Visit Prague by train - the old town square

 

No flight needed!

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

It's easy to travel from London to Prague by train, and affordable too.  From 25 March 2024 you'll be able to take an afternoon Eurostar from London to Brussels, then take the European Sleeper direct from Brussels to Prague in a cosy couchette or sleeper. arriving next morning after a scenic ride along the river Elbe.  Or take daytime high-speed trains from London to Cologne or Berlin on day 1, stay overnight, then take a daytime train along the Elbe valley to Prague on day 2.  The choice is yours.

small bullet point  London to Prague

small bullet point  London to other destinations in Czechia

small bullet point  Starting your journey from other UK towns & cities

International trains to & from Prague

small bullet point  Trains to Prague from other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from Prague to other European cities

small bullet point  Prague to Budapest by train from €21

small bullet point  Prague to Vienna by train from €14

small bullet point  Prague to Salzburg by train from €14

small bullet point  Prague to Krakow by train from €19

small bullet point  Prague to Munich by train from €15

Other useful information

small bullet point  Useful country information: currency, dial code...

small bullet point  Prague city map, metro & tourist information

small bullet point  Prague Hlavni station information  

small bullet point  Suggested hotels in Prague

small bullet point  Travel insurance, mobile data, VPN & other tips

small bullet point  Holidays  & tours to Prague by train

small bullet point  Luggage on trains   Left luggage at stations    

small bullet point  Taking your bike     Taking your dog

small bullet point  General European train travel information

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

Useful country information

Train operator:

CD (Ceské Dráhy):  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 29 Czech Koruna. €1 = approx 26 Czech Koruna.  Check current exchange rates

Tourist information:

www.czechtourism.com   Prague bus, tram, metro info  Prague city 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:

15 February 2024.  Train times valid 10 December 2023 to 14 December 2024.


London to Prague

Which route to choose?

Which option is cheapest?  You have to go online and see, because each option involves several tickets and the price of each ticket varies like an air fare.  However, at short notice, the ferry options are usually cheaper than Eurostar.

Can you go out one way, back another?  Yes!  Almost all European train fares are priced as one-way, so you can book one-way out on one route and one-way back on another.  Eurostar is the exception where a return fare is cheaper than two one-ways, so book London-Paris or London-Brussels as a round trip if you can.

Can you stop off?  Of course!  Simply book trains either side of the stopover on whatever dates you want.  Each part of these journeys is ticketed separately in any case (for example, the Eurostar, the sleeper train and any onward train), so it's no problem to stop off on the way at any of the key interchange points.

What if you're not starting from London?  See this advice about starting your journey from elsewhere in the UK.


Option 1, London to Prague using the European Sleeper

This is the easiest and most time-effective way from London to Prague.  Take an afternoon Eurostar from London to Brussels then the thrice-weekly European Sleeper from Brussels to Prague. The European Sleeper launched on 26 May 2023, initially from Brussels to Berlin, but it's being extended to Prague from 25 March 2024.  London to Prague centre to centre in under 24h with one easy change in Brussels and a comfy bed for the night!

London ► Prague until 23 March:  Mondays & Fridays

London ► Prague from 25 March:  Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Prague ► London until 24 March:  Tuesdays & Sundays

Prague ► London from 26 March:  Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

Using an Interrail pass

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Prague by European Sleeper (Brussels to Berlin until 24 March 2024)

Launched by two sleeper-loving entrepreneurs in May 2023, the European Sleeper has a sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, couchette cars with 4 and 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in the fare in sleepers & couchettes. Light snacks and drinks can be ordered from the attendant, but there's no restaurant car so bring a picnic and maybe a bottle of wine!  More about European SleeperBerlin Hbf station guide.

Sleeping-car

Berlin to Brussels by European Sleeper.  This is the inaugural train about to leave Brussels Midi on 26 May 2023. Click the interior photos for larger images.

Sleeping-car set up as a single   4 or 6 berth couchette compartment

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, set up as a single.

 

Couchettes, can be sold as 4 or 6 bunk.

Scenery along the river Elbe

Between Berlin & Prague the train runs along the pretty river Elbe, or Labe in Czech.  One of Europe's major rivers, the Elbe eventually flows into the North Sea at Cuxhaven near Hamburg.   Watch for river boats, even the occasional paddle steamer.

