East Germany round-trip – Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Dresden plus Prague

Last year I managed to do a round-trip of East Germany which included the cities of Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Dresden and ended in the capital of the Czech Republic – Prague. I managed to see all these cities in 1 day. The whole tour lasted a total of 4 days and I think they are quite enough to see the main sights and manage to move between these points. Below you will find lots of useful information about train travel in Germany, as well as hotels in these cities. You’ll find out where it’s best to look for accommodation if you’re going to be traveling by train, and what to look out for when traveling and booking tickets.

Flight from Sofia to Nuremberg

My journey started from Sofia by plane to Nuremberg. Ryanair operate this route and you can usually find very cheap air tickets to Nuremberg. Unfortunately the timetable is not very convenient at the moment, because the flight arrives at 23:20 as scheduled, and unfortunately there are also delays quite often. And so you arrive almost after midnight, automatically losing half a day to sightseeing. Last time I got this flight the plane landed at 17:00 in Nuremberg and so you had time to explore the city in the evening. Hopefully in the future the flight from Sofia to Nuremberg will become more convenient again.

Cheap flights from Sofia to Nuremberg

Departure atReturn atStopsAirlineFind tickets
8 March 202411 March 20241 StopAir SerbiaTickets from 274
18 March 202420 March 20241 StopTurkish AirlinesTickets from 332
20 March 202422 March 20241 StopTurkish AirlinesTickets from 332
21 March 202417 April 20241 StopLufthansaTickets from 298
10 April 202410 April 20241 StopTurkish AirlinesTickets from 508
10 June 202413 June 20241 StopTurkish AirlinesTickets from 330
Nuremberg in just one day

Metro from Nuremberg Airport to Nuremberg Central Station

My recommendation is to find a hotel near Nuremberg Central Station. From there it’s very easy to get to the city centre and then you can quickly catch a train to Frankfurt or your next destination.
To get from the airport to the city centre or to the central station you need to catch the metro line U2 in the direction Nuremberg Rotenbach and get off at the stop Nuremberg Hbf (central station). The journey takes 13 minutes and costs EUR 3.30 (as of 01.05.2023). If you buy the ticket online it comes out slightly cheaper at 2.85 euros.
Tickets can be bought at the machines just outside the Arrivals hall exit at the airport. The machines accept debit and credit card payments. The entrance to the metro is 5 metres to the left of the ticket machines.

Hotels in Nuremberg

Nuremberg offers a wide choice of accommodation, with those near the central area and the train station being slightly more expensive, which is normal. I can personally recommend the Hotel Fackelmann, located a 10 minute walk from the central station. Very nice hotel, the rooms are modern and always extremely clean. The price is also very good for the location it is located. I have used this hotel 2 times now and am extremely satisfied.

Of course there are many other accommodation options. You can check them out below:

For more information on what you can see in Nuremberg you can read my article here.

The most convenient way to get from Nuremberg to Frankfurt is to take the direct train. The journey takes just over 2 hours and trains are almost every hour. You can view the exact timetable at https://www.bahn.com/en or download the DB Navigator app to buy e-tickets directly and get updates on your journey. Personally, I used the app for the train from Nuremberg to Frankfurt and am very satisfied. You get a lot of information and you can check in to avoid having your ticket checked by the conductor. I would also advise you to look at the discount cards that are offered by Deutsche Bahn, because if you are going to do a similar tour and you are mainly going to travel by train, you will knock the price of the discount card that is offered very quickly.

Hotels in Frankfurt

One day in Frankfurt

Again, the most convenient accommodation option is around Nuremberg Central Station, unfortunately not the nicest or most uneventful. If you want to find out why you can read my article A Day in Frankfurt – The Untold Truth About Mainhattan.
I stayed at the Bliss Design Hotel Frankfurt City Messe, but I definitely can’t recommend it. Most hotels in the area are quite expensive and Frankfurt has a much higher standard of living in general, so finding a bargain hotel in the central part of the city is quite difficult. The Bliss Design Hotel Frankfurt City Messe had a decent price and was close to the train station, but definitely didn’t live up to its 4 star rating. It was extremely dirty and shabby. And the overall service was not very up to par – I was given an uncleaned room when I checked in. You can use this hotel just in case you don’t find a better alternative.
Here are some alternatives you can use:

There is a direct train from Frankfurt to Leipzig almost every hour. I recommend the fast trains, the journey takes about 3 hours and they are super comfortable. There are also regional trains (passenger trains), but they take much longer and you will lose valuable time in Leipzig. The train I took from Frankfurt to Leipzig was the fastest train I’ve ever taken. The speed reached over 200 km/h, but on the train it didn’t feel like it at all. It was as if we were flying through the air. An extremely comfortable travel option. As in every fast train, there is a restaurant car where you can enjoy German and international cuisine plus a wide range of drinks. The remarks I have written above about the train to Frankfurt also apply to the train from Frankfurt to Leipzig – book as early as possible for the best price.

