This guide to taking trains within and to/from The Czech Republic will tell you the less obvious things that are worth knowing about the tickets, the trains and the stations.
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!
If you would like help with planning a train journey within or to/from The Czech Republic, or want to add some Czech destinations to a European train travel itinerary, take a look at ShowMeTheJourney's new Concierge Service.
CD is the Czech national rail operator and its Covid 19 on board information page for travellers is available here; it's particularly worth paying attention to the specific types of face coverings, which are currently mandatory.
Domestic Train service changes:
All express trains services within The Czech Republic have now resumed as have the on-board catering services.
The entry requirements into other countries when travelling on international trains can be looked up here
All international daytime services have resumed, as have all overnight services with the exception of the direct sleeping cars to Russia.
Th seven things worth knowing re: train travel within and from/to The Czech Republic:
(1) The national rail operator in Czechia/The Czech Republic is České dráhy (CD).
(2) The four main rail routes in Czechia are:
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 looking 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 provide some of the local train routes in Czechia, including these routes popular with tourists:
(5) Express trains operated by CD include:
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.
(6) 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.
(7) The trains which stop at all stations on a route are the 'Os' services.
CD's generally excellent ticket booking website has now been fully translated into English.
Even though you will only typically be saving at most 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 in person with a ticket clerk, who may not speak English.
Though journeys by the slower 'Os' services aren't sold on the CD website.
When making train journeys in Czechia/The Czech Republic, limited numbers of advance discounted, known as 'Bound' tickets are only available on these routes:
The CD website also sells tickets for direct international trains from/to The Czech Republic (and some journeys which require a change of train) and it tends to offer competitive prices for these journeys.
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.
They are also mandatory 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.
On CD's trains within Czechia children aged 5 and under travel for free and Children aged 6 – 15 travel at half-fare.
For travel on a Saturday or Sunday CD sells Group Weekend Tickets and these can be a great deal when travelling with kids, because up to three children aged under 15 can travel with up to two adults, with the entire party being covered by the one ticket.
A Group Weekend ticket, a 'Skupinová víkendová jízdenka', which entitles the users to travel for a whole day anywhere in the Czech Republic, on any train costs only CSK 679 = approximately €27.
Regional Group Weekend tickets are also available at cheaper prices.
So when travelling with children at weekends check at the ticket office whether one of these tickets will save you money.
Tickets are required if you want take a standard (non-folding) bicycle on to a train.
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.
The Ticket For Summer
The national rail operator CD sells a national rail pass, the Ticket For Summer / the Jízdenka na léto, which can be used for unlimited travel on any of its trains between July 1 and Aug 31st for periods of 7 days or 14 days.
It's great value for money, it's cheaper than one country Eurail and InterRail passes, and can be booked online or at stations - the basic price for a 7 day pass is CSK 790 = approx €31 and the basic price is of the 14 day pass is CSK 1190 = approx €47.
The only additional extra costs will be the compulsory seat reservations if you want to travel on a SuperCity train, but they're easily avoided.
The Ticket For Summer is valid only in 2nd class, but if you want to travel in 1st class on a particular journey, you can purchase a 1st class upgrade at a ticket counter.
However to book this pass online you need to use the special tickets page on the Czech language version of the CD website - you're looking for the 'Jízdenka na léto' ticket.
Slelect the 'zakladni' basic price, choose 7 days or 14 days and use the calendar to select the first day on which you want to use your pass - and then click the 'Koupit' button.
Then on the page you are taken to, translate it into English, using the flags at the top right of the page.
Leave the mobile number box blank as CD can't seemingly handle the input of international; mobile numbers.
Or you can pick up the 'Ticket For Summer' at the ticket counter when you arrive in the Czech Republic.
Czechia/The Czech Republic is a country which serves international rail travellers well, its top-ranked trains are used on the international express routes and it has also kept open most of its lesser cross border routes, meaning that its spa towns, as well as its major cities can be accessed by international trains
The trains from The Czech Republic to Austria take one of three routes.
1. via Breclav:
This is the route taken by the express trains from Czechia to Austria.
Five different train services come this way:
(1) Railjets which every two hours take a Praha/Prague –Pardubice – Brno – Breclav – Wien/Vienna – Wiener-Neustadt – Bruck an der Mur – Graz route.