Video guideThe European Sleeper

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Option 2, London to Prague using the Karlsruhe - Prague sleeper

Another time-effective way from London to Prague.  From the timetable change on 11 December 2022, a new overnight service with sleeping-car & couchettes links Zurich with Prague, routed via Basel, Karlsruhe & Dresden - in addition to the existing through sleeping-car from Zurich to Prague via Linz & Ceske Budejovice listed in option 5.  From London or Paris it's fastest to pick this new sleeper up in Karlsruhe.  It's a comfortable option, some sleepers have an en suite toilet & shower, breakfast included.

London ► Prague

Prague ► London

How to much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

How to buy tickets by phone

Using an Interrail pass

Have your trip arranged as a package

What's the journey like?

1. London to Paris by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Paris to Karlsruhe by TGV Duplex   See the video

In Paris it's an easy 7 minute 500m walk from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de l'Est for the TGV to Germany.  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 320 km/h (199 mph), 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.  Paris Gare de l'Est station guide.

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de l'Est

TGV Duplex at Paris Est. These impressive 320 km/h double-deck trains link Paris & Germany, a relaxing journey with reading book & glass of wine.  Book an upstairs seat for the best views.

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

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

 

2nd class seats on the upper deck.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.  360º photo.

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

1st class on upper deck, a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right.  360º photo.

 

A TGV Duplex.  The 1 near the door indicates 1st class, a 2 indicates 2nd class.

3. Karlsruhe to Prague by Czech sleeper train

This has a modern Czech sleeping-car with 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 evening & morning parts of the journey.  There is a power socket for laptops & mobiles.  Bedding and towels are provided.  The doors have card-key locks like hotels.  A very safe, civilised and comfortable way to travel!  More about this sleeper train.

This train also has couchettes, basic bunks with rug & pillow, you can book a bunk in either a 6-berth or less crowded 4-berth compartment.  Clean sheets and a pillow are provided, the doors have a normal lock and security lock or chain, there are several European-type 2-pin 240v power outlets in each compartment.  Toilets and washrooms at the end of the corridor.  Couchette compartments are not segregated by gender, as you do not normally get fully undressed, but women can book a berth in a women-only compartment.  More about this sleeper trainPrague Hlavni station guide.

The Prague to Zuirch sleeping car boarding in Prague

A Czech sleeping-car of the Comfortline type.

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.

 

Same sleeper with seats folded out, washstand closed.  Similar to a deluxe, but without the shower & toilet.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe sleepers are almost identical to standard, a bit more floorspace & 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.

Couchette car 6-berth   RDC couchette car

6-berth couchettes.  There are also 4-berths.  Larger photo.

 

Couchette car on the inaugural departure from Prague, leased from RDC as CD don't have enough 200km/h couchette cars of their own.  Photos courtesy of @_wrzlbrnft_

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Option 3, London to Prague using the Brussels-Berlin Nightjet

Similar in timing & convenience to option 2, but using the new Brussels-Berlin Nightjet sleeper train which starts running 3 days a week from 10 December 2023.  The Nightjet has some sleepers with en suite toilet & shower, and is due to become daily from autumn 2024.

London ► Prague Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays

Prague ► London Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays

How much does it cost?

 1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

 From £52 one-way, £78 return 2nd class.

 From £97 one-way, £168 return 1st class.  Child fares 

 

 2. Brussels to Berlin

 by Nightjet sleeper train,

 one-way per person per bed

In a seat

In a couchette

In the sleeping-car

6-berth

4-berth

3-berth

2-berth

1-berth

3-berth

+ shower

2-berth

+ shower

1-berth

+ shower

 Fares start at:

€29.90

€49.90

€59.90

€89.90

€109.90

€159.90

€99.90

€139.90

€189.90

 

 3. Berlin to Prague by EuroCity

 From €18.90 each way in 2nd class, €27.90 each way in 1st class.

Fares vary like air fares, book early for the cheapest prices.  On Nightjet & EuroCity, return fares are twice the one-way fare.

