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Europe Trains Guide Forum  |  General discussion  |  Travel plans, routes and timetables  |  Need Some Help - Train from Prague to Munich and Train Travel in Germany
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Author Topic: Need Some Help - Train from Prague to Munich and Train Travel in Germany  (Read 16538 times)
EuropeHols
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« on: June 29, 2013, 05:28:39 am »

Planning for 2-week Europe family holidays this year end Dec/Jan. Provided 3 days for Prague and Paris at the start and end of trip respectively. Intend to visit places in Germany by train in between. Things are still very much in the air except for our in/out flights with arrival in Prague (from Paris) by air on 29 Jan 2014; fly to Paris from Berlin on 11 Jan 2014.

Read a fair bit on various travel sites on traveling Europe by rail. Appears Eurail is not necessarily apt, and perhaps better to book trains directly with individual local/national operators. Tried booking Prague to Munich on www.cd.cz  (with a hypothetical date as no booking beyond 90days) and found that it is that easy with a number of terminology and parameters. On a learning curve, so appreciate some guidance on booking site:
1.  What do they mean by ticket with possible reservation? My assumption is that the seats should be reserved when I booked and paid for it online, but seems this is not correct?  If so, how do I get those seats reserved at the time of booking/payment online for them to be cast in concrete so as to avoid last minute schedule nightmare.
2.  What is the difference between 2nd class and 1st class for this train route?  Read somewhere that there is a 4-passenger couchette which can offer privacy and luggage space. Is this a different category altogether?
3.  It does not allow me to proceed with 1st class booking with some possible error messages, so it is difficult to do a price differential comparison.  Any info will be helpful.
4.  We are both age 55, and 2 sons traveling with us are university students age 20 and 22; and we unfortunately can only speak English <not German nor French>. Read about special cheaper train fare for group. Is it something to do with the parameter "separate ticket for each passenger"??
5.  Noting the Christmas hols and in particular traveling on train on 1 Jan public holiday, what are the special consideration we have to keep in mind?
5.  Is there a better way to travel by train from Prague to Munich?

We like to explore and understand some Germany history with the 10days in between, ending with Berlin 'cos of budget flight back to Paris. At the moment only have Cologne in mind. So appreciate some help on:
a.  Any suggestion of places to visit during winter. The places we should not miss.
b.  How to select appropriate train tickets scheme available for the travel.

Thank you in advance.
Gary
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tUt
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2013, 03:12:02 pm »

1.  What do they mean by ticket with possible reservation? My assumption is that the seats should be reserved when I booked and paid for it online, but seems this is not correct?  If so, how do I get those seats reserved at the time of booking/payment online for them to be cast in concrete so as to avoid last minute schedule nightmare.
Well, the thing is that majority of trains in Germany and Czech Republic doesn't require obligatory seat reservation, meaning that you buy your ticket, board the train and take any free seat you like. It's a sort of old style thing presupposing that trains are rarely full 100%. On the contrary for some long-distance domestic and international trains both German Railways (DB) and Czech Railways (CD) offer an option of making a seat reservation, basically in order to definitely guarantee a particular seat on particular train. Most often seat reservations cost some extra money, but with some discounted tickets they might be included for free. From our experience, locals usually don't bother with buying seat reservations, unless it's peak season or holidays, when trains tend to be busier

2.  What is the difference between 2nd class and 1st class for this train route?  Read somewhere that there is a 4-passenger couchette which can offer privacy and luggage space. Is this a different category altogether?
Depending on train you choose (there are quite a few direct ones between Prague & Munich) you can expect 2nd class look like this or this, while 1st class like this or this
And you probably mistaken bring up term couchette here, since in rail terminology it means a sort of sleeper carriage in overnight trains, which is definitely not available in case of direct Prague to Munich trains

3.  It does not allow me to proceed with 1st class booking with some possible error messages, so it is difficult to do a price differential comparison.  Any info will be helpful.
Unlike for 2nd class where you can get get a discounted ticket Prague-Munich for as low as 19 euro (per person), for the 1st class discounted tickets aren't offered (which is quite reasonable, imho), so you'll have to go with full standard fare international ticket, which is 105,2 euro

