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...

 

Railbookers holidays to Prague by train

small bullet point  Holidays to Prague by train

UK to Prague from 65 each way...

It's easy to travel from London to Prague by train, and affordable too.  Take an evening Eurostar from London to Brussels from 78 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 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 along the scenic Elbe valley from Berlin to Prague on day 2.  The choice is yours...

COVID-19 update See COVID-19 updates &  travel information.  Eurostar is running a much-reduced service from London to Paris/Brussels.  Beyond Paris/Brussels, trains are running almost normally.

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:

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London to Prague by day trains via Brussels - the cheapest option, from 65 each way

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

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

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

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London & Cambridge to Prague via the Harwich-Hoek ferry - the ferry alternative...

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

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London to Krakow & Prague in one trip

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

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Buying UK train tickets to connect with Eurostar

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, Curve Card & VPN

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

large bullet pointUseful country information

Train operator:

CD (Cesk Drhy):  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:

4 October 2021.  Train times valid 13 December 2020 to 11 December 2021.


large bullet pointLondon to Prague

Option 1:  London to Prague via Brussels from 65 each way...

This is the cheapest option, 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 (pre-Covid), 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 is the more robust option.

Important:  Eurostar is currently running a reduced service due to Covid-19, so check what Eurostar departures are available on your date of travel at www.eurostar.com.  The Eurostar times shown below are the normal pre-Covid times.  Beyond Brussels, trains are running almost normally. 

London ► Prague with overnight stop in Brussels...

  • Day 1, travel from London to Brussels on any evening Eurostar you like, the journey takes just 2 hours city centre to city centre.

    The last Eurostar leaves London St Pancras at 19:34 arriving Brussels Midi at 22:38, or take an earlier one & spend an evening 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 777 Czech Koruna (29).  Remember you must enter Cheb in the via box!

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 (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

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

2. Brussels to Frankfurt & Frankfurt to Nuremberg by ICE...

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.  The Brussels to Frankfurt train calls at Lige, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava, and at Cologne Hbf, where you'll see Cologne Cathedral to the right as you approach, right next to the station.  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, the train crosses the long Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine before joining the 300km/h high-speed line to Frankfurt.  More information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guide Frankfurt (Main) Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Brussels, boarding at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf

An ICE3M from Brussels at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf.  More information about ICE 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

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  Larger photo.

3. Nuremberg to Cheb by regional train, Cheb to Prague by express train...

You'll find tips and more scenery & train photos on the Brussels to Prague via Cheb page

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.  More information on the Brussels to Prague via Cheb page.

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

Scenery between Nuremberg & Cheb, courtesy 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 London, but trains & scenery are the same in either direction!

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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, breakfast included...

London ► Prague

Prague ► London

How to much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

How to buy tickets by phone...

  • It's better to book online.  But to buy tickets by phone, call International Rail on 0844 248 248 3, lines open 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday.  Overseas callers call +44 844 2482483.  International Rail charge a 10 booking fee for bookings under 100, 20 for 100-300, 30 above 300.

  • Alternatively, you can call Deutsche Bahn's UK phone line on 00 49 (0)30 311 68 29 04 (lines open 08:30-20:00 Monday-Friday, 09:00-13:00 Saturday & Sunday UK time, 1.5% fee for phone bookings).  Click here for more information on how to buy European train tickets.

  • Important:  Note that as far as I know, none of these phone lines can sell the cheap advance fares for the Zurich-Prague sleeper as they all use the French, German, Belgian or Italian systems so cannot access the cheap fares held on the Swiss, Austrian or Czech systems for this particular fare.  They should be able to book this train, but possibly only at a relatively expensive full-flex rate, not at the cheap limited-availability advance-purchase rates offered by the Swiss, Austrian or Czech railways.

Holidays & tours to Prague by train...