On the sleeper train, berths are sold individually, so one ticket means one bed, the other beds in your compartment will be sold to other passengers.  For sole occupancy, simply book 1 ticket in a 1-berth sleeper or 2 tickets in a 2-berth sleeper or 4 tickets in a 4-berth couchette and so on.

How to buy tickets

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Berlin by Nightjet  See the Nightjet guide

This is an Austrian Railways (ÖBB) Nightjet train, with sleeping-car, couchettes & seats.  The sleeping-car has nine 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin and three 1, 2 or 3 bed deluxe compartments with private shower & toilet.  The sleeper berths come fully made up with sheets and duvets, all sleeper passengers get mineral water in the evening and a light breakfast served in their compartment next morning.  Towels & toiletries are provided, including shampoo and shower gel in the deluxe sleepers.  In the more economical couchettes, you can book a couchette in a cheaper 6-berth compartment or a less-crowded 4-berth compartment, each provided with sheet, blanket, pillow & small bottle of water, and couchette passengers get a tea or coffee in the morning.  More about Nightjet trainsBerlin Hbf station guide.

Nightjet sleeper at Brussels

Brussels to Berlin by Nightjet.  Above, a Nightjet sleeper at Brussels Midi.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

Same deluxe sleeper in evening/morning mode with beds folded away, seats folded out.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash provided.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper set up as 2-berth, washstand open.  It can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 berth.  Larger photo.

6-berth couchettes   4-berth couchette on Nightjet train   Couchette car on Brussels-Vienna sleeper

6-berth couchettes.

 

4-berth couchettes.

 

Couchette car.

3. Berlin to Prague by EuroCity train

This comfortable air-conditioned EuroCity train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Treat yourself to lunch and a beer or two as the train speeds along the scenic Elbe valley south of Dresden.  Southbound, you'll usually take the Hungaria which uses Hungarian carriages.  Northbound, you'll normally use a Czech train as shown in the photos below.  More about these Berlin-Prague EuroCity trains.

EuroCity train from Berlin to Prague about to leave Berlin

The first class car of the EuroCity train to Prague boarding in Berlin.

First class on Prague to Budapest traiin   2nd class compartment on Prague to Budapest traiin

1st class seats.

 

2nd class seats in a compartment car.

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.

Scenery along the river Elbe

Between Berlin & Prague the train runs along the pretty river Elbe, or Labe in Czech.  One of Europe's major rivers, the Elbe eventually flows into the North Sea at Cuxhaven near Hamburg.   Watch for river boats, even the occasional paddle steamer.

Video guideBerlin to Prague by train

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Option 4, London to Prague using the Zurich - Prague sleeper

This sleeper also serves Ceske Budejovice, it's useful if you're heading to Cesky Krumlov, which is just 45 minutes down a branch line from Ceske Budejovice.

London ► Prague

Prague ► London

How to much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

How to buy tickets by phone

Using an Interrail pass

Have your trip arranged as a package

What's the journey like?

1. London to Paris by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at Paris Nord.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Paris to Zurich by TGV-Lyria

All TGV-Lyria trains are now 320km/h (199 mph) double-deck TGV Duplex like the one shown below.  TGV-Lyria trains have 3 classes:  Standard class (2nd), standard premiere (1st class) and business premiere (1st class with hot meal & drinks included in the fare).  There's a cafe-bar car selling drinks & snacks.  There are power points for mobiles & laptops at all seats in all classes.  Lyria is a consortium of the French and Swiss national railways.  More about TGV-Lyria.

TGV-Lyria train from Paris to Switzerland, at Paris Gare de Lyon

TGV-Lyria TGV Duplex train. This is the 16:22 TGV-Lyria boarding at Paris Gare de Lyon.  More about TGV-Lyria.

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

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.  360º photo.

TGV Lyria first class, upper deck   A TGV-Lyria train from Paris to Switzerland

1st class on upper deck, a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right. Larger photo.

 

A TGV-Lyria boarding at Paris Gare de Lyon.  You enter on the lower deck, with 9 stairs up to top deck.

3. Zurich to Prague by sleeping-car.  More about the Zurich to Prague sleeper.

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 Zurich to Prague sleeping car boarding at Zurich HB

The Zurich-Prague sleeping-car, at Zurich HB.

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.

