We (3 couples) are doing an RS tour next September, flying into Munich, then we plan to take the train to Prague from there. We'll have a couple days cushion to work with. We'd like to head straight to the train station from the airport and get out of Munich right away. We're considering stopping in a smaller town/city along the way. Any recommendations for places to stay a night or two? Furth im Wald? Pilsen? Other? Would love some lodging recommendations as well.
What time does your flight get in? Are you planning on catching the direct train at 12:44 or one with a connection?
Our flight gets in at 10:50am on a Thursday. I don't think we'll take a direct train to Prague, as our tour doesn't start until
Sunday afternoon. We deliberately left a couple days cushion specifically for being able to take our time to get to Prague.
You could always go east to Linz by train. Then get one of the Cesky Krumlov shuttle services to take you on to Prague--stopping at Cesky Krumlov. They're remarkably affordable for 6 travelers.
I think the rail route runs through Regensburg.
Are riders required to complete the trip all the way to the destination without stopping and reboarding another day for the remainder? In other words, would we be allowed to buy a ticket Munich to Prague, but stop in say, Regensburg or Furth im Wald, stay in that town overnight and then reboard the train, and then perhaps stop in Pilzen and stay overnight, reboard the train and complete our trip to Prague? Or is it simpler to just buy the tickets for the destination for any given day (one ticket Munich to Regensburg, one ticket Regensburg to Pilzen, one ticket Pilzen to Prague?
Years ago you could stop as you trsveled as long as you were headed in that direction. I would buy a round trip ticket from Frankfurt to Munich then stop in Nurnberg on the way for a few days. I don't believe this is possible anymore, you have to complete the voyage in one trip. So it would be best to buy tickets as you go. I loved Pilsen but the old town is small. We got there late one year and stayed right across from the cathedral. As the Czech koruna is around 20 to one US dollar, the price was reasonable (around $100).
Regensburg is indeed a nice and interesting city. Some 1,5 to 2 hrs from München, which is a pleasant prospect after a probably long flight. Regensburg is also a good base for a daytrip to Nürnberg, only 1 hr away. And it has a direct train connection to Prague.
See the possiblities and prices on ww.bahn.de/p_en/view/index.shtml.
Thanks for all the replies so far, everyone -- very helpful! I think we'd be leaning towards towns/cities north of Munich. Regensburg looks like it deserves a little more research on things to do. Would we be able to catch the train at Freising (near the Munich airport) or do we need to go into the Munich Hauptbahnhof?
You don't need to go into Munich to get the train to Prague. Take the S1 to Neufahrn at 12:31, then transfer to the S1 to Freising where you get the direct train to Prague. That train stops along the way at Landshut, Regenburg, Furth im Wald, Pilsen. You could specify a free 4 hour stopover in Regensburg, but you must complete travel by the the following morning, so if you decide to spend the night, you will need a new ticket for the continuation.
The best option, if you do want to stop in Regensburg for a night, is to buy a Bayern Ticket for 28 EUR which covers 2 adults. Spend a night in Regensburg, then you can get a 46 EUR Prag Spezial Ticket (covers 2) to continue to Prague. If you want to spend a night in Pilsen on the way, you can buy a Bayern-Boehmen Ticket for 31.60 EUR. Again that covers 2 people.
The continuation to Prague is a Czech ticket and they are very inexpensive. The Super Cities trains are very nice if you can arrange one of those. This strategy does not need to be booked in advance, and saves a lot over buying 2 tickets from Munich Airport to Prague at the spur of the moment.
It appears from the Deutsche Bahn website that you can pick up the train at Freising.
If you want to relax the first day after your flight, consider staying here:
Germany has many of these types of indoor waterpark/spa resorts, but I think this one is the best, and it keeps getting better everytime I visit. It's located about a 15 minute taxi ride away from the airport.
I wasn't suggesting you go straight to Prague, but asked about the direct train as it takes a particular route ( described above, with stops in Regensburg, etc). The trains with connections may go a slightly different way, such as the one where you change trains in Nürnberg ( note that you cannot catch that one in Freising).
Do you know how to view the "intermediate stops" on a given route on Bahn.de? I find that very useful for planning overnight stops to break up a journey.
Instead of going by S-Bahn to Neufahrn, then transferring to another S-Bahn to Freising, the faster way is to take a bus from outside Terminal 2 at the airport directly to the bus stop in front of the Bahnhof in Freising and catch a train there. The bus runs every 20 minutes during the day and takes about 20 minutes. I've taken that bus twice the other way, from Freising to the airport.
Another place to stop on the way to Prague would be Zwiesel. It's in the heart of Bayerischer Wald, one of Germany's national parks, right on the Czech border. You can get there from Freising via Plattling with a Bayern-Ticket. If you stay the night in Plattling, you get a pass valid on the Waldbahn, the train the goes up to Bayerish Eisenstein, on the Czech border. On the way is a wildlife preserve where you could spend a few hours (although being from Colorado, where wildlife roams free, I was a little disappointed). Bayerish Eisenstein shares a statoin building with Zelezna Ruda, on the Czech side. At the station you can buy a ticket to Prague or Pilsen or whereever you want to make the next stop.
I imagine the Czech Rail counter at would take euro, but I bought a few Czech Koruna before I left Denver, enough for the ticket to Prague.
Be careful if you want to use a Bayern-Böhmen-Ticket, which is only valid to Pilsen. It is only accepted on regional trains in the Czech Republic. The direct ALX train that comes through Freising at about 1 pm changes designation to an EC (not a regional train) from Furth im Wald to Pilsen, so the Bayern-Böhmen-Ticket is not valid. You can use a regular Bayern-Ticket to Furth. Then get the tickets to Prague from DB at a DB station or online at DB prices, or from the Czech Rail website at Czech prices, or on the train.
If you can make the 11:48 train through Freising, it goes through Bayernisch Eisenstein and uses a regional train to Pilsen, so the Bayern-Böhmen-Ticket is valid all the way to Pilsen. Either way, the Bayern-Böhmen-Ticket is only valid to Pilsen; you will need Czech Rail tickets from there to Prague.
But all this could be moot depending on where you want to stop on the way.
Just noticed that you are 3 couples so that is 6 people. Group tickets work for 2 to 5 people, so for the Bayern ticket, you would need two 3-person tickets at 33 EUR each. The Bayern-Boehmen Ticket is 37.20 EUR for 3 people. The Prag Spezial is 23 EUR per person. All in all, that is even cheaper on a per person basis.
I have no personal experience with it, but the Bahn seems to have offers for groups of 6 or more: www.bahn.de/p_en/view/offers/national/gruppe-spar.shtml?dbkanal_007=L01_S02_D002_KIN0014_berater-gruppe_LZ001
Sam, I certainly thought about that, but looked it up. If you pay 33€ for a three person Bayern-Ticket it's 11€ per person. The single person fare from Freising to Zwiesel is 31,50€/person, so the Bayern-Ticket for that route is a better deal, even though you need to buy two of them.
Thanks so much for all of your replies. Our plans are changing a bit, and I've started a new thread.