The 10:44 departure from Praha connects in Graz with a train on to Zagreb via Maribor.
(2) Regiojet trains which take the same route between Praha/Prague and Wien/Vienna.
(3) EC trains which travel through Czechia on their journeys from Poland to Wien/Vienna.
These four daily trains all take a Katowice – Ostrava – Brno – Breclav – Wien/Vienna route, but they commence their journeys at different destinations in Poland; Gydnia, Warszawa and Przemysl.
As a result Ostrava is linked to Wien/Vienna by 4 x trains per day.
(4) The Euronight trains to Wien/Vienna from Poland, but they travel through Czechia in the very early hours of the morning.
(5) The Nightjet train from Berlin to Vienna/Wien; which also travels across Czechia early in the morning.
2. via Summerau:
This is a border crossing to have benefited from a significant increase in train services in recent years.
Eight trains per day, which are operated by CD, the Czech national rail company, travel from to Ceske Budejovice to Linz.
Four of these trains to Linz commence their journeys in Praha/Prague.
The overnight train from Praha/Prague (departs Praha hl,n. at 17:58) to Zurich also comes this way; this is the only direct train from Czechia to Switzerland.
Sleeping cars are attached to a train from Praha to Linz and then on arrival in Linz they are shunted on to the overnight train to Zurich; arriving there at 08:20.
3. via Gmund:
In even hours during the day local trains depart from Ceske Budejovice and head to Cezke Velenice.
At Cezke Velenice connections are available into REX trains that travel to Wien/Vienna via Gmund, though they arrive at the Franz-Josefs station in the Austrian capital and not at the main station, Wien Hbf.
Ceske Budejovice is served by hourly trains from Plzen.
There are multiple rail routes from Czechia/The Czech Republic to Germany.
Decin > Bad Schandau
This is the only route taken by long distance express trains from Czechia to Germany.
Every two hours EC trains take a Praha/Prague – Decin – Bad Schandau – Dresden – Berlin – Hamburg route.
The final train of the day is now the Railjet which travels to Berlin from Wien/Vienna, so also calls at Breclav, Brno and Pardubice
One of these trains commences its journey in Budapest and having travelled via Vac and Bratislava, it is currently the only direct train from Breclav, Brno and Pardubice to Dresden and Berlin.
The Czech spa resorts <> Germany:
Local and regional trains provide rail links on FOUR routes between the popular spa towns in Bohemia (western Czechia) and Germany.
If you want to travel between Frantiskovy Lazné/Franzensbad, Karlovy Vary/Carlsbad and Marianské Lazne/Marienbad and Germany by train, connections are often required, but the journeys aren't particularly complicated.
(1) via Schirnding
Cheb is a gateway station between the Czceh spa towns and many destinations in Germany.
Cheb has regular trains from the three most popular spa towns, Frantiskovy Lazne, Karlovy Vary and Marianské Lazne and it also connected to Nurnberg on most days of the year by up to 5 x direct trains per day, which travel via Marktredwitz.
At Nurnberg connections are available into ICE trains to multiple destinations across Germany including Frankfurt (Main), Hamburg, Hannover, Koln>/Cologne and Munchen/Munich.
Since the discontinuation of the direct Praha/Prag > Nurnberg trains some years ago, this routing via Cheb and Nurnberg is the main rail route for train journeys between the Czech capital and central Germany.
(2) Via As
Every two hours local trains travel a Cheb – Frantiskovy Lazné – As – Hof route.
In Hof straightforward connections are available into Regio trains to Bamberg, Bayreuth and Dresden (connect for Berlin and Leipzig), Munchen/Munich and Nurnberg.
So this route is typically the best option when travelling from Frantiskovy Lazné/Franzensbad to Germany by train
(3) via Bad Brambach
Four local trains per day take a Cheb – Frantiskovy Lazné – Bad Brambach - Plauen route.
At Plauen connections are available into Regio trains heading to Dresden via Zwickau and Chemnitz, so if you’ll be heading to these German cities from Cheb and Frantiskovy Lazné, this is a slightly quicker route than travelling via As and Hof.
(4) via Potucky
Up to seven local trains per day travel from the spa town of Karlovy Vary/Carlsbad over the German border and terminate in Johanngeorgenstadt, where connections are available into trains to Zwickau.
