Travelling by train in Czech Republic


General information


Exploring Czechia/The Czech Republic by rail is highly recommended as all of the country's most beautiful towns and cities are connected by train.

Czechia has no high speed lines, but many of the trains are smart and comfortable, the trains used on RJ and SC services have a wow factor and many of the other express trains used for EC and IC services have been refurbished.

New trains are also gradually being introduced on the Regional services and routes.

Compared to Western Europe, the train tickets are generally great value for money - so hop on board, particularly as more often than not, you won't be spending more than the equivalent of an extra €5 if  you book last minute at the station.

A last minute ticket booked at the station for a 3hr journey on a very smart Railjet train can cost the equivalent of only €15!

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17 Things Worth Knowing Re: Train Travel In And From/To The Czech Republic:

(1)
The national rail operator in Czechia/The Czech Republic is České dráhy (CD).

(2) The three main rail routes in Czechia are:

(i) Praha - Pardubice - Olomouc - Ostrava
(ii) Praha - Pardubice - Brno
(iii) Praha - Plzen

and CD operates trains which depart at least once an hour on these routes, but on other long-distance routes, trains every other hour can be the norm.

So it's worth loooking up the departure times on the CD website before heading to the station, even if you will be buying tickets at the station.

(3) On some long distance routes to/from Prague/Praha (including the  Praha – Kosice, Praha - Ostrava and Praha - Brno routes) other private train operators compete with CD trains.

The main competitors to CD are Regiojet and Leo Express.

So it can be possible to save money and time by comparing the prices and times of all the trains on these routes.

The best method of comparing the cheapest prices AND assessing all the ticket options, is to look up the journeys on the respective websites of each of the train service operators.

(4) Other operators and not CD operate some of the local train routes in Czechia, including these routes popular with tourists:
Ceske Budejovice <> Ceske Krumlov
Plzen <> Most
Cheb <> Frantiskovy Lazne.

(5) Eurail and InterRail passes can be used for journeys in Czechia on trains operated by CD - and now ALSO on the Leo Express and RegioJet trains.

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The trains:

(6) Express trains operated by CD include:

(i) Supercity SC tilting trains (of the Pendolino class of trains)

(ii) Railjet trains, used on the Praha – Pardubice -  Brno – Breclav route (these trains continue beyond Breclav to/from Wien and Graz in Austria)

(iii) IC trains - now modernised and particularly comfortable (also used for some of the international EC train services from/to The Czech Republic).

A few IC services, on routes they share with the international EC trains, also convey restaurant cars, which have an excellent reputation, for reasonably priced, quality meals.

Those tilting 'Pendolino' trains are also used for IC services in the Praha - Plzen route.

(iv) Ex trains - the coaches which have yet to be refurbished tend to be used on these services.

(7) International EC trains, most of which are operated by České dráhy (CD), can travel long distances within Czechia/The Czech Republic.

And on these journeys from Praha to Decin, Brno and Ostrava, the ticketing terms are the same as on the IC services.

CD tends to use its updated coaches for these trains, but the big plus of travelling by the EC trains is that they convey restaurant cars.

(8) The trains which stop at all stations on a route are the 'Os' services.

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Reservations/tickets:

(9) Reservations are compulsory on the SuperCity (SC) trains, but are optional on all other long distance trains operated by CD within Czechia - and on the EC trains for journeys within Czechia.

(10) Reservations are also compulsory when travelling to Poland by EC train, but not on the EC trains to Germany and Hungary and Slovakia - or on the Railjet (RJ) services to Austria.

Though they are recommended on the EC trains between The Czech Republic and Germany.

(11) When making train journeys in Czechia/The Czech Republic, limited numbers of advance 'Special Offer' discounted tickets are only available on these routes:

(i) Prague ↔ Olomouc
(ii) Prague
 Ostrava region / Zlín region
(iii) Prague
Brno
(iv) Prague
Hradec Králové
(v) Prague Plzeň
(vi) Prague České Budějovice
(vii) Brno Olomouc
(viii) Brno Prostějov
(ix) Brno Uherské Hradiště
(x) Brno Zlín

Though as tickets for Czech rail journeys are comparatively inexpensive, you will USUALLY only save the equivalent of less than €5 by booking these 'Special Offer tickets'.

(12) CD's generally excellent ticket booking website has now been fully translated into English.

(13) Though journeys by the slower 'Os' services aren't sold on the CD website.

(14) You will typically save UP to the equivalent of only €5,  by booking tickets for Czech journeys on trains operated by CD online -  buying tickets on the website can be simpler than trying to book with a ticket clerk, who may not speak English.

More info about Czech train tickets is available by clicking on the green 'Tickets & Passes' button below.

(16) The CD website also sells tickets for direct international trains from/to The Czech Republic and it tends to offer competitive prices for these journeys.

Child tickets:

(16) On CD's trains within Czechia children aged 5 and under travel for free and Children aged 6 – 15 travel at half-fare.

Bike tickets:

(17) Tickets are required if you want take a bike on a train.

On local/regional trains, you don't need to buy a ticket in advance, you can pay the conductor on board the train - but you will save 15CZK if you buy tickets at the station.

On express (IC, SC, RJ, EC) trains you need to reserve a space for your bike prior to boarding  - the reservation price depends on the weight of the bike and how far you will be travelling.
The maximum fee is 250CZK (around €9 -10).

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