The EuroCity (EC) Johannes-Brahms travels from Hamburg to Prague every day at 12:51 p.m. and enables a nostalgic travel atmosphere.
In contrast to the modern high-speed trains that bring 300km / h and more on the rail, this train itches along the 690km long route at a relaxed 170km / h.
In addition to the cities of Berlin and Dresden, Ludwigslust, Büchen, Wittenberge, Bad Schandau and Dacin are also planned as stops.
This does not detract from the pleasure of traveling. On the contrary: you get a bit more of the landscape and can enjoy the slightly jerky flair of the old wagons. The on-board restaurant is particularly recommended as a seat.
You do not need a seat reservation for this and can invest the saved € 4.50 in food and drinks. The price level is very moderate. A coffee is available from € 2.50 and a warm lunch from € 7.00.
Red leather seats and table lamps create a cozy atmosphere.
Unlike in the train restaurant of the Deutsche Bahn, where meals are mainly prepared in the microwave, they cook and roast properly here. The menu is varied, from chicken fillet to beef and dumplings to vegetarian dishes.
Of course, no delicatessen can be expected, but at least a solid meal that has been freshly prepared.
There is also a selection of numerous, especially Czech beers.
After crossing the border in Bad Schandau, happy hour begins and a large beer (0.5L) only costs € 1.80. The glass of wine is then available from € 2.00. Enough reasons to stay in the restaurant longer.
Nice views along the river Elbe
In addition to price advantages, entry to the border region also offers an appealing panorama. It is therefore strategically wise to switch to the left side of the train in the direction of travel after the stop in Bad Schandau at the latest.
While unspectacular bushes proliferate on the right, a beautiful view of the Elbe awaits you on the other side.
Critics like to complain that the train ride takes 6:35 hours and is significantly longer than a flight of 95 minutes. But do I really reach my goal faster because of this? While Prague Central Station is only a 10-minute walk from the Old Town, the journey from the airport by bus or taxi takes around 45 minutes and incurs additional costs. The same applies to the start in Hamburg.
In addition, there is no need for time for security checks and baggage check-in.
If I add this extra time together (2 * 35 minutes for the further distance, + 90 minutes prior arrival for security checks and baggage check-in, + 30 minutes due to a longer exit process and picking up the luggage), the lead of flying is reduced to a mere 110 minutes, which is more likely to get me to my destination by a jet of kerosene.
In terms of price, however, the train is clearly ahead of the plane. A savings ticket – without a Bahncard – costs € 29.90 if you book a few weeks in advance. From Berlin only € 19.90. While a flight ticket is barely under 60 €. The booking of a supposedly cheap flight ticket is often associated with additional, usually unappealing, hidden costs, which are perplexed to the perplexed customer during the booking process.
Added to this are the additional costs for transfer from the airport to the city center mentioned above.
It is a shame, however, that, unlike many ICEs, there is no working wifi in EuroCity. On the other hand, a little slowing down with the help of a digital diet is not that bad either.
Video: From Hamburg to Prague
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