Visit Prague by train - the old town square

 

No flights necessary...

Prague's historic old town square is just 15 minutes walk from Prague Hlavni station where you arrive by train from London...

 

UK to Prague by train from £55 each way...

It's easy to travel from London to Prague by train, and it's affordable too.  Take an evening Eurostar from London to Brussels from £58 return, then travel Brussels to Prague next day from just €29 each way.  Or take a late morning Eurostar from London to Paris & a high-speed TGV to Zurich, then the excellent Czech sleeping-car overnight from Zurich to Prague, arriving in the heart of Prague next morning, 15 minutes walk from its historic old town.  Or take daytime high-speed trains from London to Berlin on day 1, stay overnight in the German capital, then take a daytime train with restaurant car along the scenic Elbe valley from Berlin to Prague on day 2.  The choice is yours...

Train times, fares & tickets...

This is a step-by-step guide to train travel from the UK to Prague, with times, fares & how to buy tickets:

 

London to Prague by day trains via Brussels - the cheapest option, from £55 each way

  

London to Prague via the Zurich-Prague sleeper - the most time-effective option

 

London to Prague by day trains with overnight stop in Cologne or Berlin - easy & scenic

 

London to Prague by day trains with overnight stop in Paris or Munich - also great options

 

London & East Anglia to Prague via the Harwich-Hoek ferry - the ferry alternative to Eurostar

 

London to other Czech destinations:  Brno, Ostrava, Karlovy Vary, Cesky Krumlov, Plzen...

 

London to Krakow & Prague in one trip

 

Scotland & the North of England to Prague by ferry from Hull or Newcastle.

 

Buying UK train tickets to connect with Eurostar

International trains to & from Prague...

  Trains to Prague from other European cities

  Trains from Prague to other European cities

  Prague to Budapest by train from €21

  Prague to Vienna by train from €14

  Prague to Salzburg by train from €14

  Prague to Krakow by train from €19

  Prague to Munich by train from €15

Other useful information...

  Useful country information: Currency, dial code, etc

  Prague city map, metro & tourist information

  Prague Hlavni station information  

  Suggested hotels in Prague

  Travel insurance, Curve Card & VPN

  Holidays  & tours to Prague by train

  Luggage on trains   Left luggage at stations    

  Taking your bike     Taking your dog

  General European train travel information

Interactive map:  Click a route...
Route map:  London to Prague by train

Useful country information

Train operator:

CD (Ceskι Drαhy):  www.cd.cz.

All-Europe train times Eurostar times & fares

 

Railpasses:

 

Beginner's guide to European railpasses    Buy rail passes online

Time zone:

GMT+1 (GMT+2 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).

Dialling code:

 

+420

Currency:

£1 = approx 30 Czech Koruna  Check current exchange rates

Tourist information:

www.czechtourism.com   Prague bus, tram, metro info  Prague map  Recommended guidebooks

Hotels in Prague:

Finding a hotel or hostel in Prague  Hotel reviews: www.tripadvisor.com

Visas:

UK citizens do not need a visa to visit the Czech Republic.

Page last updated:

19 March 2020. Train times valid 15 Dec 2019 to 12 Dec 2020.


London to Prague

Option 1:  London to Prague via Brussels from £55 each way...

This is the cheapest option of all, thanks to a remarkable €29 Brussels-Prague fare sold online by Czech Railways.  Eastbound, with an evening departure from London well after the close of the business day, an overnight stop in Brussels and an arrival in Prague the following evening, it may suit many people.  Westbound, you can leave Prague on the early train and travel all the way to London the same day if you like, with a robust 3-hour connection in Brussels.  Other routes may break up the trip better or have even better scenery, this involves a day-long ride across Germany with 3 changes, but you can't argue with the price and the ICE trains from Brussels to Frankfurt & Nuremberg are top-notch.  Take a good book and treat it as a chill-out trip!

Note:  It's theoretically possible to go from London to Prague in a single day, but this involves a tight connection in Brussels and if the connection is missed there are no backup trains that will get you to Prague the dame day.  So I don't recommend this, staying overnight in Brussels (as shown below) is the more robust option. 

London ► Prague with overnight stop in Brussels...

