The train is a very common means of transportation in the Czech Republic. All Czech cities, towns and many villages have their train stations and are interconnected well enough to make train travel a convenient way of getting from one place to another. Trains in the Czech Republic are operated by České dráhy (Czech Railways), RegioJet, and Leo Express. Czech Railways had a monopoly until September 2011. RegioJet brought a breath of fresh air to Czech train travel by offering a high level of service and comfort at lower prices. Leo Express started operating in November 2012.
Prague is on major European rail routes; the Orient Express’s London—Paris—Venice route passes through town. Orient Express packages include two overnight stays in Prague.
Buying Train Tickets and Seat Reservations
České dráhy (Czech Railways)
It is usually not necessary to buy your train ticket in advance if you travel with Czech Railways. You can simply buy tickets at the train station before your trip. You may want to get a seat reservation with your ticket to make sure that you can get a place to sit if the train is likely to be crowded, e.g. in peak commuting times, such as on Friday afternoons, Sunday afternoons, and Monday mornings. www.cd.cz
When can I book my tickets?
In most cases standard train tickets can be bought a maximum of 60 days in advance. Online booking is closed one or two days before departure.
How can I buy tickets?
It is recommended to buy tickets online at the official Czech Railways website (you might receive about 3% discount for tickets, and benefit from other special offers available only online). It is very easy and quick. You can pay by card and print your PDF tickets immediately. If you wish to book first-class tickets or to travel on a night train, then you should definitely buy the tickets in advance (at least one week before departure). But you can buy the tickets at train stations too. It is not recommended to buy a paper ticket via any ticket selling agency as you will pay a premium price for paper tickets, which are difficult to cancel or amend.
Can I apply for a group discount?
Yes, you can. Just ask at the train station counter for group discount (skupinová sleva). Discounts are provided for groups of two or more persons. If booking online, discounts or best rates will be applied.
Can I ask for a refund if my train is delayed/cancelled?
Yes, bring your ticket to the nearest Czech Railways ticketing office. Refunds are granted only for unused tickets.
Do I have to reserve seats?
No. On day trains the seats are usually optional. A seat reservation costs about 3 EUR and is valid only for the one train you book. Without it, you need to find an unoccupied seat and if the train is full, you may spend the journey in a corridor standing. When booking on the Czech Railway website you might get a special offer with a free optional seat reservation.
RegioJet and LEO Express
If you plan to travel on a RegioJet or LEO Express train (they cover only certain routes), you will be buying a ticket for a particular seat. You will therefore be guaranteed a place to sit. To buy a RegioJet or LEO Express train ticket, visit www.RegioJet.cz or www.le.cz
Are trains in the Czech Republic busy?
Trains tend to be busy during holidays, and on Fridays and Sundays when locals travel significantly more. But apart from that, most likely you will have no problem locating free seats, even if you do not have a seat reservation.
Can I get off the train and stop somewhere before I reach my destination?
Yes, if you travel by a day train with a normal-tariff ticket. You can get off the train for a few hours and continue the journey on the same day. Your seat reservation will not be valid any more after you resume the journey. Your ticket will have printed validly, and you might also note that it is valid only for certain trains.
How do I find the platform number?
The numbers of platforms are not written on the tickets. They are usually announced about one hour to 15 minutes before the departure at the train station, and are visible on departure screens.
Do I have to check in for international journeys?
No. The tickets sold by Czech Railways are valid travel documents (exceptions might be EUROPEAN RAIL PASSES). All you have to do is board the train and find your seats/beds and wait for the conductor to check your tickets. You need to have valid travel documents on you – ID card or passport.
How soon do I have to arrive at the station?
It is best to be at the train station 30 minutes prior to departure. Orientation at an unfamiliar station can be confusing. Your train is likely to be ready to board about 30 minutes before its departure time. For quick transport to or from the Prague Train Station, pre-book your transport online.
Can I buy refreshments on the train?