 

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, 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 5, London to Prague by day trains with overnight stop

If you prefer daytime trains and a hotel to sleepers, this is the option for you.  I recommend the route via Brussels, Cologne & Berlin as it involves fewest changes, all the trains are high-quality with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi and there's great scenery along the river Elbe south of Dresden.  This route offers interesting stopover opportunities too.  You can choose to stop overnight in either Brussels, Cologne (where the station is right next to the cathedral and a few minutes walk from the Rhine) or Berlin, where the station is a short walk from the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate.

London ► Prague with overnight stop in Brussels

London ► Prague with overnight stop in Cologne

London ► Prague with overnight stop in Berlin

Prague ► London with overnight stop in Brussels

Prague ► London with overnight stop in Cologne

Prague ► London with overnight stop in Berlin

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

A cheaper way to buy tickets

How to buy tickets by phone

Using an Interrail pass

Have your trip arranged as a package

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Liège, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More about ICE3 trains Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Cologne at Brussels Midi.  More about ICE trains Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Proper china, metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant area on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

3. Cologne to Berlin by ICE2

ICE2 trains have a restaurant car, bar car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi. In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, the train crosses the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine.  It passes through the industrial Ruhr via Wuppertal & Hamm.  After leaving Hannover, the train passes non-stop through Wolfsburg - look out for the original Volkswagen factory on the left, built in 1938.  The train then travels at up to 280 km/h (174 mph) on the high-speed line to Berlin Hbf, where it arrives at the low-level platforms.  More about ICE2 trainsCologne Hbf station guide Berlin Hbf station guide.

ICE second class   High-speed ICE train from Cologne to Berlin

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

 

An ICE2 at Berlin Hbf.

ICE2 restaurant car   ICE2 bar car

Restaurant car.  Larger photo.

 

Bar car.  Larger photo.

ICE2 at Berlin   ICE first class

Boarding an ICE2 at Berlin Hbf.

 

1st class seats.  Larger photo.

4. Berlin to Prague by EuroCity train

This comfortable air-conditioned EuroCity train has a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  Treat yourself to lunch and a beer or two as the train speeds along the scenic Elbe valley south of Dresden.  More about these Berlin-Prague EuroCity trains.

EuroCity train from Berlin to Prague about to leave Berlin

The first class car of the EuroCity train to Prague boarding in Berlin.

First class on Prague to Budapest traiin   2nd class compartment on Prague to Budapest traiin

1st class seats.

 

2nd class seats in a compartment car.

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.

Scenery along the river Elbe

Between Berlin & Prague the train runs along the pretty river Elbe, or Labe in Czech.  One of Europe's major rivers, the Elbe eventually flows into the North Sea at Cuxhaven near Hamburg.   Watch for river boats, even the occasional paddle steamer.

Video guideBerlin to Prague by train

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Option 6, London to Prague with overnight stop in Paris or Munich

This is potentially the second cheapest option, London to Prague from as little as €74.  Like option 1 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

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

Using an Interrail pass

What's the journey like?

1. London to Paris by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Paris in 2h20, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Paris Gare du Nord station guide.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Paris to Munich by TGV Duplex   See video guide

In Paris it's an easy 7 minute 500m walk from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de l'Est for the TGV to Germany.  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 320 km/h (199 mph), 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.  Paris Gare de l'Est station guideMunich Hbf station guide.

TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de l'Est

TGV Duplex at Paris Est. These impressive 320 km/h double-deck trains link Paris with Munich.

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

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

 

2nd class seats on the upper deck.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.  360º photo.

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

1st class on upper deck, a club duo on the left, a club quatre on the right.  360º photo.

 

A TGV Duplex.  The 1 near the door indicates 1st class, a 2 indicates 2nd class.

3. Munich to Prague by express train.  More about trains from Munich to Prague

Express train from Munich to Prague

A Munich to Prague express on platform 26 at Munich Hbf This is a Czech Railways car with an Alex Länderbahn car behind it.

2nd class compartment in a Landerbahn car   2nd class open saloon car

Choose a Länderbahn compartment car.

 

Or a Czech Railways open-plan car.

Beautiful scenery from the Prague to Munich train

Sit back and watch beautiful Czech countryside roll past.