Prague ► London in a single day...

Prague ► London with overnight stop in Brussels, every day...

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

Brussels to Prague for €29 booking

Incredible, Brussels to Prague for only 757 Czech Koruna (€29).  Remember you must enter Cheb in the via box!

What's the journey like?  More photos on the Prague via Cheb page

e300 power car   Eurostar e300 1st class seats

A Eurostar e300 about to leave St Pancras...

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier seats. Larger photo.

High-speed ICE3 train at Frankfurt   ICE2 train, 2nd class

ICE3 from Brussels to Frankfurt, seen at Frankfurt...

 

ICE3 2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

ICE3 train, 1st class   Lunch & beer on an ICE3 train

ICE3 1st class, with leather seats.  Larger photo.

 

Lunch in an ICE3 bistro car...

Cheb station, en route from Brussels to Prague

The easy & relaxed interchange at Cheb station...  The red train on the right is the German regional train arrived from Nuremberg.  You cross to the blue Czech train on the left about to leave for Prague - although always check the departure boards as sometimes a faster train to Prague goes from an adjacent platform.

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb   Scenery from the train between Cheb & Prague

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb.  Courtesy of Arnaud Loneux.

 

Hills & forest between Cheb & Prague.  Courtesy of Arnaud Loneux.

Watch the video guide...

This video shows what the trains & scenery are like.  It's a westbound journey from Prague to Brussels, but trains & scenery are the same in either direction!


Option 2:  London to Prague using the Zurich - Prague sleeper

The Cologne-Prague City Night Line sleeper was sadly discontinued in December 2016, but a new Zurich-Prague sleeper means it's still possible to travel to Prague without an overnight hotel stop.  This is the most time-effective way to reach Prague or Cesky Krumlov, although not the fastest.  It's a comfortable & civilised option, some sleepers have an en suite toilet & shower...

London ► Prague

Prague ► London

How to much does it cost?

How to buy tickets online...

How to buy tickets by phone...

Holidays to Prague by train...

What are the trains like?

...London to Paris by Eurostar:  See the Eurostar guide

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 about to leave London St Pancras...

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

...Paris to Zurich by TGV-Lyria:  See the Lyria guide    Watch the video

The single-deck TGV-Lyrias feature interiors styled by designer Christian Lacroix, with 1st and 2nd class seats and a cafe-bar car selling drinks & snacks.  First class fares include a complimentary cold breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack according to time of day.  There are power points for mobiles & laptops at all seats.  Incidentally, SNCF's in-house designer has never forgiven Christian Lacroix for breaking the unwritten 'rule' and using warm funky oranges and purples in 2nd class, cooler greys and lime green in 1st class, but see what you think!  Lyria is a consortium of the French and Swiss national railways, see the TGV-Lyria page for more information.

TGV-Lyria at Paris Gare de Lyon   TGV bar car

A TGV-Lyria at Paris Gare de Lyon.  There's no check-in, you just walk up to it & get on.

 

The cafe-bar, serving tea, coffee, beer, wine, hot & cold snacks & microwaved hot dishes....

TGV interior by Christian Lacroix, second class   TGV 1st class by Christian Lacroix

2nd class with a mix or unidirectional seats & tables for 4.  Seats are 2+2 across car width.  Panorama photo.

 

1st class with a mix of unidirectional seats, solo seats, tables for 2 & for 4.  Seats 2+1 across car width.  Panorama photo.

...Zurich to Prague by sleeping-car.

This modern Czech sleeping-car has 9 standard compartments with washbasin and 3 deluxe compartments with a compact en suite toilet & shower.  Each compartment can be sold with 1, 2 or all 3 beds in use, as single, double and T3.  There are toilets and a shower at the end of the corridor, and each compartment converts from beds to a private sitting room for the daytime parts of the journey.  There is a power socket for laptops and mobiles.  All necessary bedding and towels are provided.  The doors have card-key locks like hotels.  A very safe, civilised and comfortable way to travel!  Do not obsess about getting a deluxe - In the standard compartments the beds and the decor are exactly the same as the deluxe ones, the only difference is that the compartment floor space is a fraction smaller (though not so you'd notice) and there's a washbasin instead of an en suite toilet & shower.  You can of course use the shower at the end of the corridor - you access it using the same card key that opens your compartment door.  See more photos, tips & information about the Zurich to Prague sleeper.