  • Railbookers are a train tour & holiday specialist who can put a trip together as a package, with rail travel, hotels & transfers to your specifications.  As you're booking a package, they'll also take care of you if anything happens such as a strike or delay.  One of their most popular trips is Ultimate Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest with train travel from the UK - it can be customised to include train travel back to the UK as well, just ask them.  Also a top seller is their holiday to Berlin & Prague with travel to & from London by train.

    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.

  • Escorted tours:  If you'd like to travel with a convivial group of travellers escorted by a professional tour guide, the operators to check are Great Rail Journeys (www.greatrail.com, in the UK call 01904 527 120) and Rail Discoveries, www.raildiscoveries.com, 01904 730 727.  Both have various escorted tours from the UK to Prague by train, with departures on a variety of dates.

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 (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 train at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in 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 information about TGV-Lyria.

TGV-Lyria to Geneva at Paris Gare de Lyon

TGV-Lyria TGV Duplex train at Paris Gare de Lyon. More information about TGV-Lyria

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 & microwave-style hot dishes...

 

2nd class seats, this is upper deck seating.  There's a mix or tables for 4 and unidirectional seating.  360 photo.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   A TGV-Lyria Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon

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

 

A TGV-Lyria for Geneva, 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 information 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 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 stopping overnight in Brussels as in option 1, and 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 (see the video below!), and it uses high-quality mainline trains throughout with cafe-bar or restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  On the down side it usually costs a bit more than option 1, but not always that much more.

London ► Prague with overnight stop in Cologne

London ► Prague with overnight stop in Berlin

Prague ► London with overnight stop in Cologne

Prague ► London with overnight stop in Berlin

How much does it cost?

  • London to Brussels by Eurostar starts at 52 one-way or 78 return in standard class, 115 one-way, 199 return standard premier (1st class).

  • If overnighting in Berlin...

    Brussels to Berlin starts at 27.90 each way in 2nd class, 69.90 each way in 1st class.

    Berlin to Prague starts at 18.90 each way in 2nd class, 27.40 each way in 1st class.

  • If overnighting in Cologne...

    Brussels to Cologne starts at 18.90 each way in 2nd class, 49.90 each way in 1st class.

    Cologne to Prague starts at 27.90 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 46.90 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...

  • Buy tickets at www.raileurope.comThis way, you can book all your tickets together in one place.

    Anyone from any country can use www.raileurope.com, in plain English, overseas credit cards accepted and fares shown in multiple currencies. There's a small booking fee.  Who are Raileurope.com?

  • 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 www.raileurope.com 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 show the DB ticket on your laptop or 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.

A cheaper way to buy tickets...

  • 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.

  • Step 0, do a dry run on both sites 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 can show it on your laptop or 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...

  • To buy tickets by phone, call International Rail on 0844 248 248 3, lines open 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday.  Overseas callers call +44 844 2482483.  International Rail are equipped with both the French and German rail ticketing systems, so can offer the best prices all the trains between London and Hungary.  They charge a 10 booking fee for bookings under 100, 20 for 100-300, 30 above 300.  In many cases tickets can be emailed to you as e-tickets, so there's no postage fee or delay.

  • Alternatively, you can call Deutsche Bahn's UK phone line on 00 49 (0)30 311 68 29 04 (lines open 08:30-20:00 Monday-Friday, 09:00-13:00 Saturday & Sunday UK time, 1.5% fee for phone bookings).  Click here for more information on how to buy European train tickets.

Holidays & tours to Prague by train...

  • Railbookers are a train tour & holiday specialist who can put a trip together as a package, with rail travel, hotels & transfers to your specifications.  As you're booking a package, they'll also take care of you if anything happens such as a strike or delay.  One of their most popular trips is Ultimate Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest with train travel from the UK - it can be customised to include train travel back to the UK as well, just ask.  Also a top seller is their holiday to Berlin & Prague with travel to & from the UK by train.

    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.