4.  We are both age 55, and 2 sons traveling with us are university students age 20 and 22; and we unfortunately can only speak English <not German nor French>. Read about special cheaper train fare for group. Is it something to do with the parameter "separate ticket for each passenger"??
Well, there is two major ways to travel Prague-Munich cheaply: a) mentioned above discounted ticket for 2nd class, from 19 euro per person (since discounted tickets are in limited number per each departure, you'll have to buy them in advance via CD website eShop); b) fare for group you mentioned probably refers to the so-called "Bavaria-Bohemia Ticket" (Bayern-Böhmen-Ticket), it's a German group pass, which allows unlimited travels in the whole Bavaria + bordering regions on Czech Republic during the whole day. For 4 passengers it will cost only 38,5 euro and can be good for leg from Plzen to Munich (Prague is too far from the border, thus not covered), while for Prague to Plzen part you simply buy domestic Czech ticket for the same train (from 400 CZK for all 4 passengers, also can do it via CD eShop). So basically you travel without change from Prague to Munich, but use two different tickets - one Czech domestic Prague-Plzen, while second one -  Bavaria-Bohemia Ticket for the remained part of the journey.
Bavaria-Bohemia Ticket can be bought at the ticket counter in Prague. The only inconvenience is that on weekdays (Mon.-Fri.) Bavaria-Bohemia Ticket is valid only from 9am, so you won't be able to use earliest morning train Prague-Munich (dep. Prague 5:15)

5.  Noting the Christmas hols and in particular traveling on train on 1 Jan public holiday, what are the special consideration we have to keep in mind?
For Christmas day you can expect some trains not running/canceled, but with New Year's time it's usually less problematic. However if you intend to go with discounted tickets option it will make sense to purchase those as soon as possible, because it's still a holiday and demand would be higher than usual.
5.  Is there a better way to travel by train from Prague to Munich?
It depends on what you mean by "better" :) On route from Prague to Munich usually an alternative is bus (for instance companies like Student Agency or Eurolines), sometimes with some offers you can get a really good price


a.  Any suggestion of places to visit during winter. The places we should not miss.
Germany is huge country with plenty of choices for sightseeing, so you basically can find attractions for any taste. Thus a lot depends on your preferences, some like nature and would prefer to visit places like Fussen, lake Constance area, Black Forrest, Harz Mountains or Rhine valley area. Others are more into architecture and old towns, then it will Nurmberg, Regensburg, Quedlinburg, Bremen, Lubeck etc. Also in Germany there is very good possibilities for industrial tourism, meaning variety of things to do and see in Ruhr region
b.  How to select appropriate train tickets scheme available for the travel.
For domestic train journeys in Germany, and especially trips with family or in group, one of the best choices are German Railways passes. They can be nationwide - Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket (for weekends) & Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket (for weekdays) or region based (so called Lander Tickets). You can check our Germany page and read more about all those. Also German Railways offer discounted tickets (can be purchase via DB website), which are especially good in terms of long distance journeys, since unlike passes they can be used for faster IC/ICE trains
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EuropeHols
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2013, 03:58:10 pm »

Thank you so much tUt for the informative and helpful reply.
I tried using 15.8.2013 as Praha-Munich departure date for booking at their websites and encountered a few hiccups that I hope you can help me to clarify.
CZ - http://i1057.photobucket.com/albums/t398/asdfjunky/Praha-Munich__D_Page_1.jpg
DE - http://i1057.photobucket.com/albums/t398/asdfjunky/Bahn01.jpg
1.  The DB prices of 4 tickets for the 09:15 train is 269.60EUR is 3.5 times more expensive than CZ's 1999CZK - all standard prices (except for 2 tickets for 18-25 years under CZ). There must be something that I missed and not comparing apples to apples as the difference is simply too significant.
2.  Appreciate if you determine if it is worth the reduction in prices to get any of those special passes under DE site. http://i1057.photobucket.com/albums/t398/asdfjunky/Bahn02.jpg
3.  Similarly is it worth the while for those discount in CZ http://i1057.photobucket.com/albums/t398/asdfjunky/Praha-Munich__D_Page_2.jpg
4.  There are 2 more direct (no connection) departures shown in CZ namely 13:15 and 17:15.  Is this info reliable?
5.  Notice that there is a direct bus departure at 10:30 and surprising faster than train by 1hr 11mins. How comfortable are this bus and will luggages post a problem in traveling?  Apparently no booking in CZ except by phone?

Thank you.