The sleeper train from Zurich to Prague

The sleeping-car to Prague, ready to leave Zurich HB.  Photo courtesy of Shaiq Ali Khan

Czech Railways standard (economy) 2-berth sleeper   Standard (economy) sleeper in day mode   City Night Line deluxe sleeper, private toilet & shower   Comfortline sleeper corridor

Standard sleeper set up as a 2-berth, with blind down & washstand open.  Each room can be used with 1, 2 or 3 beds.  Larger photo.

 

The same sleeper with berths folded away & seats folded out, washstand closed.  Very similar to a deluxe, but without the shower & toilet.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe sleepers are almost identical to standard ones, but with a bit more floorspace & compact shower & toilet instead of washstand.  Larger photo.

 

Just like a hotel, the corridor in a Comfortline sleeping-car.  There's a shower at end of the corridor for standard sleeper passengers.

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Option 3:  London to Prague by day trains with overnight stop in Cologne or Berlin

Like option 1, this uses daytime trains rather than sleepers, with an overnight hotel stop in either Cologne or Berlin.  This breaks up the journey more evenly than option 1, it involves fewer changes so is simpler than option 1.  It offers the chance to stop off in Cologne or Berlin, there's lovely scenery along the Elbe river between Berlin & Prague, and it uses good quality mainline trains throughout with cafe-bar or restaurant, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  On the down side it will cost a bit more than option 1, but not necessarily that much more.

London ► Prague

Prague ► London

How much does it cost?

  • London to Brussels by Eurostar starts at £44 one-way or £58 return in 2nd class, £112 one-way or £168 return in 1st class.

  • If overnighting in Berlin...

    Brussels to Berlin starts at €39.90 each way in 2nd class, €69.90 each way in 1st class.

    Berlin to Prague starts at €19.90 each way in 2nd class, €49.90 each way in 1st class.

  • If overnighting in Cologne...

    Brussels to Cologne starts at €19.90 each way in 2nd class, €49.90 each way in 1st class.

    Cologne to Prague starts at €39.90 each way in 2nd class, €69.90 each way in 1st class.

  • Booked as a through ticket with overnight stop, only possible using bahn.de as explained below...

    Brussels to Prague starts at €49.90 each way in 2nd class, €79.90 each way in 1st class.

  • Fares are dynamic like air fares, so for the cheapest prices book early and avoid busy times such as Fridays or Sunday afternoons.

How to buy tickets, easiest way...

  • Buy tickets at raileurope.co.uk This way, you can book all your tickets together in one place.

    Anyone from any country can use raileurope.co.uk, in plain English, international credit cards accepted and fares shown in multiple currencies.  A small booking fee applies.

  • If you're overnighting in Cologne, book like this:

    First book your ticket from London to Cologne.  If you're returning, book London to Cologne as a round trip because Eurostar return fares are significantly cheaper than two one-ways.  Add this to your basket.  Then book from Cologne to Prague one-way for the following day, add to basket, and (if returning) book from Prague to Cologne one way for the day prior to your Cologne-London journey, add this to your basket and check out.

  • If you're overnighting in Berlin, book like this:

    First book your ticket from London to Berlin.  If you're returning, book London to Berlin as a round trip because Eurostar return fares are significantly cheaper than two one-ways.  Add this to your basket.  Then book from Berlin to Prague one-way for the following day, add to basket, and (if returning) book from Prague to Berlin one way for the day prior to your Berlin-London journey, add this to your basket and check out.

  • If you're overnighting in Cologne on the way out, Berlin on the way back (or vice versa), book like this:

    First use raileurope.co.uk to run some dummy enquiries to find the combination of trains you want from London to Cologne and from Berlin to London.  Then book London to Brussels & back and add to basket, to benefit from Eurostar's round trip discount.  Then book one-way tickets from Brussels to Cologne, Cologne to Prague, Prague to Berlin and Berlin to Brussels on the trains you want, adding each ticket to your basket, then check out.

