National rail operator
Facts about Czech Republic
- Currency: Koruna (CZK)
- Timezone: 1+ UTC
- Language: Czech
The Czech Republic is a railway paradise. Train travel is part of the Czech way of life. No other country in central Europe can boast quite such a fine-mesh network of main lines and rural railways extending to every corner of the land. The Herculean process of upgrading an outdated rail infrastructure is well underway, and travellers will find comfortable, modern trains on most main routes. These include smart Railjet trains which since December 2014 have served the Prague – Brno – Vienna line and the SuperCity Pendolino services which run from Prague to Ostrava, Bohumín and Cheb.
Move away from the principal trunk routes, and you’ll discover some of Europe’s most retro railway experiences. Ancient railcars toil over hills and down dales, often with no more than a handful of passengers on board. Fares on these branch railways are extremely cheap – and so too are the prices of accommodation and food once you move away from Prague.
It is well worth exploring beyond the capital. The spa towns of Bohemia each offer their own particular kind of laid-back charm. Karlovy Vary, Frantiskovy Lázne and Mariánské Lázne all have excellent rail connections. So too have the medieval towns of South Bohemia – such as Ceský Krumlov. It is worth bearing in mind that many provincial centres have an excellent choice of international rail connections. In a word, there is much more to the Czech Republic than Prague.
For travellers wanting to reach the Czech Republic from western Europe, there is a useful direct overnight train from Cologne. There is also an overnight service from Zurich which picks up passengers in Mannheim (giving a useful connection from Paris via Mannheim to Prague). Other routes from the west are via Berlin or Dresden. If you do not mind a spell on a long-distance coach rather than a train, Deutsche Bahn offer a non-stop express bus service from Nuremberg to Prague.
Image credits: Prague, Czech Republic, © Tomas1111