... and enjoying the Czech restaurant car.
Since the discontinuation of the direct EC and the direct IC bus from Leipzig to Prague at the end of 2019 and the end of 2020, there are unfortunately no more direct connections between Leipzig and Prague. This makes the journey a little more inconvenient. Nevertheless, I spared no effort and will tell you here about my journey from Leipzig via Dresden to Prague.
UPDATE: from December 2022, a Prague-Zurich night train is to run via Dresden/Leipzig again. This means that there will once again be a daily outward and return journey. (Journey time expected to be approx. 3:30 hours).
From Leipzig to Prague, you currently have to change trains once in Dresden. There are seven connections a day, six of which run as follows
Leipzig Hbf (departure) 07:30
Dresden Hbf (arrival) 08:34
Dresden Hbf (departure) 09:10
Prague Hbf/hl. n. (arrival) 11:36
This connection runs every 2 hours.
There is an additional connection early in the morning:
Leipzig Hbf (departure) 06:30
Dresden Hbf (arrival) 07:37
Dresden Hbf (departure) 08:10
Prague Hbf (arrival) 10:26
Here you travel between Dresden and Prague with the Railjet (RJ) of ÖBB instead of the Eurocity (EC) of Ceske Drahy.
Please note that in 2021 the RJ in Prague will only serve the station "Holeschovice" due to construction works.
Tickets are easily available from Deutsche Bahn or e.g. also from Trainline. Otherwise, you can also try Omio. Fares start at 18.90 euros. Spar fares are train-bound. The Flexpreis is 59.80 euros, which means you can choose your train on the day of departure. Flexpreis also means that this is the most expensive ticket available. However, savings fares are usually available at short notice. All prices are standard prices. Discounts are available with a Bahncard.
For the journey Leipzig-Prague you can buy a reservation for 4 EUR per person. As this automatically gives you a safe seat of your choice for both trains, I would even recommend it. You can simply book the seat reservation online. Either at the same time as buying your ticket, or afterwards. On the train, you can see which seats are reserved and which are not by means of small paper cards. The reservation is NOT obligatory.
here would otherwise be the reservation card. Picture from 1st class
Interrrail and Eurail
With the Interrail Global Pass, you travel the entire route at no extra charge. Likewise with Eurail.
From Leipzig to Dresden
We start our journey in Leipzig Hbf. The station is architecturally very beautiful and it is the largest terminus station in Europe (measured by area).
East wing of Leipzig Hbf
In a white Intercity (IC) with double-decker coaches, we travel to Dresden. The journey is not particularly worth seeing, you travel max. 160km/h. I wrote about this route in another blog. The journey takes 1:04 hours.
IC in Leipzig Hbf
2nd class in the IC, upper floor
Dresden - Elbe Valley
I recommend you to change trains in Dresden Hbf. You have about half an hour to change trains and there are many more shops and restaurants. The station is also very nice. There is also a DB lounge where frequent travellers can get free drinks.
Dresden Hbf - departure hall downstairs
Dresden Hbf - shopping area
Dresden Hbf in the evening
DB lounge at Dresden Hbf
The Eurocity (EC) to Prague always leaves from the top. This is because the through tracks are there, whereas the terminus tracks are below. The train departs either on track 1, 3 or 12.
Arrival EC to Prague
The train stops in Dresden Hbf for three minutes. After that it continues into the Elbe valley. Out of Dresden the train can go up to 160km/h, in the Elbe valley itself (Saxon Switzerland) mostly only 120km/h or less are possible.
The journey, especially in the section up to Bad Schandau, is really worth seeing and for me is one of the most beautiful in Germany! Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate that evening. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see the Bastei in the evening sun. But I took some photos anyway.
Here are the pictures as far as Bad Schandau:
The Elbe valley before the Elbe Sandstone Mountains
We pass through Wehlen
the first craggy sandstone rocks
the beautiful rock formation of the Bastei
the fortress of Königstein
Then the short stop Bad Schandau is announced.
And here are the pictures from Bad Schandau to after the Czech border:
Overview of stops until Prague
we leave Bad Schandau
Entrance to Hrensko: for this you would have to take the S-Bahn to Schöna
soon the hills become flatter or rounder again
Here is a short list of what you can see. Since our train was very punctual, here is the time: (Dresden Hbf from 19:10) - Bastei (19:26) - Königstein Fortress (from 19:29, same side of the Elbe!) - Lilienstein (19:31) - Bad Schandau (19:35) - Herrnskretschen/Hrensko Gorge (19:43). If you take an earlier train, you have to subtract the corresponding number of hours, but the minutes remain the same. To be on the safe side, I would allow 2-3 minutes of inaccuracy for my figures. At 19:55 we reach Tetschen (Decin), the first stop in the Czech Republic, today even three minutes earlier. It seems to become a really rainy evening.
Stop in Tetschen
Stop in Decin
The train now stops here for 7-8 minutes, a bit too much, I think. However, we are about to have dinner.
EuroCity to Prague
The EC has seats in 2nd and 1st class. The 2nd class are mostly compartment cars with 6 seats (sometimes there is also an open-plan car). In 1st class there is usually only one carriage, which is a large-capacity carriage. Mostly the train runs with 1st class in the front, then the dining car, and 2nd class in the back.