  • You print your own ticket, or after booking you can load the Eurostar ticket into the Eurostar app, and load the DB ticket into the DB Navigator app, to show on your smartphone.

  • When does booking open?

    Booking for Eurostar & onward trains to Germany opens up to 180 days ahead, but significantly less than this when the mid-December timetable change intervenes.  More about when booking opens.

  • Booking tips...

    Fares are dynamic like air fares, so book early for the cheapest prices and avoid busy days such as Fridays or Sunday afternoons.

    After booking you can use the Eurostar Manage Booking system to select an exact seat on Eurostar.

  • Seat reservations...

    A seat reservation is automatically included with every ticket on Eurostar.  However, seat reservations are optional on the Brussels-Cologne-Berlin ICE trains and Berlin-Prague EuroCity trains, if you want a reserved seat it can be added during the booking process for fee of around €4.50 each way.  A strongly recommend reserving a seat, especially on the busy Berlin-Prague route and on any route at busy periods.

How to buy tickets online, cheaper way...

  • This is a bit more work as it involves two websites, but it can be slightly cheaper for two reasons:  First, you don't pay any booking fee.  Second, you can use the Add intermediate stops feature at www.bahn.de to book a Brussels to Prague through ticket with an overnight stop in Cologne or Berlin which is cheaper than buying separate Brussels to Cologne/Berlin & Cologne/Berlin to Prague tickets from Raileurope.

    Obviously, do a dry run on both sites first to check availability & prices and to find a combination of trains that works for you.  I'd also check that your outward Eurostar and ICE are indeed a recognised connection by checking that they appear together when you run a London to Cologne enquiry at www.bahn.de - read the paragraph in the previous section about the 20-minute connection in Brussels .

  • Step 1, book the Eurostar from London to Brussels (and back, if returning) at www.eurostar.com and print your own ticket, or load it into the Eurostar app to show on your smartphone.  Eurostar return fares are significantly less than two one-ways, so if you're coming back, make sure you book this as a round trip.  After booking you can use the Eurostar Manage Booking system to select an exact seat on Eurostar.

  • Step 2, book from Brussels to Prague at the German Railways website www.bahn.de, but first click Add intermediate stops, enter Berlin Hbf and a stopover duration of (say) 12 hours: I have set up this special link for you, by all means adjust the departure time & stopover duration to get the trains you want either side of Berlin.  If you prefer to overnight in Cologne, specify Cologne Hbf instead.

    This will get you a Brussels to Prague through ticket with an overnight stop in Berlin (or Cologne) included, which is what you want.  With German Railways a return is simply two one-ways, so you may find it gives you more control to book Brussels to Prague one-way first, then Prague to Brussels one-way as a separate booking.

    You print your own ticket, or load it into the DB Navigator app to show on your smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in and check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.  An advantage of booking direct with www.bahn.de is that you can select an exact seat on ICE trains from a seating plan.

How to buy tickets by phone...

Holidays to Prague by train...

What's the journey like?

By high-speed ICE to Berlin...

ICE2 first class ICE2 second class High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin, at Berlin Hauptbahnhof

ICE2 1st class.

ICE2 2nd class.

ICE2 at Berlin.  More info about ICE

   

Treat yourself to lunch!

 

ICE2's elegant restaurant car...

 

ICE2's convivial bistro-bar car...

Berlin to Prague by EuroCity train...

Czech restaurant car on a Berlin to Prague train   Lunch in the restaurant car between Berlin & Prague

So civilised!  A meal in the Czech restaurant car as the Berlin-Prague express snakes along the beautiful Elbe river south of Dresden.  Most Berlin-Prague trains use Czech carriages like this, a few use Hungarian air-conditioned carriages.  See more photos, tips & info for the Berlin to Prague train ridePhoto courtesy of Philip Dyer-Perry.

Video guide: Berlin to Prague by train

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Option 4:  London to Prague by day trains with overnight stop in Paris or Munich

This is potentially the second cheapest option, London to Prague from as little as €74.  Like options 1 & 3 it involves daytime trains rather than sleepers with an overnight hotel stop, this time in Paris or Munich.