On day trains, there can be restaurant or bistro carriages, or there are refreshment trolleys providing an in-seat service. On night trains, you can buy some refreshments from carriage attendants. There are no restaurant cars on night trains. You can also take your own food on board any train.
How will I know when to leave the train?
On night trains, you can be woken up by a steward / conductor if you ask for it. You have the departure and arrival information in your order summary and on your seat/bed reservation. We recommend setting your alarm clock.
What if I miss the train?
It depends on the type of your ticket. Some discounted online tickets and tickets for night trains cannot be used for any other train. If you miss the train with such a ticket, you need to buy completely new tickets. If you travel by a day train on a Czech Railways train with a normal-tariff ticket, usually all you have to do is buy a new seat reservation at the train station (approx. 3 EUR) and you can travel by the next train departing on the same day.
Can I travel with a pet?
YES. Dogs and small pets up to the size of a domestic cat are transported free of charge, provided they are in a suitable container which prevents damage or soiling of the carriage or luggage. These containers must be placed on the passenger’s lap or in areas specified for hand luggage.
Larger dogs and dogs not in the above-mentioned containers must have a muzzle and must be on a leash. You need a separate travel document for the pet. The ticket can be bought at a train station. The price is about half the international second-class fare.
NO. Dangerous or sick pets, including dogs, cannot be transported and will be excluded from transport. Dogs and other small pets (except for guide dogs) cannot be transported to or from Norway, Great Britain, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. For transport to Sweden (SJ) there are several restrictions (mandatory quarantine, vaccinations, etc.); in inland transport around Sweden it is necessary to have a reservation for a compartment in which the transport of animals is permitted. For more information, visit Swedish Railways (SJ).
Will there be Wi-Fi available on the train?
Most trains do not provide Wi-Fi on board. If you travel by RegioJet trains, there is free Wi-Fi, and also on Pendolino trains.
Do I have to use couchettes or cabins on overnight trains?
You need to choose a seat, couchette or bed. You cannot travel without a reservation on night trains. On day trains you can travel without one.
What is the difference between cabin types?
Night trains offer sleeper cabins for one, two or three persons. The primary distinction between couchettes and sleeping cabins is that beds in sleeping cabins are fully made up and the bedding is prepared. The beds in sleeping cabins are more comfortable. Couchette cabins are for four to six persons. The accommodation is less comfortable than a standard sleeping cabin, but is also less expensive. Pillows, sheets and a form of sleeping bag is often provided; washing facilities and WCs are always only available at the end of the coach outside of the cabin. If you’re in a group of less than six (or four) people it’s likely that you’ll be sharing a compartment with people that you don’t know.
Discounts with Czech Railways
One common discount is the group ticket, which you can buy if you are taking the same trip with at least one other person. For example, you and someone with whom you are travelling from Prague to Ostrava. When buying your ticket, simply say “two tickets for Prague to Ostrava” and the ticket seller should automatically issue just one ticket marked with a skupinová sleva (discount for groups).
Another way to save money is to buy a return ticket. In this case, you have to go there and come back within 24 hours when travelling in the Czech Republic or within two months in the case of international travel.
In-karta (Customer Card)
Information on the In-karta can be found on the Czech Railways website.
Prepaid Card (kilometrická banka)
The prepaid card (which is really a booklet) offers a handy way to travel by train, but you should only buy it if you plan to use the train frequently or over long distances.
The kilometrická banka (literally ” kilometre bank”) is sold for 2000 CZK and gives you 2000 kilometres of train travel. 1 km therefore costs 1 CZK. The minimum distance you can deduct each time is 100 km and the maximum is 400 km. The card expires six months from the date of first use. The booklet can be purchased at the train station ticket window. You will need to tell the ticket seller on which date you plan to use it for the first time, so that the date can be marked inside. Each time you travel, you’ll need to fill out a field for that trip in the booklet. The conductor will then deduct the appropriate number of kilometres and mark the remaining kilometres into the booklet.