  • Escorted tours:  If you'd like to travel with a convivial group of travellers escorted by a professional tour guide, contact Great Rail Journeys at www.greatrail.com, in the UK call 01904 527 120.  They have regular escorted tours from the UK to Prague, Budapest & Vienna by train.

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 (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 train.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in 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 Lige, 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 information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Cologne at Brussels Midi.  More information about ICE 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

Food is served on proper china with metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant on an ICE3M.  ICE3 classes 403 & 407 have a larger restaurant area.  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 information about ICE2Cologne 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 See photos, tips & info for the Berlin to Prague train ride.

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 guideBerlin 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

  • Day 1 evening, travel from Munich to Paris by high-speed train.

    If you left Prague at 07:43, there's usually a 13:47 from Munich Hbf with a change Karlsruhe, arriving Paris Gare de l'Est around 20:41.

    If you left Prague at 09:43, daily except Saturdays you'll usually find a departure from Munich Hbf at 15:47, change at Stuttgart, arriving Paris Gare de l'Est around 22:05 (

    Tip:  Change Duration of transfer from standard to at least 30 minutes to get these, otherwise you get a later departure & very tight connection.

    Times vary, so check times and buy tickets for your date of travel at www.bahn.de.

Prague ► London with overnight stop in Munich

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

  • Step 1, book the London-Paris Eurostar at www.eurostar.com.  You print your own ticket or can use the Eurostar app on your smartphone.

    Booking opens up to 180 days ahead for Eurostar, 120 days ahead for Paris-Munich and 90 days ahead for Munich-Prague.  I'd wait until booking is open for all trains so times can be confirmed before buying a non-refundable Eurostar ticket, unless you're prepared to take a calculated risk.  All these fares are dynamic like air fares, cheaper in advance and on less popular days or dates, more expensive on the day.

    If you're travelling from a town or city north of London, see advice about buying domestic tickets to London to connect with Eurostar.

    Tip:  If you are making a round trip, London-Paris return fares are significantly cheaper than two one-ways so it's cheaper to book the Eurostar as a return.  All other trains are one-way ticketed so it makes no difference how you book, and it can be easier to book one way at a time.

  • Step 2, book the Paris-Munich journey at German Railways www.bahn.de.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your smartphone.

  • Step 3, book the Munich-Prague train at Czech Railways site www.cd.cz, as this is the only site that sells these cheap fares.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your smartphone.

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 (10-minutes for business premier) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide Paris Gare du Nord station guide.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in 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 Nice, Marseille, Munich, Barcelona & Switzerland...

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.  360 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.  360 photo.

 

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

3. 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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large bullet pointLondon 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, Cambridge & Harwich ► Prague

  • Day 1, evening:  Travel from London to Amsterdam on the overnight Stena Line Rail & Sail service, leaving London Liverpool Street station at 19:32 or Cambridge at 19:47 by train to Harwich International.  At Harwich, the station is right next to the ferry terminal and you walk off the train into the terminal, check in at the Stena Line desk and walk straight onto the Stena Line ferry to Hoek van Holland. 

    The ferry sails at 23:00 and arrives at Hoek van Holland at 08:00 Dutch time next morning.  All passengers travel in cosy private cabins with en suite toilet, shower & satellite TV.  Deluxe Comfort class & Captains class cabins are also available, and there's free WiFi in the lounges, bars & restaurants on 9 deck.  You can get on board the ferry before 9pm, have a late dinner in the restaurant and settle into your cabin.

    On arrival at Hoek van Holland, the metro station is right next to the ferry terminal.  On arrival at Hoek van Holland you walk down the gangway, through passport control and out of the ferry terminal straight onto the station.  Take the frequent metro train to Schiedam Centrum and change onto for an InterCity train to Amsterdam Centraal, arriving 10:25.  See the Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details.  Rail & Sail tickets are valid not just from London but from any Abellio Greater Anglia railway station, for example, Cambridge, Norwich or Chelmsford.