Here you can see some pictures of the interior.
1st class as open-plan car
1st class in EC Dresden-Prague
1st class in EC Dresden-Prague
Toilet in the EC
2nd class on the EC Dresden-Prague
2nd class 6-seater compartment
I will introduce you to the dining car in the next section.
Dining Car and Happy Hour
In the Czech dining car there is the following system: as soon as the train is on Czech territory, the "Happy Hour" starts. The first stop is counted. From then on, food and drinks cost only 50-60%, and the dining car becomes really cheap and fills up! We took advantage of this great offer and immediately grabbed the last free table in Decin. Officially, the time of ordering counts for the happy hour. But I had the feeling that they are a little accommodating. By the way, in case of delays, the offer is postponed.
The dining car has a kiosk section and a restaurant section. Of course, we sat down on the noble red leather seats in the restaurant. Please note that you are not allowed to make phone calls here.
Kiosk in the dining car
Insight into the menu
We immediately took a look at the menu. You can also find it online here. However, there are slight deviations. Fortunately, the schnitzel was not served with potato salad, but with gnocchi, which made me very happy.
Taken a seat in the CD's great dining car, looking towards Aussig.
We chatted with another traveller who had also started in Leipzig and, just like us, didn't want to miss the great offer here. If you are a beer lover, this would be a perfect start to your Czech trip, even with a freshly tapped beer.
We stop in Aussig and can finally order. We continue along the Elbe for a while until we turn off it. The evening sun even comes out briefly before our meal is served. In the meantime, the train can already run 160 again in the Czech Republic.
We stop in Aussig
we stop in Aussig
leaving Aussig at the river Elbe
the last view of the Elbe
we cross another river
EC Dresden-Prague through the Czech countryside. Landscape
I ordered the schnitzel for 6.60EUR, my buddy opted for chicken with rice, about the same price range. For dessert we have pancakes and honey cake (2.30EUR each). To drink, we sparingly take only a water (1,20EUR), so that we end up with about 11EUR per person, we round up to 12EUR. A very fair price!
Both our meals
the tasty schnitzel in close-up view
Dessert in the dining car of the Ceske Drahy
The food not only looks good, it also tastes good! We have had our fill. We split the dessert in half: both of us agree that the cake is a bit too dry. So the pancake (=egg cake) is the clear winner. It was really delicious. Our main course took about 25 minutes and is even freshly prepared/cooked live. You can pay in euros, crowns, both mixed (I tried this once because I had a few CZK left) and with a card.
By the way, the dining car has 30 seats, divided into tables of 4 and 2. I think it offers an incredibly great ambience and is almost full from Decin to Prague. Only shortly before it empties again, so I can take a few photos.
The dining car
a table for 4 in the dining car
a table for 2 in the dining car
Arrival in Prague, connections, delay
It is already dark when we arrive in Prague. We end up with a small delay of about 4 minutes.
Arriving in Prague
Prague has good connections to night trains. Especially the EN443/406 to Krakow and Warsaw is worth mentioning (departure 22:19). At 7 pm from Dresden, dinner in the dining car and in the morning at nine o'clock in Warsaw? That's something!
Overall, however, you shouldn't plan too tightly. Since the EC usually comes from Hamburg and has a relatively long journey, it is at least slightly delayed from time to time. You can check the average delay of the last 30 days at www.zugfinder.net. All you have to do is enter the train number. All you have to do is enter the train number.
We got off and I took a few photos of the train.
Arrival of our train in Prague main station
maximum speed: 200km/h (driven between Berlin and Hamburg)
the loco of the CD
Prague departure hall in the evening
We left the station through the modern main exit and strolled across Wenceslas Square to our hostel around 10pm in a light drizzle.
modern entrance hall with metro station
Main entrance Prague hl.n.
Wenceslas Square in Prague
Where to stay in Prague?
For our first overnight stay (we had extended our weekend at short notice) we had a room at the Dream Hostel. Actually, we had booked a room for two, but they gave us a room for six for single use. The staff was very friendly, and you can also check in your luggage for free. The ambience was also very nice, there was a kitchen, a nice garden in the courtyard and the location right next to Wenceslas Square is really top!
Dream Hostel Prague
Dream Hostel Prague
Dream Hostel Prague
Inner courtyard Dream Hostel Prague
We paid about 20 EUR and I can highly recommend this hostel. You can book it here.
The second and third night we stayed (then six of us) in an AirBnB holiday flat. Here, too, the price was around 20 euros per person per night. You can book AirBnBs here.
Sightseeing Prague Central Station
The next day, we travelled from Prague to Karlstein Castle (41 minute train ride on the regional train, fare about 2 EUR per person each way).
I think that the train station itself is a kind of sight. In the historic hall you can see old ticket offices. This used to be the main hall of the station. And it's also really nice to look at from the outside.
Prague main station (hlavni nadrazi) from the outside
Platform hall of Prague
historic hall in Prague railway station
I hope you enjoyed this blog and that it inspired you to take a trip to Prague! If you have any questions, just ask in our friendly forum.
Posted 11 months ago