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Option 7, London to Prague via the Harwich-Hoek night boat

The ferry alternative!  If Eurostar is expensive, especially at short notice, the rail & sail fare is usually cheaper.  The ferry from Harwich can be more convenient if you live in East Anglia, there's even a direct train from Cambridge to Harwich to connect with the night boat.  It's also the route to use if you want to avoid the Channel Tunnel or if there are strikes in France.  Or you may simply prefer a leisurely overnight cruise in a cosy private cabin with toilet, shower & satellite TV, an onward train to Berlin next day, overnight stop, then a scenic ride to Prague along the Elbe river valley.  A great way to reach Prague, four capital cities in one trip!  Alternatively, enjoy a day in Rotterdam or Amsterdam, then take the European Sleeper to Prague.

London, Cambridge, Harwich ► Prague using day trains

London, Cambridge, Harwich ► Prague using the European Sleeper

Prague ► Harwich, Cambridge & London using day trains

Prague ► Harwich, Cambridge & London using the European Sleeper

How much does it cost?

  • London or any Greater Anglia station to Hoek van Holland starts at £62 per person each way, plus cabin.

    Cabins start at £34 for a single berth cabin or £45 per cabin for a 2-berth, and are compulsory on the night sailing.  For full details of fares and cabin types and costs, see the Stena Line Rail & Sail page.

    Hoek to Schiedam by metro costs around €4.  Schiedam to Amsterdam by train costs €17.20.

How to buy tickets

What's the journey like?

Step 1, London to Amsterdam by train & ferry

A train takes you from London's Liverpool Street station or from Cambridge 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.  Have a late dinner in the restaurant, retire to bed in a private cabin with en suite toilet & shower and satellite TV.  At Hoek van Holland, you walk off the ship, through passport control and straight onto the station for the frequent metro train to Schiedam & Rotterdam.  Change at Schiedam Centrum for a Dutch Railways (NS) train to Amsterdam CentraalThe journey from London to Holland is explained in detail on the Stena Line Rail & Sail page See the video.

Captain's Class cabin on Stena Line ferry   Stena Line ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland

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.

Metropolitan restaurant on the Stena Line ferry   Standard outside cabin on Stena Line ferry

Dinner before bed?

 

Standard outside cabin.  Larger photo.  360º photo.

Step 2, Amsterdam to Berlin by Intercity train:  You then take a comfortable Intercity train from Amsterdam Centraal to Berlin HbfSee the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity page for photos, tips, and what to see along the way.

A DB InterCity train

A German Intercity train.  More about Amsterdam-Berlin trains.

Beef ribs and Spatburgunder red wine on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

Dinner in the bistro.  The beef ribs were delicious.

 

Bistro car.  See current month's menu.

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seating is usually in open-plan saloons like this, most seats unidirectional, but with some tables for 4.  Sometimes you'll find 2nd class compartment cars with side corridor and ten 6-seat compartments  Larger photo.

Step 3, Berlin to Prague by EuroCity trainSee photos, tips & information on the Berlin to Prague EuroCity trains.

EuroCity train from Berlin to Prague about to leave Berlin

The first class car of the EuroCity train to Prague boarding in Berlin.

First class on Prague to Budapest traiin   2nd class compartment on Prague to Budapest traiin

1st class seats.

 

2nd class seats in a compartment car.

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.

More cliffs along the river Elbe

Scenery along the Elbe river between Dresden & Prague.

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Option 8, London to Prague via the Harwich-Hoek day boat

It's an early start from London, but Stena Line's Harwich to Hoek van Holland daytime crossing connects nicely with the 3-times-a-week European Sleeper from Rotterdam to Berlin, for an onward train to Prague.  Like option 7 above, it can be cheaper than using Eurostar especially at short notice.  And what's not to like about a leisurely cruise across the North sea on the rock-steady 63,000 ton Stena Line superferry, an overnight sleeper train to Berlin then a onward train ride to Prague along the scenic Elbe river valley?

London & Harwich ► Prague

Prague ► Harwich & London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

What's the journey like?

