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Old Mar 14, 09, 6:07 pm   #1
 
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Driving from Germany to Czech Republic in a rental car - permitted?

I used to rent from Hertz FRA and I remember that the rental contract specified that one couldn't drive into Czech Republic.

Is this the case with all rental car companies in Germany or was it just Hertz? I'd like to rent the car and drive from Germany to Czech (primarily Prague) as it'll be cheaper for us compared to flying/train.

Likewise, does Czech Republic have autobahn like in Germany? Is there a border control to deal with?

I know this is a silly question... but is it safe for Americans to drive a rental car in Czech Republic? Do we need a specific driver's license like the International Driver's License (that I last got at AAA in 2006)?

Despite having gone to Germany many times in the past decade and half, I've never made it into any parts of "Eastern Europe" so feel a bit clueless!

Thanks,
Michael
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Old Mar 14, 09, 7:07 pm   #2
 
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I can't answer your question, but the claim that it would be cheaper to drive than train seems unlikely. From Dresden or Berlin, you can get 19 euro tickets to Prague. Even if you have four passengers, not sure that rental car + gas + highway stamp + parking in Prague would be anywhere near 80 euros.
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Old Mar 14, 09, 11:38 pm   #3
 
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Thanks - we are starting our driving in Munich (Muenchen) as we'll do some tourism/driving in that area before heading to Praha. Sadly, it seems that Deutsche Bahn to Praha is 8 hours (??) whereas driving is closer to 4 hours.

What is the highway stamp??

Thanks,
Michael
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Old Mar 15, 09, 1:58 pm   #4
 
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I drove a car from Sixt to Prague last spring. I rented in Dresden, and after exploring the area around Dresden, I went into the Czech Republic, and took a few smaller roads to explore on the way to Prague.

I had to decline a nice upgrade in order to get a car that Sixt would allow to enter the Czech Republic.
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Old Mar 15, 09, 3:01 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaobest View Post
Thanks - we are starting our driving in Munich (Muenchen) as we'll do some tourism/driving in that area before heading to Praha. Sadly, it seems that Deutsche Bahn to Praha is 8 hours (??) whereas driving is closer to 4 hours.

What is the highway stamp??

Thanks,
Michael
The discount fare between Prague and Munich is 29 euros. On that line, I really like the first town in Germany, Furth-im-Wald. Depending on your day, if you got over the Czech border, you could get all the way to Prague for something like 4 euros (for two people!) on CD.

Don't know about eight hours...there are two direct trains a day between the cities and they run about 6 hours. Furth-im-Wald breaks it up almost exactly in half, if you're interested.

You need a stamp to drive on Czech highways. You can buy them at petrol stations and post offices in the Czech Republic.

BTW, the biggest issue for me would be parking in Prague. Nearly impossible in the center, unless your hotel offers it, and then it's going to be 20-30-40 euros a night. Driving in the center of Prague is ridiculous, as well.

I can't think of another city that is less suited for tourists in rental cars, to be honest.
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Old Mar 16, 09, 11:05 am   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOISJC744 View Post
I drove a car from Sixt to Prague last spring. I rented in Dresden, and after exploring the area around Dresden, I went into the Czech Republic, and took a few smaller roads to explore on the way to Prague.

I had to decline a nice upgrade in order to get a car that Sixt would allow to enter the Czech Republic.
Did you discuss this at the Sixt agency, telling them that you were driving to Czech Republic? And then they determined which car you could take? I assume this means that they have a specific list of cars that you can drive into Eastern Europe. So... what if for some whacky reason they were completely out of cars from that list? Would they have just told you that nothing was available despite having a reservation? Or were you able to specify (when making the reservation) that you would drive into Czech Republic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by inyourvillages View Post
The discount fare between Prague and Munich is 29 euros. On that line, I really like the first town in Germany, Furth-im-Wald. Depending on your day, if you got over the Czech border, you could get all the way to Prague for something like 4 euros (for two people!) on CD.

Don't know about eight hours...there are two direct trains a day between the cities and they run about 6 hours. Furth-im-Wald breaks it up almost exactly in half, if you're interested.

You need a stamp to drive on Czech highways. You can buy them at petrol stations and post offices in the Czech Republic.
Thanks - do you remember the cost of the highway stamp? Does this mean that once you cross the border, you have to go straight to the nearest petrol station and then buy the highway stamp?

