From Prague, travelling to secondary cities and visiting the Czech Republic is quite easy.
And even though travelling by bus is one of the most popular means of transport, train travel remains the most comfortable option and is quite often cheap.
Train operating companies in the Czech Republic
If you’re planning on catching a train, you will travel with one of the 3 companies currently operated in the coutry : České dráhy (on a regular train or Pendolino, the local fast train), Leo Express or RegioJet. This last one is a subsidiary of Student Agency that offers bus and train connections in the Czech Republic but also offers travel agency services.
The national railway operator offers the best connections and has the most developed network in the country. It is still today the first operator in terms of passengers, as the market was liberalized only recently. Though, even if the comfort aboard trains and the prices of tickets are reasonably good, České dráhy offers a lower quality of service and more expensive tickets than its competitors. Thus, you would probably only consider this option if you’re going to small cities that are not serviced by the other two train operators.
With its first commercial journey at the end of 2012, this train operator has only recently entered the market. Leo Express offers great comfort and is probably the operaor that offers the best seat in “Premium” class, which is the equivalent of their 1st class. Its network remains very limited as they only offer train travel to slightly more than 10 destinations in the country.
Three travelling classes are offered:
– Economy, their lowest class, where you still get a wi-fi internet connection!
– Business (half way between 1st and 2nd class): you will benefit from a number of services such as a free wi-fi connection, free snacks and beverages.
– Premium, equivalent to a premium first class, where you will benefit from all Business class services, larger space with a comfortable seat allowing you to be in a sleeping position. Moreover, you will be offered a free meal as well as free drinks.
Founded in 2009, Regiojet stands out thanks to its prices and the value for money it offers to its clients. Even though launched only 4 years ago, they already offer a relatively dense network that covers most of Czech Republic’s main cities.
On board, you will enjoy great comfort but also free drinks. Regiojet offers 3 travelling classes:
– Standard, equivalent to a regular second or economy class. You travel in a 6-seat compartment and benefit from free wi-fi as well as free beverages.
– Relax, that can be compared to a first class
There, you travel in a regular “open space” car. Even though the seat design is not as advanced as in other countries in Europe such as France and their fast trains (TGV), you will enjoy the same quality of comfort. As in Standard class, you will be offered free hot and cold beverages, and the prices for meals and snacks are extremely cheap.
– Business, where you get more space than in Relax class, and share you compartment with 3 other people. The seat and services provided are comparable to those in Relax class, the only difference being the space between seats. Furthermore, you have more privacy as you travel in a 4-seat compartment.
Your next travel in the Czech Republic
The two new companies that recently entered the market have innovated a lot and have improved train travel standards. Travellers have definitely benefited from their entry on the market, both financially and in terms of comfort! Thus, if you’re planning on catching a train in the Czech Republic soon, we would definitely advise you to go for one of these two companies, RegioJet probably being slightly better than Leo Express.