- German railways: bahn.com
- Swiss railways: sbb.ch (I found it difficult to use the site)
Tip: All links point to the English version of the website. You can select a different language in the top-right-hand side.
Tip 2: Registering is optional, but it can be worth it. Registration can save time and later you can easily log in to see & reprint tickets.
Which are European train ticket resellers?
- Raileurope-world.com / Raileurope.com
Tip: According to various travel boards, it is recommended to avoid train ticket resellers. They simply do not provide any advantages compared to the official railway websites. RailEurope is often reported as scam (TripAdvisor, ResellerRatings).
Tip 2: If you have a good experience with the reseller, you can benefit from various loyalty coupons or promotions.
What is the travel time by train?
Below you can find a chart of the train travel times:
- Train travel time between Prague and Berlin – 4 hours 20 minutes – direct connection
- Train travel time between Prague and Bratislava – 3 hours 52 minutes – 4 hours 6 minutes – direct connection
- Train travel time between Prague and Brno – 2 hours 35 minutes – direct connection
- Train travel time between Prague and Cesky Krumlov – 2 hours 50 minutes – direct connection
- Train travel time between Prague and Cracow – 7 hours 45 minutes – direct daytime connection, 6 hours 25 minutes overnight sleeper train
- Train travel time between Prague and Dresden – 2 hours and 15 minutes – direct connection
- Train travel time between Prague and Frankfurt – 7 hours in average – no direct train connection
- Train travel time between Prague and Hallstatt – 6 hours and 45 minutes up to 9 hours trains – no direct train connection – transfer is needed in Linz at least
- Train travel time between Prague and Karlovy Vary – 3 hours and 18 minutes
- Train travel time between Prague and Linz – 4 hours 6 minutes – direct train connection
- Train travel time between Prague and Munich – 5 hours 35 minutes – direct train connection
- Train travel time between Prague and Nuremberg – 4 hours 31 minutes – direct train connection
- Train travel time between Prague and Passau – 5 hours and 30 minutes minimum – no direct train connection
- Train travel time between Prague and Pilsen – 1 hours 16 minutes – direct train connection
- Train travel time between Prague and Regensburg – 4 hours 2 minutes – direct train connection
- Train travel time between Prague and Salzburg – 5 hours 47 minutes – no direct train connection – available via Linz or Wien
- Train travel time between Prague and Vienna / Wien – 4 hours 5 minutes – direct train connection
- Train travel time between Prague and Vilshofen – 6 hours 40 minutes – no direct train connection – train only available via Landshut, make sure to book the Vilshofen (Niederbay)
- Train travel time between Prague and Zurich – 11 hours and 20 minutes – connection by overnight train via Linz, day trains take 9 hours and 50 minutes in average
How much does a train ticket cost?
I checked 5 dates to compare the train ticket price differences: 24.12.2019, 31.12.2019, 1.1.2020, 7.1.2020 and 15.1.2020. The 24th, 31st and 1st are considered busy season in transportation business, whereas 7th and 15th January are definitely quiet. Below is a chart, that shows minimum and maximum rates. The prices on the official railway websites do not change according to the dates. There are differences in classes and sleeping comfort. In search for the average and the cheapest train ticket prices, I used a lot of information from the seat61.com website, which I found to be the most resourceful train related website. The site however can feel a bit too complex for an average user. If you are looking for good information, do not let the first impression overwhelm you. The seat61.com site is really worth exploring.
All rates are per person.
- Prague Berlin Train tickets cost – cheapest ticket 20 Euro, the most expensive ticket 76 Euro
- Prague Bratislava Train tickets cost – the ticket prices vary from 17 to 20 Euro
- Prague Brno Train tickets cost – the tickets prices vary according to the day time from 9 to 19 Euro
- Prague Cesky Krumlov Train tickets cost – the tickets are available from 12 to 15 Euro
- Prague Cracow / Krakow Train tickets cost – day train is available for 35 Euro per person, overnight train is only available on demand – the deluxe ticket costs 65 Euro per person, standard ticket is available for 29 Euro, the night train is not available for the direct purchase from the website. The clerk at the station was was able to answer me why.
- Prague Dresden Train tickets cost – tickets are available from 15 to 35 Euro
- Prague Frankfurt am Main Train tickets cost – tickets are available from 40 to 100 Euro, CD offers tickets for 50 Euro
- Prague Hallstatt Train tickets cost – tickets are available from 60 to 100 Euro
- Prague Karlovy Vary Train tickets cost – tickets are available for 17 Euro
- Prague Linz Train tickets cost – tickets are available from 22 to 33 Euro
- Prague Munich Train tickets cost – tickets are available from 92 Euro
- Prague Nuremberg Train tickets cost – tickets are available from 20 to 30 Euro
- Prague Passau Train tickets cost – tickets are available from 40 Euro
- Prague Plzen / Pilsen Train tickets cost – tickets are available from 8 Euro
- Prague Regensburg Train tickets cost – tickets are available from 25 – 32 Euro
- Prague Salzburg Train tickets cost – tickets are available from 44 Euro
- Prague Munich Train tickets cost – tickets are available from 92 Euro
- Prague Vienna Train tickets cost – tickets are available from 17 Euro to 28 Euro
- Prague Vilshofen Train tickets cost – tickets are available from 58 Euro (with 3 transfers between trains) to 79 Euro (one transfer needed)
- Prague Zurich Train tickets cost – tickets are available from from 240 Euro
Tip 1: Zurich and Vilshofen are two cities that can be traveled to/from by bus or by plane with a lot less hassle than by a train
What are other ways to travel between Prague and European cities?
- Travel by train
- Travel by bus
- Travel by rent a car (drive yourself)
- Travel by plane (fly)
- Travel by private chauffeured car (let us drive you)
What are the advantages and disadvantages of different means of transport?
Travel by Train
- Traveling by train is relatively cheap. Especially when you travel solo or as a couple.
- When you travel by train you see more of a countryside
- Typically there are no traffic jams as long as there is no accident on the rail, thus you can rely on departure and arrival times
- one can have a lot of space – stretching legs, back or just walking around is not a problem
- There are services on board including sleep compartments, toilet, restaurant etc.
Travel by bus
- Traveling by bus is cheap
- Some companies provide services on board
- Refreshments and TV are available on longer rides
Travel by a self-driven rent a car
- round trips can be relatively cheap, if you book economy car
- privacy – you travel on your at your pace and schedule
- more luggage room
- freedom in terms of route and sightseeing stops
- needs more planning, that at some point can be actually fun
Travel by plane
- if you get a good deal, it can be cheap, especially for solo travelers and couples or small families
- fast way to get between cities
- business class and VIP lounges can be a treat
- private jets are even more luxurious as long as you are not bothered by the budget
Travel by private chauffeured car
- door to door service – you do not need to get to the train station, bus station, car rental or the airport
- private service – you do not share with other passengers, but the personal private driver, who is at your full disposal
- fixed price – like with all the above you know, how much it costs
- time-efficient – since the price is fixed, the drivers want to take the most efficient route, therefor you travel on the fastest route available
- cost-effective – you only pay once – you do not need any other services e.g. taxi to the airport / station / car rental and then again from the station / airport to the hotel. You also do not need to bother about parking the car, the driver takes care of everything
- unlimited rest stops and harmony stops
- freedom of tailoring the route and the trips to your liking
Photo credit @ Shankar S.