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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2013, 04:37:58 pm »

1.  The DB prices of 4 tickets for the 09:15 train is 269.60EUR is 3.5 times more expensive than CZ's 1999CZK - all standard prices (except for 2 tickets for 18-25 years under CZ). There must be something that I missed and not comparing apples to apples as the difference is simply too significant.
You've missed the fact that Czech tickets are discounted one's (19 euro per person making it 1999 CZK for 4), which were mentioned in the previous post, while German Railways website indeed shows you full standard fare. So all this difference comes exactly from the difference between the price of the discounted tickets (offer "Včasná jízdenka Evropa"(Německo)) and standard fare ones

2.  Appreciate if you determine if it is worth the reduction in prices to get any of those special passes under DE site. http://i1057.photobucket.com/albums/t398/asdfjunky/Bahn02.jpg
3.  Similarly is it worth the while for those discount in CZ http://i1057.photobucket.com/albums/t398/asdfjunky/Praha-Munich__D_Page_2.jpg
Well, in both cases would have to say NO, because: a) for some of the discounts/discount cards you simply won't be eligible; b) most of them aren't issued immediately upon request, thus it takes time to actually get them; c) probably most important, they are not worth it for occasional travelers doing only a few journeys, you'll just overpay for something like BahnCard, but it won't pay back with the discounts you potentially will get from your few trips. All this cards give discount from the standard fare
Much more reasonable is simply to rely on group passes (like German ones mentioned in the previous post) or discounted tickets (like 19 euro Prague-Munich), which both at the end save you more. For train journeys in Czech Republic there is also plenty of options - from rather essential discount for groups (no card or anything needed) to group passes. If you plan trips within Czech Republic would suggest to read through our Czech page - http://europetrainsguide.com/Countries/Czech-Republic/Czech-Republic-CD.html

4.  There are 2 more direct (no connection) departures shown in CZ namely 13:15 and 17:15.  Is this info reliable?
Yes, Ex/ALX #354 & Ex/ALX #356 are running, no problem here. DB website also shows them

5.  Notice that there is a direct bus departure at 10:30 and surprising faster than train by 1hr 11mins. How comfortable are this bus and will luggages post a problem in traveling?  Apparently no booking in CZ except by phone?
Those buses are run by DB and you can book them via DB website (tickets from 29 euro), buses are more or less ok in terms of comfort and have baggage compartment. However remember that "real" bus companies (like the ones mentioned on the previous post) might have a better price & higher level of service
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2013, 02:19:39 am »

Thanks mate for all your advice. They are really helpful and appreciate it.  :) :)
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 02:24:35 am by EuropeHols » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 02:41:00 am »

One more question.
Is the route between Prague and Munich scenic (ie picturesque) that will keep you excited? 
Does the bus option offer better sightseeing than train in winter in this regard?
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2013, 12:14:00 pm »

Is the route between Prague and Munich scenic (ie picturesque) that will keep you excited?
More or less, especially if you never traveled there, but nothing really extraordinary, just nice fields, forest, villages 

Does the bus option offer better sightseeing than train in winter in this regard?
No, train route is better. Plus the whole atmosphere of a journey cannot be compared, train wins easily, but hey, we are railways forum, so kind of bias   ;D
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« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2013, 12:03:41 pm »

Hi,

Fiddling with the routes within Germany on DE site under Sparpreis with 90days out.
Munich to Berlin = EUR 129 or 169
Berlin to Koln   = EUR 179
Koln to Brussels = EUR 76 or 85
Brussels to Paris= EUR 116

1. Are there better deals than those above?  I have yet to come across EUR29 or EUR49 as promoted on that page. Are they a myth as seat supply is so limited that they are gone within mins/hours of availability?

2. Any other arrangement like the Bavarian-Bohemia + Pilsen-Praha that you mentioned earlier for  these inter-regional routes?

3. Plan to spend 3 days each in Munich and Berlin. Reckon respective  Lander-Tickets is the way to go when in the city if I were to travel out of city to say Dacha, Fussen, Sachsenhausen. Is my thinking for Lander on the right track?

4. For the Koln to Brussels leg, there is a funny 5min transfer  to another train at Bruxelles-Nord. Am I realistic with this schedule? Because was just thinking by the time I drag the luggages, figure out direction of next platform in foreign language, which compartment to embark - well the Bruxelles-Central train would have left.