Hotels in Leipzig

Here again, I recommend staying close to Leipzig train station. It is itself one of the city’s landmarks. Extremely beautiful and at the same time acting as a shopping centre. As well as being close to the station for your next departure you will also have the opportunity to do a bit of shopping. Unfortunately, there aren’t many budget hotels near Leipzig Central Station. The hotel I stayed at was the Ibis Budget Leipzig City – a fairly budget hotel as the name suggests, but offering everything you need for a few nights. It is a 15 minute walk from the train station. If you’re looking for something a little more upmarket you could try the Ibis Leipzig City, which is next door. The two hotels share one entrance and one lobby. The Ibis Budget Leipzig City has an interesting design and interior, which I understand is the new style of the Ibis Budget chain. I don’t know if everyone would like it, so it’s a good idea to look at the photos of the rooms before booking. For me it was a bit odd, but practical. The room was clean and the beds were comfortable.
Below you can see offers for other hotels in the area.

One day in Leipzig

Again, I recommend catching a fast train from Leipzig to Dresden. You’ll recognize the fast trains by the prefixes in their numbers:

  • ICE – means express train, stopping at the fewest stops
  • IC – fast train
  • EC – international train

Whichever of the three options you choose you will be ok. Passenger trains are denoted by the prefix RE. Avoid them if possible. Apart from being much slower, they are usually very full and there is no possibility to reserve a seat. So it is quite possible to travel several hours straight on the train from Leipzig to Dresden. This is the place to mention that if possible, it is a good idea to reserve a seat on the trains. Basically, the Deutsche Bahn app shows how busy the train will be, but it’s best not to take any chances. My experience is that the express trains (ICE) always have seats available because they are a bit more expensive and not most people’s first choice. At most you may have to move to another seat because yours was booked.

Hotels in Dresden

Unfortunately, there are not many bargain hotels in Dresden in very close proximity to the station. One is again from the Ibis chain – Ibis Dresden Zentrum, located on the city’s main shopping street Prager str. However, I opted to stay at the Ibis Budget Dresden City, which is located on the same street but towards the end of it. The street starts from the train station and leads to the central part of the city with its sights. From there you can start your 24 hour tour of Dresden. The Ibis Budget Dresden City is much cheaper than the standard Ibis hotel on the same street, a 15 minute walk from Dresden train station. Again, it is furnished in the style of the Ibis Budget hotels – pretty basic but functional. Perfect for a one or two day stay. The biggest advantage of this hotel is that it is literally located in the biggest mall in Dresden. During the day when the mall is open, you don’t even need to leave the hotel to go from the mall – there is a hot connection. And don’t worry, the rooms are in a pretty remote location and there’s no noise. However, if proximity to the shopping mall bothers you and it’s not the main purpose of your trip, you’ll find a few alternative hotels in Dresden below:

24 hours in Dresden

If you wish you can end your tour here, but unfortunately there are no direct flights from Dresden to Sofia. You will have to fly with a connection. Here are the possibilities:

Your other option is to take a direct train from Dresden to Frankfurt, where there are direct flights to Sofia.

Cheap flights from Frankfurt to Sofia

Departure atReturn atStopsAirlineFind tickets
22 February 202423 February 20241 StopLufthansaTickets from 714
23 February 202425 February 20241 StopAir SerbiaTickets from 252
24 February 202427 February 20241 StopLOT Polish AirlinesTickets from 363
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22 March 202429 March 2024DirectBulgaria AirTickets from 286
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28 March 20241 April 20241 StopAir SerbiaTickets from 189
2 April 20247 April 20241 StopLufthansaTickets from 311
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22 June 202422 June 20241 StopLOT Polish AirlinesTickets from 360
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28 July 202412 August 20241 StopAir SerbiaTickets from 297
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21 October 202421 October 20241 StopLOT Polish AirlinesTickets from 338

You can also travel by train from Dresden to Nuremberg, but unfortunately there are no direct trains to there, they are always connecting. The advantage is that you will be able to return from your starting point and take a return ticket Sofia – Nuremberg – Sofia accordingly.

