There are two train operators of the Prague to Vienna route; České dráhy (Czech Railways) and Regiojet. Prices are similar and our choice was made solely on departure/arrival times.
Trains depart from Prague’s main station (Praha hlavní nádraží), which has plenty of food and shopping outlets. I boarded the train with a Burger King breakfast, egg and bacon croissant (59 Kč).
Both companies offer second class, first class and business class – unlike airline classes, business class is the highest category. Looking at the seat map, the Czech Railways business seats were single seats with more space around them – there was also a ridiculous seat reservation charge. First class shared the same carriage, with pairs of seats and so we booked those.
Total price per person, one-way, departing Sunday morning, was 700 Kč – that included a discount for having a České dráhy card. Good value for a four-hour journey.
Almost everyone followed the rules and wore a face mask – you’re allowed to remove your mask to eat and drink. I expected the few who ignored the rule would be reprimanded by the ticket checker, but he didn’t say anything. A friend of mine recently caught Covid-19 on a long train journey from Croatia to Prague – he wasn’t surprised as mask wearing wasn’t enforced.
There were menus in our seat pockets and waiter service.
If you look carefully, you’ll see that there is a regular price and a ‘happy hour’ price. The bottom of the menu identifies the trains and times where happy hour prices are applied. It’s well worth considering this when booking – for example, a beer is an expensive 79 Kč, but a reasonable 39 Kč during happy hour.
As it was happy hour we ordered a Bohemia Sekt for 79 Kč and Řízek (Schnitzel) with potato salad for 159 Kč. And it was okay – classic Czech pub food.
I wondered what the restaurant car was like – and found it to be a sad buffet car.
It was certainly better having waiter service at our seats. We also didn’t have to pay until the end of our journey – unusually for these Covid times, they preferred cash, but we did manage to pay by card.
The toilets were large and clean. There is a red button to close the door, but that doesn’t lock it – you still need to operate a separate locking mechanism.
It was a comfortable journey and a nice bonus to find ourselves in happy hour for all of it. However, you may feel uncomfortable that the wearing of face masks is not enforced.
Vienna’s main station is large, modern and has plenty of food and shopping outlets. It’s maybe 10 minutes walk to the U Bahn metro. The metro ticket machine had an English option and we purchased 72-hour unlimited ride tickets for EUR 17.10 per person. Just remember to stamp the ticket in the machine the first time you use it.