Prague's public transport system (Dopravni podnik) is efficient and fast. There are three metro lines, 26 tram routes and 9 night trams. And once you reach the center, Prague is easily accessible on foot.
For more information visit Dopravni podnik's excellent website on routes and schedules, at http://www.dpp.cz/. You can also call tel. 222 62 37 77. The Travel Information Center also offers info on routes, tariffs, tickets, timetables, re-routings and service disruptions, maps and general information. Found at the main station, the office hours are 07:00-21:00.
Remember that in the Czech Republic, it is illegal to cross at a pedestrian crossing on red, and if caught you may be charged a fine of 1000kc.
Tickets, valid for all means of transport, can be purchased from the numerous vending machines at all metro stations, major tram stops and news stands. Validate your ticket by stamping it in the machines at metro entrances and on trams.The most common ticket is the 26Kc transfer ticket, which is valid for 75 minutes after validating (90 minutes between 22:00 and 05:00, on weekends and public holidays).
The 18Kc non-transfer ticket is meant for tram rides under 20 minutes with no changes, or in the metro for up to 5 stations (changes allowed) from the departure station within 30 minutes. It is possible to buy multiple and stamp whenever you need one.
The one-day pass costs 100Kc.
A three-day pass costs 330Kc.
A five-day pass costs 500Kc.
One month costs 550Kc.
Three months costs 1480 CZK.
An annual pass costs 4750 CZK.
Children under 6 travel for free. Tickets are half price up to 15 years old. Large pieces of luggage (including rucksacks) cost an extra 13Kc while dogs ride the rails for 26Kc. Fines may be issued for invalid tickets up to 500Kc if paid on the spot, or pay 1,000Kc if you are unable to pay at the time.
Prague's has ultra-professional pickpockets. This is just something that needs to be accepted, and then prepared for. The trams N22 and 23 are some of the worst for pick pockets. You may also run into thieves outside metro stations. Watch out for overcrowded situations, odd gropes, and gangs of children as they may be used by thieves (since they are usually not held accountable by the law). Common sense and basic precautions can keep most people safe from pickpockets.
There is another threat of con artists at the stations. If you enter the metro at night, you may encounter a team that claims they are metro clerks that want to examine your ticket. They may claim it is invalid and a fee of 500 CZK (1000 CZK if you argue with them) will be charged. Always ask to see ID if asked for any information. If the situation seems shady, call the police.
Street signs are reliable and are usually clearly displayed. A red sign (cislo orientacne) marks the street name and the district number (i.e. Praha 1, Praha 2, etc). The building numbers (cislo popisne) are marked on blue plaques at the front of the building, usually above the main door.
The Czech word for street is ulice, but most streets are known by the name. Bridges, embankments and squares are often also named after famous individuals or places.
The Prague Metro is an underground subway system and is the fastest means of transportation around the city. About a half million passengers a day ride the metro, which makes it the seventh busiest metro system in Europe.
The metro operates between 4:00-24:00 from Sunday till Thursday. On Friday and Saturday the last trains depart at 1:00. There are about two- to three-minute intervals between trains during rush hours.
The metro consists of three lines, each of which is represented by its own color on the maps and signs:
Line A (green)
Line B (yellow)
Line C (red)
(There are plans to expand the system and add a line, the D line (or blue line). The west end of the A line is currently under construction, from Dejvickastation to Motol, which is forecast to open to the public in 2014. )
The system is laid-out as a triangle. The three lines meet in the center with three interchange stations. Each interchange station has two halls, one hall for each line.
There are 57 stations in total. Many are quite large, with several entrances. This may be confusing as different exits may let travelers out on an entirely different street. The depth of the stations (and the connecting lines) varies considerably. The deepest station is Namesti Miru, located 52 meters under the ground.
Trams are a very useful way to navigate the city. The lines N22 and 23 are two of the most frequently used lines. Particularly useful after midnight when the metro shuts down are the night trams. Tram information is displayed on the red signs at each stop.
Cars usually stop at pedestrian crossings, but beware, trams do not stop for anything else except the tram stop. Drivers even get the rest of the day off if they hit a car or a person.
Florenc Bus Station is the main hub for international buses in Prague. The station is located in Praha 8 (metro lines B and C). It has recently been updated and is open from 05:00 - 23:00. Address: Praha 8, Krizikova 4
Bohemian Lines is a company that offers international routes to the UK, Ireland, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Luxembourg and Belgium. Address: Praha 7, Sternberkova 10
Eurolines is the main European bus operator. Address: Praha 8, Krizikova 6 (Florenc bus station).
Train travel is common in the Czech Republic. All Czech cities, towns and many villages have their train stations and are interconnected well enough to make train travel a convenient way of getting from one place to another both within the Czech Republic and internationally.