1. London to Rotterdam by train & ferry

A train takes you from London Liverpool Street station directly to the ferry terminal at Harwich International.  You walk off the train and into the terminal, get your boarding card at the Stena Line check-in desk and walk straight onto the ferry to Hoek van Holland.  The superferry Stena Hollandica is the largest ferry of its kind in the world.  There's a self-service restaurant, two bars, lounges, a premium Stena Plus Lounge, cinema & children's play area.  There's free WiFi in the public areas on 9 deck.  At Hoek van Holland, you walk off the ship, through passport control and out of the terminal to the adjacent metro station for the frequent metro train to Rotterdam.  See the Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details, photos & travel tips.

Stena Line ferry at Hoek van Holland

The Stena Hollandica at Hoek van Holland, a floating hotel, with restaurants, bars, lounges, shop, kennels, cinema.

Stena Plus lounge   Metropolitan restaurant on the Stena Line ferry

Stena Plus Lounge with complimentary tea, coffee, wine.

 

Lunch in the restaurant?

Cabin on Stena Line ferry   Deck area on the Stena Line ferry

Standard outside cabin. Larger photo  360º photo

 

Open deck aft on Deck 9 for some sea air.

2. Rotterdam to Prague by European Sleeper

Launched by two sleeper-loving entrepreneurs in May 2023, the European Sleeper has a sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, couchette cars with 4 and 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in the fare in sleepers & couchettes. Light snacks and drinks can be ordered from the attendant, but there's no restaurant car so bring a picnic and maybe a bottle of wine!  More about European SleeperBerlin Hbf station guide.

The European Sleeper train

Above, the European Sleeper at Amsterdam Centraal.

Sleeping-car set up as a single   4 or 6 berth couchette compartment

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, set up as a single.

 

Couchettes, can be sold as 4 or 6 bunk.

Scenery along the river Elbe

Between Dresden & Prague the train runs along the pretty river Elbe, or Labe in Czech.  One of Europe's major rivers, the Elbe eventually flows into the North Sea at Cuxhaven near Hamburg.  Watch for river boats, even the occasional paddle steamer.  See the photos & video of this part of the journey here.

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Option 9, 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, see this advice on buying connecting train tickets to London.  But there are ferry alternatives which by-pass London.  DFDS Seaways run an excellent daily overnight ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam, and P&O Ferries run a daily overnight ferry from Hull to Rotterdam.  You can take the overnight ferry to Holland, spend a pleasant day exploring Rotterdam or Amsterdam, then take the European Sleeper overnight to Prague.  Alternatively, take an Intercity train to Berlin and stay overnight there, then take a scenic train ride along the Elbe river valley next morning to Prague.  A great combination!

Scotland & North ► Prague using the European Sleeper

Scotland & North ► Prague using daytime trains

Prague ► Scotland & North using the European Sleeper

Prague ► Scotland & North using daytime trains

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

What's the journey like?

Step 1, 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 next morning.  If travelling with P&O from Hull, a transfer bus takes you from Rotterdam Europoort ferry terminal to Rotterdam Centraal.

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 at Rotterdam Europoort.  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.

Step 2, Rotterdam or Amsterdam to Prague by European Sleeper

Launched by two sleeper-loving entrepreneurs in May 2023, the European Sleeper has a sleeping-car with 1, 2 & 3 bed compartments with washbasin, couchette cars with 4 and 6 berth compartments, and ordinary seats.  A light breakfast is included in the fare in sleepers & couchettes. Light snacks and drinks can be ordered from the attendant, but there's no restaurant car so bring a picnic and maybe a bottle of wine!  More about European SleeperBerlin Hbf station guide.

The European Sleeper train

Above, the European Sleeper at Amsterdam Centraal.

Sleeping-car set up as a single   4 or 6 berth couchette compartment

1, 2 or 3 bed sleeper, set up as a single.

 

Couchettes, can be sold as 4 or 6 bunk.

Scenery along the river Elbe

Between Dresden & Prague the train runs along the pretty river Elbe, or Labe in Czech.  One of Europe's major rivers, the Elbe eventually flows into the North Sea at Cuxhaven near Hamburg.  Watch for river boats, even the occasional paddle steamer.  See the photos & video of this part of the journey here.

