help needed - Berlin to Prague

Jan 21st, 2007, 11:34 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 411 help needed - Berlin to Prague

Thanks in advance to all who can help me out here. It has been 20 years since I have booked train travel in Europe, and I want to make sure that I have understood all my options correctly before reserving.

- I would like return tickets Berlin to Prague, with a 6 hour stop in Dresden on the return leg.

- Berlin to Prague April 13th on the 16:46 train. Prague to Dresden on the 17th, leaving Prague at 8:34/Dresden to Berlin leaving at 17:04.

- We are two adults, a 7 and 9 year old.

My questions:

Is an ICE train much nicer than an EC train? I can pay 15 euros more for the ICE on one leg.

Are there lockers at the Dresden train station for our luggage?

Regarding seat reservations, what would the differences in"centre aisle coach", vs "open saloon coach" be? I can figure out what a compartment is...... which seating would be more agreeable in your opinion, given 4.5 hours on a train with the kids? There is also "booking seats around a table" option. Maybe this would be better?

I am getting 99.40 euros for the above. I am assuming that is the total amount?

Again, any help would be appreciated. Perhaps I didn't get enough sleep last night with the 6 am hockey practice this morning!
poutine is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 12:27 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,093
Is an ICE train much nicer than an EC train? Generally speaking: Yes. Especially if you are choosing the table option: There are more seats with tables on the ICE.

Lockers in Dresden: Yes.

The train cars have both small compartments that seat 6 people and a big room with several dozen seats (that's the "saloon coach"). With kids, it would be nice to have a compartment to yourselves but that needs good luck.
Tables are in the saloon coach, each table has 3 or 4 seats. Having a table enables the kids to do games, paint, read, eat etc. I think I'd try to get a table.

Here is a description of the different train types:

quokka is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 12:36 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,017
>Generally speaking: Yes.
I disagree, it's not worth the 15€ at all.
In the recent years, the Bahn has
- made the seats a lot! smaller and less comfortable
- no personal video screens in 2nd class, and no movies in 1st class.
- no on board radio on 2nd class.
- 240V sockets still there, but no proper sinus wave. Trashes cheap adapters.
- introduced seats "reserved on demand", so basically sitting there, "anybody" can force you to vacate your seat.

Differences to EC are small.

logos999 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,404
I've traveled Berlin/Dresden and Dresden/Prague several times and find normal 2nd class just fine for that journey. It's not that long a trip. I've always just purchased tickets without a seat reservation at the train station the day of travel. Since there are 4 of you, you could just stop in any Berlin train station a few days before you depart to Prague. Reserve 4 seats in a 6 person cabin. You may share the cabin with 2 others, or seats may remain empty - you can't predict.

I'd make my selection on preferred travel time over ICE vs EC. I would strongly recommend you take an earlier train from Berlin to Prague so you arrive during daylight hours, or dusk at the latest. First time to Prague can be a little disorienting as language (alphabet/written and spoken words) isn't intuitive. I find it a little more foreign than Germany/France/Italy where one can at least read the signs.

Since you will be familiar with Berlin, arriving after 7pm on the return shouldn't present a problem.

I normally advise just to use ATM's upon arrival, but at Prague Holesovice train station you may not immediately find one and signage isn't great either. There is a currency exchange booth in the train station - you'll pay a fee to exchange Euros or $ to CZ crowns, but it's worth it for the convenience. Alternatively you can purchase CZ crowns at currency exchange in Berlin so you have some in your pocket upon arrival.

Make sure you read up on taxis in Prague before you travel - many people report getting ripped off by Prague taxi drivers. It should cost no more than about 300 Kr to get from the train station to a hotel. If you use the subway (red line terminus is the train station, and it's easy to navigate), you will need Kr coins to put into the subway ticket machines.
J62 is online now  
Jan 21st, 2007, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,079
I don't think the extra money is worth the difference between the two trains. I have never paid much attention to IC versus ICE. I do find that some of the regional trains are not quite as nice as the ECand ICE trains but, if given a choice between the two, I would go with the cheaper option.

I also note that the leg from Berlin to Dresden is actually faster on one of the Ec trains. I would opt for cheapness and faster travel any time.

I am sure you know that if you buy a restricted ticket you can get it much cheaper than if you buy an unrestricted ticket.

Consider your options.
The trains in Germany operated by the Deutsche Bahn are modern. If I were in your position, I would base my choice on price and shortness of travel time rather than on the type of train or the type of coach. Grouping around a table can be convenient because if the youngsters want to play a game or something, they have a surface on which to put it. Also, if you bring your own food, which I suggest, you will have a place to put it.

Those would be my prime considerations. I would in fact rank order my personal preferences this way:

1. no smoking
2. price
3. length of travel
4. type of train

If I could get my family around a table, I would opt for that I think. It can have its advantages.

I would reserve that type of seating if possible, with window seats so you can see better as you ride along.

Second class is good enough for me. In fact, I rode first class once from Munich to Zürich and could see no distinct advantage at all other than that the car was less full of people.

brookwood is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 01:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,079
PS For the train that leaves Berlin at 8:46 or the one at 10:46 you can get the saving fare for 87.00 versus 111.60 one way. I put in 4 people; 2 adults and 2 children older than 6.

Of course you must buy in advance and you are restricted to that specific train on the chosen date. Setting up an account is easy. All you need really is a credit card number, which you supply.

I am assuming you know that you can easily set up an account and order your ticket on line and print it yourself with an ink jet or laser printer.

Your credit card becomes your ID. You MUST present the same card on the train that you used to purchase the tickets.

Die Bahn sent me a PFD file which I printed with Adobe Acrobat. I even made a second copy for backup. There is an encoded field on the ticket that the conductor can read with a ticket scanner.

Here is some added price info.

For the Berlin Dresden leg for the 4 of you I get a price of 68€.

From Dresden to Prague, I get a price of €53.60

I strongly suggest you consider the options for whether you make the Dresden stop coming or going.

Sounds like the savings from Berlin to Prague is more than €15.

brookwood is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 04:10 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 411
I decided to leave on the earlier train from Berlin, which departs at 14:46. The cheapest price for the 16:46 train had sold out already anyways.

I requested the seats with a table. decided to give me a compartment on the way there, no reservation at all between Prague and Dresden, and seats with a table between Dresden and Berlin. Who knows?? The reservations do indicate no-smoking.

All this came out to 99.40 euros return for 4 people, plus 3 euros to get the seat reservations. I feel that is a very reasonable price.

Thanks for the tips on getting some Kr beforehand, and watching out for dishonest taxi drivers. I will do both.

Thank you all.
poutine is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 05:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
I think it is marvellous how you got that price for the round trip. I looked myself and the best price I saw was €149.70 for a restricted purchase.

How did you do it?
bob_brown is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 06:51 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 411

I had specific days I needed to travel on - Berlin to Prague on April 13th, with a return on the 17th. They have the "Sparpreis 50" rate available then, as well as the "Sparpreis 25", which was about 30 euros more. They are both restricted fares.

I just checked the same times I booked, but for one adult. The return price is 58 euros under the "Europa-Spezial". You might try different times, as at least one of the schedules I was looking at for the 13th was sold out already at the lowest price.

I had to go through and choose both the outward and return journeys before receiving the final discounted price.

Good luck!
poutine is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 10:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
Thanks for the info. I am looking at Munich to Zürich. The cheapest train leaves too early for me; the best time for departure gets me to Interlaken too late to obtain my rental car.

If I take another route, I pay more.
So I am not sure what to do!!

I guess I could wait until the following day to get the car.

bob_brown is offline  
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