What is CD? Is this the Czech train from the town by the Czech border to Prague?

We are also driving to Krakow after Prague, which is part of the reason for the car situation. We want a car so that we can also take daytrips within Bohemia and maybe by Krakow. But we would actually keep the car parked (hotel, etc) when in the cities of Krakow and Prague, and just walk it.

Thanks,
Michael
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Old Mar 16, 09, 11:47 am   #7
 
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The rental companies have certain cars that are used for high theft locations, including Italy, Czech, basically most of the former eastern bloc. Italy is a hot spot for thieves because they can steal cars and stick them on a ferry to Albania.

Most of the agencies don't rent you the nicer BMWs, Mercedes and other 'nice' cars. They will rent you a car; just be honest and upfront about where you are driving. And don't think you can sneak into a forbidden country with your rental and everything will be all right. If the car is stolen or involved in an accident and you are where you shouldn't have been, woe be unto you. You will probably be purchasing a brand new car for the rental company.
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Old Mar 16, 09, 11:57 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaobest View Post
What is CD? Is this the Czech train from the town by the Czech border to Prague?

We are also driving to Krakow after Prague, which is part of the reason for the car situation. We want a car so that we can also take daytrips within Bohemia and maybe by Krakow. But we would actually keep the car parked (hotel, etc) when in the cities of Krakow and Prague, and just walk it.

Thanks,
Michael
CD, actually ČD is České dráhy, or Czech railways. Tickets inside CZ are dirt cheap... crossing the border usually adds quite a bit of cost to the train ticket. Like others said, good luck with parking the car in Praha.
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Old Mar 16, 09, 12:52 pm   #9
 
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If I recall, you can purchase the Czech sticker at most gas stations in Germany once you get to roughly 40 km from the border. Or, you can get it once you get in Czech.
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Old Mar 16, 09, 1:24 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaobest View Post
Did you discuss this at the Sixt agency, telling them that you were driving to Czech Republic? And then they determined which car you could take? I assume this means that they have a specific list of cars that you can drive into Eastern Europe. So... what if for some whacky reason they were completely out of cars from that list? Would they have just told you that nothing was available despite having a reservation? Or were you able to specify (when making the reservation) that you would drive into Czech Republic?

I mentioned that I was planning on the Czech Republic online when reserving the car, but when I arrived at the rental location the agent didn't realize this (I don't know if he missed reading the info, or if it never made it to the location). I knew that this specifically was an issue with certain vehicles, so I mentioned that I was going to the Czech Republic, and the rental was arranged correctly.

Not sure what would have happened if no low-end cars were available. I did reserve a lower-end one and noted that I was going to the Czech Republic, so I think that I could have worked something out, but you never know.

On driving/parking in Praha: I personally found driving there to be no worse than in any other European city which I've driven in, but keep in mind it's not for the faint of heart. I also was able to park about 400m from Wenceslas Square, but this was on a Saturday late afternoon in early March on a day with bad weather. I also know the city decently well from two earlier visits, and navigated my way around looking for parking with no map or GPS--something that I'd REALLY not recommend to someone else.
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Old Mar 16, 09, 5:28 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaobest View Post

Thanks - do you remember the cost of the highway stamp? Does this mean that once you cross the border, you have to go straight to the nearest petrol station and then buy the highway stamp?

What is CD? Is this the Czech train from the town by the Czech border to Prague?

We are also driving to Krakow after Prague, which is part of the reason for the car situation. We want a car so that we can also take daytrips within Bohemia and maybe by Krakow. But we would actually keep the car parked (hotel, etc) when in the cities of Krakow and Prague, and just walk it.

Thanks,
Michael
highway stamp: it's not so expensive, and they're sold in increments. I think a few years ago it was 100 crowns (4 euros) for 10 days. It's just a minor hassle.

Daytrips within Bohemia (and anywhere else in the Czech Republic) are also going to be pretty easy, and DEFINITELY cheaper, by train.

There are direct trains to Krakow, including a night train, so you don't miss a day traveling.