From Zwickau there are trains heading to Chemnitz and Dresden.
via Furth im Wald:
Seven trains per day take a Praha/Prague – Furth im Wald – Regensburg – Munchen/Munich route.
Though they are regional and not express trains, so also makes stops in some more minor towns.
Trains from The Czech Republic to Poland take one of two primary routes.
1. via Bohumin:
Nearly all of the express trains from Czechia to Poland take this route, though some of the day and night trains which come this way commence their journeys in Austria and Hungary.
The EIGHT daytime train services are:
(1) Three daily EC trains which take a Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Olomouc – Ostrava – Katowice – Warszawa route.
(2) One EC train per day that takes a Wien/Vienna – Bréclav - Ostrava – Katowice – Warszawa – Gdansk - Gydnia route.
(3) One EC train per day that takes a Graz - Wien/Vienna – Bréclav - Ostrava – Katowice – Warszawa route
(so Warszawa has 2 x trains per day from Wien/Vienna)
In summary: Ostrava has 6 x trains per day departing for Warszawa.
(5) One train per day that takes a Wien/Vienna – Bréclav - Ostrava – Katowice route
(6) One train per day operated by Czech national rail operator CD which takes a Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Olomouc – Ostrava – Katowice – Krakow route.
This train now also conveys daily sleeping cars which are shunted between trains in Bohumin and carry on to Moscow/Moskva via Minsk (these sleeping cars remain suspended).
(7) On Fridays and Sundays year round, two x trains operated by Leo Express also take a Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Olomouc – Ostrava – Katowice – Krakow route
(8) One train per day that takes a Graz - Wien/Vienna – Bréclav - Ostrava – Katowice - Krakow - Rzeszow - Przemysl route
In summary: Ostrava has 3 or 4 x trains per day departing for Krakow.
The night trains which travel via Bohumin are on these routes:
*These station calls happen in the early hours of the morning.
2. via Miedzylesie:
LeoExpress has introduced a trains per week service from Praha hlvani (hl.n.) station to Wroclaw, but these trains were suspended due to the pandemic and have yet to be reinstated.
Therefore the only trains which currently travel over this border crossing are local trains from the Czech town of Lichkov; three of which per day terminate in Wroclaw.
However, travelling to Lichkov from Praha/Prague requires an
Trains from Czechia to Slovakia usually take one of three primary routes.
This border crossing is used by trains heading from Czechia to Bratislava and on into Hungary, the trains which travel this way are:
(1) Six EC trains per day which take this route: Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Brno* – Bréclav – Bratislava – Vac – Budapest
One of these trains commences its journey in Hamburg and also calls at Berlin – Bad Schandau – Dresden – Decin
*An additional morning train commences its journey in Brno.
(2) Two daily Regiojet train, which competes with those EC trains on the Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Brno – Bréclav – Bratislava – Vac – Budapest route.
(3) Three other Regiojet trains per day which take this route: Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Brno – Bréclav – Bratislava
(4) One x EC train per day which takes this route: (Minsk and Terespol) - Warszawa – Katowice – Ostrava - Bréclav – Bratislava – Vac – Budapest.
So this provides a daily direct train from Ostrava to Budapest.
(5) The Euronight train from Prague/Praha to Budapest.
(6) The Nightjet train from Berlin to Budapest via Ostrava
**via Cadca: **
This border crossing is used by trains heading from Czechia to Zilina and Kosice and rival train operators compete on this route:
Praha/Prague – Pardubice – Olomouc – Ostrava – Cesky Tésin – Cadca – Zilina – Poprad Tatry – Kosice
The train service is split between
(1) One SuperCity* train per day operated by the Czech national rail operator, CD. (An additional EC train operates on Fridays).
(2) One train per day operated by LeoExpress
(3) Two trains per day operated by Regiojet
(4) Up to three regional trains per day which commence their journeys in Ostrava and travel as far as Zilina
*Rail pass users will need to make reservations prior to boarding these trains.
Rail passes are also now accepted on the Regiojet trains.
CD also USUALLY operates 5 x trains per day from Praha/Prague which take an alternative route via Puchov and terminate in Zilina.
However, this service has been temporarily suspended due to work on the railway line.
This is one of more than 150 train guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.