The train journey was made in connection with a press trip together with Visit the Czech Republic, but all thoughts and opinions are (as usual) my own.
I love going by train. The landscape rushes by in the periphery, while I myself sit connected with a film on the toad and sip a hot coffee from the bistro. In addition to being an environmentally smart choice, it is also very often that it is faster to travel by train than by plane on journeys under 60 miles. You avoid both the travel time to/from the airport and all the waiting time at security checks and luggage belts. The times when the trains run on time, the wifi works, there is a bistro and you have an electrical socket in the seat, the hours go by quickly. I tested the Czech train network on a trip from Brno to Prague, which turned out to be both cheap, smooth and really nice.
Czech railway network
The Czech Republic is not a country with great distances. In principle, the country is 60 miles wide from the western border with Germany to the eastern border with Poland/Slovakia. However, the railway network is well developed and there are railways to all corners of the country and to most towns and villages. In addition, there are plenty of international lines that take you to Vienna, Bratislava, Berlin, Budapest and Krakow.
Czech Railways (or Czech Railways (CD) in Czech) is the Czech Republic's largest train operator. Until 2011, České dráhy had a monopoly on trains in the Czech Republic, but since the monopoly was released, more operators have started. RegionJet is today the country's second largest train operator and they run mainly between the Czech Republic's major cities. Leo Express is the latest player, also with a limited line network but with many stops also in Slovakia.
We took the CD train EC 280 which went from Budapest to Prague via Brno - according to the timetable with departure at 09:38 from Brno and arrival in Prague at 12:42. From central Brno to the heart of Prague in just over three hours. In fact, so fast and smooth, that it is completely possible to go on a day trip to Brno from Prague.
The train station in Brno
One of the biggest advantages of traveling by train between Brno and Prague is accessibility. From Kåltorget and hotel Grandezza Palace in the old town (where we lived) it is only a 400 meter walk to the train station. An absolutely perfect walk with a light luggage for the train.
At the train station it is easy to find the right place. Screens with train information in both Czech and English are everywhere. We had pre-purchased tickets online, but there is also a ticket office if you want to be a little more spontaneous and buy the ticket on the spot. The trains often go between the big cities, so if one train is full, you usually don't have to wait long for the next one.
Haven't had time to eat before your train journey? Don't worry, at the train station in Brno you can buy Czech fast food, pastries and sandwiches to take on the train. Moreover, at very humane prices.
The trip to Prague was in first class in really fresh carriages with electrical sockets by the seat and free Wi-Fi. First class? That sounds expensive? No not at all. A one-way ticket in first class between Brno and Prague costs around 200 Swedish kroner kronor. Worth every penny.
The train we took was an EC train, which means an international EuroCity train. I don't know if I understood correctly, but I took it to mean that we were riding in Slovak train carriages. As the train came from Budapest via Bratislava, it might not be so strange. A bit like code share in aviation.
Didn't have time to buy any food at the train station in Brno? No problems at all! The train we traveled on had a restaurant car with food and full privileges. In addition, with unusually good prices. NOTE: Not all trains operating the route have a restaurant car, so check the CD's website before booking.
It is usually possible to pay a small fee to reserve a seat on the train. If a seat is reserved, this is marked above the seat on the train either on a digital display or with a piece of paper. If you do not book a seat, it is easiest to sit at one of the seats that are not marked so that you do not have to change seats during the journey.
Travel times and train delays
As I said, the distances in the Czech Republic are short and it is quick and easy to get here even with international trains. Are you going to train in Europe? The Czech Republic is on the Interrail card and all three major operators (CD, Leo Express and Regiojet) are included in the pass.
Some examples of train times to popular destinations:
- Prague-Berlin: 4,5 hours
- Prague-Vienna: 4 hours
- Prague-Ostrava: 4 hours
- Prague to Budapest: 6,5 hours
Good links for more train info
So, ready to book your train trip in the Czech Republic now? Here are some links to help you along the way. All three train operators have pages in English and book tickets online.
- Czech Railways (CD) – Czech "SJ".
- RegionJet - Serves major cities in the Czech Republic, but has a network in large parts of Europe.
- LEO Express - Very cheap prices between, for example, between Brno and Prague.
- InterRail - Travel pass for train travel across Europe. Here you will also find country-specific tickets for the Czech Republic only. A monthly ticket with 5 free travel days costs 161 Euros for an adult (2021).
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