Berlin to Prague by Train
“Poor but sexy” is how Berlin’s mayor once famously described his hometown. The German capital remains incredibly cool and quite sexy today, despite being one of the most affordable large cities in the Old World. Less than 5 hours to the south, the Czech Republic’s capital of Prague (or Praha, in Czech) is a labyrinth of Gothic spires and cobblestone lanes, that gave birth to such great writers as Franz Kafka and Rainer Maria Rilke. Both cities offer plenty of opportunities to stay up past bedtime. Read here how to get from Berlin to Prague.
With your Eurail Pass, you can easily make stops along the route from Berlin to Prague for as long or as short as you like, taking in the highlights of priceless Old World culture in Dresden, or visiting the rough-hewn nature in Saxon Switzerland.
How to get from Berlin to Prague by train
Direct EuroCity trains to Prague leave Berlin roughly every 2 hours, eight times a day. Reservations are not required. The journey takes about 4 hours and 45 minutes. There are no direct overnight trains, which is great, since the scenery along the Elbe River valley is definitely worth seeing. Most trains have dining cars with surprisingly good food. One secret: the dining cars usually have “happy hours” when prices are lowered by about 50% on all food and drink. Bizarrely, the happy hours take place at different times on each train that — coincidentally? — correspond to exactly when the train is on Czech territory.
Getting to the right Berlin train station
Bustling Berlin has several important train stations, but most lines start at the main station, Hauptbahnhof (Berlin Hbf. in timetables), right in the center of the city. You can easily reach it by numerous connections on public transportation. Since your Eurail Pass is also valid for travel on all S-Bahn commuter trains in Berlin, that might be the easiest way to get there. Some trains from Berlin to Prague also stop at Berlin Gesundbrunnen or Berlin Südkreuz. There are occasional departures from Berlin Ostbahnhof, way out in former East Berlin. If you have any doubts, head for the Hauptbahnhof.
Arriving at Praha Holešovice train station
In Prague, most trains make their first stop at Praha Holešovice station, located in the residential district on the city’s north side. If you’re staying in this part of Prague, you can get off here. However, most travelers will want to disembark at Prague’s main station, Praha hlavní nádraží. Holešovice connects to the C line (red line) of the Metro, and several tram and bus lines stop just outside the station’s doors.
Arriving at Praha hlavní nádraží train station
Prague’s main station, Praha hlavní nádraží (often abbreviated as “hl. n.”) is located in the heart of the city. It’s located about 5 minutes from Wenceslas Square, the historic business strip covered with grand Art Nouveau buildings. You can reach the old town in about 10 minutes on foot. The station has been given a facelift in recent years, though a bit of honest grit remains. That said, Praha hlavní nádraží has new luggage lockers, bathrooms (even public showers), and plenty of shops.
The station connects to the C line (red line) of the Metro, the main north-south connection for public transportation. Several trams stop at the north side of the park in front of the station. The city has recently cracked down on crooked cab drivers, installing official taxi stands for regulated and approved cabs that are labelled “Fair Place”. There’s a Fair Place taxi stand at Praha hlavní nádraží, but you’re probably better off sticking to the city’s excellent public transportation, or simply going on foot, especially given the central location.
Two great stop offs on the way to Prague
Infamous for the horrific bombing that inspired Kurt Vonnegut’s great novel Slaughterhouse Five, Dresden has restored much of what it lost during World War II. The gorgeous Marienkirche, a Baroque gem of a church, lies in the city’s scenic Old Town. Today, Dresden is once again home to Culture with a capital C. The Zwinger art galleries house some of the greatest collections of Renaissance paintings in Germany. The local opera, the Semperoper, is world-famous for its high-end productions of Wagner and Strauss.
All direct trains to Prague stop at Dresden Hauptbahnhof, the city’s main station, located just south of Dresden. The Eurail Pass is also valid for S-Bahn lines in Dresden.
2. Saxon Switzerland National Park
Not Switzerland, but a hilly landscape so romantic, that early travelers considered it to be a small-scale version of the Alps. Along the scenic Elbe River, a series of sandstone peaks offer wide panoramas over the river valley, as well as excellent hiking trails and rock climbing. Reach the park by taking an S-Bahn train from Dresden to the town of Rathen, covered by your Eurail Pass.
An alternative route: almost all direct trains from Berlin to Prague also stop in the town of Bad Schandau. It’s the last station on German territory, where you’ll find the Saxon Switzerland National Park Center.
Want to see more of Germany? Read through our guide to riding the rails in Germany.
Find out more about Eurail and how to travel between top German cities and other European destinations in comfort.