It depends. :-) If you only plan on seeing those three cities, then taking the train will be easier by far. Driving and parking in major European cities is a pain and expensive.
However, if you would like to get off the beaten path and explore some small towns and villages between each, then taking a car may be better. You'll be able to stop and explore or photograph what you want, when you want. (You really can't ask the engineer to stop a train so you can take a photo.)
For trains, check out the Deutsche Bahn website www.bahn.de. You can buy and printout your tickets online. They have two fares: A "Savings Fare" and a "Standard Fare." Both can only be bought within 92 days of your travel date.
The Savings Fare offers a significant discount, but they sell out quickly in that 92-day window. The closer to the travel date, the higher the price. Also, with a Savings Fare, you MUST ride the specific train(s) that you booked. If you get delayed and miss it, you'll be buying a full-fare replacement ticket on the spot.
The Standard Fare ticket allows you flexibility to travel on any train that travel day without penalty.
Check out these two sites for info on how to ride trains in Germany:
If you choose to drive, it's not all that different from the U.S. with a few exceptions. Speeds on the Autobahns are much faster, so your FULL concentration is required. You can be zipping along at 130 - 160 km/h / 80 - 100 mph (or more) and suddenly come up on a traffic jam and have to come to a crawl in short order.
Also, when they say "Keep right except to pass," they really mean it. Before pulling out into the passing lane, check your rear view mirror to make sure no one is coming for quite some distance. (I was once passed by someone doing around 230 km/h / 140 mph and at that speed, they come up on you in an instant.)
Every time I've rented a car in Germany or France, they've all been manual transmissions. Automatics are rare in Europe. Their cars are quite fuel efficient, as the price of unleaded gas there is around $8.44 and diesel is around $7.39 per gallon based on current average prices and the exchange rate.
Finally, some car rental agencies may not allow certain of their rental models into the Czech Republic, so you need to confirm that with them before renting.
Here's a site that has a lot of info about driving in Germany, including rules of the road and signage:
My personal preference is to drive, but I spend far more time in the country than the cities.
Hope that helps.
ZedEdited: 03 August 2013, 19:00
Thank you. Zed. So helpful!
I mostly rent a car when I go to Berlin,I live near Stuttgart. I find it more convenient and probably faster and I rarely have problems to park there. Taking a car to Prague is more problematic as many cars are not insured to go there.
I have not had a manual car given to me in the last 40 rentals but I always book a Merc/BMW
If you want to look at a few places on the wat then a car is easiest,perhaps a 2 ay rental to Berlin and drop the car on arrival. Then train to Prague
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