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Other Czech destinations

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 at www.cd.cz, complete with seat reservation at cheap Czech prices with no booking fee.  You print your own ticket or (for domestic journeys) you can show it on your phone.  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 Super City train at Prague

SuperCity pendolino trains.  These modern pendolino tilting trains operate the premium SuperCity services linking Prague and Ostrava, the Czech Republic's second city.  Reservation is compulsory and there's a cafe-bar & free WiFi on board.

 

SuperCity 1st class.  Courtesy of CD

 

SuperCity 2nd class.  Courtesy of CD


Visiting Prague

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 Map of PraguePrague Hlavni station info.

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

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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Using an Interrail pass

  • Pass or point to point?

    Let's be clear, a pass will not save money over the cheapest point-to-point advance-purchase fares you might see if you book a few months ahead.  But when point-to-point fares are expensive (for example, at short notice) OR you want flexibility, for example the ability to change your mind, re-route or reschedule as necessary, a pass might be what you need.

    If flexibility is what you want, buy the pass.  If it's about saving money, you'll have to check point-to-point prices and do the maths.

    It's worth doing the maths if you are under 28, if you have kids (kids get a free pass when accompanying an adult but still need to pay reservation fees) or if you live a long way from London (as a pass covers you from your home station to London). Passes are available in 1st & 2nd class.

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Holidays & tours to Prague by train

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 logoRailbookers, railbookers.co.uk

Railbookers are a train travel specialist who can put together a tour or short break as a package, including rail travel, hotels & transfers.  Their website has a range of suggested tours & holidays by rail which can be varied or customised to your requirements.  And as you're booking a package, they'll take care of you if anything happens such as a strike or delay.  For example, they offer a 6-night holiday to Prague, Vienna & Budapest with daytime train travel by Eurostar & TGV.

UK flag  UK call 0207 864 4600, www.railbookers.co.uk

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

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

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

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

Rail Discoveries logoRail Discoveries, raildiscoveries.com

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 logoGreat Rail Journeys, greatrail.com

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 at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses) or www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide).  More information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

Rail Map Europe is the map I recommend, covering all of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  Scenic routes & high-speed lines are highlighted.  See an extract from the map.  Buy online at www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide) or at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses).

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Guidebooks

Amazon logoPaying 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), Zlatý 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, this photo of Prague Hlavni station was taken from my room on an upper floor).

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.

Carlo IV Hotel, Prague   Room at the Carlo IV Hotel, Prague

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

 

Room at the Carlo IV Hotel.

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search: www.booking.com

Booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally use it to book all my hotels in one place.  I've come to trust booking.com's review scores, you won't be disappointed with any hotel that scores 8.0 or more.  Crucially, booking.com usually lets you book with free cancellation, which means you can confirm accommodation risk-free before train booking opens and/or you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when planning a trip.  I never book hotels non-refundably!

Backpacker hostels

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 & other tips

 

Staysure travel insurance

 

Columbus Direct logo

Always take out travel insurance

You should take out travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  These days, check you're covered for covid-19-related issues, and use an insurer whose cover isn't invalidated by well-meant but excessive Foreign Office travel advice against non-essential travel. An annual policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy with Staysure.co.uk myself.  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, I get a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback always welcome.

UK flag  www.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection and gets 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

UK flag  www.columbusdirect.com is also a well-know brand.

US flag  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

 

Maya.net logo

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a European mobile data package and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility list.  There's no need to buy a physical SIM card!  Maya.net is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data.

 

Curve card

Curve card

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate then add a foreign transaction 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 money you spend on your Curve card 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 Curve app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  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, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than getting a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you £5 cashback through that link.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  Why you need a VPN

When travelling you may use free public WiFi which is often insecure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using this link you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I also get some commission to help support this site.

 

Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, hotel bookings and Interrail or Eurail passes are often now held on your mobile phone.  You daren't let it run out of power, and you can't always rely on the phone's internal battery or on being near a power outlet.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over.  Buy from Amazon.co.uk or Buy from Amazon.com.

Touring cities?  Use hill walking shoes!

One of the best things I've done is swap my normal shoes for hill-walking shoes, in my case from Scarpa.  They're intended for hiking across the Pennines not wandering around Florence, but the support and cushioning for hiking works equally well when you're on your feet all day exploring foreign cities.  My feet used to give out first and limit my day, now the rest of me gives up before they do!

 


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