London ► Prague with overnight stop in Paris

London ► Prague with overnight stop in Munich

Prague ► London with overnight stop in Paris

Prague ► London with overnight stop in Munich

What's the journey like?

(1)  From London to Paris by Eurostar: See the Eurostar page for photos & information about Eurostar.

(2)  From Paris to Munich by TGV Duplex...         Click for video guide

Sit back with a glass of red and enjoy the ride - book an upper deck seat for the best views.  The train is equipped with power sockets for laptops & mobiles at all seats in both classes, and a cafe-bar serves drinks, snacks & microwaved hot dishes.  The train soon leaves the Paris suburbs behind and speeds across a vast wide open plateau of woods & farmland at up to 200mph, past picturesque French villages of the Champagne region.  An hour or two later, the train leaves the high-speed line and slowly meanders through pretty wooded hills, the countryside eventually flattening out towards Strasbourg.  On leaving Strasbourg, look out for Strasbourg cathedral on the left with its famously missing second tower.  Minutes afterwards you rumble across the river Rhine into Germany, before heading on to Stuttgart & Munich.

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de l'Est   Upper deck second class on board a TGV Duplex.

TGV Duplex at Paris Est. These impressive 200 mph double-deck trains lin Paris with Nice, Marseille, Munich, Barcelona & Switzerland...

 

2nd class table for 4 on TGV Duplex upper deck...

TGV Duplex cafe-bar   TGV Duplex upper deck 2nd class seats

The cafe-bar on the upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks & microwaved hot dishes....

 

2nd class seats, this is upper deck seating.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An TGV Duplex at Paris Est.

1st class seats on the upper deck, with a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right.

 

A TGV Duplex.  The red near the door indicates 1st class, pale green indicates 2nd class.

(3)  From Munich to Prague by express train...  More information about trains from Munich to Prague

The Czech EuroCity train from Prague to Munich

Smart modern air-conditioned cars on the train from Prague to Munich...

2nd class compartment   2nd class open saloon car

Choose a 2nd class compartment car...

 

...or a 2nd class open-plan car.

Beautiful scenery from the Prague to Munich train

Sit back and watch beautiful Czech countryside roll past...

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London to Prague via Harwich

The comfortable ferry alternative to Eurostar...

You might prefer to travel by train & ferry to reach Prague, for example to avoid the Channel Tunnel if problems affect the Eurostar service or if you suffer from claustrophobia.  The ferry option is cheaper at short notice when all the cheap Eurostar fares have sold out.  It's also handy if you live in East Anglia as you can travel direct to Harwich avoiding London.  Indeed, you may simply prefer a relaxing journey, cruising overnight on the Stena Line superferry in a luxury en suite cabin with shower, toilet, satellite TV and free WiFi (see the video!), lunch in Amsterdam, a pleasant evening in Berlin, then a scenic train ride to Prague next morning, along the Elbe river valley.  A great way to reach Prague, four capital cities in one trip!

London & Harwich ► Prague

Prague ► Harwich & London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets online...

What's the journey like?

A train takes you from London's Liverpool Street station directly to the ferry terminal at Harwich.  You walk off the train, into the terminal, get your boarding card & cabin key at the Stena Line check-in desk and walk straight onto the overnight ferry to Hoek van Holland.  The superferry Stena Britannica is the largest ferry of its kind in the world.  The journey from London to Holland is explained in detail on the Stena Line Rail & Sail page See the video...

 

Captain's Class cabin on the Harwich-Hoek ferry with double bed, complimentary minibar with sparkling wine, tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryer.  Larger photo.

 

Boarding the Stena Britannica at Harwich.  She's a floating hotel to Hoek van Holland, with easy rail connections on either side of the Channel.  Restaurants, bars, shop, kennels, cinema...

 

Dinner before bed?  Metropolitan ΰ la carte restaurant.

 

Standard outside cabin, 1 or 2 berth.  Larger photo.  360Ί photo.

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 Scotland & the North to Prague

If you live in the North of England or Scotland, the fastest option is to take a train up to London and travel from London to Prague using Eurostar & onward trains as described above.  If you choose this all-train option, see this advice on buying cheap connecting train tickets to London.  But there are some useful ferry alternatives which by-pass London.  DFDS Seaways run an excellent daily overnight cruise ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam, and P&O Ferries run a daily overnight cruise ferry from Hull to Rotterdam.  You can take the overnight ferry to Holland, hop on an Intercity train to Berlin and spend a pleasant evening there, then take a scenic train ride along the Elbe river valleynext morning to downtown Prague.  A wonderful combination!

