"Pilots take no special joy in walking. Pilots like flying." - Neil Armstrong
From Czechia by air or by rail for summer holidays?
Written by Jan Kotek.
For several years in a row, air traffic from Czechia to Croatia was at approximately the same level until last year. For this year Czech air carrier Smartwings (QS/TVS) offers daily flights from Prague to Split and Dubrovnik. Until last year, they tried to gradually expand the traffic in the pre-season and post-season period, but for this year there is only one flight a week offered in May from Prague to Split and then every day from June. Prague - Dubrovnik route is planned only from June 1st. In the post-season period, both routes are shortened.
In addition to Smartwings, there is only one more route from Prague to Zadar of the Irish low-cost air carrier Ryanair (FR/RYR). This route is offered twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays from May.
Until 2019, Czech flag air carrier ČSA Czech Airlines (OK/CSA) and the Croatian flag air carrier Croatia Airlines (OU / CTN) operated flights between Prague and Zagreb. ČSA had 6 flights a week, while Croatia Airlines had 4 flights a week. But no one offers this route for this year.
As air traffic between the two countries stagnates, rail traffic is in renaissance
Last year, after the pandemic began to spread across Europe, Czech private railway carrier Regiojet announced a new railway line from Prague to Rijeka. At the begining, 3 trains a week were announced, but a few days after the sales started, the line was boosted to daily operations due to unexpectedly high interest. Until last year, Regiojet operated only bus line to Croatia with only two buses a week, via Zagreb, to Zadar, Šibenik and Split.
In its press release on February 1st, Regiojet announced plans for the summer of this year, and in addition to the last year's train line to Rijeka, it also announced a new train line to Split. In fact, it is a train with expected 15 wagons, which will be divided in Ogulin, one part will continue to Rijeka and the other part to Split. Last year they had a route via Bratislava and Ljubljana, but this year a new route is planned via Bratislava, Budapest and Zagreb. This line is planned for June and September with three trains a week, while in July and August it is planned on a daily basis. The train will depart from Prague at 17:00 and arrival to Rijeka will be the next day, early in the morning, and to Split in the afternoon.
In addition, last year the train had a stop in Matulji, where a transfer was organized to many tourist resorts in Istria, Kvarner and the southern Adriatic. The same thing is planned for this year with bus transfers organized in Koplica to many holiday resorts in Dalmatia, Neum and Montenegro. Tickets for individual trips are not yet offerd in on-line booking, but tourist package arrangements with rail and accommodation are alrady offered for sale.
The map shows how many destinations on the Adriatic it is planned to connect with bus transfers:
Regiojet is the largest private railway and bus carrier in Czechia. The company started business in 1993 under the name Student Agency and initially organized only student trips to English language courses. Regiojet currently operates 55 buses and 127 railway wagons on lines across Europe