Buying train tickets in Prague/Vienna?

Old Jun 3rd, 2013, 01:56 AM
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Buying train tickets in Prague/Vienna?

Do you need to buy your train tickets in advance of leaving the states? Some people say you should not and others say traveling in August is busy and you need to have tickets ahead of time? Advice is appreciated as I have never traveled to either of these places and aren't sure which train station to even go to. THANK YOU.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2013, 02:27 AM
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If you tell us from WHERE you are taking the train it might be helpful.

Are you going to take a train immediately after landing in Europe or are you going to be somewhere for a day or so before your train travel?

More info needed
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Old Jun 3rd, 2013, 02:31 AM
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BTW, if you are traveling between Prague and Vienna you can usually go to any train station and buy the tickets, either using a machine or perhaps better for you, one of the ticket windows. You don't have to be leaving from that particular station.

Prague has a major downtown station, Hlavni Nadrazi, as well as one a bit further out, Holesovice. In Vienna you can use the main Hauptbahnhof or the West station or others depending on which station would be most convenient for you.

You could also use local travel agencies.

August is a time of year when a lot of Europeans go on vacation.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 02:11 AM
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We will be in Prague for 4 days and plan to leave early in the morning on the 6th of August. We are staying near the Charles Bridge so need a train station nearest to there and in Vienna we are staying near the Stephen's Cathedral in the ring so would want nearest train to there...what might that be? Thanks for your help
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 02:56 AM
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If you want a direct train from Prague to Vienna without changes, you will need to go to Wien Simmering, which is south of central Vienna (ie the Ring). Eventually the trains will go to the new Wien Hauptbahnhof (formerly Wien Sud) but the new station is still under construction.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 04:09 PM
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Ok, thanks...what train station might I leave from in Prague and should I buy the tickets before I leave the states? Please advise. Thank you.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 04:30 PM
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The train leaves from Hlavni Nadrazi (Prague hl. n.). It looks like there is a train (EuroCity - EC) departing roughly every 2 hours, so I do not necessarily see the need to purchase the ticket in advance. I'd purchase them when you are there - and give yourself a little flexibility.

The train station in Prague can get busy, so give yourself enough time, or as Dukey suggests, try a local travel agency in Prague while you are wandering around.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 04:50 PM
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Buying in advance online might get a better deal. Present price from www.cd.cz/eshop for EC train is 500 kronas or less than 20 euros. But they only sell 60 days in advance.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 09:23 AM
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Czech train tickets are pretty cheap no matter what. I find Cedok travel agency easier to deal with in Prague than the train station (where lines can be long and some language difficulties). They charge a fee per ticket but it is very small. There is one not too far from Powder Gate I use, efficient and nice service. you can find their locations online

I think these are the addresses of the ones in the center of Prague:
Rytířská 403/16
Na příkopě 857/18

the one near Wenceslas square is closed, I believe
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 12:23 PM
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the Cedok in Wenseslas square is in the Mustak Metro area and was open last week when I passed through.
never seen much of a queue in the domestic ticket area in Prague Hlavni though i really can't comment on international tickets next door.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 12:37 PM
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oh, I think that's a new one or maybe it just relocated, I think there used to be one at Václavské náměstí 815/53 that is closed, as least I've read that. I've seen long lines and been in them for international tickets and/or if you want the line with someone who can speak English. I was doing both, so not sure if they have a line for someone who can speak English that is domestic.
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 04:40 AM
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I think it must be a new one I don't remember seeing it before ,but then I don't use Mustek Metro station a lot.There was only 2 office staff and no customers when I passed wednesday last week.
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 04:49 AM
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egold -- the main Prague station (mentioned above) is not near Charles Bridge, but you can take a metro to it if you plan ahead and get used to the system, or a taxi. Using Cedok to buy the tickets is a good idea. Get them the day before you need them (or sooner if you want). Enjoy Prague. One of my favorite cities.
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 01:28 AM
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Thanks so much for all of your information!!
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 04:19 AM
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One thing I learned here:

Have a printout of the desired train schedule with you when you purchase tickets.
Sometimes it's easiest to point!
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 04:59 AM
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Agree with 29FEB! I like to use the Deutsche Bahn website for this. http://www.bahn.de/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml should work for English speakers, I think.
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 07:49 AM
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I always buy rail tickets online prior to the trip and never had any issues. Previously bought from SNCF, DB and RENFE; always at a discount. My reason is primarily the cost savings (e.g. bought Berlin-Prague for 29€ vs 66€ regular price for May 2013). Also having tickets before leaving home saves time looking for travel agencies or going to the station. I've never bought online from Czech rail so can't comment on the process.
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 08:08 AM
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Unless there are cost savings no need to buy those tickets ahead of time - those trains rarely sell out and the worst would be you'd go first class - actually since those trains do not require seat reservations I believe, you can always board with a valid ticket.

But if you can save money then you may want to go to the national railway of each country's web site and see if there are savings - savings come with a cost however in that they are often train-specific and cannot be changed nor refunded and as discounted tickets are sold in limited numbers you should book weeks or months ahead to guarantee them.

Otherwise just show up at Prague or whatever and buy a ticket. Buses also serve that route (Prague to Vienna) and may be cheaper and again just buy locally. Overnight trains are the only ones you should book in advance to guarantee availability as there are only so many sleeping berths available per train.

For lots of great stuff on European trains I always spotlight these IMO fantastic sites - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.
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