  • Spend time in Amsterdam, left luggage lockers are available at Amsterdam Centraal.

Prague ► Harwich, Cambridge & London

  • Day 2, evening, travel from Amsterdam to London overnight by train & ferry service, leaving Amsterdam Centraal on the 18:34 Dutch intercity train to Schiedam Centrum where you change onto the frequent metro train to Hoek van Holland Haven.  At Hoek van Holland, the metro station is right next to the ferry terminal.  You check in for the ferry then walk up the gangway onto the ship.

    The ferry sails at 22:00 and arrives at Harwich International at 06:30 next morning, UK time.  All passengers travel in a snug private cabin with shower, toilet & satellite TV.   At Harwich, you walk off the ship and onto the station to take a train on to London arriving 08:48-08:59 (day 3 from Prague) or to Cambridge arriving 09:42 (10:39 on Sundays).  See the Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details.

How much does it cost?

  • London or Cambridge to Amsterdam starts at 55 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.

    The fare covers the train from London, Cambridge or any station on the Greater Anglia rail network to Harwich, the ferry, and onward Dutch metro & trains from Hoek van Holland Haven to any station in the Netherlands, see the Netherlands page for full details of fares and cabin types and costs.

  • Amsterdam to Prague starts at 37.90 each way in 2nd class or 69.90 each way in 1st class.

How to buy tickets...

  • Step 1, buy a Rail & Sail ticket from London or any station on Greater Anglia to Any Dutch Station as shown on the Stena Line Rail & Sail page.

  • Step 2, now book your trains from Amsterdam to Prague at the German Railways website www.bahn.de like this:

    To get Amsterdam to Prague with an overnight stop in Berlin, enter Amsterdam Centraal to Prague then click Add intermediate stops, enter Berlin Hbf as a via station with a stopover duration of (say) 14 hours.  I've set this link up for you, just enter your date of travel and the number of passengers.  Adjust the stopover duration and departure time as necessary to get the trains you want between Amsterdam & Berlin and (the following morning) Berlin & Prague.

    If can't get your head around this, just use www.bahn.de to book Amsterdam-Berlin as one ticket and then Berlin-Prague as another ticket next day, although that usually costs a little more.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in and check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.  You print your own tickets or can show them on your smartphone.

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?  Metropolitan la carte restaurant.

 

Standard outside cabin.  Larger photo.  360 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 information about Intercity 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.

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.

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 large bullet pointScotland & 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

  • Day 1, take a train to either Hull or Newcastle, whichever is most convenient for where you live.  Transfer to the P&O overnight cruise ferry from Hull to Rotterdam or the DFDS Seaways cruise ferry from Newcastle to IJmuiden, the port of Amsterdam.  Both ferries have bars, restaurants & comfortable en suite cabins, arriving next morning.  For details of timetables, fares & how to buy tickets for travel to Amsterdam via each of these ferry routes, see the Netherlands page.

  • Day 2, afternoon:  Take the 15:00 Intercity train from Amsterdam Centraal to Berlin Hbf arriving 21:22, with bistro car.  Or take an earlier train and enjoy an evening in Berlin, for example the 13:00 arrives 19:22, see the timetable here.  The Reichstag is only 10 minutes walk from Berlin Hbf, the Brandenburg Gate just 15 minutes walk.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  The 3-star Menninger Hotel is ideal as it's right next to Berlin Hauptbahnhof and a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag, it's inexpensive and gets good reviews.  If you want to push the boat out, try the famous Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is right next to the Brandenburg Gate.  If you're on a tight budget, see www.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 3, take a morning EuroCity train from Berlin to Prague in 4h20, with great scenery along the Elbe river valley south of Dresden, see the timetable here.  For example, the 07:16 from Berlin Hbf will get you to Prague Hlavni at 11:36, just 15 minutes walk from Prague's historic old town.  See more photos, tips & info for the Berlin to Prague train rideClick for map of Prague showing stations.