The fastest international trains are Eurocity and Intercity trains (marked with expresni, in blue on schedules. Travel throughout the Czech Republic has an average speed about 120 km/h as the Czech railway network is not suitable for higher speeds. From Berlin, a train reaches Prague in just under five hours, from Vienna in 4-4.5 hours and from Budapest in 6.5 hours.
Regional trains include Rychlik and Osobni trains. Rychlik are suitable for travel within the country, but Osobni move very slowly and should be avoided if possible. Osobni are marked in white.
The Czech Republic is now covered by the Global Eurail pass and can be included in other Eurail passes.
Prague has two main railway stations:
Praha Hlavni nadrazi - (tel. 224 61 52 49) The main station is architecturally impressive. Currently the maze of tunnels is under reconstruction. This may make things difficult as ticket windows and other services may move randomly. There is a tourist office (open 09:00 - 19:00. Sat, Sun 09:00 - 16:00) in the center of the lower hall of the two levels that can offer information. Train information can also be found in the lower left of the hall. There are also lockers for luggage (uschova).
Praha Holesovice - (tel. 224 61 58 65) This is main station used on the routes to/from Berlin, Prague, Vienna/Bratislava. The small hall holds the ticket office (open 09:00 - 17:00, closed Sat, Sun), left luggage lockers, an internet cafe and several exchange and accommodation offices (open 06:00 - 23:00).
Czech Railways is responsible for intercity travel within the Czech Republic. Their helpful website allows you to investigate routes, prices, and stations.
Super City Pendolino trains operate from Ostrava (3.5 hours), Olomouc (just over two hours), and Vienna (4 hours) to Prague. Reservation is necessary on these trains.
There are two classes on international trains, and prices vary according to length of journey and class. Expect to pay one third more for first class tickets.
It is usually not necessary to buy tickets in advance. You may want to get a seat reservation to confirm you have a seat if the train is likely to be crowded, such as on Friday afternoons and Monday mornings.
If you are using the train frequently or on long distances, a prepaid card (kilometricka banka) can be of great value. It is actually a booklet and is sold for 2000 CZK and gives you 2000 kilometers of train travel. The minimum distance you can deduct each time is 100 km and the maximum is 400 km. The card expires six months from the date of first use, and needs to be decided upon purchase so that the date can be marked inside. Each time you travel, you'll need to fill out a field for that trip in the booklet. The conductor will then deduct the appropriate number of kilometers and mark the remaining kilometres into the booklet.
There is a helpful trip calculator to help you gauge the price of a trip within the Czech Republic and internationally.
The park in front of the main train station is one of the worst spots in town. It should be avoided after dark. If you do have to come through on foot, approach from the Southeast along Washingtonova. If you encounter any issues, there is a police station on the corner.
Ruzyne International Airport
Airport Code: PRG
Tel: +420 220 111 111, +420 296 661 111
Prague's airport is modern and spacious and lies about 17 km north of the city. All international flights arrive here. The airport handles around 250 flights a day and is used by approximately fifty carriers. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the city centre by car.
There is a luggage facility at the airport which is open 24 hours and costs 60Kc per item per day.
Taxi- though the taxis in Prague have a terrible reputation, they are working to correct these problems. A taxi to the centre should cost around 600Kc. Talk to a representatives from AAA or call a company rather than hailing from the terminal.
Airport Express- These buses are operated by Czech Railways. These buses leave the airport every 30 minutes; starting at 5:46 and ending at 21:16. Tickets cost 50 CZK per person and can be available from the driver. The last stop will be Prague's main train station ("Hlavni nadrazi" or abbreviated to "Praha hl.n.").
CEDAZ minibus service- The minibus runs from 5:30 to 21:30, every half hour between the airport and Namesti Republiky. Tickets cost 90-120Kc (including one piece of baggage, children under 10 free) and can be bought from the driver or from the booth in the arrival terminal. For an extra fee, CEDAZ can also pick you up or drop you off at your hotel. Telephone: 220 11 42 96.
Private Shuttle - various companies run shuttle services to the hotel and back. They can be found at the airport arrival halls. They usually charge around 400 to 500 CZK for trip and in general are a bit cheaper than the taxis.
Bus - This is the cheapest way to get into town. Buses run 2-8 times per hour between 04:18 and 00:10 with at least one wheelchair-friendly bus per hour. Route terminates at the Dejvicka metro station (Line A, green). Tickets are 45/25Kc, dogs 25Kc and luggage is free. Tickets can be bought at the transport information desk in both arrival halls (open 07:00 - 22:00) or from the coin-operated machine at the airport bus stop, but not from the driver. You need to validate the ticket (once for the whole trip) in the machines on board the bus.
