Berlin and Prague are separated only by about 200 miles, close enough for a relatively quick train or bus ride and too close for a direct flight. At about four and a half hours each, trains and buses are both great options for transportation between the German and Czech capitals. Trains are usually a more enjoyable ride than buses, but buses are usually the best deal when making last-minute plans. If you have a car, driving is the fastest way to travel, but it includes a lot of potential tolls and fees if you don't plan your trip right.
How to Get from Berlin to Prague
- Train: 4 hours, 25 minutes, from $21
- Bus: 4 hours, 20 minutes, from $21
- Car: 3 hours, 30 minutes, 217 miles (350 kilometers)
- Flight: 4 hours, from $78 (with a layover)
Several trains depart Berlin each day, heading south and crossing the border into the Czech Republic and onto Prague. You can book your tickets using the German reservation system or the Czech system—Germany's website is more user-friendly, but the Czech website sometimes has better deals for the exact same train. The direct train takes about four and a half hours, and it's a scenic ride through southern Germany and charming cities like Dresden.
Tickets are dynamically priced, similar to airplane tickets, so they get more expensive as seats sell out and the travel date gets closer. If you're flexible with your departure date and time, it's usually possible to find trains at low prices even with only a few days' notice. However, book as far in advance as possible to get the best deals.
Trains depart from Berlin's central station, Berlin Hbf, and arrive at Prague's central station, Praha hl.n. Prague's station is well-connected to the rest of the city via metro, although a taxi from the station to anywhere in the city center shouldn't cost more than $10.
Bus trips across Europe are usually the last-resort, economic option for those who don't mind spending several extra hours in transit, but buses from Berlin to Prague are an exception. Not only does the bus take a comparable amount of time as the train, but the starting prices are virtually the same. Most travelers consider trains to be the more comfortable option of the two, but if train tickets have jumped in price or you simply prefer the bus, then it's a perfectly good option for travel along this route.
FlixBus is one of the most popular European bus companies and offers several daily routes that go direct from Berlin to Prague. One disadvantage of the bus compared to the train is that the Berlin bus stations are outside of the city center, unlike the Berlin Hpf train station. Coaches leave from the Berlin Central Bus Station—which is not centrally located as the name implies—or Südkreuz station in the south, so be sure to factor in the additional transit time to your journey.
Buses in Prague leave passengers at the main train station, which is in the city center and easily accessible to the rest of the city.
The fastest way to get to Prague is to drive yourself, which is only 217 miles from Berlin and takes about three and a half hours without stopping. The most direct route winds through the forests of Eastern Germany down toward Dresden, where it meets up with the Elbe River and follows it south to Prague. It isn't a long drive, but having your own car gives you the freedom to stop and spend a night or two in Dresden or any of the smaller cities along the route.
Highways in the Czech Republic use a toll system that requires a special vignette that you place in your car. Instead of paying at tolls booths along the route, you'll need to purchase a sticker that gives you free use of Czech highways for a set period of time (10 days is the minimum). Once you have this sticker, you can freely drive on toll roads for the allotted amount of time without worrying. It's possible to avoid the toll roads altogether, just look for signs that say "BEZ POPLATKU" and expect the journey to take about an hour longer.
Apart from tolls and gas, don't forget to take into account other costs as well. Rental companies often charge a fee for taking a vehicle out of the country, and a much larger fee if you aren't returning to Berlin and plan to leave the car in Prague. Adding up all of the expenses, a car ends up being the priciest travel option, but it may be worth the freedom of designing your own trip.
Berlin and Prague are close enough and so well-connected by the train that no direct flights exist between the two cities. All flights require a change of planes somewhere, and even a short layover makes this option much less appealing than the train or bus. You're much better off using another form of transport.
What to See in Prague
Prague is a medieval city that enchants millions of visitors every year who come to experience its Gothic and Baroque architecture, wild nightlife, and scenic river views. The Prague Castle is one of the city's best highlights, a ninth-century building that has been the home of Bohemian kings, Holy Roman emperors, and the current Czech president. The ornate clock in the Old Town Square is the oldest still-functioning astronomical clock in the world, located right next to the historic Jewish Quarter where writer Franz Kafka was born. The Czech Republic is known for its beers, perfect for warming up in a bar on a cold winter's day or to enjoy outdoors in the sun while admiring the Vltava River. Once the sun goes down, Prague's famous nightclubs come to life and you can dance away until the morning.