Cheap flights from Nuremberg to Sofia

Departure atReturn atStopsAirlineFind tickets
1 March 20244 March 20241 StopLufthansaTickets from 257
13 March 202414 March 20241 StopLufthansaTickets from 417
14 March 202414 March 20241 StopLufthansaTickets from 417
29 March 20241 April 20241 StopLufthansaTickets from 349
10 April 202417 April 20241 StopLufthansaTickets from 245
23 June 202423 June 20241 StopLufthansaTickets from 423

However, I decided to continue my journey to Prague, where there are also direct flights to Sofia. There are several direct trains from Dresden to Prague, some of which are international and continue to Budapest or Bucharest. The trains are comfortable but always quite full. They pass through one of the most beautiful areas of Germany and the Czech Republic. The line crosses the mountainous northwest of the Czech Republic and the views from the train are spectacular.

Hotels in Prague

weekend gateway in prague

Prague boasts some of the cheapest hotels in Europe. This is of course not at the expense of quality. Unfortunately, in recent years inflation has had its say and Prague hotels have slowly but surely started to rise in price. Renting apartments and rooms is very popular here. Prague has a pretty developed Airbnb network, so you can always use it as an alternative. In the broad centre of Prague I can recommend the following hotels Petr, Chevron Design Hotel and Red and blue Design Hotel. All of them are located in a very communicative location – close to a tram stop, a large mall with a supermarket, within walking distance from the center of Prague. Your stay in Prague is now up to you, but in my opinion 1 day will not be enough. It’s a good idea to plan more days for your stay here.

Flight from Prague to Sofia

Currently, only Bulgaria Air has a direct flight from Prague to Sofia and back. The flights are operated on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, and are usually quite expensive because there is no competition and Prague has no low-cost airport. Prices generally don’t change much over time, so whenever you book the price will be the same. Unless of course you book a few days before the trip or for the next day. The flight schedule is convenient – tailored to give you the opportunity to have a city break for a few days in Prague.

Cheap flights from Prague to Sofia

Departure atReturn atStopsAirlineFind tickets
22 February 202423 February 20241 StopEasyJetTickets from 527
23 February 202424 February 20241 StopLOT Polish AirlinesTickets from 265
27 February 20241 March 20241 StopLufthansa CityLineTickets from 240
28 February 202428 February 20241 StopLOT Polish AirlinesTickets from 273
29 February 20243 March 20241 StopLufthansa CityLineTickets from 211
5 March 20248 March 20241 StopLufthansaTickets from 194
7 March 202410 March 20241 StopLufthansa CityLineTickets from 201
8 March 202410 March 20241 StopLOT Polish AirlinesTickets from 201
10 March 202423 March 20241 StopAir SerbiaTickets from 199
12 March 202414 March 20241 StopBulgaria AirTickets from 332
14 March 202418 March 20241 StopSwiss International Air LinesTickets from 181
15 March 202422 March 2024DirectBulgaria AirTickets from 239
18 March 202420 March 20241 StopLOT Polish AirlinesTickets from 258
20 March 202423 March 20242 StopsWizz Air MaltaTickets from 150
21 March 202428 March 20241 StopAir SerbiaTickets from 223
22 March 202425 March 20241 StopLOT Polish AirlinesTickets from 230
1 April 20245 April 20241 StopAir SerbiaTickets from 188
15 April 202419 April 20241 StopAir SerbiaTickets from 189
16 April 202418 April 20241 StopAir SerbiaTickets from 189
17 April 202418 April 20241 StopLOT Polish AirlinesTickets from 259
2 May 20247 May 20241 StopLOT Polish AirlinesTickets from 246
9 May 202412 May 20241 StopAir SerbiaTickets from 189
16 May 202419 May 20241 StopAir SerbiaTickets from 189
26 May 202431 May 20241 StopAir SerbiaTickets from 210
10 June 202411 June 20241 StopLOT Polish AirlinesTickets from 259
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