Scotland & the North ► Prague

Prague ► Scotland & the North

Fares & how to buy tickets...

What's the journey like?

You sail overnight by cruise ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam (DFDS) or Hull to Rotterdam (P&O), with private en suite cabins, restaurants, bars, cinema, a floating hotel.  If travelling with DFDS from Newcastle, a transfer bus takes you from IJmuiden ferry terminal to Amsterdam Centraal station next morning.  If travelling with P&O from Hull, a transfer bus takes you from Rotterdam Europoort ferry terminal to Rotterdam Centraal, from where frequent Dutch trains run to Utrecht.

Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) at Newcastle   A standard cabin on DFDS Seaways Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry.

DFDS Seaways Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) about to sail overnight from Newcastle to Amsterdam.  The ferry also has deluxe Commodore class cabins with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.  See the video...

 

A standard Seaways class cabin with shower & toilet on DFDS Princess of Norway from Newcastle to Amsterdam.

P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam   Cabin on P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam

P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam arrived at Rotterdam Europoort from Newcastle.  The ferry also has deluxe class cabins with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.

 

A standard outside cabin with shower & toilet on P&O's Pride of Rotterdam from Hull to Rotterdam.

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Other Czech destinations

  Typical Czech train at Prague

Czech Railways (CD) link all main towns & cities in the Czech republic...

Train travel in the Czech Republic...

Key destinations...

Buying tickets for trains within the Czech Republic:  www.cd.cz...

You can buy tickets for train journeys within the Czech Republic online at www.cd.cz, complete with seat reservation, at cheap Czech prices with no booking fees.  You pay online and print your own ticket or (for domestic journeys) you can show it on your smartphone screen.  www.cd.cz will also book international trains from Prague to neighbouring countries, including Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, Dresden, Berlin, Munich, Krakow & Warsaw also at cheap prices.  It can also book inward international tickets to Prague, except for journeys from Poland and Ukraine.  Tickets to or from Germany, Austria, Slovakia or Hungary can safely be booked at www.cd.cz in either direction.

Czech pendolino, 2nd class   Czech pendolino, first class   Czech Railways pendolino at Prague, about to leave for Vienna

SuperCity pendolino trains...  The pride of the Czech Railways, these modern tilting pendolino units operate the premium SuperCity trains linking Prague & Ostrava (the Czech Republic's second city).  Left-hand picture is 2nd class, the centre picture is 1st class.


Visiting Prague

Click for map of Prague     Click for Prague Hlavni station info

It's an easy walk from Prague's main Hlavni station to the old town and the famous Charles Bridge, as you can see from the map.  For Prague bus & metro information see www.dpp.cz or see this link.  For Prague tourist information see www.praguewelcome.cz.

Main square and cathedral, Prague   The clock in Prague's main square  

Prague old town square with the town hall & cathedral.

 

Old town hall clock.

 

Crossing the King Charles Bridge...

No flights were involved in the taking of these pictures - Prague is just a train ride away from the UK!

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Holidays & tours to Prague by train

 

020 3327 0761 (UK)

1-888-829-4775 (USA)

1-855-882-2910 (Canada)

1300 971 526 (Aus)

0800 000 554 (NZ)

 

01904 730 727 (UK)

 

01904 527120 (UK)

If you want a holiday to Prague by train not plane, but would like someone else to organise all the train tickets and hotels for you, several specialist companies do just that, for a holiday with no airport hassles or whole days in cramped coach seats on motorways.  Railbookers offer tailor-made individual holidays with departure on any date you like, Rail Discoveries & Great Rail Journeys both offer escorted tours with specific departure dates.

Railbookers custom-made holidays & breaks to Prague by train...