5. Actually do not intend to stay overnight in Koln. We can leave Berline early and arrive Koln at around 10am, spend half a day in the city before catch a train to Brussels say around 6pm. Is there any other ticket arrangement (international?) for Berlin-Brussels that allow a stopover in Koln for 7-8hrs?

6. For Brussels to Paris leg, is it more beneficial to book from Brussels or France site rather than DE?

7. Any other useful advice appreciated - they should provide a university course for booking of trains in europe.

Thanks again.
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« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2013, 06:46:46 pm »

Fiddling with the routes within Germany on DE site under Sparpreis with 90days out.
Actually it's 92 days

1. Are there better deals than those above?  I have yet to come across EUR29 or EUR49 as promoted on that page. Are they a myth as seat supply is so limited that they are gone within mins/hours of availability?
Well, SparPreis tickets for journeys within Germany start from 19 euro (<250 km routes) or 29 euro, but obviously number of tickets at such bargain fares are really limited, so once cheapest once get sold out, then next price level kicks in - 35 euro-->39 euro-->45-->49 etc. With peak dates or time it's indeed quite difficult to catch the cheapest ones
Regarding Cologne to Brussels your best bet is international sparpreis tickets (from 19 euro per passenger), they are relatively easy to catch since it not very far and there are many trains
With Brussels to Paris trip DB website should be used only for timetable check, while tickets should be purchased either via Thalys website (operator of high-speed train) or French Railways (SNCF) website

2. Any other arrangement like the Bavarian-Bohemia + Pilsen-Praha that you mentioned earlier for  these inter-regional routes?
Already mentioned Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket (for weekends) & Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket (for weekdays), both have rules like regional passes, but just valid within the whole Germany. Although because both are valid only for regional trains (not high-speed ICE/IC) traveling with help of Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket/Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket on long distance routes like Munich to Berlin or Berlin to Cologne might be not extremely convenient because a) will take more time & b) you'll have to change trains. For instance Munich to Berlin by regional trains will take 9-10 hours and at least 3 changes, while with high-speed train route can be done by 6-7 hours and using direct ICE train. But on the contrary Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket/Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket for the whole family can cost less than Sparpreis for ICE train for one passenger

3. Plan to spend 3 days each in Munich and Berlin. Reckon respective  Lander-Tickets is the way to go when in the city if I were to travel out of city to say Dacha, Fussen, Sachsenhausen. Is my thinking for Lander on the right track?
Yes, Lander tickets (=regional passes) are precisely designed for such journeys, especially when family or group is traveling. The only thing to keep in mind is that for some shorter trips it might be cheaper to go with local tickets instead of Lander Ticket. For instance when going to Dachau from Munich it's cheaper to get Munich area MVV day pass

4. For the Koln to Brussels leg, there is a funny 5min transfer  to another train at Bruxelles-Nord. Am I realistic with this schedule? Because was just thinking by the time I drag the luggages, figure out direction of next platform in foreign language, which compartment to embark - well the Bruxelles-Central train would have left.
Do you really need Central station in Brussels? The thing is that most of the direct trains terminate at Brussels-Midi station, some also stop at Brussels-Nord, but the trick is that all three Brussels-Nord, Brussels-Central & Brussels-Midi are all in the city centre and not very far from each other (check google maps), so maybe it will be better just to get ticket till Nord or Midi and then simply continue by city transport to your hotel? Imho, no need to make extra train change in order to arrive to more or less the same part of Brussels

5. Actually do not intend to stay overnight in Koln. We can leave Berline early and arrive Koln at around 10am, spend half a day in the city before catch a train to Brussels say around 6pm. Is there any other ticket arrangement (international?) for Berlin-Brussels that allow a stopover in Koln for 7-8hrs?
Yep, you certainly can do so. And even more, in some situations it can be cheaper to buy one through ticket with stopover instead of two separate ones. In order to purchase such ticket just enter "Berlin Hbf" to "Bruxelles-Midi" and in the third row below stopover "Cologne" along with number of hours you intend to spend in Cologne, should look something like this

And best thing here is that you can still get discounted ticket despite such long stopover

6. For Brussels to Paris leg, is it more beneficial to book from Brussels or France site rather than DE?
Yes, as was already said above, here better to turn either to Thalys website (operator of high-speed train) or French Railways (SNCF) website

