Brussels-Prague from €29, Cologne-Prague from €21...

Frankfurt-Prague from €21, Nuremberg-Prague from €12...

You've probably never heard of 'Cheb', pronounced Heb, an obscure border town between Germany and the Czech Republic.  But it's a magic word for cheap train fares to Prague.  The Czech Railways website www.cd.cz sells remarkably cheap First Minute advance-purchase fares between Prague or Plzen and Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Cologne & Brussels in either direction, if you remember to click More options, then Travel via, and add Cheb in the via box.  Even 1st class is cheap, Brussels-Prague from €44, Nuremberg-Prague from €19.  You can usually find these fares even just weeks in advance, no need to look months ahead.  But there's nothing cut-price about the top-quality trains on this route.  This page shows you what these trains are like, what the journey is like, and has tips on buying & using these cheap tickets. 

  Czech train between Prague & Cheb

  Changing trains at Cheb

  German regional train between Cheb & Nuremberg

  ICE trains  Nuremberg-Frankfurt-Cologne-Brussels

  Tips for buying tickets

  Travel tips

  Route map

  Watch the video guide!

Train times to Prague:  London to Prague, Brussels to Prague, Cologne to Prague, Frankfurt to Prague.

Train times from Prague:  Prague to London, Prague to Brussels, Prague to Frankfurt, Prague to Cologne, Prague to Nuremberg.

What's the journey like?

Here's an illustrated account of a westbound journey from Prague to Nuremberg, Frankfurt & Brussels on the early morning departure on a frosty January day.  Obviously, trains & scenery are the same in either direction, you just experience them in the reverse order!

1. Czech train between Prague & Cheb...

Although nothing fancy such as an Intercity or SuperCity, the Czech Railways (CD) express trains between Prague & Cheb are clean, comfortable, air-conditioned, with free WiFi and power sockets in most cars.  Old-school comfort and a pleasure to travel on.  A refreshment trolley comes down the train with tea, coffee, snacks and soft drinks at inexpensive Czech prices.  These trains run every 2 hours.  Brand new trains are being built for this route, due to enter service in 2021.

The morning express from Prague to Cheb

The early morning train from Prague to Cheb, boarding at Prague Hlavni...

1st class compartment on Prague to Cheb train   2nd class compartments omn Prague to Cheb train

1st class 4-seat compartment with power sockets, USB ports & free WiFi.  Larger photo.

 

2nd class compartments with power outlets & free WiFi.  Larger photo.

Frosty morning scenery from the Prague to Cheb train

Bohemian Rhapsody...  Frosty early morning scenery crossing Bohemia from Prague to Cheb.

More frosty morning scenery from the Prague to Cheb train

More frosty morning scenery on this delightful rural route...

Easy cross-platform change at Cheb...

Czech & German timetables are coordinated and it's usually a simple 10-minute cross-platform interchange at Cheb between the Czech train to/from Prague and the German regional train to/from Nuremberg, in either direction.

Tip 1:  Don't worry about only having 10 minutes to change trains in Cheb - that's 9 minutes more than you need.  All you normally have to do is get off one train, walk the width of the platform and board the train on the other side, as you can see in the photo below.  You can do it in 10 seconds, never mind 10 minutes.  If one train is a little late, the other will wait a few minutes, this is a recognised connection.

Tip 2:  When going eastbound and changing into the Czech train from Cheb to Prague, don't blindly board the train on the other side of the platform.  Check the platform departure boards, sometimes the train across the platform is the slow train to Prague via Usti nad Labem, you want the express to Prague via Pilsen!

Changing trains at Cheb station

Cheb station.  Blue Czech train from Prague on the left, the red German train to Nuremberg on the right.  Easy-peasy...

2.  German regional train between Cheb & Nuremberg...

The DB Regioswinger is a comfortable modern regional train with air-conditioning, toilets, and power sockets at all seats - although no WiFi.  There's no catering on this train, so bring your own supplies.  This train tilts so it can go faster around the many bends on this rural route across Bavaria.  The train is coupled to a Hof-Nuremberg train between Pegnitz and Nuremberg - so when boarding a westbound train from Nuremberg to Cheb, make sure you board the unit going to Cheb and not the unit bound for Hof!

2nd class on the Cheb-Nuremberg regional train   1st class on the Cheb-Nuremberg regional train

2nd class seats on the German regional train.  Larger photo.

1st class seats on the German regional train.  Larger photo.

Scenery from the Cheb to Nuremberg train

Bavarian rhapsody?  More frosty morning scenery in Bavaria from the Cheb to Nuremberg train, a lovely rural ride...

The regional train from Cheb, arrived at Nuremberg

Nuremberg...  The German regional train from Cheb has arrived at Nuremberg platform 16.

3.  ICE high-speed train between Nuremberg & Frankfurt...

Changing trains at Nuremberg is simply a case of looking at the departure screens, going down the escalators, lift or stairs to the underpass, then back up on the platform for your onward train.  The onward ICE trains come with a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.

Tip:  If you need to stock up or grab a coffee for the journey, there are plenty of food outlets and a Rewe To Go minimarket inn the main station entrance hall.

ICE train at Nuremberg station

Boarding the ICE to Frankfurt at Nuremberg platform  6...

2nd class on the Nuremberg-Frankfurt ICE train   1st class on the Nuremberg-Frankfurt ICE train

2nd class seats on the Nuremberg-Frankfurt ICE...

1st class seats on the Nuremberg-Frankfurt ICE...

Restaurant car on the Nuremberg-Frankfurt ICE3 train   1st class on the Cheb-Nuremberg regional train

The ICE restaurant car...  1st class passengers may order from the restaurant menu and are served at their seat.

4.  ICE high-speed train between Frankfurt & Cologne or Brussels...

The system may suggest changing at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf or at Frankfurt Flughafen.  At the modern 4-platform Frankfurt Flughafen it's usually a cross-platform or same-platform change so it's easier.  I personally prefer changing at the magnificent historic Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, which is a terminus so there's easy level access between all platforms.  Just see what the CD website gives you.

The onward ICE from Frankfurt to Brussels also features a small restaurant area, a bar, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

If you're going to Cologne or Brussels, the train crosses the Rhine into Cologne Hbf on the vast Hohenzollern bridge, with views of Cologne cathedral next to the station on the left hand side (going westbound) or right hand side (going eastbound to Prague).

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

Boarding the ICE to Brussels at Frankfurt (Main) Hbf...

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

2nd class seats on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE...

1st class seats on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE...

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

I highly recommend the Erdinger Weissbier...

 

Small restaurant area on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE...

The ICE from Frankfurt, arrived at Brussels

The ICE arrived at Brussels Midi...

Tips for buying tickets via Cheb...

Brussels to Prague for €29 booking

Incredible, Brussels to Prague for only 757 Czech Koruna (€29).  Remember you must enter Cheb in the via box!  Cheap fares are also available via Cheb between Prague and Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Cologne & other places in Germany.

Travel tips...

Route map...

Brussels-Frankurt-Prague via Cheb route map

Click for larger map   Highlighted = Brussels-Cheb-Prague route.  Green = scenic sections of lineRed = new high-speed line.

Reproduced from the excellent European Rail Map with kind permission of the European Rail Timetable people.  Buy this European Rail Map for your travels and perhaps a copy of the European Rail Timetable at www.europeanrailtimetable.eu with shipping worldwide.

Watch the video guide... 

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


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