Prague ► Scotland & the North

  • Day 1 afternoon, travel from Prague to Berlin by EuroCity train in 4h09 with great scenery along the Elbe river valley, see the timetable here.  Take any train you like, they run every 2 hours, for example leaving Prague Hlavni at 16:26 arriving Berlin Hbf at 20:42, with restaurant car.

  • Stay overnight in Berlin.  The 3-star Menninger Hotel is ideal as it's right next to Berlin Hauptbahnhof and a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag, it's inexpensive and gets good reviews.  If you want to push the boat out, try the famous Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is right next to the Brandenburg Gate.  If you're on a tight budget, see www.hostelworld.com.

  • Day 2, take an Intercity train from Berlin Hbf to Amsterdam Centraal with bistro car.  One leaves at 08:34 arriving 15:00, or there's a 10:34 arriving 17:00, see the timetable here.  Allow plenty of time for the transfer from Amsterdam to the ferry, don't risk any tight connections.

  • Day 2, travel overnight by cruise ferry either with P&O Ferries from Rotterdam to Hull or with DFDS Seaways from IJmuiden (near Amsterdam) to Newcastle, whichever is most convenient for where you live.  Next morning (day 4) transfer to the station and take a train home.  For full details of train & ferry times and how to buy tickets for each of these routes, see the UK-Netherlands page.

Fares & how to buy tickets...

  • Step 1, check ferry times & buy the ferry ticket at www.dfds.co.uk (Newcastle-Amsterdam) or www.poferries.com (Hull-Rotterdam). 

  • Step 2, check train times and buy a train ticket from your local station to Hull or Newcastle using www.raileurope.com (no booking fee for British domestic tickets) or any train operator website such as www.lner.co.uk;

  • Step 3, Amsterdam to Prague by train starts at  37.90 each way in 2nd class or 69.90 in 1st class.  Book this at www.bahn.de as follows:

    To get Amsterdam to Prague with an overnight stop in Berlin, enter Amsterdam Centraal to Prague, then click Add intermediate stops, enter Berlin Hbf as a via station with a stopover duration of (say) 12 hours.  I've set this link up for you, just enter your date of travel and the number of passengers.  Adjust the stopover duration and departure time as necessary to get the trains you want between Amsterdam & Berlin and (the following morning) between Berlin & Prague.

    If can't get your head around this, just use www.bahn.de to book Amsterdam-Berlin as one ticket and then Berlin-Prague as another ticket next day, although that usually costs a little more.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in and check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your laptop or smartphone.

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, from where frequent Dutch trains run to Amsterdam 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, 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 information about Intercity 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.

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.

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large bullet pointOther 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 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 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....


large bullet pointVisiting 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   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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large bullet pointHolidays & tours to Prague by train

  Railbookers logo

0207 864 4600 (UK)

1-888-829-4775 (USA)

1-855-882-2910 (Canada)

1300 971 526 (Aus)

0800 000 554 (NZ)

  Rail Discoveries logo

01904 730 727 (UK)

  Great Rail Journeys logo

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 tours & short breaks to Prague by train...

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, 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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large bullet pointEuropean 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 for 9.67 at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses).

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large bullet pointGuidebooks

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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large bullet pointHotels 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), Zlat 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 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.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

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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large bullet pointTravel insurance & VPN

 

Staysure travel insurance

 

Confused.com 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 use an annual policy 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 flagwww.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection & covers you even if the FCDO advises against non-essential travel.

UK flag

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

UK flagYou can use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

 Australian flag New Zealand flag  Irish flag    If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct.

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

 

Curve card

Get a Curve card to save on foreign transaction fees...

Banks often give a poor exchange rate, then charge a currency conversion fee as well.  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 use a Curve Blue card myself - I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending 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, too.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  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 it myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription, and I get a small commission to help support this site.

 


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