Any other useful advice appreciated
Well, for those traveling in December & January it's a good thing to remind that in Europe during second weekend of December happens timetable change, so many companies would a) potentially make some changes in train operations (doubt it really effect your itinerary, maybe just +/- some minutes here and there); b) some railway companies fail to enter schedule changes on time, so sale period might be a bit delayed. It happens all the time, so there is nothing to worry if some tickets aren't on sale when they suppose to be, just wait some time and they will appear

they should provide a university course for booking of trains in europe.
  ;D ;D ;D
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 02:16:46 pm by tUt » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2013, 11:55:00 am »


1. Are there better deals than those above?  I have yet to come across EUR29 or EUR49 as promoted on that page. Are they a myth as seat supply is so limited that they are gone within mins/hours of availability?
Well, SparPreis tickets for journeys within Germany start from 19 euro (<250 km routes) or 29 euro, but obviously number of tickets at such bargain fares are really limited, so once cheapest once get sold out, then next price level kicks in - 35 euro-->39 euro-->45-->49 etc. With peak dates or time it's indeed quite difficult to catch the cheapest ones

Hi tUt - it has been a couple of months since last post.
On this particular topic I have been trying today for the Prague-Munich and Munich-Berlin trains for 19 Nov 2013 which should be the first day ticket available for booking. However unable to find EUR29 or anything near there. What I see is EUR67.40 and EUR49.00 for those trains respectively.

Think I am not doing it right, appreciate if you can tell how to get to those special prices.
Thanks.
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« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2013, 11:28:56 pm »

On this particular topic I have been trying today for the Prague-Munich and Munich-Berlin trains for 19 Nov 2013 which should be the first day ticket available for booking. However unable to find EUR29 or anything near there. What I see is EUR67.40 and EUR49.00 for those trains respectively.
Regarding Prague to Munich it's better to book via Czech Railways eShop (ticket sale there starts 60 days before departure and it's definitely not a problem to catch cheapest 19 euro tickets). Regarding Munich to Berlin... hmm there are relatively cheap tickets for some connections, for instance

But with peak time departures prices indeed higher, unfortunately for many travelers Munich to Berlin is really popular (+ rather long) connection, so it's hard to travel with minimal expenses
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« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2013, 07:37:15 am »

You are a beauty tUt.  Will be checking out the booking site again.    :) :) :D :D
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2013, 08:34:48 am »

Hi tUt,
Played around with the booking.  Share with you and other users some funny discoveries:
1.  Berlin-Cologne special fare @ €29 for 1 adult but if you book for 4 adults together it will cost €13 more at €129; and for 2 adults together at €69.  Is there some surcharge for booking as a group?  Reckon (mathematically at least) there is a fixed surcharge of €10 + €1 for every additional person in group.
2.  On the Berlin-BruxellesMidi with stopover in Cologne - it is cheaper to book separately the same train and connection independently.  It is €79 vs €63 (29+34).  One can also get the Cologne-BruxellesMidi cheaper from Thalys at €25 instead of €34 from Bahn, this worked out to be saving 30% (€25 per adult) for the entire Berlin-BruxellesMidi sector.
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« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2013, 10:56:42 pm »

1.  Berlin-Cologne special fare @ €29 for 1 adult but if you book for 4 adults together it will cost €13 more at €129; and for 2 adults together at €69.  Is there some surcharge for booking as a group?  Reckon (mathematically at least) there is a fixed surcharge of €10 + €1 for every additional person in group.
No surcharge for groups, but there is a limit of seats for each price level, so if all the 29 EUR tickets get sold out, then next price level kicks in, so maybe in your case 4 seats for 29 euro simple were not available, thus one, two or even three tickets out of four were counted at higher price level (at least it seems like an possible explanation), thus making final total more than 29*4

One can also get the Cologne-BruxellesMidi cheaper from Thalys at €25 instead of €34 from Bahn...
Indeed, price differences are rather common when booking via different websites, usually booking against the stream (like on DB website when going from Belgium to Germany and vice versa - not via DB when starting from Germany) works out to be cheaper, but also there are different quotas of discounted tickets. Anyways, we usually suggest to check a few official websites and simply buy via the one where needed tickets offered for the lowest fare
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« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2013, 03:34:40 am »

Hi tUt,
Currently the Bahn website cannot allow booking beyond 14 Dec 2013 which probably is due to their annual schedule alignment/changes.  When will itl be reverted to the normal 90-day out booking?  Thanks mate.

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