Slow Travel - Berlin to Prague

Why you should take your time, and enjoy the journey, from Berlin to Prague and enjoy one of the most beautiful train routes in Europe.

Berlin

Berlin is beautiful. Not in the traditional sense like Florence or Paris but it certainly does have a beauty in its atmosphere. However, there is a different beauty to Berlin and that is its location. Berlin is centred at the heart of the great northern plain that stretches from Amsterdam to the Urals. This means its a perfect city to travel to anywhere in Europe. You can fly from one of Berlin’s two airports to almost anywhere you wish on the continent. You could use the incredible German autobahns and drive but for this journey we recommend taking it slow.

The Journey

To travel from Berlin to Prague you could fly, it’s a very short journey, or you could drive, the drive taking between four and five hours traffic dependent. But we recommend taking the train. Leaving Berlin Hauptbahnhof from one of the many underground platforms the train heads south. Once the train leaves the outreaches of Berlin behind and the city starts to fade away all you’ll be able to see is row upon row of pine trees. This part of the journey is the perfect opportunity to catch up on any sleep you may have missed as there is, for two hours, nothing to see at all. So why take this route?

You could travel all the way to Prague in one sitting, lasting roughly five hours. However, we recommend making the journey a journey of two halves. First stop, Dresden.

Dresden

Dresden streets

The Florence of the Elbe was how Dresden was once called. But that beautiful baroque city was pummeled by the British and American air forces in the Second World War. In less than twelve hours of bombing one of Europe’s finest treasures was but a smouldering ruin. Today, however, Dresden is back.

The city has been vastly rebuilt, the crowning achievement of which is the rebuilt Frauenkirche a must see sight. The train will stop a few times in the city of Dresden itself, but you are going to want to stay on board until reaching Dresden Hauptbahnhof. From Dresden Hauptbahnhof it’s just a short ten minute walk into the Altstadt of Dresden. This is the perfect place to find a spot of lunch.

If you are going to eat in Dresden we highly recommend the Alte Meister located within the walls of the Zwinger. If you are visiting in the summer and the sun is shining take a seat outside and gaze onto Dresden’s world famous opera house the Semperoper. 

dresden buildings beauty

There’s a lot on offer, you could explore more of the Zwinger Palais and view the magnificent porcelain collection. Or visit the Green vault at the city palace and gaze upon luxury treasures. If it is a sunny day take a walk along the waterfront was famed for its beauty now slowly being restored. Wander into the rebuilt platz Neumarkt, visit the Frauenkirche or marvel at the luxurious watch shops. If it’s a bit chill we highly recommend a visit to CAMONDAS Dresden’s delightful chocolate shop, with delicious cakes and coffees to warm the soul.

Dresden to Prague

Now it’s time to continue. Return to the station and continue your journey with the train. There’s a train departing ten past the hour every odd hour, 11:10, 13:10, 15:10 etc (at the time of writing). And this is when the journey becomes beautiful. The train will follow the river Elbe as it twists and turns. The dull countryside of Berlin to Dresden is gone and instead spectacular vistas of hills and cliffs rise before the eyes. Top tip: You need to take a seat on the left hand side of the train. If you sit on the right all you’ll see is the cliff edge and water.

River elbe cutting through valley

The area that the train passes through is the National park Sächsische Schweiz. It is one of the most beautiful routes not often travelled. Fantastic cliffs rise high about the river valley. Trees cling to rock faces and quaint little towns adorn the shore. But the most fantastic part is the Bastei. The Bastei are fingers of rock that rise from the top of the cliffs. They present a beautiful view point but also they are a wonderful view themselves.  A bridge was erected in the 19th century that joins the fingers of rock together and allows tourists to take in the  magnificent views. This is why you should take the train from Berlin to Prague.

Bastei rock formations in the Saxon Switzerland

So wonderous the rock formations are they have also inspired artists for generations to travel along the Elbe valley in search of inspiration. The most famous of these artists was Caspar David Friedrich. Wanderer above a sea of fog captures the awesomeness of nature and the splendour it presents the witness.

Wanderer above a sea of fog

This beautiful painting can be found today in Hamburg at the over end of the Elbe in the Kunsthalle.

Czechia

Now the train meanders with the river into Czechia (Czech Republic). The difference between the old East Germany and the old Czechoslovakia is noticeable to the eye. The buildings are a little rougher, lacking the restoration that those in Germany could afford as the integrated former East of Germany could lean on the financially successful West Germany, Czechoslovakia did not have such luck. The buildings are still pretty, the train stations showing signs of their former grandeur but this would be the best opportunity to check out the trains dining car.

From Dresden to Prague the journey lasts roughly two and a quarter hours and once in Prague the train pulls into the main station. From here its just a short walk and you’ll be in the heart of Prague and gazing at even more impressive buildings.

Take it slow

So take it slow, the journey from Berlin to Prague is one to be savoured, don’t always be in a rush to get to the final destination, enjoy the treats along the way.

When in Berlin consider taking a tour to understand the unique atmosphere and history Berlin has on offer, book a private tour with The Berlin Tour Guide contact us today!

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