Taxi drivers in Prague are notorious for ripping off tourists. In a recent test of the system, Prague's mayor recently dressed up as an Italian tourist and hailed a taxi, only to be overcharged five times the official rate. This reconfirmed the city's commitment of changing the system, but there are still major issues when taking a taxi.
If arranged, starting rates should be about 25Kc for the first 5km, and 20Kc per kilometre after that (34Kc/25Kc if hailed off the street).
From central Prague, a ride to the airport is about 600Kc.
A short ride in the city center should be about 130Kc.
A ride to one of the surrounding districts up to 200Kc.
People who appear as tourist are the most likely to get ripped off, so watch out for the taxis between the railway station, airports and hotels. If you wish to use a taxi, approach the situations as prepared as possible. There are several things to do to protect yourself:
Call a taxi directly, or ask your hotel for a referral
Only use reputable companies
Always insist on having the taxi-meter turned on
Get a receipt. It is illegal for a taxi driver to refuse you a receipt. The receipt should have driver's name, address and tax identification number included. (Czech: "Prosim, dejte mi paragon")
Several information desks advertise prices to the most popular destinations. These are helpful, but note that some of the taxi companies (specifically around Old Town square) charge VERY high prices (about 99Kc/Km). This exploits a loophole in local law, which an ongoing law suit is trying to change.
If, despite these precautions, you believe you have been overcharged, mark the car ID numbers (license plate, taxi license number on the car door, driver name) and contact the company. If you can't find a solution with them, call the police.
Prague is landlocked, but the Vltava River (known as Moldau in German) offers numerous cruises. Consult the tours section for more info.
Prague does suffer from intense traffic and congested streets. If you want to drive, you
must be 18 years old
must carry a driver's driving licence (most foreign driving licences are honoured)
vehicle registration card
ownership certificate or rental agreement
Seatbelts are compulsory in the front and back seats and lights must be switched on at all times.
Prague is centrally located and has highway connections from five major directions. Unfortunately, some areas of the highway are incomplete and in poor condition. The best routes are through the southeast and southwest.
South-western highway - (D5, international E50) leads through Plzen to Germany. The D5 highway changes to A6 in Germany.
South-eastern highway - (D1) this is the Czech Republic's oldest and most used highway. Because of this heavy use, the highway is in poor condition. It leads through Brno to Bratislava in Slovakia and connects to Vienna and Budapest.
Northwest - (D8) is the incomplete route to the German border. It ends at Lovosice (about 60 km from Prague) and starts again in Usti and Labem and continues to the northern Germany via A17 (Dresden, Berlin, Leipzig)
Northeast - (R10) this is actually a motorway, not a highway. It leads from Liberec to Turnov, and is not an important access route.
East - (D11) newly completed, leads to Poland
Parking can be very tricky as there are many cars, narrow streets, and impatient tram drivers. Those who park illegally may have to deal with the "Denver Boot"- a wheel clamp that can only be removed by paying a large fee. So read the signs and park legally!
There are some free parking spots, but most street parking is monitored by parking meters. Meters cost about 20-40 Kc/per hour. How long you park depends on the parking zone.
Orange = 2 hour parking (in effect 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.)
Green = 6 hour parking (in effect 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.)
Blue = reserved for residents and offices
Beware: Car burglary and theft are common crimes in Prague. When you leave your car, take out any valuables to prevent temptation.
Parking Garages are a safer, but more expensive option.
Park & Ride Parking Lots are another option where you can leave your car at a guarded parking lot outside the city and ride public transportation into the city. The lots are guarded and cost about 10 Kc for the day. Note that they close after the metro stops running, around 1:00. There are many of these lots at metro stations outside of the city centre, for example Skalka, Zlicin, Nove Butovice, Radlicka, Opatov, Rajska zahrada, Cerny most, Nadrazi Holesovice.
If you need to get somewhere by car but don't own one, a ride share can be the perfect solution.
Town to Town
One of the cheapest ways to travel both in the Czech Republic and internationally. The site allows drivers and passengers to arrange rides. You can arrange the specific trip, or just check on regular routes.
Address: Praha 1, Narodni trida 9
Telephone: +420 222 075 407
Open: 09:00-18:00, Sat 10:00-16:00, Sun Closed.
Car rental should be a straightforward process with many international companies. Expect to pay about 450Kc/day. The Skoda Fabia is frequently offered and is inexpensive. Car rental may require you to be 25 years old.
Cycling is growing in popularity in Prague. Compared to other European cities, it is still rare, but there is a growing community. A very helpful website Cycling Prague.
Bicycle Map: http://wgp.praha-mesto.cz/
Hiring an agency can be pricey, but can significantly reduce your stress when seeing the sites. Investigate different agencies to find one that works for you.