Railbookers can custom-make a flight-free holiday to Prague for you, with train travel, transfers & hotels included, for however long you like, leaving on any date you like.  For example, they offer a 6-night holiday to Prague, Vienna & Budapest with daytime train travel by Eurostar & TGV.  See the Railbookers Prague page for suggested itineraries & prices.  Indeed, they can arrange trains and hotels for a tour of eastern Europe to your own specification.  They take good care of their clients, and I have no hesitation in recommending them.

  UK call 020 3327 0761, www.railbookers.co.uk

  US call free 1-888-829-4775, www.railbookers.com.

  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, www.railbookers.com.

  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, www.railbookers.com.au

  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.

Rail Discoveries, www.raildiscoveries.com, 01904 730 727...

Rail Discoveries offers a 10-day escorted tour to Vienna, Prague and Berlin with 3* hotels and overland travel by Eurostar, sleeper train and EuroCity trains.  Check prices at www.raildiscoveries.com, then book online or call 01904 730 727.

Great Rail Journeys, www.greatrail.com, 01904 527120...

GRJ offers a 13-day escorted tour to Vienna, Budapest & Prague or a 12-day escorted tour to Berlin, Dresden & Prague, with 1st class train travel and 5* or 4* hotels.  Great Rail Journeys also offer holidays by train to other European countries.  Check the tour details & prices online, then call 01904 527120 to book or use their online booking form.

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European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at either www.stanfords.co.uk or www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Buy it online for £14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses £2.80) at www.stanfords.co.uk/Continents/Europe-A-Travellers-Railway-Map_9789077899090.htm or (in the Netherlands) for €13 + €5.50 postage from www.treinreiswinkel.nl.

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Guidebooks

Paying for a guidebook may seem an unnecessary expense, but it's probably only a tiny fraction of what you're spending on your whole trip.  You will see so much more, and know so much more about what you're looking at, if you have a decent guidebook.  The Lonely Planets and Rough Guides are about the best out there for independent travellers.  Both have everything you need - lots of background historical and cultural information, lots of practical information.  You won't regret buying one!

Click the images to buy at Amazon.co.uk

Lonely Planet Best of Prague - click to buy online   Lonely Planet Czech & Slovak Republics   Lonely Planet Eastern Europe - buy online at Amazon

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Hotels in Prague

Apart from review score and price, I think the three key factors in choosing a hotel are location, location, and, erm, location.  For a longish stay, I'd book a hotel right in the heart of the old town on or near the Old Town Square where the action is.  For a shorter stay, especially if you are leaving on an early train, I'd go for a hotel near the station, so there's no time wasted in taxis, you can walk across the road and leave your bags, and it's an easy stroll across the road to the station when it's time to leave - but that's still easy walking distance to the old town and all the sights.

Hotels near Prague's old town square...

Ventana Hotel or Old Town Square Hotel (both 5-star), Grand Hotel Prague, Hotel Rott (both 4-star), Zlatύ kůň Golden Horse (3-star).

Hotels near Prague Hlavni station...

MeetMe23 (3-star, a funky designer hotel with holographic receptionist!), Exe City Park Hotel (3-star), Chopin Hotel (3-star), Falkensteiner Hotel Maria (4-star), Esplanade Hotel (5-star, a top choice which I've used myself).

Personal recommendation:  Hotel Carlo IV

The Hotel Carlo IV is a grand 5 star hotel in the classic tradition, in an impressive 19th century building that was originally a bank.  It's an easy 3 minute stroll across the park from the station, an easy walk from all the sights, and being in Prague it isn't as expensive as you'd expect a hotel of this top calibre to be.  Great location, great staff, nice rooms, excellent breakfast, and it even has a spa and swimming pool.

 

Hotel Carlo IV, Prague, seen as you arrive from the station.

 

Room at the Carlo IV Hotel...

My favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelworld.com...

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in Paris and most other European cities at rock-bottom prices.

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Travel insurance & health card

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from ww.nhs.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

 

Curve card

Get a free Curve card to save on exchange rates & foreign transaction fees...

Banks often give you a poor exchange rate, then charge you a currency conversion fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself and it's great - I get some commission if you sign up to Curve, but I only recommend such things when I've read up on reviews and tried it myself.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card. Use code MAN61 to get £5 cashback after signing up and using your Curve card the first time.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing when you travel.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use them myself.

 


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