I guess if expense is no object, and you feel totally comfortable driving in places where the road signs are in another language, and you're not worried about theft (a particular concern in Poland), and if you don't mind congested cities with limited parking, and you'd rather spend your time driving than sitting in a train, renting a car for this trip would be a good idea. I'd never do it in 1000 years though.
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Old Mar 28, 09, 7:44 pm   #12
 
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Originally Posted by inyourvillages View Post
The discount fare between Prague and Munich is 29 euros. On that line, I really like the first town in Germany, Furth-im-Wald. Depending on your day, if you got over the Czech border, you could get all the way to Prague for something like 4 euros (for two people!) on CD.
I have been doing more train (instead of car) research, including reading your info on Czech trains in the rail thread. One question - I checked bahn.de for Muenchen to Praha, and it's 60EU for an RE/R (RE in Germany; R in Czech Republic) non-stop train.

Where did you find it for 29EU, unless it was on the CD site? Otherwise what do you suggest, city-name wise, for the logistics of getting the train in Munich, going to a city just over the border, and then getting the 4 Euros (roughly) ticket onwards to Prague? I'm just trying to figure out the logistics for doing this and getting the cheaper fares you mentioned.

Thanks!
Michael
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Old Mar 29, 09, 12:45 am   #13
 
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Originally Posted by gaobest View Post
I have been doing more train (instead of car) research, including reading your info on Czech trains in the rail thread. One question - I checked bahn.de for Muenchen to Praha, and it's 60EU for an RE/R (RE in Germany; R in Czech Republic) non-stop train.

Where did you find it for 29EU, unless it was on the CD site? Otherwise what do you suggest, city-name wise, for the logistics of getting the train in Munich, going to a city just over the border, and then getting the 4 Euros (roughly) ticket onwards to Prague? I'm just trying to figure out the logistics for doing this and getting the cheaper fares you mentioned.

Thanks!
Michael

OK, let's start here:

You can take one of the two daily direct trains from Muenchen Hbf to Furth im Wald (german side of border) for 28 euros (total!) for up to five people by buying the Laender Ticket for Bayern. (Additional 2euros if you buy it from a human at the travel center in the station instead of at the machine or online.)

A ticket from there to Domazlice, first town on Czech side, is 5,30 euro per person. (If you buy a ticket straight through to Prague from FIW, it's 26 euros each...still not a bad deal).

A regular ticket from Domazlice to Prague (trains run every four hours) is 530 CzK (19 euros) for four people. (The cheaper fare is available if you want to take slow trains with a lot of changes...but the savings of ~10 euros isn't going to be worth the extra hours and hassle, IMO).

So I'd say these are your two best options...the first being the easiest and the second being the cheapest:

1) In Munich, buy the Laender ticket and use it to get to FIW. Total cost 28 euros. Either in FIW, if you layover, or in Munich if you choose not to, buy FIW-Prague tickets from DB, for 26 euros per person.

I didn't see how many people are in your party...

Going this route, for 2 people it would be 80 euros total.
For 4 people it would be 132 euros total.

2) In Munich, buy the Laender ticket and use it to get to FIW. 28 euros. Either in FIW, or in Munich if you don't layover, buy single FIW-Domazlice tickets (5,30 euros per person). When you arrive in Domazlice, buy a ticket for your party to Prague. For 2 persons it would be 318 CzK, for 4 persons 530 CzK.

Going this route, for 2 people it would be 50 euros total
For 4 people it would be 78 euros total

(btw, yes, so far as I can tell, you can only buy the 29 euro (per person) special through CD online...and it's only in czech...)

I really would recommend spending a night in Furth-im-Wald. Nice little town, plenty of places to eat and drink, nice area to walk around. I think I stayed in a nice family-run guesthouse for 35 euros/night last year.

In Domazlice, the international trains stop at the station farthest from the city center, about 1km. There is a restaurant in the station, but I don't know about an ATM. The center is nice enough (and a lot different than the Germany you left a half-hour earlier), and there are definitely many ATMs there. (mapy.cz is a much better map/photo device for CZ than google...click on "fotomapa" for the satellite image). If you want to go the cheaper route, just know that you'll have to buy your tickets to Prague in Domazlice, so leave yourself enough time to do it. You can use credit card if you don't want to worry about crowns until you get to Prague.

Let me know if anything's unclear or you have more questions. Peace
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