With Spring now here, many Wrocławians are understandably looking to go on a European excursion or two. In an update to our travel hacks series, here's the best way to travel to Czechia by train.
Wrocław to Prague & Brno
There is no direct Eurocity style to train to Prague, but it is still possible to travel there by train. Unfortunately things have become a little more complex than they used to be. Previously, you only needed to change trains once at the eerily quiet Usti Nad Orlici station nearby Pardubice. Now, somewhat unfathomably, the direct trains to Usti Nad Orlici are gone and may not return until 2019.
As it stands, you need to take a train Lichkov and then wait around an hour for the next train to Usti Nad Orlici. This isn't the end of the world if you are travelling later in the afternoon, as you can kill time in Lichkov's train station pub. However if you are travelling in the morning it just does nothing more than other than add an hour to you journey time. Hopefully this will change soon.
To buy tickets for the train to Prague or elsewhere in the Czech Republic, you should in theory go to the international ticket office in Wrocław Glowny, where they'll probably give you a spiel on one of PKP or PolRegio's offers. You can nontheless save yourself time and money by bypassing these offers and buying printable tickets online via Czech rail's website.
It is not as complicated as it looks, as I shall explain.
First all, you need to buy a ticket to the border town Międzylesie, which costs just under 24zl. This ticket can be bought online or at any regular window in Wrocław's main train station.
Next, head to the Czech Rail website and choose Lichkov as the starting station and then input your destination (e.g Prague). A ticket from the border to Prague costs 261 crowns, which is around 42zl. In theory, an 8zl border crossing fee applies. However in most cases, the Polish conductors all get off at the last stop before border – simply leaving you to hand over your new Czech ticket to the Czech conductors in Lichkov.
Once you reach Usti Nad Orlici, you can change trains and head to Brno, Olomouc or even Bratislava in Slovakia.
The ability to buy tickets for the Czech Republic online brings a lot of ease of travel. You can plan your trip ahead without wondering if you'll be able to buy one correctly over the counter in Czech, and you can even buy tickets to Bratislava and Vienna too. You need only remember two important things: the first is of course to bring the document you used as ID for your printed ticket, and the second is to not fold the barcode that the conductor must scan.
When it comes to the return journey from Czechia or Slovakia, just repeat the process. If you travel as far south as Vienna, you'll need to get yourself a 14 or 21 euro sparday promotion to Prague from the Austrian Rail website as well as purchasing your Czech and Polish tickets.
To make the most out of your trip to Prague, check out all the videos by Honest Guide. They are particularly useful for avoiding tourist traps and scams, as well as finding some hidden gems.
Wrocław to Liberec
To get to Liberec as cheap as possible, get yourself a 25zl Euro Nysa ticket, which can be used an unlimited amount of times in one calendar day. The savings are so great that even on a casual day-trip you can easily save yourself over 100zl.
The ticket is valid on almost all routes covering the area where the borders of Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic meet. If you travel west, the ticket becomes active at Bolesławiec and allows you to travel as far as Bischofswerda, where the German Zvon zone ends. If you head south-east towards the Czech border, the ticket is valid from Jelenia Góra and allows travel over the border to anywhere in the Liberec region.
Euro Nysa tickets can be bought up to two days in advance at Wroclaw train station, as well as a select number of other participating stations. Please be aware however that the lower 25zl ticket price applies when bought here in Poland (In Germany the fee is higher). If you are traveling in a group of 4-5 people, there is also a 75zl group ticket that offers even greater value. On top of that, cyclists can take their bike with them on the train for a further 10zl.
The journey to Liberec via Germany takes around 5 hours. Bear in mind that you'll also need a return ticket to Bolesławiec on top of the Euro Nysa ticket(s). That will cost 44zł during the week, however at weekends you can buy Koleje Dolnośląskie 35zł Podróżuj z KD ticket. This ticket allows unlimited travel between Friday at 6pm to Monday morning at 6am. On long weekends the ticket's validity also extends further. You can buy this promotional ticket at the relevant counter or ticket machine at the station.
To find out what to see with your Euro Nysa ticket, read this article from our archives.
Wrocław to Trutnov
Trutnov is a quiet Czech town (at least when it's not ski-season) in the shadow of the Karkonosze mountains. You can get there by train on Saturdays and Sundays in around 3 for just 35zł return (as of the 28th of April).
It's all possible thanks to the aforementioned 35zł 'Podróżuj z KD' ticket, which allows unlimited travel on Koleje Dolnośląskie trains between Friday at 6pm to Monday morning at 6am.
Koleje Dolnośląskie run 3 services per day on Saturdays and Sundays between Wrocław and Trutnov (including one stop where your connecting train waits for you), and there is no additional charge for the Czech part of the journey for weekend ticket holders.
To find out what to do in Trutnov, check out this article from our archives.
Wrocław to Adršpach
On top of their weekend service to Trutnov, Koleje Dolnośląskie are also launching a route to Adršpach on April 28th. According to tuwrocław.com, a return ticket for the 3 hour trip to Adršpach is 48zł. It may nonetheless be possible to use the same offer as for Trutnov above.